I belong to the ONE

The Berlin wall, which divided the people of East and West Germany since 1961 came down in 1989. Shortly afterwards the band, U2, who had been going through their own disunity over the direction they were taking in trying new sounds, arrived in Berlin. They came to that new united city to try and experience their own new.

As they were writing and rehearsing a new song they ventured off into improvisation and created a powerful song called ONE.

Is it getting better?
Or do you feel the same?
Will it make it easier on you now?
You got someone to blame

You say, one love, one life
When it’s one need in the night
One love, we get to share it
Leaves you baby if you don’t care for it

 

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4 v4-6

 

  1. There is no division of class, race, inequality, language differences, there is no special privileges and promotions based on colour. There is just ONE body.

 

  1. There is no special generation who experienced something unique, no special place and no place where He cannot be. There is just ONE SPIRIT.

 

  1. There is no individual heaven, no VIP appearing of Christ and no private viewing or experience of eternity. There is just ONE HOPE.

 

  1. There is no Jewish Lord and Gentile Lord only the same; there are not several equal authorities and powers of which we choose to worship one, there is not a Jesus of Nazareth who we follow or not. There is just ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST who is risen, ascended and exalted and there is no comparison.

 

  1. There is no African Christianity and Western Christianity or any other Christianity; there are no Catholics and Protestants, there are just Christians; there is no different salvation anywhere in the world, it is the same Forgiver, Redeemer and Saviour. There is just ONE FAITH.

 

  1. There is no better testimony that the other and your story has the same results as the next for the experience is the same of being transformed in Christ and identified with Him. There is just ONE BAPTISM.

 

  1. There is not a multiplicity of gods and there are not two fathers bringing about two families, just one. One Spirit, Lord and Father, who are one. There is just ONE FATHER.

 

Anything else isn’t what God had in mind nor what He wants today. Anything else is man-made and rises against what He has made. Anything else will not last.

Why give yourself to anything else or a lesser version of what is true?

 

Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus?
To the lepers in your head

You say love is a temple, love a higher law
Love is a temple, love the higher law
You ask me to enter but then you make me crawl
And I can’t be holdin’ on to what you got
When all you got is hurt

One love, one blood
One life, you got to do what you should
One life, with each other
Sisters, brothers

One life but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other

One.

 

One of the U2 band members said, “Suddenly something very powerful was happening in the room. Everyone recognized it was a special piece. It was like we’d caught a glimpse of what the song could be.”

If only the Church, if only you and me could catch a glimpse of what we could be here on earth. ONE.

I Am Not an Island

No man is an island entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
As well as if a promontory were,
As well as any manor of thy friend’s,
Or of thine own were.

Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
It tolls for thee.

English Christian metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631).

I am sure many have read this poem. Certainly the opening words are familiar to us all.

The Apostle Paul in prison has spent 3 chapters writing on what Christ has done and the impact of His work on the Church. The next 3 chapters are the outworking of that. So for example, because there is n0 dividing wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile any longer and because Christ dwells in our hearts therefore, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4 v3

Make every effort to stay together in community. Society protects the violation of our rights. Our rights have become more important than community. The result has been that we have many nomads, rootless people moving round in circles of life, belonging to no one. From day one of lockdown the message from the Church to the Church has been connect. It has been the thing that leaders have focused on more than ever. Coming out of lockdown what should be seen more than anything will be how the Church has improved in community. All of us have a part to play.

Let me tell you a story.

An ANT went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of drowning.  A DOVE sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her.  The ANT climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank.  Shortly afterwards a BIRD-CATCHER came and stood under the tree, and laid his lime-twigs for the DOVE, which sat in the branches.  The ANT, perceiving his design, stung him in the foot.  In pain the BIRD-CATCHER threw down the twigs, and the noise made the DOVE take wing.

The moral of the story: team work makes life work better. Just small steps make the world a better place.

Here’s another story:

A CROW, half-dead with thirst, came upon a BUCKET which had once been full of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the BUCKET he found that only very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it. He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair. Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into the BUCKET. Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the BUCKET. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the BUCKET. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the BUCKET. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the BUCKET. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the BUCKET. At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near him, and after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench his thirst and save his life.

Make every effort ….

Unity in community doesn’t come easily, we have to work at it, overcome some things and put in the hard work. But if the Church isn’t going to die then it has to make the effort in how it treats people.

Here are some pebbles:

  1. Defeat ego.

“I don’t need help. I can do it on my own. Leave it to me, No one has to tell me how to live.”

The first step away from individualism is simply to think of yourself less. Unity is conceived when we think about “we” more than “me”. Spinning more plates doesn’t increase your talent – it increases your likelihood of dropping a plate. What’s it going to take to make us think we cannot do everything on our own? we need others.

  1. Make the Time

Other people are never convenient. If you wait till you feel like it, you will never have genuine fellowship. The time excuse says that others are not that important.

  1. Be respectful

We’re all different. We all have someone who irritates us. They are there for their benefit but also ours. When you stop long enough to understand someone then you know what they’ve been through and why they are like they are.

  1. Be a loyal supporter.

If the devil is the accuser. Then if I step into that place of criticising and complaining about God’s family then I am doing the devils job.

  1. Don’t listen to gossip.

We know not to speak it, but don’t listen to it. People who gossip to you will also gossip about you.

I Am Tolerant

Paul urges us to be tolerant, “bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4 v2)

The sermon was based on Jesus’s command to love your enemies. The preacher spoke, “I’ll bet that many of us feel as if we have enemies in our lives. So raise your hands if you have many enemies.” And quite a few people raised their hands.

“Now raise your hands if you have only a few enemies.” And about half as many people raised their hands ……..

“Now raise your hands if you have only one or two enemies.” And even fewer people raised their hands.

“See, most of us feel like we have enemies.”

“Now raise your hands if you have no enemies at all.” And the preacher looked around, and looked around, and finally, way in the back, a very, very old man raised his hand. He stood up and says, “I have no enemies whatsoever!”

Delighted, the preacher invited the man to the front of the church. “What a blessing!” the preacher said. “How old are you?

“I’m 98 years old, and I have no enemies.”

The preacher said, “What a wonderful Christian life you lead! And tell us all how it is that you have no enemies.”

“All the fools have died!”

The test of your tolerance cannot be taken after all the irritating people have died!!

The Message translates the words in a beautiful way, “alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.”

The Passion Translation relating to the need to be patient says to show love, “especially toward those who may try your patience.”

Bearing with one another. Forbearance.

It means to have restraint under provocation and to freely allow the faults and failures of others.

It doesn’t mean we tolerate evil and hurtful actions towards others nor that what is wrong for one person is not necessarily wrong for someone else. That is a hijacked forbearance which is being seen today and has infiltrated the Church.

It does mean that with the Spirit enabling of our lives we are able to positively love those who irritate or disturb us. Why would we do that?

We bear with one another not through intimidation but through the belief that Christ is building a new society called the Church.

A couple of days ago we had a barbeque in the garden. The smoke was irritating my eyes. But I put up with it for the joy of the steak that was to come! No one else was near the coals and so were not irritated. But they enjoyed the steak later.

People are wonderful and then you get close to them and you realise they are also irritating. But bearing with their many idiosyncrasies means that the tapestry is beautifully created. Throw in different race, cultures and backgrounds and that becomes the Church that Jesus is building today.  It is better than steak in the garden (maybe!)

There are deeply engraved divisions in our upbringing. Look anywhere in the world and you find historical disputes that the present generation don’t fully understand why they hate that tribe or family but they do. Anyone can tolerate that what agrees with their position. But can the Jew forbear the Gentile and vice versa? That is the question. The answer is obviously NO. That is why we need more than ever the Spirit to empower our lives. Without HIM this is a nonsense.

Before we close let us also remember someone is tolerating us right now!

Even great men and women of God are irritating! The founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth believed in the sinless perfection of the Christian. I wonder if you would have believed in his sinless perfection if you had entertained the General in his finery and majesty. This is what one lady said of her experience. “On arrival William Booth virtually took over the management of the household. He demanded dinner at once and simply wolfed it, putting his knife in the salt and in his mouth. He next retired upstairs but didn’t like the bedroom I had prepared as it was at the front of the house. So he took possession of the rose room …. . During the afternoon the fire must have annoyed the General in some way because he put it out by throwing water over the fire and hearth … . Nearly all our doors had to be padded with dusters to prevent them banging and orders were sent down to shut the dog up.”

Finally, let me go back to my barbeque. You see, we bear with one another but remember God tolerates us.

Isaiah 42: 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.

You may feel like you are a smouldering wick. Maybe you feel to God you have become ineffective with little impact on the lives of others apart from being an irritation.

However, the good news is that Jesus will never break you nor snuff you out. He will never give up on you nor turn His back on you. He is for you, believing in you till the very end.
He loves and uses the weak and broken.
He started His life on earth weak and vulnerable and he ended his life broken and in pain.
He is with you because He has gone before you. He tolerates you for the glory of God.

I Am Patient

How can we achieve these traits? How can we say I Am? We cannot without God. But with God we can.

“… be patient …” (Ephesians 4 v2)

Again, a fruit of the Spirit as He produces in us as Christ dwells in us.

Ever rolled your eyes at someone’s social media status? I have.

Ever tempted to tell someone, “you’ve told me this before’ when they attempt to tell you the 5th time? I have.

Ever tried to stifle a yawn when someone insists on going into every detail of the story? I have.

Ever become annoyed at being interrupted in that was your own amazing story? I have.

Ever stood in line in a supermarket panicking wondering if it is the fastest lane? I have.

The moment I think I have it is the moment it seems to disappear.

Maybe you wake today to another day of battling the discouragement and disappointment of what is now on you. Within you is patience that will not give up. It never admits defeat. It is not finished off by disappointment or discouragement.

Circumstances is one thing but people are another and they are even more annoying at times. To be patient means to hold out under trial before giving into the passion of retaliation. It is not easily offended.

Circumstances, people and then there is your own life. What will you wait for?

A woman rushed up to famed violinist Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) after a concert and cried: “I’d give my life to play as beautifully as you do.” Kreisler replied, “I did.”

If you plant a Chinese bamboo seed, it will sit in the ground for five years and appear to not be making any changes. Then, over a six-week period, it will grow 90 feet.

There is a giant Himalayan lily which spends most of its life looking like nothing at all but then after 5-7 years it grows to 9-10 feet tall and produces the most amazing delicately shaped flowers.

However, when it comes to human achievement and maybe even our own process of maturing, we are the most impatient.

Yet no human, not even Jesus moves from baby to man without the need to grow. This is done before God and man.

Within that growth comes many challenges and pains attached to the process. These are necessary for development.

The truth is one day you will stand before Him the finished article. Until then you are in the growing phase, being perfected for eternity.

Today is another day to grow. Embrace it

I Am Gentle

Obviously we are not collecting character traits that we can wear as a badge nor would this be part of our status on social media. We have all failed in the beatitudes of Christ and maybe that’s why we make the kingdom. The fruit has all gone bad at some point in our lives. Nevertheless as a follower of Jesus we should not be declaring over ourselves we are not humble nor that we are not gentle or anything else. So we declare it and aspire to be so with the work of the Spirit in our lives for the goal is Paul’s command:-

“Be completely … gentle” (Ephesians 4 v2)

It’s a difficult word to translate apparently. Some translations have meekness. Paul’s use of the word is also used for the brokenness of a horse. Power that is under control. But the problem with that is the word power. How do we handle power? How do we control that?

I think where humility recognises the value of others above our own value; gentleness doesn’t even look at our own value and therefore there is no insistence about our rights in a situation.

Have you ever become cranky with someone? Of course we have. I love the word cranky but not the emotion. People do drive us crazy! Knowing how to keep one’s emotions under control is going towards being gentle.

One of the tasks of the Christian is knowing how to be angry at the right time in the right way and for the right reason and that’s not easy at all! It is probably best not to try it for failure is ever before us.

How do we respond when hurt has come into our life? Bearing injuries without anger or revenge but with a forgiving spirit and truly believing that God has a purpose for this is the hallmark of being gentle.

The Amplified uses the word ‘unselfish’ to help us understand more of what it means. It is not to be impressed by the sense of one’s own importance because one thing you know, you are not that important.

It really is a good thing that Paul has spent 3 chapters on what Christ has done and especially how He is dwelling in us. Without him these instructions are totally impossible!

I Am Humble

“Be completely humble …” Ephesians 4 v2

I was recently speaking with a Pastor and his assistant in one of my regions. I asked the assistant if he would ever like to lead his own church. Within his response he said these words, “the Pastor always gives me opportunities, he is always asking me to preach, he is happy to lead me from behind me.” It didn’t fully register with me until last week when for a 3 day prayer event we were holding this Lead Pastor emailed their church prayer requests that I had asked all the Pastors for. I had asked them to name their ministerial teams. He put his name last behind the other assistant pastors on his team. I flipped it around as I produced the schedule and put his name first (so the Pastors of mine will not be able to identify him in this blog!) This of course doesn’t mean that all the others were in any way arrogant by putting their name first ahead of their assistants. Not at all. I would probably do the same. However, it does reveal what this word humble means. It means lowliness of mind in the recognition of the value of others.

I remember sitting with a leader on a journey who was passing on his leadership ability to me. He told me of his many fights with people and how he had won the arguments. I could see how people wanted to be like him for his rhetorical skills, his dogged determination to deal with any slight confrontation and his strength of character for any situation.
But I wondered if he ever wept. What broke his heart?
Good leaders weep.
Until racism and every other negative ism brings us to tears we will never understand humility.

Maybe Paul is thinking back to when he had said goodbye to the Ephesian elders after he asked them to meet him at Miletus. In a very moving farewell speech he says these words, “I served the Lord with great humility and with tears …” (Acts 20:19)

When Paul wrote these prison words the culture of the day was that the word was always used disparagingly and often towards a slave. That attitude of the world threatens the Church even today. Being humble is obviously a trait we all believe in but it doesn’t get a huge mention and we never talk about it as something to aspire to. In fact if you were to say I am humble well that just proves you are not. But why is this so? I think we need more people in all spheres of society, in the Church and outside of it, who will stand up and say one of the hallmarks of their life, the axis of their worldview is that they are lowly in their thinking of themselves and they recognise the value of others above their own value. What’s the worst thing can happen? The response is ‘No you’re not, I can prove it.’ That will only serve the humble well as we work on being more like Christ. The humble will never fight over whether they are humble or not they will just try and be even more for to be humble is to be like the Lord Jesus Christ.

We don’t pride ourselves on our works. We also tell the stories of our failures. Paul was continually aware that he was a sinner, the persecutor of the church and of Jesus Christ, the least of the apostles etc.

I try to be true to the story of my life. We tend to hide our failings and talk of our successes. Our failings that are mentioned only put us in a good light as God brought good out of them. We are afraid of losing friends and fame if we mention when we had failed.

As we carry the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives then we must also carry those sins that he redeemed us from. Paul in his other writings from prison will remind us of how Jesus lowered himself, abased himself is a beautiful word, made man, made flesh. We don’t fully realise the abasement of these words (I needed to use the word again!). We preach Christ crucified, we pray in our imagination to a human Jesus, a servant, the Son of Man. We carry those earthy, human images in our mind because that is true. Yet what is true is He is God!

If we carry the cross in our hearts then why do we only speak of our exaltation? Of course I am not suggesting we create badges saying ‘I am humble’. But I do think when people ask us what has been the thing that has brought exaltation in your life we say it is because I became humble. (Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10) But also that I am working at being completely humble and that may take some time yet!

I am walking it out

After 3 chapters of explaining who we are because of what God has done Paul takes us into the second half of his letter.

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1)

Whatever the circumstance of your life it is never a waste of time. When your cause is to proclaim Christ and when your mission in life is to love God and love others then you never get to the place of thinking ‘it doesn’t matter anymore.’

This is the second time (see 3:1) that Paul realises that there is no place he can go where God isn’t. I am a prisoner for the Lord.

Don’t limit God’s presence to ‘sacred’ spaces.

My heart has been in Africa for 20 years and I am blessed to have friends there. There have been many times when I thought I was entering a non-sacred place only to discover I was about to discover something beautiful of the Lord’s presence. I found Him with the amputees of Sierra Leone; the persecuted of northern Nigeria and Burkina Faso; the raped of DRC; the prisons of Niger; the HIV stories of Eswatini; the famine of many nations; the slums of Kenya; the graves of Zimbabwe; the orphans of Malawi; the list just goes on.

Prisons.

I love the ESV of this verse. It uses the word ‘walk’ which moves me more than the word ‘live’ of the NIV.

The friends of Africa have learnt to walk it out.

And you, in your ‘prison’, in your sadness, illness, disappointment, loneliness, every family has a skeleton, must learn to walk out the Christian life. Paul will lead on what those next steps of walking involve. But for now meditate for a moment on how you must walk in the dirt of life.

What does that mean for you?

Paul was walking it out in prison? Where do you have to walk it out?

We have been locked down with the covid-19 crisis and learnt how to walk it out as Churches. Coming out of lockdown many of us will still find that containment exists in some area of our lives. Life is dirty at times.

The prison can stop you temporarily but you are the only one who can do it permanently.

Walk it out.

I know He Can

Mother Theresa once wanted to build an orphanage, but she had only three shillings, and someone jeeringly said to her, “What can you do to build an orphanage with only three shillings?”
“Theresa with three shillings,” was the answer, “can do nothing, but with three shillings and with God to help her there is nothing that Theresa cannot do!”

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-22 (KJV)

I have preached these verses for many years and yet until this morning I have never spoken of them in their rightful context. I have used stories like that of Mother Theresa to inspire others to realise God can make their lives so much better.

I have read of these verses being used for some ‘name it claim it’ mantra. I have heard that God can do more physical healings than we can ever imagine and that He can give us more physical riches than we could ever ask for. Of course He can. But that is not the context of these words. This beautiful doxology of Paul’s prayer ends 3 chapters of revelation. If we want to embrace these 2 verses then we must also embrace the truth of the 3 chapters.

Let me explain.

The 3 chapters that we have journeyed through leave us with questions:

Can I survive this prison? Is my position really in the heavenly realms? Has He redeemed me? Will I be there in the new heaven and new earth? Is there hope? Can I make the right decisions now? How do I know what to do? What does He want me to do? What about my sin? Will racism end? Will division leave the Church? Can equality ever be known? Will God dwell in me? Will I be able to love as He does? Here is the answer:

He is able.

He is able to do all of that.

He is able to do above all of that.

He is able to abundantly above all of that.

Then Paul makes up a new word which we translate as:

He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that!

That’s the context where the doxology sits.

How? According to His power in my life. No. In ‘us’. In community. We will know none of the 3 chapters outside of community.

Where will it be seen? Paul closes with a song or a shout, it is the crescendo of the prayer with all of the thoughts he has written so far:

It will be seen, the glory of it will not be my life, individually. Yes, Paul could have said that. The world needs to see this in our personal lives.

No. We are too small for this glory. We cannot contain or carry this glory.

It is in the Church. But wait. Even the Church is too small to contain the glory of what He is able to do.

In Christ Jesus!!!!!!! Can you hear the explosion of praise?!

Wait there’s more, even more!

Not just in my generation Paul says but in every generation, for ever and ever ….

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.”

I am learning love

I am sitting this morning once again hearing the sound of the crows that are creating a terrible noise in the trees. They are drowning out the beautiful sound of the singing from the birds who were created to do so. The crows outside my window think they can sing but they cannot. They occupy the trees thinking they own them but they don’t. When they arrive into the trees the other birds fly away. They are arrogant, dominant and I think that I might have to study a reason why they exist as I cannot think of one.

A crow wanted to know where the centre of the universe was. He landed on the highest tree he could find and looked to the horizon on his left and on his right; each was the same distance apart. Just to be sure, he flew further and landed on another tall tree and again looked at the distant horizons on his left and right. Again, they were equidistant. On the third tree, he looked around then said to himself, “Oh, I see, I am the centre of the universe!”

The lesson? Don’t be a crow!

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3: 17-19

Let’s read the Message version: “And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

Paul prays that we might have power. Yes! We need more power to do more. Power for healings, transformations, progressions, growth, words go on and we dream of more.

But we may have missed it in our attempt to find the central point of the universe. It is not about being more powerful. It is not about being seen as the central figure. But it is about grasping, comprehending, perceiving, learning, reaching, testing, plumbing to the depths and rising to the heights in discovering the love of Christ.

Yesterday a friend sent me a podcast link to a Bible teacher who many will in charismatic/Pentecostal know. An old man now carrying what seems to be the most important message that of Agape. After 50 years of ministry he received a word from God that changed the axis of his life. I share it because it is powerfully beautiful.

You know the words to the song.

You know the song.

You can hear the music.

But you don’t know how to dance.

Let’s quickly go back to the words of Paul, “…how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”. Can you see the imagery? Can you see the movement of the body, the dance? Can you see the desire to express what has been found but to also discover more? The love of Christ!

Are we still dancing?

When God showed Abram the land he would live in and where he would receive blessing upon blessing, He also gave him a command. “Go walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Gen 13:17)

Today God is calling us to explore the length and breadth, the height and depth of the love of Christ. To walk in it and to even dance.

But see something else. The discovery of this love is not through a single individualistic pilgrimage. It is with others. Paul says: “you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus” or “together with all the Lord’s holy people”.

To learn the love of Christ is to do that in community and through people. We will only ever know this love by expressing that love. The unconditional, non-judgmental, selfless, sacrificial love within community is where we will know the love of Christ. Does that go wrong? Of course it does. Throughout the day there are countless moments when we face the choice to know the love of Christ in how we respond to people (who are at times not easy to like).

Did it go wrong for the people Paul was writing to? Yes!

The Church at Ephesus became well known for being good people in that they did good works. They were charitable people, helping the poor, foodbanks and other community outreaches. They had gone through a lot of suffering and persecution for their faith. But they persevered and they endured hardships for Christ. They were mature, seasoned, faithful followers of Christ. But …!

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first” (Revelation 2:4 NLT)

Learning the love of Christ cannot be done without the love for people. If our love for others dies so does our love for Him.

Perhaps we need to learn to dance again.

 

I am a dwelling place

 

I pray … that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, Ephesians 3:17

Message: “that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.”

 

Dear Child

I want to be with you. I want to be sat right at the centre of your life. I want to dwell. I want to be the One who orders your life. I don’t want to visit as a stranger, staying awhile. I desire to settle, to make you a permanent place.

Gone are the days of staleness. I want to be as fresh as new bread every morning. Gone are the days of aimless and purposeless living. I want to shape your life and even painfully hammer your life into the person I have created you to be. I want to be seen in you. This is what I want. This is my prayer to you. Will you say yes to me?

God

 

Dear God

Yes. I am saying yes to you. Your desire to be with me has overwhelmed me.

Today I will make you a dwelling place just like the Tabernacle Moses made for you but better, just like the Temple Solomon built for you, but better.

I am your living place. Come live in me. I don’t want you to visit me, but to abide in me.

Yes. Come into the centre of my life. Bring your Presence and your Order. This is our secret place and I will protect if for us. This is our holy place and I will shield it for us.

It’s not where I live but who lives in me that counts. Prison or palace it matters not but your Presence in me makes all the difference in either place.

And as you remain in me something amazing seems to happen because it doesn’t feel like you are living in me only but that I live in you, that I remain in you.

I open the door though these prison doors are locked. I invite the perfect into this imperfect home.

Love is a flag flying high from the castle of my heart
From the castle of my heart,
From the castle of my heart;
Love is a flag flying high from the castle of my heart,
That the King is in residence there.

So fly it high in the sky let the whole world know
Let the whole world know,
Let the whole world know;
So fly it high in the sky let the whole world know,
That the King is in residence there.

Amen.