Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Don't plant weeds in your plowed fields

So, for all my wandering through that post yesterday, I don't think I said what I wanted to say when I started. Thankfully the next chapter of Jeremiah summed it up quite nicely!!

Here’s another Message from God to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow your unplowed fields, but then don’t plant weeds in the soil! Yes, circumcise your lives for God’s sake. Plow your unplowed hearts Jer 4:3-4

There is an important point here about not trying to seek God, but then ALSO still carrying on with the selfish things that we do. If we try to seek God, but we're still seeking our own pleasure at other's expense then we are divided. Both are required. So not only is it 'Don't just go on your merry way and then run to me when it all goes wrong' but also 'Don't try walking with me and still keep your other gods too'

We have to get rid of those things in our lives that we idolise, or that come from selfishness.

Which is really difficult sometimes. 

Most times...

Pretty much all the time.

God understands. (He knows us quite well in fact)

21-22 The sound of voices comes drifting out of the hills, the unhappy sound of Israel’s crying, Israel lamenting the wasted years, never once giving her God a thought. “Come back, wandering children! I can heal your wanderlust!” 
Jer 3:21-22

Monday, 15 October 2012


Following on from my post last week 'A cry for help' This morning I read this...

"But you say, ‘I can’t help it. I’m addicted to alien gods. I can’t quit.’.... Just as a thief is chagrined, but only when caught, so the people of Israel are chagrined. All I ever see of them is their backsides. They never look me in the face, but when things go badly, they don’t hesitate to come running, calling out, ‘Get a move on! Save us!’ Why not go to your handcrafted gods you’re so fond of? Rouse them. Let them save you from your bad times" (Excerpts from Jeremiah 2:25-28)

Kinda re-emphasises what I was saying about not running to God when we realise things are starting to go wrong, or have already come crashing down around our ears! However, today it got me thinking about another side to it. The emphasis here is about how sometimes we have our other gods, our idols, the things we dedicate our time and our efforts too. Dare I say, the things that we daydream about!?

I am so so glad that none of you can read my thoughts. My daydreams range from the pointless to the ridiculous!

God is saying 'You put these things above me in your life, and now you're running to me for help? Let your pointless, unhelpful daydreams/obsessions save you... Oh, they can't? WELL WHAT ARE YOU WORSHIPING THEM FOR THEN!?'

I'm paraphrasing of course.

So, here is perhaps another insight into what it means to 'Live by the Spirit'. Not having things that we make more important than God. It's more than just that though. If you'll permit me to simplify the idea of 'Sin' as things that are selfish. I know it doesn't say this in the verse above, but the principle still applies (I'm pretty sure) The acts of the sinful nature are all acts of selfishness, does it then stand to reason that the fruit of the spirit is unselfishness? or am I being overly simplistic? maybe unselfishness us a part of it.

My daydreams and obsessions are selfish. It's all about me. What I want, what makes me happy. It's actually quite stressful trying to get your own way all the time! Think about it. "What if I don't get the biggest cookie?" "What if they don't like me" "What if someone is better than me at the things I'm good at" 

I could go on.

Be warned as well, sometimes it's not even as obvious as that.

You know what I've discovered quite recently? Putting God first, and putting other people first is really really peaceful. It's difficult to explain (and, easy to forget and go back to 'ME ME ME' again, but I recommend it.

Last time, I had a vague idea, but here I have something more solid:
Don't let things have more of our love, time, imagination than God does.
Actively seek to give God our attention, love and time, and this includes putting other people before ourselves.

We can't do one without the other. God doesn't want to share us, and he doesn't want to be our last resort.

Friday, 12 October 2012

What are we waiting for?

When I signed back into my Blog, after not looking at it for a number of months, I found this half written post. So, this morning, I decided to finish and post it.

I'm not even sure how old it is.....

I was meditating on the prodigal son story this morning
specifically what the father says to the older son
"My Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours'
I was struck about how the Father would have given the older Son a big party whenever he had asked, but he never asked.
The brother was working hard trying to earn his fathers love and 'generosity'
but he already had those things. The whole time.
He's slogging his guts out trying so hard, and he'll never make it because he already has it.

Why do we do that? (I don't think it's just me)

Work hard, and heap up expectation on ourselves of what I need to do, how well I need to do it, how I need to live, what My life should look like so that the Father will love me and be generous. 

Generous with the inheritance

Either working till I've earned it, or waiting until it becomes mine.

The brother had access to the wealth of the Father, but he never accessed it. The Father waited for his Son to take, and use it, but he never did.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

The riches of God are already ours. We don't have to wait for our inheritance. God says 'You are always with me, and all I have is yours' And we certainly don't have to earn it. Are not able to even!! The younger Son most certainly didn't earn it! But he got it.

If we're waiting until we're dead before we enjoy all that God has for us while we're here, then we've kinda missed the point.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A Cry for Help

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians5:16 NIV)

What does this mean?? To be honest, I don't know. 

But I have been thinking about it, and what I'm thinking is this. 'Walking by the Spirit' does not mean suddenly asking Holy Spirit for help every time you feel tempted to do something you're not supposed to do.

There are two reasons I think this:

1. Maybe the thing you think you shouldn't be doing really isn't a big deal. Don't misunderstand me here. I'm not saying we should do whatever we like, just that sometimes we think we shouldn't do something, and expend a lot of time and effort and prayer trying not to do it, and in reality God had more pressing things on his mind. Please don't assume something is 'wrong' just because people tell you it is, or because you enjoy it. People are sometimes wrong. When Romans 12 says 'Dont become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit in to it without thinking' it's not just talking about your workplace/school or the local pub. It also means the church.
Also... Enjoying yourself is allowed. God delights in our Joy.

2. Running on with life, not giving God a thought, getting on with whatever and then suddenly running to him for help with one thing does not sound like 'Walking by the Spirit'. Walking is a long, slow activity. Not a sudden, and brief sprint. Sounds to me like 'Walking by the Spirit' is something that should take up more of my life than the occasional panicked cry for help.

But what does THAT look like? Well... I don't know.

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. (Galatians 5:16 MSG)

Apparently it has something to do with our motivation and not being selfish. Hmmmmm.....