Thursday, January 31, 2008
.... What makes the Kingdom come is heartfelt compassion: a way of tenderness that knows no frontiers, no labels, no compartmentalizing, and no sectarian divisions. Jesus, the human Face of God, invites us to deep reflection on the nature of true discipleship and the radical lifestyle of Abba's child.
(Brennan Manning - Abba's Child, 75-76)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Are you a leader or a follower? Do you like blazing new trails? Or are you more comfortable a well-defined path? Do you regard difficulties as challenges or as setbacks? Are you the kind of person who will keep pressing in to get what you’re after? How far will you go to realize your dreams?
A disciple is one whose dream is to be like Jesus.
Don’t confuse being a Christian with being a disciple. Every believer is a Christian but not every believer is a disciple. Disciples are believers who are committed to going deeper and deeper with the Lord—as deep as they can go. Most believers are content just to be saved. They’re just happy to have their ticket to heaven. The demands of the deeper life in Christ don’t really attract them.
And with good reason: those demands are high. In Luke 14:25-33 Jesus sets out the demands of discipleship in such terms as bearing a cross, counting the cost and forsaking all. Not for the faint of heart!
The deeper things of the Spirit are reserved for those who are willing and determined to press in and claim them—to plunge headlong into the wellspring of the very heart of God!
Paul was this kind of person. He was a trailblazer: “…I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation…” And he was willing to pay any price to touch the heart of Christ: “…I…count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” He understood that this would require single-minded determination: “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
You don’t have to be a trailblazer to be a disciple. You don’t have to be a natural leader. All you need is an abandoned love for Jesus and a heart that yearns to be like Him. It’s what Jesus calls hungering and thirsting for righteousness—and He promises satisfaction.
(Tommy Tenney - Finding Favour With The King)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
"What is written in the Law?.... How do you read it?"
He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'"
"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
(Luke 10:26-28, emphasis added)
The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart. When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled, or perverted, and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened.
(The Sacred Romance 8)
(The Ransomed Heart 21 - John Eldredge)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Over the last week, I have been going to bed at night and listening to Laura Woodley's cd 'In Love' as I drift off to sleep. The first song/prayer on that cd is called 'Mercy' and there is this one line that gets me every time. She sings:
"I've been forgiven of more than I could ever be angry for.
Instead of judgement, I choose mercy."
I love that line, especially the last part : Instead of Judgement, I choose Mercy.
That has just been going round and round in my head all week. I can't stop thinking about that line! What a beautiful thing to choose :)
Over the last week, I found myself in a situation that upset me, and my first instinct reaction in my heart was to judge, but as soon as I made that judgement in my heart, I knew I had to repent, and I had the opportunity to put into practise this very wonderful gift that I have received...Instead of Judgement, I choose Mercy.
My prayer is that one day, that will be the instinct reaction of my heart, to choose mercy and not judgement. May we all choose Mercy and clothe ourselves in Love - how our world would be a better place if we all did that. Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement!
Love Ash x
Colossians 3-17 (The Message)
So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.