Stretching out and being filled

‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures.

makes me to lie down = rabats (Hebrew) = stretch oneself out, lie stretched out

Brings to mind the extreme and luxurious state of rest when one is able to stretch and yawn, in the dream-like state between sleep and awakefulness, knowing there is no need to rush because there is nothing planned

‘He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul.’

restores = shub (Hebrew) = returns, brings back, recompensed, recovered,

soul = nephesh (Hebrew) = a living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion

God returns to us our desires, passion and literally brings us back to life.

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Leadership P1

‘Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among hte villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm.’ Neh 6:1-2

‘So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” But the sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.’ Neh 6:3-5

When we embark on a project, there may be attempts to derail it by well-sounding intentions. Sometimes very persistent intentions.

‘In it was written: It is reported among he nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king.’ Neh 6:6

‘Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.” Neh 6:8

Occasionally false rumours about us will be nosed about, with the intention of slowing us down and weakening our resolve. However we have the liberty to call them out for what they are and move on.

‘For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Neh 6:9

We constantly remind ourselves who is in control, and seek refuge and sustenance from Him. We draw our approval from Him, not necessarily from man.

‘Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetable, who was a secret informer; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.” Neh 6:10

And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!”Neh 6:11

At yet other times, we may be called to compromise on God’s standards for seemingly reasonable reasons. We need to see them for what they truly are, and stand our ground. God grants us insight into these situations so it’s not really taking a risk (though it may seem so at the time).

‘Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.’ Neh 6:12

When we persist despite these challenges, there will be talk of a different sort. And no wonder – who ever heard of a wall being built in 52 days! (most houses take way longer to even renovate!)

‘So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.’ Neh 6:15-16

Through no formal preaching of intention, others will see past our worldly efforts, and acknowledge the presence of a higher purpose and being in what we do.

 

We are certain of our calling

We seek God and gain insight from Him when others seek to waylay our efforts

We call things out for what they are

We do not compromise on God’s standards and truth

Others will see God working through us

Jesus’ ministry of bringing honour

“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.” John 5:1-4

“Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” John 5:5-6

Jesus always offers a choice, even when to us, the choice sounds ridiculous (who wouldn’t want to be healed?) – but to this man, the question was particularly meaningful, as he had been unable, or not willing, to be the first into the pool for 38 years.

Desire” – thelo in Greek – wanting what is best because someone is willing and ready to act, often used of the Lord extending his best offer to the believer – wanting to birth His persuasion (faith) in them which empowers

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bend and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. John 5:8-9

Jesus could’ve brought him to the pool to be healed in that way. However I think Jesus demonstrated here that He has the power to heal outside of existing agencies and methods. And that He encourages us with showing us all the ways people can be healed, and not follow past methods, specifically that it is He who heals, not the Method who heals.

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” John 5:14

Notice that Jesus didn’t mention the sin (of which he was fully aware) present in the man’s life at any point during the actual healing process. The healing was in and of itself an action conveying love, and also (being an action depending on the man’s choices), an act of decision-making and an expression of faith by the man (a deeper version of “Will you trust Me?”)

But that Jesus returned to him in order to make it clear to him the reason why he was sick for such a long time, and to encourage his future direction. This echoes Zachaeus’s story, where Jesus showed him honour by lunching at his house, with the result that Zach declared his response being to give back to those he had robbed.

“The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.” John 5:15

True transformation and faith impartation leads to a witnessing of that faith to others

 

So sin has far-reaching consequences

Sometimes we don’t want to be saved from an obvious fate

Jesus offers us the choice – do we desire, not just to be made physically well, but to grasp His persuasion of who He has created us to be?

We continue to walk with Him, showing Him honour, who honoured us first

And this becomes a natural outflow of witnessing to others.

An ongoing look at the fruit of the Spirit (and gifts)

18/9/17

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

Eph 5:8-10

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Eph 5:11

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Eph 5:14

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Eph 5:15-17

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 5:18-20

In which I infer that:

  • all the fruit of the Spirit is seen in the outworking of:
    • goodness (agathosune in Greek – intrinsic goodness especially as a personal quality with stress on the kindly rather than the righteous)
    • righteousness (dikaiosune – justness, of which God is the source, a divine righteousness)
    • truth (aletheia – not just spoken truth, but truth of idea, reality, sincerity and in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man)
  • that we should expose the darkness (skotous – either in physical or moral form)
  • that the fruit of the Spirit is not self-generated but given by God
  • that wisdom (sophoi – wise in an expert, skilled, learned, cultivated and clever sense) is a fruit
  • and we are to utilise said wisdom in redeeming the times (eksagorazo – take full advantage of, making the most of the present and recognizing its future gain, to ransom or rescue from loss)

A Word for our time

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. Gal 5:6

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Gal 5:13-16

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:18

Now the words of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5:19-21

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Gal 5:22

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Gal 5:26

 

In an age where opposing idealogies drive people to commit mass murder, when countries bandy threats of nuclear war, when a nation stands divided on a question of marriage and when rape, human trafficking and youth crime and violence are rampant, God’s word through Paul remains a true beacon.

 

Jesus, thank You for my freedom and for ushering in all the fruit that Your Spirit brings. Help me to live a life in a way that radiates Your love to those around me, by Your Spirit in me.

God-breathed

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:19-21

When I prepare a bible study, or a word to share, it often seems to be from a place of wanting to help others, or to accomplish a specific purpose which I feel God has birthed. There is always the tendency to insert a personal agenda into the message, however. This tendency seems to be stronger when the word has profoundly made me think, or has (I hesitate to use the term) impacted my life in some way. Coming from that position, I usually subconsciously (or consciously) feel that it SHOULD impact others as well, and craft a message along those lines.

2 Peter seems to draw out these thoughts, first of all noting that no ‘prophecy of scripture’ is of any private interpretation.

Prophecy: prophetieia in Greek: the gift of communicating and enforcing revealed truth

Private: idios in Greek: peculiar to the individual (stronger than the simple possessive pronoun ‘own’

Meaning, (as I take it), that while Scripture CAN be peculiar to the individual, and CAN have a personal impact upon one’s life, the revealing of truth within scripture top others should never be fully based on one’s private (or idios) revelation for oneself. Where then?

Moved: phero in Greek: to carry along, being brought

By: hupo in Greek: under, often meaning ‘under authority’ of someone working directly as a subordinate

This revelation of truth from the Scripture, then, is being carried along by the Spirit, and is from, and of God. This of course can be personal, and it may indeed be that a personal truth revealed to an individual may be similar to a truth that is for a group of people, but the distinction is clear: not to bring a personally-revealed truth and directly apply it to others without confirming if indeed that was God’s truth for them

Welcome to my crib!

Come and see.

The invite to the greatest relationship, and adventure of our lives. The ticket to Everest, or the Marianas Trench, or exploring Mars (but way better, and safer!) was being figuratively waved.

Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”

They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are you staying?”

He said to them, “Come and see.”

They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

John 1:35-39

One of the first invitations Jesus gave during his ministry was in response to a question about where He was staying. And he responded by giving them a house tour! But notice Jesus preceded the question by asking one of his own: “What do you seek?”

We often think we know what people should be looking for, or want, or seek. And we then come up with nice answers and solutions to these perceived questions. And maybe get offended when we find ourselves the recipient of a polite refusal. Maybe we should be asking that simple question first. “What are you looking for?”

The next day, Philip was called by Jesus, and he had heard first-hand about Jesus via Simon Peter and Andrew. Philip got so excited he got another friend Nathanael to tell him about this Jesus character (and about how cool his house was, presumably). Interestingly, Philip also used the phrase, “Come and see.”

See‘ or horao in Greek: perceive, attend to, to see with the mind

So not just an invite to meet Jesus, but to experience the person of Jesus.

What am I doing in my spheres to extend that invitation to others?

Dreaming bigger

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Eph 3:20-21

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matt 17:20

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Rom 8:31

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. Jer 32:17

 

Lighting

good-lighting-pollution

It’s all about the positioning.

And the intentionality of the act of lighting. Of finding the oil, getting the base steady enough so it won’t topple over, finding the right amount of cover so that the a stray gust of wind won’t snuff it out, and positioning it so it’s of the maximum use to people.

Lighting a light takes planning and time, if you want to do it right, and not have to come back to it time and again to keep re-lighting and re-positioning.

When you light something in a particular position, you also accept that there’s somewhere where the light may not reach, but that’s ok. You’ve positioned the light so it will be effective where you feel it’s needed and so no need to worry about where it won’t be seen. In the big picture, there’ll be other lights on, so no one gets lost.

And the final effect? People find their way to where they are going, what they are looking for, and can see one another clearly, as well as themselves. Sometimes, they’ll realise what they are looking for isn’t that great after all, and start a new journey to look for something new. Other times, the light will point out dangers looming in their path for them to avoid. Or ensure that other people can find them to give them a helping hand. And we can choose to journey with these people.

When we light our lights well, we save lives.

 

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:14-16

The truth in Proverbs

“Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”Prov 20:5

“The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.” – Prov 20:7

 

In the position of discussing finance and mortgage, deciding on issues of giving as well as meeting new people and trying to grow deeper with others, the above speaks strongly.