2014 -Simplicity of Heart

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‘One moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.’– Rainer Maria Rilke

As I look back on the year 2013 I see a year filled with opportunity, uncertainty, pain, hard lessons, confusion, misunderstanding, feeling misunderstood and towards the end- being totally blindsided by love.

In the economy of God, a wounded heart coupled with pain and confusion can be swiftly transformed into a heart learning to embrace and enjoy love again. God is simply good to us. He never has an ‘off’ day, never misunderstands our hearts but knows the deep motivations and desires that drive us.

Simplicity is something I plan to focus on this year. I refuse to complicate following Jesus anymore. It is either true that if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord then we are saved… or it isn’t. It is either true that the work of God is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ… or it isn’t. God’s written word and the assurance of His Spirit remind me continually that this is indeed true.

If this is truth, then I want to live according to the simplicity of this Gospel. To not create complexities where there are none, to avoid putting up unnecessary barriers and hoops to jump through for those who would seek to know the living God.

‘But alas for you, you scribes and Pharisees, play actors that you are! You lock the doors of the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces; you will not go in yourselves neither will you allow those at the door to go inside…’– (Matthew 23 v 13)

I believe God loves simplicity, after all, He chooses to reveal His greatest mysteries to the simple over the ones who consider themselves wise (Matthew 11 v 25-26).

My goal this year is to keep my life simple, without unfounded restriction or limitation, without falsehood or show. I desire to love God and others with a simplicity that puts others at ease, makes them feel valued and seen. Cooking meals, showing hospitality, remembering birthdays, remembering to send cards…

Making that phone call to see how friends are, preferring to listen rather than rushing to speak my mind. Honouring God through creativity, building relationships, spending time with the one I love just because…

As God’s eyes roam to and fro about the Earth I don’t want to be found judging others by my own religious standards, or declaring my own criteria for those who are pleasing to God and those who are not. God forbid.

To take a lesson from light; we don’t need to fight the darkness we just shine the light and darkness flees.

I want to be found simply enjoying Jesus; admiring and imitating Him and not anyone else.

I want to be found using the gifts He has given me; doing what I can to spread the fragrance of life which leads to life and extending His kingdom.

I want to be found reading His word and believing it.

Living simply is not a matter of disengaging our brains. It is not a matter of limiting our knowledge or settling into mediocrity. It is a conscious focusing of our minds on what really matters in the grand scheme of life, on what really matters to God.

Living simply for me means not bowing to the expectations of others, resisting the need to please people and checking out my heart with God on a regular basis. We can check our hearts with God without fear as He understands us completely and created us just how He wanted us- He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

All the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qUOHjnDIFs

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It’s Not Over

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“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

Listen to God. Listen to the hope hidden in every passage of scripture, breathed in to the inspiration of His word. It’s not over until it’s over.

Until then, there is always hope.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, our Father wants to heal our hearts. The hope that is placed within us from Him will be fulfilled. We can be sure of Him if there ever was anything or anyone to be sure of.

‘He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.’- Psalm 147 v 3- 5

Our God understands the hopes beneath the surface of our lives, the hopes we harbour when all seems lost. He is astutely aware of the hope that won’t relent in the face of lost family members, sons, daughters, husbands and wives.

Hope is no longer hope when it is realised.

‘But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?’- Romans 8 v 24

Hope is not a destination but the beginning and middle part of this journey called faith. Hope transforms itself when it is fulfilled, when the promise is established.

Hope is defined as ‘to cherish a desire with anticipation’, and ‘to desire with expectation of obtainment’. We can see here that hope by definition is something to be cherished not wrestled with. It is the prerequisite to desire realised, if we honour hope itself, we may find our journey towards fulfilment is much swifter…

I am hoping for many things in my life right now, some significantly big things, some less so, but all are important to me. I am learning slowly to embrace hope, to see it as something ‘hopeful’ in and of itself and not a burden.

The greatness of hope is it leads us back to Jesus. He is the only one who can fulfil our hope in this life and the next.

And that, I believe, can only be a good thing.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

 

Monday Prayers

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Father God, we ask that You would remind us of the ways of Your kingdom.

That we would listen to You.

Remembering to love our enemies and do good to those that hate us.

To actively and purposefully bless those who would curse us.

May we commit to speak well of those who have hurt us.

Enable us to respond to people from a place of love.

Help us to remain secure in You.

Knowing that we are called to do unto others as we would have them do to us.

This is what makes us stand out; this is how we become salt and light.

 Not just loving those that love us, or doing good to those who do good to us.

May our desire be to enlarge our circles of love.

To let those that are different to us enter in.

May we give generously without looking to receive anything back from those we have given to.

For we trust that our reward comes straight from Your hand.

Thank-you Lord that we can be merciful.

 Because we are Your children, You are our Father…and You are merciful.

In the name of Jesus (Messiah), Amen.

 

Luke 6 v 27- 36