Reformation and Renewal.

If you have not already done so, I am sure that one day you will look back over your life and recognise, that the greatest blessings of life were not pre-planned by you. They came as gifts from above and many were not always recognisable as blessings to begin with. We all love to be in control, as we find change to be discomforting. It gets in the way of all our carefully laid plans. We all just want things to get back to ‘normal’. But what if our ‘normal’ is so far below God’s best for us, that He is not at all disturbed by the changes!
This week I read again David’s account, of how He had killed a lion and a bear that had attacked his flock. I was struck by how he recounted chasing down the predator and killing it and yet he described those victories as “the Lord rescued me” (1Samuel 17:37). The appearance of the Lion and the Bear, to kill, steal and destroy, initially looked like events that would lead to loss, discouragement and despair, but they became in fact the foundation for David’s life; “God is with me!”
Notice that believing God was with him, didn’t leave David on his knees praying about the Bear and the Lion! Rather it caused him to run after them and take back what had been stolen. The grace of God, His presence in us, is not given that we would live our lives as spectators, as if we had no more control over what is happening to us, than we would have over a drama we are watching on TV. Leaving the safety of his camp to run into the dark, didn’t feel to David like he was leaving the presence of God behind, but rather that he was running deeper into the life of Emmanuel (God with us).
I believe that one day many of us will look back at our lives and recognise that at times when things appeared to be taken from us, these were opportunities to grow in the revelation that “God is with me”.
Church, now is not a time to try and figure out how we can get back to our plans for safety, but to rise up in the knowledge that wherever we go, He is with us. There are victories to be experienced that cannot be known in the camp, but out in the field. In Christ, we have all we need for the season we are in and that includes each other. One of the most powerful manifestations of God with us, is sharing the life of the saints around us, carrying each other’s burdens and letting others carry us and inspire us, for none of us can reach our calling alone.
Yes, God wants our prayers to be answered, but what we want Him to do FOR us, He has always desired to do WITH us. We have His Spirit, not so as we can tell Him what He knows already, but so that we can speak with His voice into this world and into each other. Prophecy isn’t so much foretelling as forthtelling, speaking forth the things that cannot be seen; eternal things, such as the grace and purpose given to us in Christ from before the foundation of this world (2Tim.1:9,10) It is through the speaking forth of these truths into our own lives and those of others, that the Spirit brings order out of chaos and light out of darkness!
I want to encourage you to look up. We are living at a time in history that folk will look back on one day, as a time of reformation and renewal of the Church. Jesus told His disciples that they were to carry very little with them, as they set out into this world proclaiming the Kingdom. (Luke 9:1-6). It was as if He was saying; “To proclaim the Kingdom as enough, in power, then you must live as if the Kingdom IS enough! You must live fully in the day you are in, experiencing my grace as sufficient for that day”. (Matt.6:11)
As we live through the discomfort of not having solid plans and dates for the coming weeks or months, don’t miss the gift that is being presented to us; the opportunity to grow in the power of the Kingdom; the life of living fully in the day you are in! If there are days when despair, or frustration, or fear from lack of knowing the future threatens to overwhelm you, then on that day pick up the phone and start to minister to someone and I promise you that as you set off into the dark, you will become aware of His presence ministering to you and through you, for your call and His grace in your life, was always for you to run toward giants, not away from them.
Remember that in this season, multitudes in our communities are now intimidated by the giant of anxiety and despair. You only have to live in confidence and rest before them, to stand out as David did, among 40,000 others who stood before Goliath. This does not mean that we have to prove our faith by refusing what the world offers. David said that He struck the Lion. He didn’t say that he put his head in its mouth! As one friend said to me, “I take precautions, but I do it in faith, not fear.”
Be encouraged Church. You were made for such a time as this. The world is running out of resources to tackle the challenges of this season, but the Church has barely scratched the surface of her resources in Christ. We are living in the best days of our lives and they only get better in Christ!

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