What is the purpose of learning?

It is a wondrous thing to be able to apply ourselves to study – to learning….to stretch the borders of our brains and increase the ability to grasp new understandings, for the purpose of applying what is learnt. What good is it to learn something and then stick it on the shelf? Perhaps for a trophy…as a show piece…to say we achieved this or that, to have endured the pain of learning…? Perhaps even to be able to say we attended a certain college or university of prestige and at great expense. A status symbol of our intellectual prowess, gain a qualification to place on our resume or letters at the end of our name, a ‘right of passage’ into a club, ilumni, group or elite organisation…for the ”learned”. Applying oneself to learning is a worthy assignment…whether it be in a formal setting or otherwise.

As worthy as learning is, of itself, will never suffice alone, for a worthy life.

What is the value and worth of learning then?

Some years ago one of my bible college lecturers told me: “You are too devotional”. I really didn’t know what she meant, but I was keen to do better at my studies…and asked the Lord to help me ‘get it’…and to submit my next essay with more of what was required; more concrete ‘theology’ and less ‘devotion’. It felt very strange looking at the ”text” (Bible) that way…but of course, it can be done. I did get a better mark or at least a good comment for applying myself to the task. 24 years later both have stood the test of time…applying oneself to the text and to the application of it. Though I continue to discover, no matter how much of the Bible I know, my devotional life with God Himself has made His Word come alive to me in a way that no studying of the text ever did…and the ability to apply it – to really live it.

I asked God, just before entering college, “Please Lord, no matter how much or little I learn, help me apply it…even if I only get one bit…that I would live that!” I was a baby Christian of just 18 months…it was a baptism of another ‘world’….that is a story for another time….

For me, the value of learning is that I can apply it, no matter how small the fragment is, in a practical way in my life.

For example: “Love one another.”

That’s applicable in any context, any time, with anyone. I’m still learning and applying that one!

URLOVD!

Who are you….really?

Who are you? How do you define yourself? Is it your job? Marital status…single or married? How many children you have? The suburb you live in? Where you come from? What church you go to and your gifts and ministry? Bank balance? What your dreams and plans are? WHO are you really? ¬†God has told us who He is….God is Love!

Defining ourselves by Who He is has countless benefits and endless possibilities.

It can be challenging to define ourselves by “who” we are rather than what we do because we are so used to talking about ‘what we do’. ¬†Talking and interacting with others about what we do, does give us a chance to know something about each other for sure…getting past the do…to the ‘who are you really?’ can be a bit more challenging. That takes some effort… This is the difference between building relationships with people rather than gathering info about them. It’s the difference between casual acquaintance and developing a friendship. Or keeping comfortable in existing ‘circles’ and extending ourselves to include others. It comes down to this…are we really interested in expanding our own ‘small’ world and above all, expanding the Kingdom of God? That is what this means to me…and no matter what your current circumstances are, the opportunity to build relationships is always before us…at home, at work, in all the things we ‘do’…there is always an opportunity to show who we are, in who we live and WHO’s we are. “It’s no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me” Gal 2:22 URLOVD and so are they!

Be family – that will change culture!

If it is our intention to be culture changers…bringers of transformation into our communities, our cities and our nation and beyond to other nations…what changes and transformation is occurring right where you are? What is happening in your midst? Within your personal life? your family life? your church life? your town or city? Start where you are…take stock of how things are right now and what you can do and are doing to bring a positive influence. How about on a Sunday morning…who are you greeting?….the same people…doing the same things?…
Stretch yourself a bit – every single week in that area and then some more…and transformation will begin it’s work in you, through you and outward…that’s how change happens – from the inside out! It won’t happen if you don’t do anything different…
What’s happening on Sunday’s at church?
How do we greet each other and people we don’t know yet?
In regards to ”greeting” people…some people say:
‘Oh, that’s just not my gifting’ or ‘I’m an introvert’ or
‘We have door greeters for that.’ or ‘I don’t want newcomers to feel swamped or uncomfortable’. Come on people…stop with the excuses already: be cheerful, be authentic and be yourself. People will warm to you. Go on, just do it..welcome and embrace people no matter how uncomfortable you or they might feel. You will not scare people off with being “too” you!
This is “Class 101 in Basic Human Interaction and Communication” CONNECT with one another. Families do that! In their own homes, they say hello, goodbye, embrace, give eye contact, talk/listen, exchange stories and so on…are we not family? Let’s show each other and those that come near, whether in church, at work, anywhere…we are happy to CONNECT…and yes, there is a reason to do so: to show this: URLOVD!

Is fear the enemy to faith?

We’ve heard the saying many times: ‘Fear is the enemy to faith’
I do not belief that is so..and present below three ‘types’ or explanations on fear..
1) Fear as the enemy to faith: Perfect Love casts out fear….that then tells me, that fears enemy is Love! For anything that does the casting out, is more powerful and able to be rid of whatever is less so. Love is so much more powerful than fear!
Our faith is rooted, established and made perfect in Jesus, who is God’s Son and is Love personified. Fear can actually be a ‘force’ moving us towards God; His Love and Power, in order that we no longer live in fear – for it is cast out.
OK, I know, the argument can be told for both sides, fear can cause us to run away from God…but that is to say; that we do not know Him and His Love and therefore it is not so much the fear that causes us to runaway, but our personal choice to NOT run towards Him…that is not the fault of fear to negate the choice of ‘faith’ and to believe…that is deliberate and willful sin.
2) The fear of God: Living in a Holy and reverential fear, is as the psalmist says: “Cast me not away from thy presence O God, take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” the thought of not being near God, is a ‘fearful thought’, unimaginable, the withdrawing of His mercies and kindness..which keeps us ever close to Him.
3) Fear at the Presence of God: that is of the Presence and Holiness of the Lord. This to me, is more aptly described as ‘awesome wonderment’ and can manifest as being ‘struck dumb’ and speechless…there is a knowledge of the Holy One. He is Holy and we are to be Holy as He is…His Presence makes us so.
Let us not interpret ‘fear’ in a way that makes God unreachable, untouchable and unknowable. Fear is no enemy…for this would give the impression that it has power over us..though it will, only in as much as we let it. Perfect Love, at work within us – is much more Powerful than anything else, in Heaven or on earth or under the earth. God is Love! Our enemies, of any kind, have been crushed and are under our feet, subject to His Holy, Righteous, Almighty Love, so we can, without fear and come boldly into His Presence with great confidence!

NO cover-up policy..

To know ourselves well enough…is to accept ourselves and therefore we are able to accept others – is truly a place of Freedom. This is how we can also know that in any and all circumstances, the Love of God is always towards and for us…and that this is also true, for everyone.

I have discovered also, that if I am fearful of another person it is usually because of my ‘reactions’ to them and not them that I’m am actually fearful of. It is that part of me that doesn’t want to come to the surface and be seen or revealed…that yukky or ugly bit of me that in fact, must be revealed in order that I can really see it and deal with it for Good! While it is hidden it is not able to be addressed…when it is out in the open, then I can see it, admit it, and address it.

It’s a NO COVER UP policy…and we need people around us that are courageous and wise enough to understand that process in others and themselves also. As we do this together, we will see some wonderful changes taking place…far deeper connections and relationships developing that simply could not happen any other way. As we are this honest, we will be able to walk in exceedingly greater authority than we ever have before…because we are no longer ‘in hiding’ or ‘protection mode’ or fearful or angry or any other thing that would try to stop the progress of the Kingdom of God, on earth as it is in Heaven.

I am becoming less surprised by my own and others reactions…as I realise the process MUST occur and we need to respond to each other in Love and Grace. Navigating the situation, circumstance, issues or individual armed with this knowledge will enable us to walk further and grow stronger together!

Inner Life

We can be in a state of ‘feeling’ every little thing or feeling nothing. In both cases it’s a good indication that we need healing of deep wounds. We are able to both ‘make more alive’ the pain of injury and also deaden it, by ignoring or suppressing it. Either way there is only One Way to get it sorted out…we require inner healing from the Hand of God. His Gracious Presence will soften the hardest hearts and solidify the ‘runniest yoke’ of our internal world…whichever is required at the time. This is impossible to fathom or understand with the intellect and is purely the work of the Comforter, Healer, Restorer and Lover of our souls. He Delights in us this much to know every minuet detail within us and makes His Presence known in our inner most beings…that is Truly our Delight also…to know Him there – Pure Joy!

The Give and Take of Offense

I can give and take an offense…sometimes I am aware that I have offended someone and therefore I do my utmost to make amends; to seek forgiveness and make things ‘right’ where I am able. There are times others take offense and I am unaware and therefore am unable to do anything about it. We may have an inkling that something is not quite right, but we must not second guess or
‘try’ and figure out what ‘we have done’…that is a waste of good time. It is each one’s responsibility to live at peace with one another, as much as is possible. If we are offended, there are easy steps to clear the air – go to your brethren and correct in love…and so on…if we are not willing to do this, then it is us that ‘has taken and holds the offense’ and therefore our Father in Heaven is also unable to forgive us, as we hold unforgiveness. It can be challenging to go to another person and ‘have it out’ however, to fear such interactions is a far more torturous place also..and it is a choice to be FREE or not. What is the worst that can happen? It is not unto death after all and I assure you will lead to life and life more abundantly. Let us be free of holding an offense by taking steps towards that person and clearing the decks for something better and greater, total Freedom! URLOVD and Worth that much!