Monthly Archives: February 2015

Confrontation….

Confronting another believer in the wrong spirit will always harden that person’s heart against being taught, corrected, inspired and developed – not only by you, but also by others who would have had so much to give them.

If you confront someone without the absolute best of motives, and on the basis of an already existing real, loving relationship, and with that person’s best interests at heart – not your own interests, but theirs – then you will simply alienate them. You will harden their heart to God’s work in their heart.

For decades, dear hearts all across the Church have been reduced to bleeding piles of wreckage by other people – and especially by leadership – who have got it wrong in this regard.

So, how to get it right? Well, before you decide to ‘confront’ someone, you need to examine your own motives.

Are you doing this out of a sense of your own hurt or perceived rejection? Is it because your dearly-held doctrines and sacred cows are being threatened? Is it because you don’t understand the other person’s point of view? Perhaps things might not have gone exactly as you expected and you’re outside your comfort zone? Have you assumed that the other person is doing the things you don’t like out of malice, full knowledge and intention? Are you projecting your own problems onto that person and making them a scapegoat? Do you actually know that person, love them and care about outcomes for them?

For you to be able to confront someone about a perceived problem, you need to be clear on all these points first. And ask yourself these two questions: Is it really them that’s the problem? And do you actually have the right – and indeed their permission – to say anything at all?

Most importantly, have you examined your own heart and forgiven that person before you so much as think about talking to them?

Remember that God develops and corrects people from the starting point of love and forgiveness. He only corrects people whom He has already forgiven. To harbour any other attitude will only be destructive. Remember that God is more interested in relationship than He is in people being right all the time. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13). That way lies the blessing.

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Until Then…..

When I posted my previous comment, a friend very soon sent me the link to a great song on YouTube. The lyrics of the song help to put life into a Heavenly perspective!

My heart can see, when I pause to remember
That a heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along the trail that’s winding always upward,
This troubled world is not my final home.

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

The things of earth will dim and lose their value
If we recall they’re just borrowed for awhile;
And the things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
Remember, there, will only bring a smile.

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face the One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand and leads me thro’ the promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be!

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day
Until the day
Until the day God calls me home

What a day that will be
When He calls me home!

 

Thanks to Carol for sharing the video!

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Leaning and Laughing!

I firmly believe that when we get to Heaven, we shall spend lots of time leaning on each other and laughing about the things we used to disagree about.

“You remember we used to think that? How wrong were we?! And how foolish we were to argue about it!”

You see, in Heaven we will know the way that God really thinks; what He really feels about certain (what we call) ‘issues’, which in actual fact we’ll see He’s not (and never was) too bothered about – and certainly not as bothered about as we like to think He is.

Revelation 15:3 has this picture of Heaven where the people are singing:

“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways, O King of the Saints”.

Although in some ways (because Heaven is not bound by time), this song is being sung right now; as far as we perceive it, it is being sung in the future when all the outworkings of God’s plans for our earthly lives will have come to their conclusion.

And those saints (that is, believers) have a Heavenly perspective. They can look at the whole sweep of time and history in its entirety, and when they see that, they sing that song. And notice how they *still* say that God’s ways are just – they are full of justice – and true – they are full of truth. Those people can see that actually despite what they thought during their earthly lives, God was actually in charge all along and was working His purpose out. Through good things and bad; through happiness and also through suffering. They can see the whole story; they have read the ending and it is a happy one, and they praise God for being the ultra-clever dude who has worked it all out for them.

And in that crowd of saints, I will be leaning on people with whom I have had doctrinal, theological and ideological differences, so that we can laugh together. Because then we will see just how foolish and petty our differences really were. Things that seemed so important to us ‘back then’ (i.e. right now!) will seem insignificant in the light of the Glory of God and in the actual, visible, historical outworking of His plans.

On Earth, our culture tends to emphasise differences. Black, white, gay, straight, tall, short….whereas the culture of Heaven emphasises unity and commonality. ‘A great multitude….from every tribe and nation’, the Bible says, stands before the Throne of God (Revelation 7:9). This speaks to me that the differences will be irrelevant, except as a means to celebrate God’s creativity!

“But”, some may ask, “How can you laugh about those ‘differences’ when they actually caused so much suffering and pain?” That’s a good question. And aside from the point that by then we will know what the purpose of all the suffering was, there is another point, and it’s this.

Revelation 7:17 says that “….God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”. That means to me that everything – yes, everything – that has ever hurt, upset, damaged, crippled you, will be made to be as if it had never happened. All the hurt, all the suffering, will be healed. We will remember things, sure, but the pain will be gone. There will be no more suffering, no more crying (Revelation 21:4); at least not tears of sorrow. Every time you have lost a loved one – human or animal – every hurt you ever had: emotional, physical, spiritual – everything will be made right and the pain will be gone.

So that means that when we lean on each other to laugh, we will be aware that although we may have hurt each other by our attitudes, the pain will not last into Heaven and spoil it. It will by then appear to be petty and indeed somewhat funny. By the Grace of God, it will.

So, those with whom I do not always agree – I look forward to laughing with you!

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Feeling weak?

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench” (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20)

This means that God is gentle with those who need Him to be gentle with them. God is good, all the time! Hope indeed for the brokenhearted!

And for those trying their hardest to win God’s favour by trying to obey ‘rules’; relax!

Because, Matthew 11:28 (Message) says this: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG translation)

God is accessible to anyone who wants Him. Just ask Him to talk to you!

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Woe to the Teachers of the Law!

It’s always puzzled me why people see it as their duty to try to correct anyone else. No matter how many Scriptures they throw at me about correction and discipline, still the one that stands out the most is that ‘I am confident of this very thing: that He who began the good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ’ (Phil 1:6). *He* will perform it, not someone else.

And for the Scripture Romans 14:4 – ‘Who are you to condemn someone else’s servant?’ Sure, in a church there needs to be accountability, but this must always be balanced with a) mercy and b) remembering that to our Master we stand and fall, not to other humans.

Matthew 23:13 – “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,
because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in”

Matthew 23:23 – Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former”

And for me the clincher is Luke 11:52 – “Woe to you, experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

Woe to the experts in the Law. Those who insist on following the Law have taken away the key to knowledge. Isn’t that simply brilliant? This is the problem right here. You shut off the Kingdom of heaven from people by insisting on behaviour, on compliance, rather than grace. The Yeast of the Pharisees at work again!

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