Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Big Stones - Bigger God

Second year at university done; it's been exciting and eventful but one of my big regrets was not spending enough time with my Christian Union brothers and sisters! During the little time I did spend with them, one of my friends engraved a question in me that still echoes in my head during those reflective walks in the park, or those times when my car stalls somewhere and I have a queue of angry honkers yelling abuse at me, or when a particularly nasty set of questions appear on an exam paper...life sometimes hurls us into these dodgy situations, or worse. It is easy to wonder where God is in all of this but,

Do we even know how big God is?

When I struggle with the mundane, I wonder why the God of the universe should be troubled by it. When I face an impossibility, I wonder why God would want to show grace and mercy to miraculously intervene in the life of a flawed being. I'd like to think that my faith is on point...but I know that even though I serve the God of the impossible, logic and reason cloud my mind with doubts and unbelief. God put my doubts to rest recently as I meditated on John 11, where Jesus raises Lazarus to life.

In John 11:16 - I remember shaking my head in dismay at Thomas' profession of unbelief. He says, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" Despite seeing for himself what Jesus can do and Jesus saying, "this illness will not end in death" - how could he still doubt? As I told myself I would have put Thomas right if I were there, I realised that I too, even after I've tasted His goodness and faithfulness, doubt God and His word.

As we continue reading the passage, we see that Martha follows in Thomas' footsteps. Jesus tells her, "Your brother will rise again" - but she understood Him to be speaking of eternity. We think we know God. We think we know His word. We think we know His promises.
How often do we doubt or misinterpret His promises?
We don't fully believe Him. If we did, the hope we would have would outweigh the worry!

Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" (v.40)

Our limited understanding of His word, our logic, reason, our set ideas of how we think he is going to work, wipe out the possibility of miracles. Hence Jesus asks us to,

"Take that stone away!"

...'that stone' could be anything that distorts our view of God, anything that blocks our child-like faith, anything that causes us to question the possibility of a miracle - it is anything that stands between us and God being glorified.
Let's face it, we all have preconceived ideas of what/how/when God is going to act. Unless we take those stones away, we won't experience the miracle God has in store, neither will we appreciate it.  It was the Pharisees' preconceived notions of who the Messiah was and what He would accomplish, that stopped them appreciating and experiencing the greatest miracle known to mankind! Let's not make the same mistake.
Let us be expectant, full of faith, trusting in His divine will, because He who promised is faithful. We might face big problems with minds clouded by big stones, but we can rest assured that we serve a bigger God. That makes all the difference!

Friday, 5 June 2015

THAT IS MINE!

That's my plate, and my cereal bowl, my favourite pens, my top three mugs, my duvet, my pillow, my soft toys, my spoon, fork, knife, juice, tea-bags, paper, cream, banana...and that's MY mum!
Okay...I might be a tad possessive!

 
Being the only child, I am not used to sharing my personal belongings. Growing up, there's always been a Cindy's this or a Cindy's that! I value some of my possessions; it could be as mundane as a plate, but to me it is special...I tend not to share these, much, unless I am convinced that the person I give it to will love and treasure it just as much as I do. If I doubt a person's attitude towards any of my treasured things, I will take all measures to avoid sharing it.

This rather unhealthy aspect of my character has been something God's been nudging me to address over the past month. While it is not bad to value your possessions, obsessing over them so much so that you can't even share it, isn't very Christ-like.

Possessiveness enslaves me by robbing my peace and ability to love

I find myself worrying about how to make sure X or Y doesn't take my things. Even if I end up sharing it, I find myself worrying about the wellbeing of that object - it's almost as if I personify these inanimate objects.

Jesus called me to love others, 'as myself' - by hiding my things, or steering clear of having to share something, I am certainly not doing that! My actions show no evidence of love for God or that He is No.1 in my life. My actions reveal nothing but a love for self!

When there are people feeling unloved, my priority ought to be to go out of my way to show them love.
When there are people dismissing the love of God, my priority ought to be to reveal the transformation His love can cause.

Where is that sacrificial love that drove Jesus to the cross?
Without sacrifice, love is just a word. Without love, my profession of faith is just an empty statement.

"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other" - Luke 16

"If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" - Matthew 19

These words from Jesus opened my eyes...

As a Christian, my heart's desire is to become more like my Saviour with each passing day. That requires sacrifice. Sacrifice to self and the desires, possessions and longings that go with it. I don't want to be like the rich young man who held on to his possessions and missed out on the opportunity to experience life to the full with Jesus.

I am struggling with this, even today I shed tears for having to share my favourite soft toy with a little boy who came home (yes I am supposed to be an adult but don't worry, I cried in my room!) I am writing this so that as I read over it, these truths the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of, will sink in to change my attitude towards my things, and ultimately, towards others.

If we're in the same boat, I hope this encourages you to die to self and let God liberate you to love those around you.