put on love

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”

– Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT)

I firmly believe that God’s heartbeat is for unity, not against it.  To bring about unity requires love.  Because where there are people, there are problems.  Why problems?  Because in every situation, we bring along our own set of views, opinions and baggage which most likely will differ at least to a certain degree from the person that we are in conflict with.  What do we do then?  Do we stand on opposing sides, demanding the other to back down, else they will suffer the consequences that we believe they rightly deserve?

My question is always, “What would Jesus do?”  What would the people who are chosen by God do?  The answer I think is clear in the above passage in Colossians.  Clothe yourselves with love or as the NIV reads, Put on love.

“If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in cold unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” – Amy Carmichael

– Ames –

the detonator and the bomb

‘Evangelism without prayer is like a bomb without a detonator and prayer without evangelism is like a detonator without a bomb.’

– Dutch Sheets, The Prayer Summit

I think 2012 has really been the year that I’ve seen the power of prayer manifest more greatly than all years preceding it.  Perhaps it’s because it’s the year that God has birth some big dreams in my heart and the hearts of those around me that we know would be impossible without divine intervention.  I’ve directly witnessed and been involved in the salvation stories of more people than I had in all the years before.  We’ve seen an old fire for campus ministries relit and fanned into flames again.  Our church has almost doubled in size in the last 9 months.  We’re seeing families on the brink of divorce be restored and bloom more beautifully than ever before.

Praise God.

But there is still work to be done.

Throughout the ages, prayer has been the key to all great revivals so why go doing things the hard way?

Pray and let’s see an explosion of God’s favour and manifestation on this generation!

– Ames –

back into wholeness

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free —and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

– 1 Corinthians 12:12-20

Having sprained my ankle a few days ago, I made two key observations about how the body works when one part is injured….

1 ) Straightforward tasks take so much longer – the rest of the body has to work so much harder to compensate for the part that is not functioning as it should.  The body gets tired quickly and other people have to be called in to do tasks that should have been effortless for you.  The assistance that you call in may end up hurting other parts of the body i.e. getting bruises under your arms from crutches.

2) However, just because it was difficult, didn’t mean that I gave up on my ankle.  Just because it was causing me pain and slowing me down didn’t mean that I just cut it off, thinking I’d be better without it.  Nope. I know I still need my ankle if I’m going to function properly and reach my full potential.  Hence, I’ve done my best to rest it, giving it time to heal.  Accommodating it as best I could to reduce the swelling, bandaging it up during the day and then giving it room to breath at night.  Slowly and surely, there are signs of improvement and I should be back to 100% by early next week.

If this is how we look after our physical body, why is it that sometimes when members of the body of Christ are being difficult, our first reactions tend to be, “Oh we don’t need them, they can leave” or sometimes we attack others when they are hurting?  Sure, they may be a drain of our energy and resources but as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, we each have a unique role to play and none is more important than the others.  Of course that doesn’t mean we won’t stumble and fall.  We’re still imperfect beings in the process of being perfected by the grace of God.  However, instead of picking on the weakness of others, we should be looking for ways to nurse/love each other back into wholeness in Christ.

I feel like this also applies to the relationships between churches and other churches too.  If a pastor or a church has fallen into sin, I don’t think it’s our place to go around condemning them or speaking badly about them.  It’s not that I think you condone the sin – I believe God is a just God and will judge them accordingly and there will be consequences for the sin – but just like we wouldn’t cut off a part of our body when it’s injured, I don’t think we should just leave our fellow brothers and sisters to ‘rot away’, but encourage them to repent and love them back into wholeness as well.

It’s unfortunate that there have been many stories of those that have been ‘burnt’ by the Church, but Jesus came to reconcile man to God and as Christ’s ambassadors, restoration and healing should be our priorities rather than deciding who is right or who is wrong in a conflict.

– Ames

chased by grace

Surely goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life. – Psalm 23:6

…the Hebrew word for ‘follow’ is radaph’ and it means to “to pursue, to run after, to chase” or, quite literally, “to hunt you down”. The word radaph, that one that goodness and mercy is doing in Ps. 23:6, it is first found in Genesis 14, when Abram discovers that his nephew Lot has been kidnapped and Abram gathers an army of 318 men and “pursued them unto Dan” (Genesis 14:14). The word ‘pursued’ there? It’s is ‘radaph’.

God is so bent on blessing, He chases.

God’s not out to get you — He’s out to give to you.

And God’s blessings don’t pursue temporarily — but relentlessly. It’s right there in His Word: His goodness and mercy pursue me not just some days — but all the days of my life. When I’m in a wilderness, His mercy and goodness run after me. When I’m hurting, His grace hunts for me. When I’m plagued by problems, His goodness pursues me.

No matter where I go, He has his two blessing men right there in hot pursuit: goodness and mercy, and no shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God.

Even the discipline of the Lord can be a grace of the Lord and all the interruptions of a day can be the intercessions of Christ.

Whatever is chasing you — no matter what it looks like — it’s grace.

– read the rest at A Holy Experience

Over the last week or so, I began to start feeling overwhelmed once again with the tasks that are at hand.  There was always something to be done, another thing to be checked off the never-ending to-do list.  I felt like I was constantly behind, trying to jump from one thing to the next… it wasn’t a nice feeling.

So when, I sprained my foot late last week, I just thought, ‘Great.  This is what I need.’ [read: sarcasm]

However, having taken a few days to rest, I’ve come to view it more like a blessing in disguise.  This is what I needed.  Time to rest the body, rest the mind, rest the spirit.  Still many things that I’ll continue to do (i.e. catch up on uni work) but at the same time, taking it slower, breathing deeper and letting His love wash over me.

I love that He knows me better than I or any other human being could know me.  And He knows all my needs and chases me down with His goodness, mercy and grace.

Credit: A Holy Experience

– Ames