You

You are the only you He has ever made and ever will.

You are not a remake of someone else, an attempt to ‘do it better’, nor will He ever make another you again. You are utterly unique. 

He planned your very being; He designed your nature, your form, your character. He knew you before you were made and He desired you from the start. 

Nothing has changed that burning desire He has for you. He gave even His own beloved Son, who willingly chose to surrender His life for you, because He is absolutely in love with you. 

Do not compare yourself to anyone, do not surrender your identity to be someone else. Respond to His love in wholehearted pursuit of Him, letting yourself be transformed from one degree of glory to another as you gaze upon His love and receive Him for all that He is. 

~

So often when I paint, I ‘know’ a piece is finished before it is flawless. I look at it and know I could spend hours more on it, touching up, tweaking, ‘perfecting’, but somehow I just know not to. Why? Because it says exactly what I want it to say, it has fulfilled the purpose for which I set out to paint it. 

I feel like it is the same with God. When we are born again, we are born into the very body of Jesus and His perfection becomes our fulfilment. We don’t need to fret and worry about the many details we see which don’t seem to tie up with what we thought we were meant to look like, we simply need to maintain a pure heart, letting His words remain in us as we seek to know Him more and more. 

I compare everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him-a joy unequalled.] Philippians 3:8 AMP

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Open Affection

My mum and I were chatting this morning about family, relationships and the like. We went back to talk about when I was a child and I realised something about my relationship with my dad that had had a deep impact on my life. 

You see, I was always very close to my dad. I used to run to him when he came home from work and throw my arms around him, and when he was working from home I would go into his office and curl up on his lap, staying there for hours (it felt) on end. As I grew older, we would stay up late chatting and I always felt favoured in every way. 

However, I didn’t see him express the same affection to mum. He always got very silly about kissing her in front of us and sometimes he would talk to me about her in a way that gave me the impression he didn’t love her as much as me. 

Somewhat unknowingly, this began to feed a fear in me. I began to be afraid of growing up to be like mother and the more of her I saw in myself, the more I despised myself. Tragically, I also allowed a root of resentment to grow up in my heart towards my mother, even though she had never done anything wrong. I was simply afraid that if I was like her, I would not be loved. 

I felt I had to constantly manage my behaviour in such a way that would always keep me earning my dad’s favour and I had this underlying fear that someday he was gonna find out that I wasn’t as good as he thought I was. I strove and strove to become more and more like what I thought was wanted and avoid in every way becoming just like my mother…

Amazingly, God is a restorer of all things. Through the storms and chaos of our lives, He has been slowly shaping us and moulding us so that now we can walk in a season of healing and restoration for those broken years. 

However, I realised just how important it is for parents to openly display their affection for each other in front of their children. It helps to create an atmosphere of security and acceptance in which the children can grow up confidently into the people they were born to be. 

And then I realised that the same is true of my faith. If I want to be like a mother to newborn children in the faith, I need to openly display my affection for Jesus. That is not just telling people I’m a Christian or answering questions if they have them, but freely and openly showing my love for Jesus, and receiving the same.

It is this open affection that creates an atmosphere of love and safety, casting out fear and dishonour simply by its very nature. 

Let it be Lord Jesus, let it be!

I Should be Dead

 I know I should be dead. If it’s not enough to see it from the story of the Fall, or from the truth of the New Covenant, I can even see it in my own life – thoughts of despair and temptation to suicide from a young age, then seeing the sin and rebellion I have walked in being confronted with the holiness of God… 

I should not exist in light of the holiness of God. 

And yet, because of His grace – as displayed in Jesus – I not only exist but have been gifted with everything that I have and, according to His sacrifice, can even walk in relationship with Him: knowing Him more and more that I can be fashioned into His likeness and found to be in Him on the day when He returns to claim what is His own. 

I owe Him my life. Anything else is to choose death. 

I am not here because of my own efforts or because I am in any way deserving or better than anyone. If my righteousness is merely that of the Pharisees – based in good deeds and self justification – it is still dead. The only righteousness for me is the justification of God received by His grace and through faith. 

That then can surely only be expressed in thankfulness and great joy!

Everything received is a gift – even trials and tribulations are permitted in the wisdom of our perfect Father for the proving and strengthening of our faith and righteous character. 

Plus, He remains the healer. Always. 

The promise is always ahead. Perfect peace and joyful bliss will always be the end of the story, in Him. 

Jesus has overcome the world!

Matters Of Conscience

Do we ever intentionally do what is wrong? Or do we find some kind of justification for every action? Do we listen to the lies  that surround us that tell us somehow, in this circumstance, it was acceptable. Or that, perhaps even, we are so far gone that wrong is just what flows from our nature. Do we even know what is wrong?

In matters of conscience, are we able to judge? What if said conscience is marred? Where does the issue lie then? Is it in the deed, or in the doer? Or in the one who deceived the doer into pursuing evil deeds? And who did the deceiving?

The Justice Mercy Conflict

Jesus is beautiful. 

How do you balance justice and mercy? How do you express truth and love together through walls of injustice? 

How does a holy God love an evil world?

Full judgment of justice is poured out on the only One who could willingly volunteer without a shadow of blame and deserving. Hallelujah. 

So now to be found in Him is perfect peace, is love and life. Hidden in the shadow of His wings we are free, believing in the beauty of His grace. 

And as His body, feeling His heart, we join Him in intercession for those that are still lost. Pleading the mercy, that they may be found,

And in being found, find Him too. 

Lower Lower Lower

There is an incredible tension I feel when I spend time in the company of people who don’t follow the same paths as me. When I can’t communicate with them on the level I would like to I get ever so frustrated and I often don’t know how to respond to them with integrity and love. What did Jesus say to the prostitutes and tax collectors when he was hanging out with them? Did He dominate the conversation? Was He the quiet one? I know He wouldn’t have behaved the way I often do. He said that wisdom is shown to be right by its results. 

I’m missing out on some of that wisdom. I need to go lower. 

I’m thinking now of the time Paul corrected Peter for being hypocritical by eating with the Gentiles freely until the Jews came along and then he felt he ought to draw back and behave better. But he had never been wrong to spend time with the Gentiles. The purpose of my faith is that it result in love, triumphing over the judgment that comes with legalism. I ought not be afraid of loving to the full even when another’s ways don’t match up with what I know to be right and true. 

Because actually, as soon as I set myself up in judgment, I am condemned 

And as soon as I love, I fulfil the law.