Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Laying it down

Long time no posts. Just after my last one I was in South Africa for three weeks in lions enclosures and riding on elephants (no joke). Since then I have been organising gatherings and helping with a conference in Scotland. In the middle of all that I have had a bad ankle which left me unable to drive or walk for a month. Painful and frustrating, there is only so much Loose Women a man can take. Being laid up has its advantages. At first the pain was bad but later after that was controlled it gives you time to meditate and think about where you are going and what you are doing. I have learned that suffering is part of God's economy. It is something that eventually you learn to embrace.

A friend once told me about the 5 T's; trouble, temptation, trials, tests and tribulation. They are all different and have differing impacts no us. Sadly one strand of the Church sees suffering as 'lack of faith' and yet Jesus suffered much even unjustly.
All of these things can be a distraction and something that can take your life out of alignment from God's plan. I am learning that even in the worst of times I can have a rejoicing spirit and discover the truth of the joy of the Lord as my strength. It doesn't mean that's easy but then no-one said it would be.

I have laid down my life for Christ and the sake of the gospel. It may seem a noble thing but Jesus said this is what we would have to do if we are to follow Him. At the conference I attended in Scotland someone testified that they had seen a vision of a cobbled bridge and their face was on one of the stones. At first they were upset and didn't want to be walked over but then they realised the vision was about laying your life down for Christ and His kingdom. The Lord spoke to me through that picture. I realised that the stone had no say in where it was placed, it surrenders to the will of the bridge builder. If a stone is prominent and protrudes then it is a danger to those walking over it. People stumble over protruding stones. If you lay your life down then maybe you will not be prominent but you will be significant. Each stone is significant to the strength of the bridge.

Jesus said in John 12 verses 24 to 26

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

The grain needs to become obscure before it can produce a harvest. This is true kingdom gospel. Not easy, contains some moments of suffering but its an eternal perspective that we need to have. We live forever.

Paul says that the small amount we suffer in this life is not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.

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