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

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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?

What is love?

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By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I Jn 3:16

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” 1 Jn 3:18-20

 

God sees through our heart, which on occasions is given to waver. On our part, words and intentions are always to be accompanied by actions, and embodying what we say and mean, in real life (truth=aletheia in Greek, synonymous with reality)

It may seem that vs 21-22 indicate a measure of legalism in keeping all the commandments in order to be granted the right to ask and receive from God, but v23 lays down the commandment expected of us:

 

And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” 1 Jn 3:23

 

So what is love? It’s not just about feelings, or words, but needs us to get down and dirty, living our love out by actions and above all, believing we were the recipients of a love far greater and more forgiving and far-reaching than we could ever comprehend.

 

 

Fellowship

Listened to a message on Community, addressing the topic of Loneliness yesterday.

1 John was the passage quoted and studied.

‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us- that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.’

V 1-4

The themes of these verses seem to involve all our senses (sight, touch) and involves communication (bearing witness, declaring to others) between God the Father, Jesus the Son (and the Spirit) and the community to which John was writing to (not defined clearly).

The purpose was to reinforce that bond of fellowship, between John and this community, and in a larger sense, with God the Father and Jesus. The reason being that the community’s joy (in Greek, chara – joy because of grace) would be complete (pepleromene in Greek – filled to individual capacity) as a result.

The letter starts off by reminding this unnamed community (and by extension, us) that Jesus, the living Word, existed before time and thereby implying that God was desiring fellowship with us way before we had any inkling He existed.

This is interesting because often “a sense of community” is often defined by how I feel, or what support/role I get/perform in a larger group. Which can also explain my feelings about loneliness and lack of community – making it about myself is one sure-fire way of letting myself down!

 

Such love

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A compact ball composed of a swirling mass of dirty colours, pulsating, threatening to explode. Malignant in nature, raw and exposed. Nothing tidy about it at all. Fear, anger, regret, shame, disgust, envy, pride, they’re all in there somewhere, contained in that ball Inside Out-style. It feels warm to touch in my hand, like a kettle about to boil over.

Not for the first time, I’m self conscious as I approach the throne. Not even thinking about anyone else in the room looking at my hesitant steps forward. Because once I’ve looked at Him, nothing else commands my attention. It’s everything I’m not. He’s everything I’m not. Radiant, resplendent, regal, white and with a light that’s not quite painfully bright but seems to lay my soul bare. I know I can’t hide anything away.

So I continue my walk towards Him, painfully aware of the pulsating ball in my hands, of my clothes, once my best suit now torn and stained – stains that I can’t seem to get off easily.

Words echo through my mind. Grace. Faith. I’m not afraid. Nor condemned. I know where I stand with Him. I just wish I had something better to give, to show for myself. Even though I know he won’t ever be disappointed in me, I’m disappointed in me. But I want rest.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8-9

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

I reach the throne. Looking up, I try to meet God’s gaze and suddenly we’re alone. At the last moment, I feel like taking back the swirling mass in my hands, and being anywhere but here. But I stick out my hand and give the ball over to Him.

He takes it in His hands – I want to tell Him not to look, not to examine it, to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Not bearing to look, I close my eyes. I feel a hand on my shoulder. “My son.”

“Never doubt the extent of my love for you. I created you and know you through and through and am not finished with you yet. There will be battles and victories, joy and sorrow but remember this: you are my son, and I love my children.”

Opening my eyes I see a ball of gentle blue and gold in His hands, and looking down, notice the stains and tears in my clothes are gone, in fact, I wonder if they were ever there before.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:37-39)

Catchphrases

We’ve all heard them, they’re catchy and roll off the tongue easily.  

They’re the basis of marketing campaigns and some contain wisdom only appreciated in the context of the phrase and the manner of which it was delivered.

But

On words to be ‘written on my heart’, I hope never to find a meme, a catchphrase, a flavor-of-the month quote replacing the words of my Creator, Father, Saviour and Friend.  

Off on an adventure

Recently revisited my outlook on things and priorities in life in general. To me, life for the past 2 years has been in a bit of a rut of going back and forth, always intending to move forward and with the best intentions, regressing to the past often and taking manageable steps where I can

BUT

What happened to the life of an adventurer, seeking the divine purpose and calling while living out a life wholly surrendered to the One who gave His life for mine?

What became of the dreamer who dreamt about a career in medical missions, serving the poor in far-flung countries, combining both medical and surgical skills with a creativity learnt over years of being immersed in a new culture and people group?

What happened to the person who had the words spoken over him intimating that he would be the conduit for the gospel truth to reach an unreachable situation/place while being ‘undercover for God’?

Where is the truth of the words of Joshua 2:5-6 in my life (‘No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.“)?

Lord, fall afresh on me as I seek to find more of You and bring Your truth and reality where I am.

 

 

The right season

It’s not the right season…

Going through a season of…

Loving the season I’m in…

Jer 29:4-7

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peave and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

My immediate thoughts after reading this: One would’ve thought that the plan God would’ve had would be to bring His people out of exile and back into their promised land ASAP. If I was a resident of Jerusalem taken into exile, I’d be praying and expecting a miracle (Walls of Jericho v2.0) and the very last thing I’d expect is God telling me to put down roots where I was.

Planting gardens, getting married, having kids and worrying about daycare and increasing the local economy, all these are things people do to settle down! Surely that’s not the right season to do this! Is God out of His mind? Isn’t He supposed to….And that’s where I place God within my box.

My box that says I’m not in the right place, season or time to do what God is wanting of me. My box that says I have a right to feel and act and say things a certain way, because of how OTHERS have treated me or how CIRCUMSTANCES have changed, or how THINGS have happened. My box that leaves no room for change until and unless God acts in a way I EXPECT/PREDICT.

Jer 29:8-9

Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

I bet those guys were trying to rile up the Jerusalemites in exile, trying to incite rebellion (good thing Rogue One wasn’t released back then!) and generally getting the people up in arms about returning at once to Jerusalem. Popular opinion would’ve been with them, and “of course, God’s promise was that we would inherit the promised land, so we won’t be here long!” How easily I can grab on to external voices/circumstances that seem to point me to the direction I expect!

Jer 29:10-11

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For i know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,  “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jer 29:12

“Then you will call on me and come an pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

Jer 29:13

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jer 29:14

“I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

It’s almost as if God is telling the people in exile to seek Him above all else, and that they will find Him and in doing so, find themselves back in their homeland.  Funny, that.

Seasons are fine, they happen to everyone. But let’s not put them above the Word and will of God and resign ourselves and block our ears and curb our seeking of Him above all else while using “seasons” as an excuse.

Ok time to get married and buy a house!

 

PS: 1 post a week catchup completed!

I’m not sure what i should be feeling

A journey that began in 2008 and ended yesterday, 8 years later is not one that’s easily captured by a few sentences.  

I’ve been asked a fair few times what is like to work as long as we do, to attain the level of being considered a specialist.  

While the answers I’ve given vary from time to time, I think the underlying theme is that we feel the outcome will be worth the long over-worked hours scurrying around ordering tests, drawing blood and figuring or why our patients aren’t getting better any faster.  That all the effort pays off somehow and that at the culmination of our training, a figurative and literal sigh of both relief and gratefulness is heard, fully justifying all the hard yards. 

And the bit that’s ‘worth it’? I’m sure the monetary upgrade (for most) is a nice perk, as will the more flexible working hours and the advantages of being more involved in the upper echelons, being able to determine how things are run, rather than being told what to do. But if we wanted to get rich quick there are far easier ways, likewise if we had yearned for any of the above.  I suspect that in those of us who did the time, there was a moment somewhere in those 8 years where we realised what we’re doing gives us joy.  Maybe not all the time (though certainly there are those around us fortunate enough to have that), but enough to keep us trudging on.  

And so here I am, at the proverbial pot of gold, leaving the life of a registrar behind.  There’s a sense of freedom which is both scary and exciting. And with everything that’s going on (or not, as the case is) in life at the moment, it’s a nice feeling to have.