Thursday, 14 February 2013

Blessed are the insulted..

Ive wrestled with Matthew 5 a huge amount this past week.
The Bible says (Matt 5:11) “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you".
Ive wrought hard in my spirit to not just swallow it, like some candy coated pill, but to chew it. To taste it all. Its apparent bitterness and its goodness.
And I admit, its not the easiest to swallow. Somehow, finding myself setting up camp in this training field when I was hoping to avoid it, just doesnt make me want to jump for joy. Not in my flesh anyhow.

So I found myself reading over that verse tonight again, and chewing it through. "Blessed?".. did I read that right? Okay, so whats my blessing? .... Eternal reward.

I am going to be straight. Looking from earthly perspective at the insults that come our way, one is quite entitled to means of self justification, anger, resentment, bitterness, ill thought and revenge. Insults can undermine the very nature of who you are, and then they occupy all your energy in self preservation and self analysis. The thing is, that just doesnt look 'Blessed'. And I for one arent particularly lifted by the idea of waiting till Ive departed, till I am treated right and can see a reward that might come out of it. 

Its been my experience that insults and revilement have the tendency to cause me pain, not just emotional pain, but like a pain in the pit of my stomach, like Ive been punched in the guts, or stabbed in the chest. And the moment I feel that pain, I try to wrap myself up. I can hear the self preservation voices yelling "retreat retreat" and the self doubt voices saying "they might be right" and the condemnation voices whispering "you deserved it, you are nothing". 

Recognising it for what it is, is step one of the battle. Its a tactic of the enemy. A clever one, he uses believable people. Even people you respect and love. He delivers it in such a nice package, you take it, and you dont question that it smells sour.. I mean.. how could it be sour, when it comes from someone so dear? Discern its source. If it reeks of condemnation, confusion, hopelessness, accusation... its every bit likely, it hasnt come from the Lord. 

His Word says: 'My sheep know my voice'. I have tasted first hand, that I am never so close to God, as when the wolf is trying to attack me. I find myself running back to the Shepherds feet and hiding in Him, listening to His voice, so I can be soothed by the strong resonating hum of the truth of His Word.. ("Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me"). 

Truly, if the insults lead me closer to Jesus.. than yes, I am blessed! Blessed far beyond what I could know. What could be sweeter, than to be closer to Him?! xx

Ready to obey..

I have a dear wonderful friend who takes Amy for 2 mornings a week while I homeschool. Yesterday morning, I was in the midst of writing something up when God prompted me to pray for their safety. It wasn't fearful or fretting.. I just obeyed. When it came time to pick Amy up, they weren't home yet and running late. They had taken a wee bus ride that morning and their bus had sideswiped a van door, taking out the wing mirror. It wasn't a major, apart from the irate van driver whose language was less to be desired, even though at fault. Fear didn't even enter my heart. It was simply one of those "hmm, I wonder" moments.

I wonder what time I prayed.. I wonder what time it happened..
I wonder what God knew that I didnt..
I wonder that He cares enough to prompt me..
I wonder what promptings I havent listened to...

As a mum, its so easy to start the day with a running list of 'to do's'. To wake up and instantly consider "whats on the schedule for today". In my often sleep deprived state, I tend towards considering "have I enough within, to meet what today holds?". I havent ever concluded yes once, in fact, I arrive at the same answer every single morning "today Lord, I need You".

Schedules, routines and organization are important. In my homeschooling world, they keep life turning over. They enable me to keep some order to our lives. But there is no point in trying to achieve any measure of external order, any measure of external achievement, if my heart hasn't aligned itself first to the truth that today is a new day, and it belongs to Him. I dont just need Him to tag onto my plans, I need Him to fill my life. I need His Spirit to prompt me, to whisper to me "this way". I need His promptings "pray now".. and I need to be ready.

I notice that as soon as I have lost my inner peace, my external world seems chaotic, no matter how much I invest into order. My home might be perfectly clean, but the kids pick up my stress and fretting, and there is discord. Equally, my home can be chaos, but if my heart is aligned with Him, there is a sweet tune in our home that exists even in the noise and chaos.

Yesterday reminded me how much I need Him. How much I need to start each day asking Him "how can I live today for you?", to pray and seek His face, to be ready for the small promptings "this way",.. to be ready to obey.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

60 more days!

In 60days it will be our 10th Wedding Anniversary. Ive been so looking forward to celebrating it with Sam. Celebrating dreams come true, a richer love, knowing each other deeper,  4 beautiful children.. so many wonderful reasons to reflect with smiles upon the 'goodness that has followed us'. Weve ticked off many of our plan list together. There is a measure of fulfillment of "ahhh, this is as we hoped".
But there exists within me an excitment for a new chapter ahead.this year has also marked for me in many ways, a stirring, the anticipation of more. It wasnt that I expected more externally, yet within, I hoped and prayed for more. For more of Jesus, for a life lived more dependent on Him. For a joy that springs from something unshakeable. For a clarity in our vision. For a chapter in which I knew nothing of its contents, or its ending.
And God has heard my cry.
These past few months, my life has felt, well, sifted. Sometimes the things that have come up, have hurt to the core. Sometimes Ive physically ached as Ive wrestled it through. Ive laid awake many nights, talking through matters with my Maker. But there's just been this, well, hope. This unmistakable knowing that though my life is being harrowed, though the ground is being turned over, that out of this, a harvest can surely come.
Im undoubtedly nervous, but greater still, Im hopeful. Im expectant of Him who can turn water into wine, who knows my deepest desires, who fashions me fit.
Im expectant of a God who can take our ordinary family, warts and all, and mould us into something sharp and strong for His glory.
Ive started running and exercising this week. Just as my soul is in training, I want my body ready for whatever He has in mind. I want my life disciplined and fit for the purpose for which He wants it outpoured. Oh Lord, mark our anniversary, not by human affection, romance and tenderness (though all are lovely), mark it with a heavenly hope, a glorious taste of the eternal, a love for You that surpasses all.