Thoughts

The most meaningful words right now:

Your blood speaks a better word, than all the empty claims I’ve heard upon this earth, speaks righteousness for me, and stands in my defense… Jesus, it’s your blood…

Everyone is trying to define God, to put Him in a box, with a lid on, with instructions to say: do this and you will get this, pray like this and you will get this, fast like this and He will reward you, read your Bible like this and you will please Him and He will give you what you want. It is exhausting. It is meaningless, empty, useless, stale -air.

God Almighty is outside of all our borders, outside of all our boxes, He is uncontainable, He is undefinable, He does not fit into any human box, we cannot fathom Him with our little minds… and yet we never cease trying. Oh, how we fight to understand this Being, who is so unlike us. Because if we can just understand Him, then we can control Him. And if we can just control Him, He will give us what we want.

Disappointment. I am disappointed that God has not given me what I want. As if somehow He should be at my beck and call. That if I pray hard enough He should always give me what I want.

How little we understand Him. How little we understand ourselves. What we really need. How, in His goodness He withholds from us that which is not for our best. How I accuse Him of not being there…. When He is EVERYWHERE. When He has been where my eye cannot see… And still I accuse…

Have you ever stopped to think where you might be if God had given you everything you wanted?

You might be with the perfect husband, and the perfect brood of children, in the perfect house, in the perfect suburb, with a perfectly fulfilling job…

without God…

And still I rage and accuse: that He gave me this physical body and I’m in a physical world and I have these physical world requirements that HE created me with… so how dare He withhold it from me…?

….How dare I belittle the grace of God upon my life? When in an instant He can take this gift of precious life, the very breath that I breathe, from this grumbling soul… and what will remain?

Deep calls unto deep.

God knows.

He knows everything.

He knows every need.

And He knows that at the base of every longing and every desire is our longing for Him. And He knows how we can fill our lives with things, things to dull the longing, things that momentarily satisfy desire, things that occupy, things that fascinate, things that mystify… but only for a moment… And then the longing starts again… “God, a better job… God a bigger house… God just this one thing… God please… I need it… God, I need it!!!”

And so, IN HIS GREAT MERCY, IN HIS LOVING KINDNESS, He withholds

And how it offends me…

.
.

It is grace that I need.

Not a husband, or a better car, or a better life.

What I need is to get on my knees and to worship the Uncreated One, because He is not like me, because I cannot understand Him, because He is outside of time, because He is all-knowing, and all-powerful, and full of grace and mercy and loving-kindness. Because He has not dealt with me according to what I deserve, but He has been gracious to me…

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God of all

Did you know that there is approximately 326 million trillion gallons of water on the earth? That is about 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 liters. Wow.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?

Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom. Isa 40:12&28

This same God holds you.

Grace and Kindness

My father sent me this beautiful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. I thought the word ‘kindness’ should be replaced by ‘grace’, because for us to truly grasp the immensity of the gift of grace we have received as children of God, we also have to realise how little we deserve it, and what life would be without Him. Without His grace, we would have no hope. But His grace, His Son that He sent as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, is without a doubt the greatest act of kindness ever bestowed on humanity… and so I think ‘kindness’ works well too…

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:7-8

Beloved, if God loved us so very much, we ought also to love one another… 1 John 4:11

Been thinking about…

… the unforced rhythms of grace.

“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.” Matthew 11:28-31

The promise of these words keep calling me back.

When my brain runs ahead to plan and worry and figure out a way…

Come back, come back,” He says, “come rest in My grace.”

When anger and agitation gets the better of me, I hear Him calling:

Come back, come back. Let it go beloved, come find rest in Me.”

When life just gets busy and I can barely find myself…

Come back“, He says, “and rest a while with Me.”

Come sit a while here with Me, come be restored, come back my love.

These unforced rhythms of His grace, the rest in His presence. His rhythms don’t come naturally to me, as I want to run ahead and plan and fix…

Come back my love, come sit a while with Me…

Grace

“And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre” (Matt. 27:61)

I wonder about the women’s thoughts on that dark, dark day. He was meant to be a Saviour, a King! But instead he was dead, and all they could do was sit over against the sepulchre and wonder and weep. Their hope was gone. What good could possibly come from this much pain and grief…?

But God

was working…

In the world’s darkest moment God was doing His greatest work.

He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. (Eph 1:6-10)

If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides? (Rom 5:17)

The Gift

The girl looked at the two gifts she had been given.

They were gifts of great value.

I can’t accept. It is too much. She whispered softly.

It’s yours. He said.

But I can never repay you. You must take it back. She insisted.

I’m not worthy. She thought.

There was a strange light in his eyes when he said:

It’s yours.

You deserve the very best.

You’re my daughter.

She had never understood before. Never been the privileged heir. Never been the one entitled through blood.

But in that one moment, through one simple act of love, for the first time, she understood grace through experience. Through the act of one broken man, she saw the heart of the Father.

Grace, freely given. In love.

Not because we deserve it. Not because we are worthy. But because we are loved.

Not because we will ever be able to repay Him in a million years. But because He paid in full.

And we find ourselves before the throne of grace, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.

Not because of anything we ever did, but because of what He did. Because of His love.

Because He decided we are His own. His very own.

Even as in His love, He chose us, actually picked us out for Himself as His own in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will because it pleased Him and was His kind intent– So that we might be to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6

Alabaster Heart

Scorned she was
For pouring out
Perfume
A costly fragrance
On holy feet
No-one understood
The price
That would be paid
The nails
That would pierce
Those same feet
A jar more precious
Broken to bring
Hope
A fragrance of mercy
And grace
That lingers
And saves
A debt paid
A torn veil
Blue, purple and scarlet
Forever delivered
From shame
My own jar now
I freely bring
And break again
My will for His
My life for Him
That from my
Broken clay jar too
A pleasing fragrance
May rise to You.

(This poem was inspired by the quote below)

alabaster

“The allegorical sense of her great action dawned on me the other day. The precious alabaster box which one must break over the Holy Feet is one’s heart. Easier said than done. And the contents become perfume only when it is broken. While they are safe inside they are more like sewage.” C.S. Lewis regarding the act of the woman in John 12:3