Monday, 1 August 2011


If God is Love ...
God IS Love. From the beginning right to the end, God is Love. He has always been Love and will always be Love. Love never fails. 
Love is what inspired God to create us in the first place. Love is what inspired God to allow us the choice whether to respond to his Love or not. Love is what drove God to intervene in such a way that allowed us the full consequences of our choice if we chose not to respond to Him, yet provided an escape from that choice if we do choose to turn towards him. Love is what continues to allow us the choice to turn to Him and to his Love. From beginning to end, God is Love.
I have tried to paint the big picture of what I have come to understand about God and His Story, from beginning to end - God’s plan and purpose for humanity and his involvement in it. Perhaps looking at the big picture helps us see why, for now, we live in a world full of suffering and pain, why, for now, we live in a world where there is evil. Perhaps looking at the big picture helps us see how God is still passionately involved with humanity (even if he seems remote at times) and continues to invite us to connect with him in increasingly real and deep way.
As I said at the beginning, God has radically transformed my thinking. I feel like I am looking through a new pair of glasses and the purpose of this blog was to allow you to look through them. I hope that what you were able to see encouraged you and inspires you, as it did me, to hunger for more and more and more of this Love as a hallmark in my own life and to submit to this Love in increasing measure.
Who knows - I might have totally got the wrong end of the stick and misunderstood it all. And yet – I would never trade my new glasses. Ever. Finally things are beginning to make sense to me. Finally I feel I am beginning to connect with God the way he is, not the way I want him to be.
For me, getting a grasp of this perspective marks the only the beginning of what feels like a fabulous adventure. If any of the perspective I have tried to explain is true, it will have repercussions on every area of my life. It will shape the way my connection with God develops, it will shape the way I talk to him, the way I pray for the stuff going on in my life and the way I worship Him. It will shape the way I see the world and the way I see myself within it, the way I engage with it, the way I engage with church, with my neighbours and friends, with my children, my husband. It will shape the way I allow God to lavish his Love on me, the way I experience his Love, the way I allow his Love to transform me. 
And it has! It has changed everything. All I can say is – I want more! 
More of Him, more of His Love.
This is the last post in this series. Thank you for reading along, thank you for your comments. If, having come to the end, you have more comments or feedback of any kind, I would love to hear from you. 
And now “this is my prayer – that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” ... “that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all believers, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”. ( from Philippians 1 and Ephesians 3)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The new matrix – the war we find ourselves in

So we find ourselves living in a war zone – in the spiritual realm.
The enemy might be defeated and the throne might rightfully belong to Jesus. But the enemy is not going to take defeat lying down. As Jesus is choosing not to bring his Kingdom in by force, the enemy has plenty of opportunity to continue to deceive man into believing that he is in fact still in charge. And continue to deceive us he does.
As long as he can persuade humanity that he is still in power, as long as he can persuade humanity to submit to him and to follow his patterns, as long he can persuade humanity to continue to listen to his lies, he is able to cling on to power. Every time we follow his pattern of lust for power, of greed, of jealousy, of self-centredness, we empower him. Every time we listen to his lies about God and about ourselves, we allow him the throne. Every time we listen to his lies, we allow him to keep us hostage. And so, as a whole, humanity still lives under his rule. He has no legal right to rule – that has been taken away from him. But while, as humans, we allow him to rule and allow him power, he refuses to back down from the throne, even though it is no longer rightfully his. The longer he can keep us believing he is still in power, the longer he is able to remain Prince of this World.
And yet, the truth is that he has no legal power over us, other than the power we allow him to have over us. Those whose allegiance is the Kingdom of God, those who have submitted to the King of Love and are thus citizens of God’s kingdom, are no longer legally under the power of the enemy.
So we find ourselves in the midst of a war, not against people, but against unseen powers and authorities in the spiritual realm. We find ourselves in a world where the enemy refuses to be ousted, where his patterns are still imprinted in the world all around us, where many of us choose to copy his patterns and choose to live turned away from God. We find ourselves in a world in which we have every opportunity to turn away from God again if we choose to listen to the enemy’s propaganda. Like rebels who swear allegiance to a different King, we find ourselves in a world that swears allegiance to the enemy of the Kingdom whose citizens we rightfully are. We find ourselves in a matrix which is dependent on our choices as to which kingdom we choose to empower – for now.
But the rightful King is coming. There will come a time when He will come in power and claim his throne. Then every knee will bow to him, every tongue will agree that truthfully, Jesus, the one who saved humanity from the enemy whether they recognise it or not, is King! He will establish his Kingdom forever, he will reign justly, there will be no more suffering and no more tears.
At that point God will dwell with man and man with God. Like a lover and his beloved become one when they marry, so God and man will become one, as was God’s intention and purpose right from the dawn of time.
“Hallelujah! For the Lord, our God, the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready”. (Revelations 19:7)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The new matrix – now and not yet

And so, through Jesus’ death and his rising again, a new matrix is set in motion, irrevocably this time. Death no longer has a hold on us, the enemy no longer has a claim on us, the way into deep communion with God has been blasted wide open, allowing anyone who chooses to, to turn to God, to connect with God,  to allow God to dwell in them as they choose to open their hearts to him.
If any of what I have said is remotely true, why then does it often not feel like it? If Jesus is the rightful King, where is he? If he has the authority over the world, if he will establish his Kingdom of Love, why is the world is still such a mess and seemingly getting more evil? Why is there still so much suffering? Why are people are still living in fear,  still living weighed down by the rubbish in their lives, by their past, by their failures? People are still dying.
And so many people come to the conclusion that the things of God are simply not true. Or they build their lives around parts of the truth, clinging to them for dear life, like to the debris of a sinking ship, waiting to be rescued, in the vain hope that the debris they are clinging on will end up saving them.
But the good news is - the way the world is now is not the end! The King of Love is coming and he will establish his reign where there will be no more tears, no more sadness, no more suffering  and no more pain. The truth is that the matrix we live in now is a ‘now and not yet’ matrix. Jesus is the rightful King, but his kingdom is not yet fully established. The enemy has been dethroned, but he has not yet been destroyed and being very much alive he still tries to exert his power over us.
The incredible truth is that Jesus, as rightful King, because he is Love, chooses not to impose his rule. Because he is Love, he has chosen to bring about his reign by involving his followers, his brothers and sisters! Now, as it has ever been, it is all about community and all about relationship. 
Scripture talks a lot about us, those who believe him and follow him, being his co-heirs! Jesus wants to give us the opportunity to walk in his footsteps, to follow him and do as he did now he has blasted the way open. His desire is for us to agree to work with him and together to establish his Kingdom, together to bring heaven to earth. We are to pray that His Kingdom be established on earth just as it is in heaven! As his followers, because he wants to share the authority he won back through his victory over the enemy with us, we have the right and the authority to be involved with him in bringing about his Kingdom! Wow!
Essentially that is what the church is (or should be!) all about – his followers banding together, working in partnership and in step with Him, doing as He did when he was on earth, re-presenting Him on earth, and heralding and preparing for his reign by bringing a taste of heaven to earth. Because the rightful King is coming ... and his Kingdom is near.
The truth is - his kingdom is tangible even today for those who seek it. When His kingdom breaks through into our world, there is healing (physical, emotional, spiritual). There is joy. There is a sense of purpose and security. And there is a deep sense of God's presence and a deep realization of his Love. 
The exciting thing is - we can see glimpses of His Kingdom today, in 2011! 
I don't know about you, but I just think - yes! Let is be so! And more! More! More!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The power of the cross – living empowered

Finally, the last way in which Jesus totally changed the matrix the world was in, is that from now on, because he has blasted the way to God wide open, God himself by is able to dwell within the spirit of each believer. The Spirit of God himself makes his dwelling in each person who chooses to turn to Him and submit to his Kingship.
Reams could be and have been written about this incredible, terrible, wonderful truth as man tries to work out and share with one another what that looks like in practice.
I just want to pick out what I believe are key points.
God’s Spirit rests on each person who believes Him, who turns to him and submits to his Kingship. God has no favourites. Everyone, irrespective of their past, their background, their failures, their personality, is invited to enter into the essence of who he is. God wants to, God desires to include us into the circle of Love that he is, to “partake of his divine nature” as Peter puts it and to live, as he does, saturated and motivated entirely by Love.
Because God is Love, God’s Spirit does not bully or force anyone into doing so. He does not come to live in our spirits against our will or in a deeper measure than we allow him space to. He invites us to respond to his Love – then waits for us to choose to do so. He invites us to become part of who he is – then waits for us to choose to give him more and more space in our lives. He invites us to partner with him in establishing his purpose, his Kingdom, in our lives and in this world – the waits for us to choose to submit to his Kingship and to follow his instructions.
God knows that man is prone to make bad choices, God knows that man still lives with the cancer of sin in their lives, God knows man has a tendency to choose to worship the seen things, things other than himself. God is not surprised by it. And so he offers to live in us, his Spirit communing with our spirit, in order to empower us to make good choices, in order to minimise the poison of sin in our lives, in order to help us not to take our eyes off him and challenge us when we do and in order to transform us to be the people he purposed for us to be. He lives in us to teach us, to minister the truth of who he is to us, to minister his Love to us, and to enable us, who naturally prefer to be in control, to choose to submit to the rightful King, not out of fear but out of love.
That is brilliant news!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The power of the cross – the breaking in of God’s kingdom

Fifthly, when Jesus took back the authority and deposed the enemy through his death and rising again, Jesus opened the way to us all to become citizens of God’s Kingdom, the realm where God reigns.
The main topic Jesus talked about when he lived on earth about 2000 years ago related to God’s Kingdom, or the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus pointed out to people that there was another kingdom, there was a realm where God is King. Another Kingdom exists and it is a kingdom where Love reigns.
Jesus pointed out to his listeners that God’s Kingdom is not like the kingdoms of this world. The Kingdom of God is not a kingdom of domination or of power. It does not spread because of a leader who conquers and subjects people to his rule. It grows and spreads organically, like a seed that grows into a big tree, or like yeast that affects the whole batch of dough.
In the Kingdom of God, Jesus taught, people are whole. They are free and not oppressed. They submit to the ways of Love, rather than insisting on their rights. It is not people’s status that matters in God’s kingdom. No-one is belittled, no-one is more important than another, everyone is valued and everyone has their part to play. Those who in this world are considered the lowliest because they serve, are the most honoured in God’s kingdom. Those who feel they have nothing to give are among those most welcome in God’s kingdom.
Jesus made it very clear that you can’t become part of God’s kingdom if you think you can earn your place there in any way. Becoming part of God’s Kingdom is always and exclusively by a response to an invitation from the King. Wealth and status become blocks to people who want to become part of God’s kingdom. Jesus shocks people by saying that even living according to the rules of the Kingdom does not earn you the right to be part of it, but says that being part of God’s Kingdom very much depends on a person’s heart and their response towards the King.
“I’ve got good news,” Jesus proclaimed. “The time for God’s Kingdom is near.” God’s Kingdom is not far away, it is not a long time away, it is reachable for anyone who chooses to submit to the King. Jesus supported his message by demonstrating that what we see on earth at the moment, this earthly kingdom dominated by the ‘Prince of the World’, is not the be all and end all. He healed the sick, made the blind see and the lame walk again and freed people from the demons that oppressed them.
Jesus’ resurrection and his re-claiming man’s authority over the world open the door for God’s Kingdom to be established. The throne of the world now rightfully belongs to Jesus and he is and will continue to establish his kingdom. But because he is Love, even as rightful King, he chooses not to impose his reign. Because he is Love, he chooses to partner with us as fellow humans and to bring about his reign organically, not through imposition or conquest. This King is a King of Love and the Prince of Peace. 
And so he invites us to submit to his kingship, to partner with him and together to bring about his Kingdom. God’s kingdom will be established, on earth as it is in heaven, according to the Bible. And we are invited to be part of it.
That is seriously good news!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The power of the cross – freed from the power of the enemy

Fourthly, because Jesus has defeated the enemy and deposed the dictator, the enemy no longer has a rightful claim on our lives. Jesus has freed us from the power of the enemy over us.
“He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness,” Paul writes to the believers in Colosse. “And he has brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”
Not only does death not have a right on us anymore, the enemy also has no claim on our lives. The enemy of our souls used the fact that we turn away from God, our sin in other words, to keep us under his control. He held us hostage by doing everything in his power to keep us from turning to God. He lied to us about God, getting us to believe that God was no longer interested in us, that God had rejected and abandoned us, that God was angry with us. He lied to us about ourselves, making us believe that we are never good enough, that we will always fail and so never merit or be worthy enough to receive God’s Love. He held us prisoner through fear.

Now this enemy no longer has a ‘legal’ right over us. He no longer has a claim on our lives. Humanity is free because Jesus paid the ransom needed to release us, the ransom being our very lives. Humanity is free because Jesus deposed the dictator, ousted the tyrant and in doing so took back the authority the enemy took from humanity at the dawn of time! All requirements have been met and humanity has been legally freed! Freed from the lies about ourselves that hold us back. Freed from the guilt that dogs us when we think about our past. Freed from the lies about God that keep us away from His Love. Freed to turn to God, to receive his Love and to live in the light of it.
And that is wonderful news!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The power of the cross – authority restored

Thirdly, Jesus reclaimed the authority that had been lost.
When God created man, he gave him authority over the natural world. God had given the world to man as a gift, to look after, to steward, to enjoy. The enemy deceived man into giving him that authority. Man allowed himself to be deceived and in that transaction, through that turning away from God which leads to death, by listening to the enemy and doing as he said, he empowered the enemy against man. The enemy took man’s authority for himself and became Prince of this World. He rules as usurper, knowing that man has the right to dethrone him again. So he rules through fear – keeping man under his control through fear and through deception. Not for nothing is he described as the Father of Lies.
When Jesus rose again, he took back the authority that had been lost, that the enemy had taken. Jesus had every right to do so. It was a man who had relinquished the God-given authority to the enemy. Only a man had the right to dethrone the dictator and take back the authority that rightfully belongs to man. As a representative of the human race, Jesus was in a position to take back the authority which had been conceded. And take it back he did!
“Having disarmed the powers and authorities in the spiritual realm,” Paul writes to the believers in Colosse, “he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them because of the cross.” (Col 2:15)
After he came back to life, talking to those who had been following him, Jesus affirms: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  
The glorious truth is, the enemy has been defeated! The enemy no longer has the ‘legal’ right to rule over this world! Jesus, taking back the authority that was lost, is now the rightful prince of the world and Scripture describes him as the Prince of Peace. There will come a time when he will take his rightful throne as King.
That is fantastic news!