Recently I’ve been listening to a Delirious track “Obsession”. It’s an awesome vessel for worship, very inspiring and also challenging. If you’ve never heard it, it’s definitely worth listening to!
Are you obsessed with Jesus? Or is He someone you just acknowledge in the right crowd, in the right situation? Or does your heart burn with such love for Him that you cannot hide it?
So often in our walk as believers we experience peeks and troughs, highs and lows, valleys and mountaintops. One moment we can be on a mountaintop, the next we can feel abandoned in a valley. And we find ourselves crying out to the Lord to renew our passion for Him, to stir a fire within us, so to be ablaze for Him. In fact, this is my desire: that I be so on fire for the Lord nothing else matters! No fear of man, so shame of sin, no insecurity or excuse; just ablaze with the love of Christ.
And I believe there are many believers out there today who are also crying out for the fire. For a renewed passion in their life, for a renewed passion in their marriage, for a renewed passion and fire in their family, for a renewed fire in their church, in their village, in their city, in their nation.
I believe that there are many people crying out to the Lord to fan the flames, cause the seemingly insignificant sparks to be ignited again – and this is awesome stuff! For if we as believers, and we as a church, rose up with passion for Jesus, on fire for Him, then we would be able to draw a line in the sand and say: this far and no further. Then we would be able to stand, unashamed of the gospel, and ready to be a city set on a hill, ready to raise the standard, the banner, of Christ Himself. Able to stand up to the wise man and the scoffer, and show them the love of Christ! We have a long way to go to achieve this, especially in the Western world, but a desire for passion, and a longing for Him, is where it all starts.
There’s an old song “Refiner’s fire”, some of the words are: “Refiner’s fire, my hearts one desire is to be Holy, set apart for you Lord.” …Are you crying out to be refined, and renewed? Are you crying out for the Lord to cause your heart to burn for Him, He who is your first-love? This is awesome stuff, for your heart is crying out, and longing to love Him more, and ready to go to the next level in your relationship with Him!
But do you remember your parents telling you when you were little not to play with fire because it burns? Mine did! And I remember a television campaign discouraging children from playing with matches.
Are you really ready to be set ablaze for the One you love? Are you really ready to be set on fire for Him? Are you ready to be set apart for Him alone? Are you ready to become obsessed by Him?
It is not easy! Jesus Himself expressed it as a cross we have to take up daily! This is not a walk in the park! As Jesus also said, we WILL be persecuted! It’s not an option we can avoid if we are believers, it will happen! And if we want to be obsessed with Him, how then can we become obsessed with anything else, be it a football team or whatever? How can we be on fire for Him and not share Him with others? How can we long to be set apart for Him, yet grieve rejection from the world?
But as Delirious sings: “I feel lonely without hope, I feel desperate without vision” …Yes, the cost is high! Yes, the fire burns! But the reward is limitless, and the gain always greater than the sacrifice!
Without Him, life has little purpose, little meaning, and little passion; but with Him our joy is made complete.
We need His fire, and His passion in our lives. But know that the fire burns! It does not consume, and will not destroy us, but it will burn! He will only discipline and refine out of love, but the refiner’s process is not for the faint hearted. Nonetheless, do not lose heart, because the truth is that He loves us enough and believes enough in what He has already poured into us, that there is gold, and true treasure inside of us! That as we are purified, there is gold that will shine!
Therefore, take heart, and continue to strain forward (Philippians 3) and press onwards, crying out to Him, continuing to surrender yourself to Him, for He will not let you down, nor will abandon that which he has already started in you!
He longs to give you hope, and vision, and passion, and love for the unlovable! The cost to us is little in comparison to the gain.
Let’s get obsessed! And be a fool, becoming even more undignified…for Him and His glory!
Only when we know the true nature of fire can we prepare ourselves! Are you ready for the fire?
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”. Song of Solomon
Whether you hate it or love it; whether you feel the love or taste the bitterness of rejection…again…it’s Valentine’s Day! And your first love wants to also share your love and affection.
Today beloved child of the King take heart, for He see’s, He knows, He understands and is there to give you all you need to continue to walk with Him.
Rekindle the love in your heart to Him, for He has not forsaken you, but waits, longingly, for you to see how beautiful you are in His eyes.
Rise up oh church, Rise oh beloved one, for He has adorned you and called you His beloved.
He is yours and you are His.
He is love, and longs to love you more.
Oh don’t you just love Christmas! It’s a time when our senses get stimulated like no other time of year – from twinkling lights, to carol singing; the lovely homely smell of cinnamon and spice, to the silky touch of a ribbon around a gift, and not forgetting the endless opportunities we have to indulge our taste buds! It’s a time of hope, of peace, of love and festivities. A time for tradition, religion and song!
But it’s also a time when so many people become insatiable! The hunger for more drives them ever onwards and upwards! More drink, more food, more fun, more parties, more presents, more lights, more toys, more chocolate… more, more, more!
A humble sock filled with an orange, some nuts and chocolate money would just be a joke to most children today – they want more!
The season of good will to all men is becoming increasingly the season where “charity begins at home!” and. “me and mine come first!” Some people even try to appease themselves because “at least the Christmas cards were for charity!”
Our appetite for life is becoming increasingly insatiable! Often this is not some innocent desire to live every moment to the full, but a driving force that not only pushes one but propels one forward towards the “next big thing!” The next high, the next drink, the next date, the next party, the next present, the next chocolate, the next toy…in an insane quest to achieve the ultimate goal of “feeling alive”!
People give themselves permission to gorge themselves in so many different ways, in preparation for the all so-important New Year’s Resolution, often centred around cutting back on something – cigarettes, alcohol, chocolate, bad language etc. And the pendulum swings to the other extreme, of less and less – well, at least for a day or two!
This Christmas, if, amidst the revelry and enjoyment, you do encounter a moment or two, albeit briefly, when you find yourself thinking, “what’s next? There must be more!” Then know that there is… there is so much more to Christmas than even the most wonderful of traditions. There is much more to Christmas than even a Christ-child!
There is a Saviour waiting for you to allow Him into your life and be loved! There is a Saviour waiting and hungry for you to allow Him to love you! He is not after religion or tradition, but after time with One whom He loves. Will you celebrate Christmas with Him this year?
What do you spend your time doing? Aside from work or college, what fills your day? The reality is that most of our days are spent doing things that simply don’t make us happy. But then does happiness depend on what we do? Should it even depend on what we do?
One of the strongest drives we have in life is to be happy! And some of us seem to be on an endless quest, for that illusive key to happiness! In fact most of our “free” time is spent in the pursuit of happiness. Whether it’s embarking on the latest in-vogue outback adventure, doing a bungee jump, opening a bottle of wine or two, eating some chocolate, walking the dog, cooking, photographing, gaming, reading, blogging, sleeping, spending time with loved ones, or just zoning out in front of the television; we all do things either to speed up our heart-beat and increase the adrenaline pumping through our veins, or decrease our heart-rate and turn down the speed dial a little! We all do things that make us happy, or at least we want them to make us happier.
We live in a world where “me time” is highly valued and heaven-forbid the guy or gal who gets in the way of this! We are becoming increasing aware of the things we’re “doing” in life, and increasingly aware of the demands placed on us – from the workplace, the school, the family, to the bank! And any escape from that is often sort after with zeal, enthusiasm and finances! I know that there are moments in my week when I’ve just had enough of the demands, the noise and the juggling act that is commonly known as “my life”! And I need a break.
Yet, there are also so many things that waste our time…traffic lights, traffic jams, old dears driving 20mph on a single track country road without passing places, endless hours spent picking up dirty underwear and moving shoes from the middle of the carpet, computers that take forever downloading that all important clip you can’t live without watching, television adverts, looking for lost car keys…to name but a few!
Now the vast majority of us could easily come up with an “if only” list, which for many would require little thought because it is always uppermost in ones thinking. And would include changes in situation and lifestyle that would enable us to be effortlessly happy!
We are still striving after the Garden of Eden experience – where everything was provided “on tap”, no hard labour was needed and love, joy, peace and happiness ruled! Why is it that the holiday companies spend so much money marketing various “paradise(s)” across the globe? Because we want it! It’s the old economic argument of supply and demand! Problem is we’re often “sold” things we think we want, even though we don’t actually need them, or in many cases even want them, we can end up desiring them because we’ve been fed a lie so powerfully we end up believing it to be the truth! – That with this product/place/service comes happiness!
It’s why the lottery is so popular! After all “it could be you!” You have roughly a one in 14 million chance of winning… but it’s still and chance! It’s the easy-fix solution, and often seemingly the only solution to having more time, less effort and more happiness.
Why do people work? To earn money! What do we all long to do with money? Spend it on ourselves (directly or indirectly) and “invest” in our pursuit of happiness!
But let’s not get sidetracked, this blog is not about money, but rather about time! Suffice to say time is money, and if this is true then surely money is time!
So if we spend so much time doing things for necessity rather than happiness, how can we be truly happy, sustainably happy, and ever content?
How can we manage our time better, given that we cannot add or take away the number of hours in a day?
To find out more read Part 2
I have learnt that the answer lies within me! After years of striving after things to satisfy my insatiable materialistic, consumeristic, westernized nature; I have discovered that my quest has been in vain and my bank balance at times has hurt! I have learnt that despite what I was brought up to believe, despite what the world tells me, despite what the media ceaselessly desires me to believe – I can be different! I can say no! And I do have a choice! OK my neighbours might think I’m off the wall, but then they think that already And it is indeed a challenge NOT to “keep up with the Jones’!” But it does not stem from rebellion or indeed failure, in spite of my previous confession! No! It stems from truth! For we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free!
The truth is that time is precious! Every moment counts!
Consider Song of Solomon 2:15
15 Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.
Often we focus on what we cannot do, what we cannot have, what we cannot achieve, what we cannot buy, what we cannot see; we’re plagued in this world by “the grass is always greener on the other side!” philosophy. And if you can’t taste it over there, acquire as much for yourself as possible because “you’re worth it too”!
Yet, this does nothing than breed dissatisfaction, strife, envy and even promote ill-gotten gain. In addition to giving us permission to be blameless and still ruthlessly judge and envy others, whilst taking no responsibility for our own actions!
But what of the “little foxes” that this passage speaks of?
Whilst we remain steadfast and resolute in defending ourselves and blaming everyone else, we often fail to grasp the little moments we have that can make a difference! We are so busy on the lookout for the mass invasion; we stand in the watchtower and fail to see the little foxes that unreservedly destroy our crop!
Here’s an example: Did you know that someone once calculated that in 75years the average person spends 6months watching television adverts! That “little fox” doesn’t seem so little anymore does it!
But I said the answer was in “me”, so where’s the “me” in that? All I suggested you do is switch off the television, right? Well, truth is it might not be a bad idea!
But no, actually I’m trying to make a point that if you want something enough, and look hard enough, you will find a moment or two here and there. And if you practice looking out for these moments, you’ll discover more of them.
Yet how does one be happy in the space of an advert break?
First of all, decide what you want to do! Look at what you have to do, and no matter what you are doing, whether by choice or demand, make the decision to go all out for what you’re doing in that moment –
If it’s time to weep, weep hard. If it’s time to rejoice, rejoice with all your heart. If it’s time to work, work with all your heart, with all your energy, as unto the Lord. If it’s time to take a break and celebrate, then take a break and celebrate. But whatever you do, if it’s God’s time for that in your life, enter into that moment fully.
Do not grieve over the lack or limitation but rejoice over the opportunity, however small, before that moment is gone, that opportunity missed, that advert played, and that purpose evaded.
The purpose of our life no longer should revolve around the pursuit of happiness, but rather happiness love and passion, should be what drives our pursuit and purpose in life! After all, it was His passion that led Jesus to the cross.