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

Knowledge of the Holy

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‘ ..Then they took him (Paul) and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas)’- Acts 17.

Things have not changed. Societies are still drawn to the latest theories, and people continue to search for knowledge and insight.

I have a passion for learning. When a subject intrigues me I want to delve into every aspect of it. I read about, research and contemplate the subject until I reach a place of understanding or comprehension.

But sometimes that desire to know can lead me astray and distract me. I can become confused by the array of information available and struggle to make sense of it all.  I often return to the original idea or thought about a subject, eager for simplicity and clarity.

Faith enhances the intellect, but the intellect does not necessarily enhance faith.

We must be careful not to accumulate knowledge while losing sight of its purpose. I admire the wisdom of those that can articulate  complex truths in the most simplistic of terms. Jesus kept it simple and still managed to amaze the crowds.

‘..Always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth’- 2 Timothy 3 v 7

There are many who are frustrated and living in confusion as they search for knowledge…but never quite arrive at knowledge of the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

The world doesn’t need to hear a deeper philosophy.

My prayer for myself, the lost and those seeking truth is that we would;

“Hear and comprehend,

See and perceive,

Understand with our hearts,

Be always learning, but also able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

As people search for knowledge they will  ask us why we believe what we believe, why we have the faith that we do. Let’s prepare ourselves to give an answer to those who wonder about the hope we have in Christ.

Let’s explain with knowledge about our faith, but let’s do it with simplicity of heart.

Where has your search for knowledge taken you?