Keep Kissing…Art of honesty

imagesProverbs says as we have discovered “An Honest answer is like a Kiss on the lips – Kiss of friendship” – this is our continued thinking into the art of using your lips…

Be gentle. Proverbs 15:1 contrasts the results of different approaches to honesty. A “harsh word [one lacking tact, kindness, and sensitivity] stirs up anger.” Anger can lead to a rejection. A “gentle answer [characterised by preparation, wisdom, and care] turns away wrath.” Gentleness can remove the barrier to honesty.

Since many of our relationships are not accustomed to the light of honesty, we need to move carefully and slowly. Because the truth does hurt, it only makes sense to handle it with care.

Be appropriate. Timing is crucial with the truth. If you need to confront your spouse, stay away from the loaded minutes when you first get home at the end of the day. A truthful conversation should be held in a private and quiet place.

Communication that holds potential for discomfort needs time and space. Don’t hurry. Don’t dole out a healthy portion of honesty on your way out the door in the morning. Don’t offer up a truth bomb as the last thing before you close your eyes for sleep and then defend your lack of discretion with, “I’m just being honest!”

Proverbs 25:11 compares “a word aptly spoken” to fine gems that have been set into gold and silver jewellery. That word of honesty will be true no matter where and when you share it. Put it in the right setting, and the result can be beautiful. Proverbs 15:23 says, “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!”

Build an environment of trust. Truth comes as a shock within a relationship where the norm has been denial. The resulting fallout may be devastating. Work on creating an atmosphere of acceptance and grace.

This is especially true when dealing with children. A parent who uses the truth like a sledgehammer, inflicting pain without grace, is an abuser.

Simon Cowell-type criticism without the safety produced by grace and love is rude, obnoxious, and malignant. It has no redeeming value. But, in a family where love is the main course on a consistent basis, a side dish of critique can be offered without fear of harm.

The honesty equation goes something like this: More honesty brings more intimacy—and more intimacy brings more honesty.

When you are in a friendship that is new or tentative, don’t unload truth all at once.

Set the stage for greater vulnerability later by sharing only a little now.

Perhaps Peter didn’t walk out on Jesus when Jesus called him “Satan” because by that point in their relationship, Peter knew that Jesus loved him. Did it hurt? Sure! But Peter trusted the giver of such forceful truth.

“In our desire to be an inspiration to one another we often veil what is true, because what is true is not always inspirational. But hurting believers whose lives are in tatters often need real help. If we were able to put aside our need for approval long enough to be authentic, then, surely, we would be living as the church.” Taken form Sheila Walsh book

Unpleasant truth is sometimes necessary. But our truth-telling needn’t be a slap in the face. Rather, it can be as gentle as a kiss that honours our relationships, demonstrates love, and confers value.

Learn the art of Kissing…. Truth telling….

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The ‘R’ word is it truly a Relationship…

God!

Look!

Enemies past counting!

Enemies sprouting like mushrooms, Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery: “Hah! No help for him from God!”

But you, God, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high; With all my might I shout up to God, His answers thunder from the holy mountain.

I stretch myself out. I sleep.

Then I’m up again—rested, tall and steady, Fearless before the enemy mobs coming at me from all sides.

Up, God! My God, help me!

Slap their faces, First this cheek, then the other, Your fist hard in their teeth!

Real help comes from God.

Your blessing clothes your people!

Psalm 3

images-6The impact of a relationship with this heavenly father is outlined.      The Holy love, is a shield to me, making my feet firm and steady,– making me stable, making my sight clear, taking away all inability.    All this because in love he has made me a participant in a face to face relationship with himself.

Through the grace, mercy of God I have the ability to be at rest to stretch my self out and to be vulnerable, totally exposed,  liberated and free.

The CONTEXT of this Psalm:–

When his son Absalom rebelled (2 Sam. 15), David’s friends advised him to expect no help from God (3:1–2). Yet David declared his faith in God and looked to him for help (3:3–4). With this assurance he could lie down in peace, though 10,000 enemies surrounded him (3:5–8).

David Gods chosen King waited for God to make right the wrong things that had been done against him.

The king’s patient waiting resulted in blessing for the people   Similarly, Christ’s waiting for God’s vindication has issued perfect blessing and salvation for all believers.

Guarded in Battle …… what battles are you facing today…… look at how David faced the battle.

This Psalm was written by David when he fled for his life from his son Absalom  It is divided into four sections….

The present distress

What distress are you walking through……remember that your God is more than enough to be the lifter of your head today….

The glorious deliverer

remind yourself of the testimonies of God at work in your life….

The sublime confidence

By Gods grace a ridiculous boldness can be yours today

The climatic petition

Remind God of Gods promise and Gods faithfulness to date

The Psalm concludes with a prayer and memories of Gods past deliverances….. we would do well to remind ourselves daily of the abundance grace and faithfulness of God towards us.

David encouraged himself in the fact that God had kept him through the night

I lay down, and I slept; awoke, because the Lord sustained me.

On the basis of this deliverance, the psalmist expressed his absence of fear over the thousands who took their stand against him on every side.

The psalm instructs those who are in the midst of danger to trust in the Lord for protection while they sleep.

David began the psalm with complaints of the strength and malice of his enemies, but concludes it with exultation in the power and grace of his God, and finally sees more with him than against him.

Two great truths are displayed here for us to see…..

(1) That salvation belongs to the Lord; God has power to save, however large the danger; it is his prerogative to save, when all other help fails; it is his pleasure, it is his property, it is his promise to those that are his, whose salvation is not of themselves, but of the Lord.  So easily said but some times so need a reminder.

(2) That Gods blessing is on Gods people; Gods not only has power to save them, but has assured them of Gods kind and gracious intentions towards them. God has, in his word, pronounced a blessing upon his people; and we are bound to believe that blessing rests upon them.  God’s people, though they may lie under the reproaches of men, are surely blessed of him, who blesses indeed, and therefore can command a blessing.

Real help comes from God. Your blessing clothes your people!

O Lord help us to see that this blessing festoons us, that the blessing of God is that which dresses us.  The white robe (Revelation) given to us is a blessing, clothing us, the robes of righteousness all these speak of a blessing clothed people.

Of course we can decide to take on the clothing or take off the clothing, to display the blessing wearing it as a garment or leave it in the cupboard.

How many clothes, and jackets do you try on before you decide what to wear?  Can we decide to wear the clothes of His blessing today?

Can we see here the continuity of “…Put on Christ…” “…taking off the old…”?

Blessing is to be worn

That men might see, the goodness of the Father to his people.

We have been adorned with the blessed clothing of protection while we sleep, we rest in him and arise having being clothed in blessing.

In Gen 3:21 we read of God clothing Adam  which is the first mention of clothing, we see that when man is in loss, God clothes him. Showing us the sacrifice, provision and blessing of God.

In the midst of failure God blesses us and clothes us, in the face of enemies we are clothed….. we see the continuity of Gods action throughout the scripture beginning with Adam… in the Psalms with David and into the new testament…..  we are clothed with Christ, we receive the blessing of that covenant clothing of that royal priesthood upon us.

The last mention in the OT of clothing is that of the priest Joshua with the removal of dirty garments and the replacement of festal garments, the garments of office, garments of blessing.

Zechariah 3:3-5

Now Joshua was clothed with filthygarments and standing before the angelHe spokeand said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”

Then I said, “Let them put a cleanturban on his head.” So they puta cleanturban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by.

Last mention of clothing in the New Testament is in:-

Revelation 19:7-9

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has madeherselfready.”

It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous actsof the saints.

Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ ” And he *said to me, “Theseare true wordsof God.”

This bride is clothed in right clothing… she is ready……

Gal 3:27

For all of you whowere baptized into Christhave clothed yourselves with Christ.

 Clothe yourself with Christ today whatever battles you have to face

Clothe yourself with blessing

Clothe yourself with rest

 

Restoration of the HOUSE

“…give no rest UNTIL he has a dwelling place…” Rev 21, 22

Psalm 132:2-5

images-7I wonder what these words paint in your mind, what picture does it cultivate.    As the words are read what is sculpted in your imagination?

There is an implication for us all to do something with these words; an act of disturbance, a work of not allowing settlement, a challenge of activity with a goal of an “UNTIL” in mind.     Take all you have and all you know, all your ability and apply it to disrupting yourself, your acquaintances, deep friends, family and even God, UNTIL an end is reached.

When you are young the UNTIL must be in the fore front of your mind, it is the goal by which the Father requires us to make our focus, our first thought, our life’s ambition and longing “…seek first…”.     Don’t settle back as you get older then, as the years go by be careful not to join the status quo, be mindful not to think it is some one else’s turn or responsibility.   GIVE NO REST, it is not a time to retire or go on holiday, nothing wrong in them but keep the aim of God until our Father receives the goal of his course.   It is said of Jesus “…for the joy set before him…” of Paul “…I press on towards…”, it is too easy to make an excuse why we have done enough, it is too easy to say “this one and that one hurt me”.   To blame others, but these words sculpt in our heart’s “…GIVE NO REST…”

The Father, our God, the God who is so committed to being UNITED with you and me, that God left his abode and created a universe, so that God the Father would be one with us.   God was so given to this that God HUMBLED God to bring it about.    David in Psalms utters this, in the light of the God of grace he met, the Divine that left the Mountain and came to humanity, leaving the high abodes to join us in our ordinary lives.    David overwhelmed by this Father God and says “…give no rest UNTIL God has a dwelling place…”

God has a dwelling place in our union with God, we should take nothing else on, no other agenda, no other view,no other self-centredness or other good cause until God has a dwelling place, this is the root foundation of all true good causes and should be our only cause.   God have a dwelling pace in me,  a UNION with me, that God has a dwelling pace in the people of God, one with the bride, the ecclesia of God, that God has a dwelling place in creation, that Christ might fill all in all.   It really is about the dwelling place of God.  We understand this by the time we read Revelation 21, 22  I saw a city, that turns to a bride and a declaration “…I will be their God and they will be my people and I will dwell in their midst…” Father God has the dwelling place and the UNTIL has come.

Restoration is about the dwelling place of God.   A little personal discomfort until, my sleep, rest, my home will be realised when the Father receives the dwelling place.

There is a major “UNTIL” here, until God has a dwelling place is this not the New Testament declaration, the words of Acts 3 that Jesus will remain in heaven UNTIL a time of Restoration.   That Jesus will be held UNTIL his enemies are made a footstool, I wonder?

The “…dwelling place…” is about taking away the disgrace from the walls of the city of God, it is about building the walls of the city in Nehemiah, it’s the work of Jesus, it the prayer we pray “….let heaven come to earth…”  it is let your dwelling place be found.images-6

Even the goal of maturity in Christ is the personal maturity of Gods dwelling place, a house prepared for you O Lord.   We must not allow our eyes to be taken off finding a dwelling place for God, when we read Jesus saying “…I go and make a place for you…” let us not go away with the fairies and think of our room, house in heaven but continue for the UNTIL God has a dwelling rather than being distracted into finding ours; waiting, holding on until we get our place.   Our life and love must be to give God a dwelling place.

The joy of being about our Father’s business, we must make a place for God.  

 

Effective…Success…Maturity

Interesting coupling of words, words that are used at so many levels and in so many environments, whether in business or in church I wonder which one is used most in your world?
images-4The online dictionary says this of these three
Effective (adj) Being productive of or capable of producing a result
Success (n) The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: The gaining of fame or prosperity
Maturity The state or quality of being fully grown or developed.
All have their place and all have their challenges for the in place in which you work and the people of God you are family with.   I wonder which one of these three would you put at the top of your priority list,  priority in your walk with God?
To be effective in your call there will be a process of growing in ministry, to be fully involved in the growing there are fundamental vital aspects that will need to be grappled with and fully grasped with both hands, I will attempt to out line what I have noticed over the last 40 years of my Christ like walk to become like Christ in every way.
There will be a need to grow and develop a burden, this is not a whimsical thought or one that changes with fashion or fad of the church, but one that overwhelms and keeps us on course.   A burden is an old term yet a requirement, it is that, which as you process on ward  you actually experience the weight of carrying it in prayer, heart and thought.      It is a burden, it something you cannot put aside but it fills your day, it fills your thinking, it fills you desire and is all-embracing.   Although it is a ‘Burden of the Lord’ it is light to the soul yet it is that which governs you, it is greater than vision as it becomes your life.
It is that which God entrusts you with, it is the will of God for your destiny.
Along with the burden must come a ‘Zeal of Conviction‘ a passion, a zeal that fires you up and keeps you burning, a zeal around the conviction of truth, a zeal around the Christ of God.   This zeal is what will put one foot in front of another when objections come.  It is this zeal that will get you to leave your homeland, your comfort zone and move towards the burden.   It is that which keeps you running, this zeal, that is like a fire deep inside you, will not let you go or you will not let it go.   It is what Paul said “I lay hold of that which has laid hold of me”  
There comes to each of us the necessity to grow in the burden and respond to our zeal by being able to communicate to the average, learning that we must add skill to ourselves to be able to communicate to the average person in the streets of life.   Why you ask simple put in-order that they
Understand the principle
See the application
Move on conviction
So that burden comes to life in the lives of others as well as you.
That we become Simple. Clear. Relevant. Practical
A call will ask of each of us to give ourselves whole heartedly to people, as a friend, as a councillor, as an example.   Unreservedly being hospitable, learning the skills to be social to be able to love people and be over joyed in it.
Many long for anointing, many look and run to the anointing but the grace and anointing moves with those who are spirit-sensitive and sensitivity too changes in the anointing.    Knowing on the inner life as the goodness of God moves and ebbs and flows.   This cannot be put in notes but it can be caught.     To be one who knows and sees the moving of the Holy Spirit, knowing that seasons and moods are to there  to be caught and demonstrated to all.   Learning in the burden what it is to sense God.   To Knowing when to teach, proclaim the prophetic and when to reach out.
Prepared at all times for the supernatural,  expectant in every place even the place you least expect, develop a life of continuous conversation with the Father, inspired to move towards the supernatural.   Become sensitive to the presence of God in the heart and make things happen.
Develop a mind that is clutter free and free of negatives, along side that to be free of personal pressures
Become men and women of burden that are freely receiving grace, the grace that God is giving so much that we enjoy the grace, living in it and through it,  grace in our life flow.

 

“To this end…”, more to follow

Moulded in the potters hands

Moulded in the potters hands

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature inChrist.

29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

(Col 1:28-29)

The Next Step, which is the second on this topic is SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES 

Turning my inner person to God and giving time, over the years many have used different names to call for this process such as “Devotional time” or “Quiet Times”.    Some even have seen liberty as a reason to be free form a discipline and used the thinking not to develop the intimate times with God.       Let me say from the onset without developing these regular, intimate moments with God one will not advance, neither is it a religious action but a real love, developing an adventure of hearing the Father.

The natural progression of fellowship leads you to a disciplined development of intimacy through spending times away, aside with God, the Psalmist said evening and morning he did it, quiet times.     Now all our faith is learning that the Father wants responsive followers,  not people living by the letter of the law, so this ‘quiet time’ is not a duty but an outflow of deep thanks, manifest in time given to be intimate, never due but an appreciation and response.       As for me, if I do not create these moments I feel starved and hungry.      My children, when younger, would say it was evident in my ways or life’s conduct towards them if I had neglected that time with the Father.    Let me re state it again although daily times when followed as routine or obligation have been discredited as legalistic, it is nevertheless true that the absence of seasons of quietness with God will eventually lead to poverty of soul and vulnerability.

Again, looking back over the years I see the practice of a daily time of meditation as one of the greatest strengths in the development of my spiritual life.      I look upon it not as a time to get something to say or preach but a conversation between me and the Godhead for us together.    For these times to be seen as necessary as eating, taking in nourishment to the body so these times of discipline are to my whole being.       Over the years I have looked upon it as times of just filling up a kit bag for a long journey, storing insights, Holy Spirit utterances and directions, never knowing when or what the Holy Spirit will draw from that resource we placed into the kit bag for life some time ago.    For the Father to mould me more and more into Gods image.    Although in recent years I have modified my approach, I remain convinced they were vital to fellowship with God.

The reading and marking of the Word of God

God’s life works powerfully in those who love the Word.     It reads, speaks, grips and provokes you. There is so much that the word of God does in you that nothing else could – preachers could never produce what the Spirit does through the Word.     It is this opening of my life and mind to its truth and challenges that has proved indispensable to personal development.

I turn to the word of God as I turn to a person knowing that this person wants to talk with me, I love 1 Cor 2:9, 10 that says for me, God is searching God, to bring out the deep things of God to show and present them to me.   Therefore every time I turn to word it is an adventure and excitement, I feel the thrill, what about you, revelations come when we do, honestly, try it is a promise.

I read the Word simply, in an attitude of faith.      I don’t look for it’s difficulties or problems, I don’t concern myself with the arguments of author ship or authenticity of historical detail.    I first read the Word to let it read me.    I take what is obvious from the surface, apply that and rejoice in it.     My marking system – underlining etc., reinforces its impact on my mind.      Today I have hundreds of notes daily devotions in my computer stored for either me or some one else in later years may wish to mull over them.

When studying the Word more earnestly for a given purpose, I give myself to research as to the authorship, the background of the principal parties concerned.       The circumstances of the nation at the time, the issues that are primarily being addressed etc.      But my first approach to the Word is to get to know God by allowing its revelation to minister to my life.    It is God the Father making known his nature, it is the ever arriving God, a self-reveling Father eager to make known to reward and give gifts.        Choice of emotions?????? this is not what you are considering….

Step Three – You CHOICE OF FRIENDS is vital to ongoing spiritual progress.      

It was the awareness of this that made me face up to my first series of difficult choices.     These were to affect my relationship with my former friends in the world.

Their way of life was now so different from my own.     I had witnessed effectively amongst them to the point where those open to Christ and change had already been converted.      Finally I was faced with the difficult choice concerning those who had no intention of changing.      I became convinced that continued companionship with some of them would eventually lead to the compromising of spiritual values, and that meanwhile  I would be under constant pressure to conform to their behaviour and activities.

From early days I had to make the decision, I recall some who helped me, that after deciding to follow Christ they used to cross the road directly in front of me, in order not to entertain meeting me, once passed they would cross back to the original side, it was challenging at the time as we all like being wanted or liked but then it helped me to see choices in relationships are so important.    Let me add a caveat, it is not rejection or exclusivity we cannot do that in the gospel of the Kingdom, we are not to be exclusive, the Kingdom of God makes us at every hand inclusive and I must demonstrate that, it is just knowing where and how I grow through the relationships around me, while accepting and loving every one.

Then there were the “carnal Christians”, not sure what that means any longer some times?      You understand those who seek their own, those who have themselves at their centre only, those who are looking to add the things of the present to themselves for positions or stature, not seeking the Kingdom of God as predominant view.   I met many in my early experience.    It became clear to me that continued company with these would prove almost as damaging.      Fellowship was based upon the sharing of discontent, mutual grumbles, ill-feeling, gossip, argument, contentious discussions and soulish issues such as “preacher for lunch”, and “destructive sermon analysis”, running people l down in the light of “being honest”, being divisive and colouring my view of others, Inflicting their personal agenda on people

Alternatively, there was the prospect of companionship with those whose heart was towards God.     Who loved God as I loved the Father, who were intent on making progress in their spiritual lives while pursuing their destiny.

I decided these were the companions I should cultivate, for their fellowship would help sharpen my spiritual insights and provoke me towards maturity.

I am told which I am sure its true that less is best for a blog although I don’t know how to lean this or better still practice the lesson today however I am going to head the encouragement allowing you to mull my comments on adding and advancing your journey into God.

I pray that you will develop deeper in 2013 your Spiritual Discipline along with wisdom, not emotion in your choice of friends while recalling Part One of “To this end…” with developing that fellowship with God who is eager for the relationship.

Happy journeys into Christ, great adventures of the Holy Spirit and deeper into God in 2013