Friday, August 31, 2012

History with God

Faithfulness is your history with God. It works both ways – his faithfulness to you and your faithfulness to Him. Without God initiating and proving his faithfulness towards us, we would have no obligation to be faithful but because he is faithful, we can be faithful.

This summer I’ve done a lot of tent ministry. I’ve interacted with many people from strong believers to nominal Christians to practicing wiccans (professing atheists tend to avoid the tent which advertises “Free Spiritual Readings”). Time and again, I’m impressed by the pursuit and faithfulness of God towards these precious people.

During one conversation last weekend, a fellow was amazed when I told him he didn’t have to prove himself to God. The onus is on God to show us his faithfulness, not the other way around. So many understand the Lord to be distant, unimpressed and hard to please; it must break his heart, because it breaks mine when I hear the stories of people carrying around burdens that are impossible to fulfill.

Remember the start of your first love relationship? How did it start? Did the other person demand your fidelity and unfailing loyalty at your first meeting? Most likely, your answer is no. It takes time to build a relationship. During the season when I had my first few dates with my Man, we weren’t exclusive and I dated one or two others around the same time. I enjoyed spending time with my Man, and he had something the other guys didn’t so I spent even more time with him, getting to know him. It wasn’t long before we started dating exclusively. I stopped dating other people but I didn’t jump into a deep relationship either. We still took time to get to know each (16 years of marriage later and I’m still getting to know him). Our history together has shown me he loves me and is faithful to me and it makes it easy to be faithful to him.  

God wants a relationship with us, and he will prove himself to show you he means it. He is faithful to his word and he is faithful to us. It’s ridiculous to think God expects us to be faithful to him at our first encounter with him. It’s a relationship, we all have free will to enter into the relationship and each step, God leads us deeper by letting us see how he loves us and how he remains faithful – even if we chase after other affections, he is still faithful.

The fruit of faithfulness flows from him, so we can have faithfulness to him. Like patience, the only way for faithfulness to grow is to wait it out. Faithfulness happens over time, over a history with God.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cultivating Goodness

There is no one who is good, except by the Spirit. Goodness (Greek = agathosyne), as described in Galatians 5:22, is something you become by continually acting with goodness towards to another. You cannot be good in a vacuum. To be good, we must have an opportunity to practice goodness with others.

It’s much harder this way, isn’t it? When no one is around to irritate me or get in my way, I find it easy to exhibit goodness. It’s when my Man other people are around, the deficit I have in goodness is apparent. The beautiful truth is we are not expected to have goodness apart from the Spirit. The degree to which I am good is the degree to which the Holy Spirit is at work in my life to change my heart. Change the heart, and the behaviour changes.

Goodness, as well as any other aspect of the fruit of the Spirit, isn’t produced by striving. Have you ever noticed a fruit tree strive to make fruit? Jesus said if we stay connected to the trunk of the tree (vine), we will bear fruit, period.

We still bear responsibility to practice goodness, when and where we have opportunities. We always have a choice but the one thing I remembered from physics class applies here: a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest, stays at rest. We need to [continually] do good, thereby making it part of our character. We need to position ourselves for the fruit of goodness to be cultivated. Keep the momentum going, stay connected and watch goodness flourish.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Psalms for Sunday, LVI

Is your love like an ocean? Does it reach to an unfathomable depth? Does your love surround my heart like the water defines the perimeters of an Island?

Is your love ferocious? It is like the waves that carve out a cave in the rock? Do you break down hard place in my heart for your living water to rush in?

Your love is amazing; I will never cease to speak of your love. You works - all your marvellous, wondrous and secretive works - are because of your great love.

My heart is moved by my child, building and creating, excitedly showing me what primitive thing he has made; my heart is happy and I rejoice in what he has done. How much more is your delight in me? It’s too great for me to fathom, too awesome to comprehend.

I’m looking at your beauty; all creation declares your presence. The rocks extend, reaching for you and the ocean roars, remembering the Word. It is pleasant for me to sit in your creation and marvel in your goodness and love toward me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Where's Waldo?

My apologies for my inconsistency for new posts over the summer. I'm away again but this is my last trip, at least for a while. Regular posts will continue next week.

Until then, be blessed in the Lord,

Andrea York

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Practice Acts of Kindness

Random acts of kindness is not dead.

A few weeks ago, I was in a shop but was $2 short to pay for my purchases. I told the clerk, I would come back later for that item but the gentleman behind me offered to pay the difference. The man was insistent and I gratefully accepted, and as I walked out of the store, I thanked the Lord for there are still people willing to show kindness to others.

Looking around our culture, and the worries and anxieties we carry about health and wealth which cause us to be self centred and thinking only about what’s in it for me, it’s easy to become disillusioned the world is a terrible place.

My Man and I work for a company who is at odds with a former company member. We’re caught in the middle; each side wants us to be on board with their cause. In a discussion with a company representative in regards to the former member, I was called naive for showing kindness to the other. They said, the person in question had not reciprocated kindness to me. I replied, “I choose kindness, whether or not it is returned to me is not the issue.”

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit but it must be exercised to be developed. The Greek lexicon defines kindness as the act of doing something beneficial for another person.  We have an example of kindness in God.

Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

The benefit of God’s kindness towards us is to open a way to repentance, which in turn opens up the possibility for a relationship with Him, which is our ultimate benefit. There is no other benefit better apart than a relationship with God. Since we have an example of kindness from God, let us pursue opportunities to do likewise.

I’m reminded of an old campfire song, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” (Great, now I have the song in my head, it will probably replay all day.) Pay kindness forward is a marvellous attitude; keep the momentum so the fruit grows and expands.

What are some of the ways you’ve been shown kindness by others?
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