Posted by: lepages | December 15, 2009

Subtle as a brick….

How does God always manage to arrange ‘subtle’ hints for us at the right time??!! Having posted about the struggles of time with God over the last week in my last post, how amazing to come to this text in ‘Lucas on Life’ notes, dated Tuesday 13th October, yesterday morning:-

Perhaps we’d do well to take some time to consider if there are new habits to embrace and bad habits to lose. Our rule of life might mean choosing to read through the Bible using a particular resource to help us or making time each day to reflect and pray. And although the word ‘rule’ can sound a little rigid and even intimidating, its true that good habits don’t just appear – they are a result of good choices. Tertullian once said: ‘Christians aren’t born – they are made.’

Subtle as a brick!! Thank you for this time Lord. Help me to get back to a consistent habit – not so I’m just doing ‘the right thing’, but so that I am blessed, my life is blessed and others are blessed as a result of being with you. Lord may it be with me as it was with Peter and John that people might take ‘note that these men had been with Jesus.’ (Acts 4:13)

Well some further reflections from time with God over the past few days….

And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable and right. Think about things that are pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 New Living Translation

What brilliant advice! Because when we do these things it lifts our spirits. And when our spirits are lifted it gives us a better perspective on life.

Then the other administrators and princes began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticise. He was faithful and honest and always responsible. Daniel 6:4 NLT

Oh to be like that – to be consistently faithful, to be completely honest and to always be responsible, to the extent that no-one can find fault in what you do and how you conduct yourself! Maybe it is focusing on good things that help us get that way – perhaps focusing on the positive helps us be positive, whereas focusing on negative things perhaps creates a negative state of being in us – perhaps that’s why we’re encouraged in Hebrews 12 to ‘fix our eyes on Jesus’.

Contrasts – don’t think I’ve ever read Galatians 5 in The Message before – Eugene Peterson does a grand job of bringing to contemporary life the themes behind Paul’s writings about the contrast that exists in those who live a self-centred life and those who live by the Spirit – how sad that so many think that living for themselves is freedom and a blessing, when in fact its really allowing our lives to be controlled and ruined by the sin that saits at the centre of our nature as human beings.

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom. But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:19-23 The Message

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