23 June, 2008

Seeing doors

Doors fascinate me. In Herrnhut and the surrounding region there are some fabulous thick hand carved doors and gateways. Some set in stone frames, some just rotting away; a pale reflection of the wealth and rich craftsmanship that once thrived here.

But there are also many simple doors to be seen. Some that are easily noticed. Some that are tucked away. In shadowy alleyways or forgotten corners. Some with locks on. Some with old handles and clasps. Some just hanging in their frames.

Jesus spoke about doors. He holds open the door of eternal life to us. He is that gateway for us. The Bible also tells us of the door of hope in the valley of trouble or despair. It`s always there. There is always a way forward, but sometimes we have to look for it. Sometimes we are looking for a door that looks different to the one we actually need.

Often we focus on wanting particular doors to open for us. But sometimes I wonder if we miss our way or waste our energy because we are looking to the wrong door. I believe that one of the secrets to seeing doors open in your life has as much to do with being open minded about which door is the right door for now, as it does with actually seeing a particular door open.

When I feel hemmed in in a particular area and I know that I need to see progress or for something to open up, I start asking where the door is that I don`t yet see. Part of the adventure with Jesus is that the humblest looking doors contain the most breathtaking journeys. Kind of like not being able to judge a book by it`s cover.

It all comes back to learning to see things from God`s perspective and not our own.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matthew 7:7

04 June, 2008

Labelled or marked?

So let`s clarify my problem with "labels".  It`s the description of a label that I find confining. My heart is much more about our hearts and God`s heart. I don´t want my heart to be labelled. In fact, what I want is my heart to be marked.

Marked by God. By His character. By the things that He builds into my life. I want to be marked by His love. By His mercy. By His joy and His compassion. I want to be marked with a teachable heart. 

When someone looks at me, I don`t want a personal or ministry label or title. I want them to see through the window of my heart and see the colours of the character of God. Depth. Beauty in Him.

One of my favourite scriptures comes right at the end of the book of Psalms. 149 v 4 tells us that God "beautifies" or "crowns" us with salvation. As we lay hold of the riches of what it really means to be a new creation through Jesus, we allow God to change us and grow us in our character. He shapes and beautifies us, sculpting away the old and crafting the person He has destined you to be. After His heart. After His plans and purposes.

Which is why God`s heart is more about who we are than "what" we are. Which is why I really don´t do this label thing so well. As we allow God to craft us as a person, then our giftings come forth and He shows Himself through us in both practical and spiritual ways. It`s also why I feel sad when I see Christians searching after "their" calling or gifting or "the" thing they are supposed to do. We are not defined by knowing that our main thing is this or that, evangelism or prophecy, teaching or administrating. That is not our identity. He is our identity. If you feel bad because you can`t tell others what your main gifting is, praise God! Just get on with allowing Him to mark your life with His character and His heart. Then you will be ready in season and out of season to be the person He wants you to be, wherever you are. Your giftings will become obvious.

So Father God, please continue to craft me after your own heart. Mark me with the characteristics that please your heart. Show the colours of who you are through me. And thank you that you don´t put me in a box and label me. Thank you that the journey continues. 

03 June, 2008

Ditching Labels

There are some things that really annoy me. Labels is one of them. Sometimes a label is descriptive and helpful. What I don´t like is when we use a label to define a situation and particularly a person.

Personally, God has really set me free from coming under labels that other people put on me. A label can not only be intimidating but also confining. When we label a person, we put them in a box. 

I guess it`s obvious that we inhibit a person with negative labels. But we can also restrict people by giving them labels that we might think are positive ones. You see, God has created us to grow and develop. We are destined to blossom. As Christians we never stand still, caged into being who we are. 

A person who has surrendered their life to Jesus is a person who is on a journey. A journey in which the riches that God deposited in you, even before you were born, are rediscovered and developed. I think that`s why I dislike labels so much. You see, only God can truly see who I am becoming. No one else has really got the full picture on me. And I`m still on my journey.

So if you love me, please don´t label me. Well, if you do, you`ll be missing out on a whole lot of other parts of me. Oh, and why stand still in your thinking when those of us who have chosen to ditch labels are dancing in the light?

Psalm 17.2a Let my vindication come from Your presence

Graft & Grace

Having confessed to being a backsliding blogger, my husband pertly asked whether my confession was remorse or real repentance. Good point. If remorse is simply regret or sorrow and if repentance is turning from one way of being or living in order to embrace the right way... well, here is blog number 2, just 2 days later. So let`s call it repentance. Oh, and I`m not a backslidden blogger anymore, so we can ditch that label. 

Sometimes we can have a change of heart about something, but it doesn`t change our lives unless we make the choice to do something about it. Living out our faith and core values has as much to do with choices in the heart as it does with convictions. We can believe something, but if we don`t do anything about that belief, then what is accomplished?

And living out our convictions or carrying a decision through usually involves commitment and hard work. It isn`t always easy sticking to your principles. It certainly isn`t easy learning to think and live a different way after we have come to a point of repentance. That`s why God graces us. 

Grace isn´t something that eliminates the need for us to stick to our principles and decisions. No. Grace is given to empower us so that we can stick to those principles. So that we can put in the hard work needed. So that our characters can truly be formed. So that we become people who endure. 

Titus 2:11&12 The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us to say no to ungodliness.

01 June, 2008

Confessions of a backsliding blogger

Ok, so it`s been a while! Sorry. Bit of backsliding as far as blogging is concerned. Lots of going deeper with God during my cave time though.

Well, it`s been busy, as usual here. For a small, quiet town in a corner of Germany, we certainly get quite a bit of action. The summer months are full with individuals, groups and larger teams passing through the Jesus Haus and the town. 

It`s such a privilege seeing people go deeper with God while they are here. It`s not always or just in a "spiritual" context that they sense the presence of God. Sometimes it`s as people do practical work, like sanding down doors or splitting logs open. For others it`s just as they are walking around town, sensing the weight of God`s hand upon their personal destiny.

For me, the last few months have been a time of redefining. God has been affirming me in things I have known and walked in for a long time now as well as redefining my take on things, honing and refining and expanding my insight, gifts and vision.  It kind of felt like backsliding for a while, just because He took me through a process of questioning what we see as Christian culture and what really is Kingdom Culture. I`ve looked at the seasons of the Kingdom and the timings of the Kingdom. The Inheritance of the Kingdom and our destiny as citizens of His Kingdom. Just gazing into His heart.

Hmmmm. If that`s all double dutch to you, never mind. Just remember that God has written every day of your life. He believes in you and He has such a rich destiny for you. No one else can live out your destiny. It`s there, prepared for you to walk in. The question is, are you directing your destiny or are you allowing God to shape you for the destiny He has for you?

Psalm 139:16  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.