There isn’t a greater healing possible than that of the human heart. Not a healing from angina, leaky valve problems, left ventricular hypertrophy or some other kind of disease, but healing from the unbelieving, human spirit condition of hard-heartedness, common to us all. (more…)
For several years I have been struggling to forgive a very serious series of incidents that have had a major impact on my heart and mind as well as Mairi’s. Detail is unnecessary. But, suffice to say, I have been wrestling with the cognitive wisdom of ‘knowing’ that forgiveness was needed, for my own sake, but not quite knowing how to get my heart there. (more…)
You get chatting to someone new at church at the end of a service. To you she seems perfectly fine. She is smiley, she is polite and articulate. She is breezy. Her name is ‘any person’. Church gathered is over and you go home and quickly forget about meeting her. (more…)
Over the last few weeks I’ve been studying the book of Hosea which I’ve likened to a world-class expedition up Mount Everest. As I’ve read and thought, it’s been as though the air has been getting thinner and basic, cognitive movement noticeably harder. (more…)
We all have back stories – recorded and unfolding narratives of the span of our life forensically written by the sum of our experiences: great highs, often greater lows, innumerable memories all woven together in the finest detail to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art, hanging as a priceless tapestry in the inner gallery of our heart.
We don’t always want the public to view our own piece hanging there and we don’t honour the pieces that we see of others every day.
Do we walk through these galleries we’re in every day paying cursory glances at the pieces on display? Or could we stop to really look at what we see?
A biblical perspective for back stories is a faith-primed hope of a better future – all because of Jesus: He promises to never leave us alone and in the fullness of time to make all things new.
The difficulty with back stories is that we even struggle to know and understand our own let alone those of others – they require attention, thought and counsel. But understanding and attending to our own will help with our understanding of others.
The thing is – because everyone has come from somewhere, is currently somewhere processing the past and dreaming of a future; and because they are in fact headed somewhere into an unknown place, we must treat each other with the love that John talks about in 1 John. (I won’t quote chapter and verse but how about picking up your Bible, reading 1 John and noting the correlation between our love for Christ and our love for each other?).
See what I mean?
My prayer for myself and for you is that we would draw the same boundary lines as Jesus draws: grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace [until it becomes annoying, ‘unfair’, even ridiculous] upon grace upon grace. You’ll need an eraser for sure; so will I:
We all know the feeling of being found outside of the boundary lines that others have drawn for us, (even in ink), essentially leaving us in relational exile where grace has run dry; but in the power of the Holy Spirit of God we can all be prayerful students of back story masterpieces and come to truly understand that each piece really does paint a million words.
We will all have been moved in the last 48 hours as memories from Nelson Mandela’s life have been aired across the world’s media. The impact of this man’s life is truly remarkable and it is encouraging to see such universal acclaim and respect for him as his life has been honoured. And great honour was due.
We all know that God likes it when we’re humble and He’s not very happy when we’re proud and arrogant. How is it then that we often struggle to take the last spot in the queue or the smallest bit of pizza from the Domino’s box? Why do we insist on giving ourselves the best shot instead of making room for God to do something far more glorious?
Living in Christian community can be very challenging. Getting on with people can be very challenging. Not taking offense is an on-going challenge. But the call from God is to ‘go low’.
I visited IHOP (see http://www.ihop.org) a couple of years ago and this is where I heard the phrase ‘getting low’. It means that whenever we are tempted to climb higher on the back of our own sense of ‘justice’ or ‘rightness’ or whatever it is that we think is the ‘way’, we need to forget that and place our own agendas down. Jesus said to consider the needs of each other….to prefer others to yourselves. And James talks about bearing with one another in gentleness (James 3: 17-18 MSG) as being a true sign of holiness and wisdom.
So, I am reminded again to ‘get low’, get on the floor, eat carpet, let go of offense and hurts, prefer others, love others, look to the interests of others…and when I see situations on the horizon to ‘get high’ for myself to instead resist and get down low.
Father, I ask you today for a greater anointing of humility on my life and for all who read this.