Obadiah’s dilemma.

In 1st Kings 18, Obadiah, a righteous man, voiced a fear to the Prophet Elijah. Elijah has told him to go to King Ahab, who has been searching for Elijah for years, and tell him, “Elijah is here.” Obadiah expresses his fear  that the Spirit of God will take Elijah off somewhere else so that when Ahab comes looking for Elijah, he won’t be there anymore. The consequences for Obadiah could be severe! However, he is given the assurance that Elijah will indeed appear before Ahab that very day.

Obadiah understood this: the wind of God’s Spirit blows where He wills and can catch people up as He does so, setting them down again where neither they nor others could ever predict. He can do that phsyically, or spiritually to a person.

These thoughts that came to me this evening, set me thinking about a familiar verse in John’s Gospel in what will be an unfamiliar translation to most of us:

“The Spirit where he willeth doth blow, and his voice thou dost hear, but thou hast not known whence he cometh, and whither he goeth; thus is every one who hath been born of the Spirit.” ( John 3 verse 8 in Young’s Literal Translation)

There is unsearchable, inexplicable mystery at the heart of being born again, or born from above. Regeneration is not under our control. I wonder though if there is something in this verse that would speak to us of a principle in born again living , not simply in born again beginnings: are you and I willing to be like a leaf in the wind of the Spirit? Or having been born anew beyond our control, do we then seek to harness the wind of God’s Spirit to our to our convenience, control or commanding rather than be blown not knowing whither, save that we trust the Father by whose love and will we were conceived is working out His loving will in us day by day, moment by moment?

Life in the Spirit is not  always “safe.”  It may be that from time to time, in our lives, we need to tear down the idol of safety and predictability. It has a remarkable way of setting itself up again and again.

God Bless

Kenny

The ancient path to victory today…

Henri Nouwen’s writings have helped me more than any other since I took unwell. I am grateful for his insight into the Passion of Jesus Christ: the word Passion means “undergoing” and is related to the word “passive.”

Have you ever noticed that Jesus’ glory burst forth at the point where he was betrayed and bound? From that point in the story onwards there is a change. Prior to this Jesus was the one who did things: he healed, he delivered, he taught, he took the bread and likewise the cup, he handed over the sop to Judas, he took a basin, girded himself with a towel and knelt and washed his disciples feet. But now he is the one who has things done to him, all of them unjust. He is the one who is betrayed, wrongly accused, flogged and crucified. He could have called legions of angels but he did not and would not, for his delight was to do the Father’s will. Jesus knew this was the beginning of the Father answering his prayer to glorify him that he might glorify the Father. At the precise moment that his Passion, his undergoing, his passivity begins, His glory is revealed in a mighty way. He announces that He is “I AM” and the glory of God is made manifest causing all around him to fall back, fall down.

This day you may be undergoing things you would prefer were different. Can you believe as you walk trustingly and obediently to the God who is working out His will in your life, even using the wickdness of man and the hatred of the evil one to do so, the glory of God can break through in you in a way visible to all?

Did you pray a prayer for the glory of God to be revealed in your life? Well Jesus prayed that prayer too. But remember how the asnwer unfolded for him…

Perhaps you and I will need help from heaven this very day to receive this truth and live in its victory.

God Bless

Kenny

Old or Ancient?

Today I was remembering being at a conference in Skye back in the late 90’s. I met many wonderful people there who gave me more than I gave them. The memories are very sweet…

One of the greatest blessings of that whole time was the times of worship led by Dave Bilbrough. As I think of Kingdom Gathering happening on Skye this weekend (almost  20 years after the days I am remembering), under the leadership of that wonder of grace, Stevie Boyle, I find myself thinking of a line from a Dave Bilbrough song, “In these days of Impartation…” 

“Make me a prophet of my God not a king of nostalgia…”

There is all the difference in the world between asking God for the ancient paths, which we are to do, and wishing simply for old days we have enjoyed to return again.

I simply offer more words from the above mentioned song in the hope that they will bless those of us who are seeking a fresh touch from the God who is who He has always been and who does what He has always done.

In these days of impartation
I want to carry Your Spirit Lord
You have weakened me over all these years
Now I’m ready to hear Your call
Sometimes I don’t see clearly
There are shadows all around
But I’ll follow this voice that is leading me on
I’m heading up not going down

Give me dreams that shape tomorrow
Give me vision for today
‘Cause I’m tired of duplicating
All my old familiar ways
I’m not a captive of my past
But I believe I have a future
Make me a prophet of the Lord my God
Not a king of nostalgia

Don’t let my pride or reputation
Hold me back from seeking more
For there are many who have looked at the ocean
But never gone beyond the shore
It’s a time of new beginnings
Where You’re preparing me for change
Lord do something new within me now
So that I’ll never be the same again

God bless

Kenny

 

Monday Morning Blues?

My pastoral advice for some of you this Monday morning? “Get out of your head today.”

No, not an ivitation to get drunk! Rather an invitation to get out of living in the world of your own thoughts. It is so easy to get trapped there, especially if there are unresloved conflicts in our lives or we are struggling with anxiety or whatever. Our thoughts can become our world.

Has it been a while since you noticed the grass is green or the sky is blue? Has it been a while since you registered a breeze on your face or looked into the jewellery of the night sky and marvelled? Has it been a while since you gave any true attention to what others are saying to you? Has it been some time since you opened the bible and allowed its truths to stretch your thoughts into the mind of Christ and bring you the scent of a Kingdom other than the small but jam-packed and intense world inside your head?

I do pray that you may indeed get out your head today. It may be you will even find time and space to get together with a Christian friend or two and get out of your heads together!.

God Bless

Kenny

Sunday afternoon retired rumination….

Just a throw away thought as I think about the church circles that I have been nost used to church wise, namely evangelical/charismatic:

It is good to think about why a bible text is given as it is and not use it to prove our already existent point of view or force it to back up our agendas and priorities. For example the gospels were not written to prove everyone gets healed today. We may believe that, but it was not the purpose for which the gospels were written. Nor were they written that we might know how to gain material prosperity or success or influence in the business world , nor were they written to justify bizarre ministry practices – e.g. based on Jesus smearing mud on somebody!

We seem to have a very keen ability to find a text to justify and back up everything we think ( 3 fingers pointing back at moi!), but that does not mean that what we are advocating is biblical. Quoting a text along with its reference does not mean we have the backing of the bible any more than a church where the bible is preached accurately means that church is a biblical church.

Word of warning while I am in this sort of mode: if somebody you are listening to teaching the bible thinks they have seen something about a biblical text that no one has seen before in the history of bible interpretation, it is probably wrong. I have heard some ministers actually say, “What I am going to tell you is something that no one has seen before. It is something that God has been teaching me personally.” Sometimes they will spout the most ridiculous nonsense about Hebrew or Greek to back up their point, usually preceded by a phrase, “Watch this! Watch what I am going to show you here. Watch this now!” Usually the material that is given a build up to expect a dramatic rocket type firework to explode into life and colour is more like a damp squib despite dramatic build up at the start and the asked for clapping and Hallelujahs at the end.

Reformation type Scriptural “Breakthrough” moments are relatively rare… Heresies claiming biblical revelation have been common place and continue to be so….

God Bless

Kenny

“There’s a van outside my house…the driver isgetting out…they’re carrying something…wonder what it is…”

“Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people.” (Luke 9:16)

“Jesus kept giving…so the disciples could distribute…” The miracle is always the Work of the hand of Jesus, the Son of God. Disciples’ hands distribute in His Name.

Every true ministry happening this day is really just a distribution and delivery service, whether it be local ot international. Remembering the distinction between who gives in the origin and source sense  and who distributes,  might help close the gap between grand proclamations and the works of God actually being made manifest among and through His people.

I always feel excited when a van driver arrives outside my house, parcel in hand….

God Bless

Kenny

Thoughts on the “in” theme of “out…”

Thoughts on “Comfort Zone” goading in pastoring and preaching;

If you are preaching tomorrow/today and thinking of telling folk committed by Jesus to your care to come out of their comfort zone (a bit of a repetitive and tiring “in” theme in some circles at the moment), make sure you are inviting them to step by faith and obedience into God’s ways and not simply inviting them to come out of their comfort zone into yours…

If you are “in the pews” listening tomorrow/today don’t give up your comfort zone too easily even though there is an impassioned plea to do so by someone you want to honour. It may be your comfort zone is your zone of anointing which you are not meant to leave for anybody, though it is good – if a bit scary – to take further steps of obedience and trust within the zone of our anointing sometimes if fresh life is to flourish there.

For example, I believe one of my anointings or callings is in the area of preaching and teaching. Over the years, from time to time, God has invited me to make changes in the way I preach, presented to me fresh steps He wanted me to take in these areas, steps I knew I could not take without His help. I had to step out of my comfort zone within the zone of my anointing, or take steps out of my comfort zone to move deeper into my comfort zone where more life was waiting to blossom. Hope that makes sense!

God Bless

Kenny

Gentleness

Came across this quote in the introduction to a book I have been reading to my great blessing these last few days: “Hebridean Altars, The Spirit of an Island Race, ” by Alistair Maclean: I had already read a fair bit of the book but then my eye caught this in the ‘Acknowledgments’ at the start of the book, which I confess I had not read:

“Whoever brings a gentle mind to what is written here, may He bless, who loves us all, and as they read, may each catch a vision of  The One Face.”

I find that profoundly beautiful.  It is worth thinking about not only in regard to the way we read, but in the way we listen to people, react, think etc. It is perhaps a good thing that we are taught in secular education and also in the best churches to weigh things up, to have a critical mind in the best and most positive sense of that word. However, speaking for myself I find that sometimes my critical faculty is so switched on that it actually stops me hearing fully and understanding accurately what a person is saying, or what I am reading. I have failed to give to the writer or the speaker the full courtesy of believing they are saying what they are saying for good and genuine reason, and so proper listening is dulled by the exercise of the critical mind. Surprise surprise! When I am like that, I don’t benefit as much as I might if I approached listening, reading, thinking from the place of having a gentle spirit married to a mind that weighs things up.

I tried to go through this day with a gentle mind. It pays dividends. It leads to greater satisfaction, less inner turmoil, less tension with a book or a person, or a situation,  more hearing, greater understanding, fresh insight, more love, less antagonism.

Why not try the experiment with me? Listen with gentleness. It makes life and thought and speech more pleasant.

God bless

Kenny

 

I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star….

In days of better health when I was involved in Conference speaking, I discovered that some speakers had an A4 page of requirements that they expected to be be met. In fact some had more than an A4 page. Have to say, I don’t get it, I just don’t get it… I did request that someone would pick me up and take me to the venue, that I would be fed and that I would have somewhere to sleep: these 3 conditions were not always met, but where they were not, there was the occasional miracle, which was, as they say, “Cool” even “Awesome!”. God is good. HIs people are not perfect, but they usually mean well and do their best. Mind you five days without a meal was mystifying to say the least….

Sometimes in the purposes of God, you may have a higher profile than is usual for you, even if just for a time. If God is giving you a wider profile at this moment try and not behave like a “star.” It’s not nice to be around… Just do your job as an obedient servant, meek before God and the people who invited you and get back home to folk who really know you, who really love you, who could soon put the record straight about the “star” but never do… get back to broken washing machines, teenage scowls, normal meals, reheated left overs, reminders about household jobs outstanding, standing in queues just like every other mortal: get back to real life and real love, the most real you with the always real Jesus. He and those who love you most know the wounds that sometimes you cover up by receiving and welcoming the star treatment. He and those who love you most know about the wounds of your truest servanthood too.

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

(Amy Carmichael)

 

God Bless

Kenny

 

For what it’s worth… this is what I have found….

An operating principle of mine over the years that I think somebody needs to hear: it may be many of you will disagree with what I write below. That is fine. it means this thought is not for you, so don’t bother expressing your disagreement or putting me right, I politely ask. As I say, I feel this is for somebody, particularly somebody who feels a step they are about to take makes a purpose they have sensed in God seem less likely to happen:

Never make decisions based on possible advantages to your calling; make decisions based on obedience to God’s will and somehow doors and opportunities in terms of calling will not be a problem… I knew from an early age that part of God’s will for me was to go to other countries to preach although my prime calling was to be a minister in the Church of Scotland. Stronsay and Thurso seemed odd choices if I believed that, but they were the will of God. God knows where you stay. Just obey and trust. Obscurity of place is no obstacle for the purposes of grace.

God Bless

Kenny

Urgent Prayer Request…

Before you go to sleep tonight, I want to ask for your prayers.  Tonight sitting in an evening service  The Holy Spirit highlighted  for me  in a very direct and immediate way the the fact that many Christians in Scotland live under the threat and the actuality of Physical violence within their own homes.

I have heard many testimonies which speak of difficult backgrounds of violence in the home. Very aware tonight that for some people that is a continuing part of their experience even after conversion. Some after worshipping with you tonight will have returned home to situations that are very unsafe, where violence is a reality. Indeed you may be the one who has returned home after worshipping to such a situation. So strongly remind by the Spirit of God tonight of that simple horrific fact.

In simple faith, will you join with me to pray for anyone in your fellowship who may be living in such a reality, that God would prevent physical harm from being perpetrated this very night? (Please don’t “comment” that there are other types of harm. Indeed there are, but it is physical violence the Lord highlighted by His Spirit to me tonight and therefore I am highlighting it for you to pray about.) If you are in such a reality yourself I think I can promise you that somebody will be praying for you this very night.

God Bless those who need such prayer, and God bless you in your praying.

Kenny

Preaching today? This word could be for you more than for anyone else…

One of these “word for somebody” things: Hard to explain but I just have a knowing in my knower when certain things I share are something above and beyond me sharing….

You are feeling a disatisfaction with the way you preach. You know you have a skill to skim stones across the surface of the water, across the surface of a text, a skill that brings laughter and admiration from those who watch you, but you long for more.

I believe God would say that your skimming stones has blessed people, brought life and happiness, but the disatisfaction you feel does indeed come from Him. It is not there to make you dismiss all your preaching to date as failure. Lightness of touch is not wrong. It can and does bless people and some could learn that touch from you to their benefit and to the benefit of the flock entrusted to their care. Rather, your dis-ease is there as God’s invitation to take others into the waters that you yourself have tasted but held back from ministering in.

You have been on deeper waters yourself and looked into them with awe.You have glimpsed limitless love, limitless power, limistless wisdom, limitless faithfulness, a limitless unfaltering purposefulness, and never altering righteousness and holiness and mercy. You have met with God. “We speak of what we know.” Speak of what you know of the unchanging God of the Bible who is the God of your experience too.

God got you on to these waters. He can get others there too. Just be a witness to speak of what you have seen and heard. Speak of what you know…. it will help some to long to swim where they cannot feel ground beneath their feet, to siwm in a place where they cannot feel or see an edge or bank to hold on to, to be in an open sea, where they are aware of movement around them and underneath them over which they have no control and is beyond their knowledge.

Some are longing for that place where they are out of their depth in God. They need to hear from you that their longing is not a longing after a spiritual fantasy that does not exist. Tell them such a place is there, a place where your only hope of surviving and living in God is God Himself who draws near in Jesus Christ.

God Bless

Kenny

Deep calls to Deep….

Well, if you have not guessed it by now, I am a Presbycharicostal Christian if you must use terms. I guess that means I am a mongrel of sorts, but sometimes they are very healthy dogs remember!

Anyway, there are things about many strands of Christian expression that have blessed my mongrel make up over the years. From time to time I come across something that gels extra well with the deepest places in me that I am aware of. Today I came across a Prayer and the explanation for it, that I dare to say touched something of my Redeemed Scottish being, that is the best I can desribe the matter.

The Prayer:

“Thou art our Father, therefore our strength and light. Of which we, who are now at the chair of Thy grace, ask for a portion, so that we may have power to do Thy will, even though it be a cross.”

The explanation:

“From a prayer – once her husband’s – of a widowed woman who lived in the Island of Mull. This heart-cry broke from her every evening when she and her four children knelt together at the feet of God.”

(From “Hebridean Altars, The Spirit of and Island Race,” by Alistair Maclean.)

Thank you Lord, for our Heritage of faith. May we not despise it; may  a generation arise of all ages who find and open the wells  from which our fathers and mothers – and theirs and theirs and theirs and theirs  – drank in faith, humility and meekness and were rewarded on earth with an inheritance in you that is so  easily traded away.  Amen.

God bless

Kenny

Thoughts on seasons….

One aspect of our  five or so years living on the island of Stronsay in Orkney that took me a wee while to adjust to, was the way you could experience the weather of all four seasons – plus an added few not in the calendar –  on one and the same day!

Spiritual life has its seasons as well. I read a couple of words describing life in a beautiful book called “Hebridean Altars” a few days; “changeful way…” It led me to put a couple of thoughts on Facebook today which I repeat here in my blog.

In my darkest season, quite a few years ago now, God made promises to me and showed me the process by which they would come about. They were very clear. He fulfilled them all. His voice lacked hype. It was just a plain forth-telling of the difficulties and opportunities that were about to break upon me. He spoke of suffering that it was His will I endure and fruit that would come from it. He asked not for great faith to clear the former out of the picture nor complicated processes to ensure the latter. He just asked for my “Yes, Lord.” Nothing more than that and more specifically a “Yes, Lord,” to this: His delight in me, regardless of human favour or its lack  had to be  sufficient for me. He asked me to offer my acceptance without the need for any further explanation of that point. I had such a strong sense that on that occasion, unlike other occasions, asking for further explanation would not be favourably regarded. Just saying what I experienced.  I am sharing in this way  that so I can say this: Not one of the Lord’s good promises has failed.

While I am taking about seasons, here is something else I found myself thinking today: “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places,” and “Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord” are in the same song book. Actually quite often it is right that we find ourselves not singing from the same hymn sheet. May God help us to live our season well. “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. “ (James 5: 13 – 15.)

Let’s not demand others live in the same season as we may be in. Don’t be a party pooper of their joy, or be annoyed when their sadness rains on your parade. Try as best to encoruage them in their season even as you live your own. “Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.”Remember too, seasons come and seasons go. Each season has  its own blessing and  can yield beauty in its time. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Oh yes, that phrase, “Changeful Way…” Let me finish with the beautiful prayerful expression  of freindship and trust from which these words come:

“Saviour and Friend, how wonderful art Thou! My companion upon the changeful way, The comforter of its weariness.My guide to the Eternal town. The Welcome at its gate.”

God Bless

Kenny

 

Sharing the joy from the beach…

Some more thoughts from the beach…Oyster Catchers and smoke alarms  needing their batteries replaced sound very similar…just thought I would share that discovery with you all… Also I have been trying to work out whether six poodles I saw having the time of their lives were running or flying by their ears….

Whatever sort of day you are having I pray you might notice something that will allow you and Jesus to smile and laugh together… like He and I did when a black Lab ran 200 yards across the sand to meet me like a long lost friend, sat quietly on my feet, looking out to sea with me and then lay down on the sand for a tummy tickle… and when an older dog breathlessly waddled 20 yards to do the same…. the owners seemed genuinely surprised and amazed and confused at their dogs’ behaviour…can’t prove it to you but I was singing a made up song in tongues at the time..I think the dogs were a sort of God thing happening…

God Bless you with simple and lovely  “happenings” that make you happy.  Oh yes, I know, I know, don’t bother writing to me to tell me it is “Joy” that endures that a Christian should treasure, happiness depends on what is happening and comes and goes etc… sigh, sigh, sigh! Poodles, Labs, other unidentifiable doggie mixtures with wagging tails, well we will just have to agree to disagree with you today on the austerity of your theology…

I was reminded of a poem about thankfulness that I wrote a while back, inspired by other dogs on another beach and the story of the one thankful leper out of 10  healed by Jesus on an occasion recorded for us in the gospels… Just sign off now if you don’t like poetry (I won’t know and I would not be offended if I did!). In fact, come to think of it,  skip it if you really do like poetry, for this follows no rules, follows nothing but my own thoughts. It makes me happy to write such things and to remember…

Fractions

For eight-some reels
And twin making waters,
For swimming dogs
And staggering toddlers,
For day-shared thoughts
And songs in the darkness…

Thanks rise … from where to where?

Internal Evangelist
Mostly despised
One falls to the floor,
a leper no more
Nine dance through the door
Eighteen darkened eyes.

God Bless

Kenny

Addiction to sadness?

Was greatly helped by God through a simple word from His Word this morning. Yesterday was a glorious day, weather wise, as warm and bright as mid summer . I was thanking God for all His blessings as I walked on a beach, when a familiar shadow began to settle on me. I am not sure if it comes from being a pastor for many years and hearing so many stories of people’s struggles and pains or if it is just an awareness of the injustices that so many face throughout the world, but from time to time the thought of human pains seem to settle upon me in a way that makes it difficult to continue rejoicing: it would feel selfish, unfeeling, to continue with happiness, enjoying the beauty of the moment.

To cut a long story short, I asked God to help me. Today I picked up David Strutt’s book, “Sanctuary” and turned to the back pages to find the Scripture reading for the day. It was Acts Chapter 9. I read this word: “Meanwhile…” My prayer on the beach was answered. I was helped. Acts Chapter 8 tells us the story of a wonderful move of God in Samaria and a conversion on a desert road that opened up the possibility of the gospel spreading to another nation, namely Ethiopia. Glorious spiritual sunshine! Then the word, “Meanwhile…” At the same time as the glorious events in Samaria and a desert road, there were still murderous threats being breathed against the church.

“Meanwhile’ reminded me of the “Already here but not yet” of the Kingdom. Blessing and struggle, deliverance and waiting, well, they are like parallel tracks on the bigger scale and in the bigger scene of the worlds’s happenings: they seem to go hand in hand. There is always the “meanwhile” of conflicting experience to my own happening somewhere. Indeed, even in our own life, there can be an experience of “meanwhile” happening; great blessing in one aspect of life but great struggle in another area at one and the same moment. There is almost always a “meanwhile” going on. It is the way it is…

I resolved this morning, to live the moment with God and receive God’s good gifts with joy and enjoy them fully. Sunny days, both in the ordinary sense and in the spiritual sense, are good  and should be enjoyed fully and without guilt. If for some reason you are someone who feels for the struggles of others in an acute way, remind yourself you are still allowed to know joy and laughter. Don’t get addicted to sorrow and sadness. When happiness from God knocks at the door, don’t push it down. Allow it in. Let it run riot in every room and rush after it and play with it in the sun.

At times our “meanwhile” will be “Out of the depths I call to Thee…” at other times it will be, “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” It is the same for others. Live your “meanwhile” well, and help others to live theirs too as you have the opportunity. Remember though, you are not their Saviour and they are not yours.

God bless

Kenny

Thoughts from a cave…

I loved being in the cave of St. Fillan in Pitenweem earlier today.  I managed the walk down to the cave reasonably easily but the climb back up was a different story in terms of my lungs.  That is an understatement: I felt so wiped out! However I don’t regret the struggle at all.

There are stories of miracles associtated with St. Fillan which I guess we can never fully prove or disprove. Somehow though as I spent time in the cave meditating a bit and praying, I found myself mulling over some  familiar thoughts.

Whatever we make of the storeis of miracles surrounding St. Fillan, it is clear from the bible that God works wonders. I would hazard a  guess that much preaching that happens in churches on Sundays is to try and help people believe in God when He seems to be silent and not obviously active. Such teaching can be very helpful however I cannot help but wonder if there is a need to redress the balance. We need to believe  with equal clarity and conviction that God is a God of wonders, a God  who really does do great and mighty deeds.

I was given a present of a five year journal for Daily Reflection  for my birthday,  “Living Well One Line A Day.”  It is a journal type of book but entries are to be limited in length  to one or perhaps two written lines a day. . The book makes suggestions  in its opening pages as to what could be included in such daily entries. Fo rmyself though, I think I will use it  in this way: out of all the many houghts I have every day, what short sentence would sum up the truth I feel I don’t want to forget because it carries “Life” within it? After visiting St. Fillan’s cave in Fife I wrote this:

“I want to read the bible with this in mind: God is who He has always been and is doing what He has always done ( as John Paul Jackson said at CLAN Gathering).”  I want to believe for the Action of God.”

I simply leave that with you to mull over should you wish so to do.

God Bless

Keny

Birthday thoughts from the beach…

I think I should be allowed a mystical thought on my birthday.

Was walking on the beach. Later on was remembering the walk in a quiet moment in God’s presence. Saw a divine hand coming down and picking up a thread from the sand. As the thread was pulled, flags started to be drawn up from beneath the sands, flag by flag, until there were hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, indeed an inumerable number all strung together like celebratory bunting.

Do you know that one day your story and walk of faith will adorn the proclaiming of Jesus as Lord in a beautiful way? Some of these flags on the bunting were marked by bright laughter. Other flags were shining with a light that sparkled through tear drops. Such contrasts were obvious as I had walked on the beach; laughing children, people deep in thought, a lonely lady (a widow?) sitting on a bench and looking out to sea with her memories as her dearest bittersweet companion.

Your story and walk of faith is not forgotten. What a day it will be when all these diverse stories will be honoured, and rise from the sands of time to cry “Jesus is Lord!” So much sand on the seashore. So many stories. One Lord trusted, who has treasured our joys and gathered our tears in a bottle..

I should be allowed an eccentric thought on my birthday should I not?? Chidren and dogs on the beach reminded me of this old Shaker hymn. Love it even more  when I learned that it was maybe originally a dance!!! (Info from Wikepedia!)

“Simple Gifts” was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Several Shaker manuscripts indicate that this is a “Dancing Song” or a “Quick Dance.” “Turning” is a common theme in Christian theology, but the references to “turning” in the last two lines have also been identified as dance instructions. When the traditional dance is performed properly, each dancer ends up where he or she began, “come ’round right.”

Hope you have a great day coming down to where you ought to be. That’s the only way to be lifted up to where you belong!

Tis a gift to be eccentric too!! Make my birthday complete by allowing me to imagine some of you dancing this out in your own living room!

 

God Bless

Kenny

Let me explain…

For some reason I am thinking about Church leaders who are seeking to humbly lead congregations into renewal. I am not prioritising such ventures above pioneering ventures, it is just that I have no experience in starting something from scratch and my ministry has always been in already existing congregations. In that setting I have always sought to listen and to follow the Holy Spirit and tried to encourage as many as possible on that journey. For me that has meant being willing to not rush ahead with those who “get it” fastest. Do that, and you get an enthusiastic fringe and a dissatisfied and Fire resistant congregation when with patience it could have been otherwise.

When I say all this I am not talking about hampering the Holy Spirit at all. I am rather thinking about times when the Holy Spirit has moved in fresh ways in my experience within the mix that makes up a typical Church of Scotland congregation. Such times required explanation. I have never felt the need to defend God even when there are unusual manifestations of His activity and presence. However, I have often felt the need to explain. Peter did something like that on the day of Pentecost. He explained what was happening by reference to the Scriptures. That explanation was part of a day that saw thousands coming to faith and being baptised.

How does this work in practice? Well, some examples. Often over the years I have felt there comes a moment when God wants to give a prophetic word. It does not offend the Holy Spirit to give an explanation of what is happening when there are people there who may not be familiar with that sort of thing. Hopefully will enable more people to benefit from what is happening rather than being confused by what is happening. Sometimes when I knew the Holy Spirit was resting upon a song or a silence or whatever, I would just give an explanation as to why we were pausing at that moment, altering the order of service or whatever. On another occasion I invited someone to minister through whose hands the most beautiful fragrant oil would flow. Explanation meant such an unusual manifestation of the Holy Spirit was well received and a blessing. When we keep knowledge of what is happening to ourselves or the fringe supporters who get it, well knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Mind you, I don’t want to give to rosy a picture. There have been people who opposed what I felt was God and continued to do so all the time I knew them. It will be the same for you, whoever you are, however skilful and loving a leader you may seek to learn to be.

I have made mistakes over the years in my pastoring and leadership, of course I have. I am not blowing my own trumpet here by any means. I just have the feeling that a few people reading this who are involved in ministry or leadership of one sort or another need to hear what I am trying to say from my heart in a stumbling way: be humble enough to give explanation; it will not dampen the Holy Spirit or quench His fire; it may help more people to make moves along a path of renewal who otherwise would just have left confused and uninvolved. Get rid of needless mystification that people might encounter the true mysteries and wonders of God.

So, don’t take lack of involvement or response as always indicating resistance to you or to the Holy Spirit.  Never apologise for or defend the action of God but be humble enough to explain in as far as explanation can be given. Oh it can mean at times the path can be a bit frustratingly slow, but it is Christ like to seek to take many with you into the good things of God. It is a sort of tiny reflection of Jesus will one day get all of his flock into  His Father’s house, saying with joy, “Well here I am Father. And look, here are all the children you have given me. Not one of them is missing!” Some of those He gets there will be at this moment among those we have perhaps classified as dead wood.

Anyway, just some thoughts I wished I had thought earlier on in my ministry and with greater conviction than I did.

God bless

Kenny

God bless your dreams…

Read Pharaoh’s dreams today as the reading in David Strutt’s beautiful book, “Sanctuary: Moments in His Presence” which I commend to you if you are loking for a daily devotional type book. Pharaoh’s dreams are a Hebrew student’s dream of a translation exercise! The same story repeated again and again and again! Seriously now: recurrent dreams are interesting. They can mean a few different things. It can mean you are seeing something that is more like a vision of something that is going to happen: it is fixed. What God is showing you will indeed happen. It can also mean there is an insight you need to learn and have not got hold of yet, a victory you need to win but have not won yet.

I used to have a couple of recurrent dreams that seemed to conincide with singificant onward moves in God’s purposes. One of them showed an insecurity with God that He wanted to do something about. That one recurred every so often for about 20 years or more until it was brought to an end by a prophetic word through Jim Graham and a fresh encounter with the Father’s love. The other recurred over a few months and showed a fear that only went when I envetually stayed in the dream and confronted and unseen enemy in the Name of Jesus Christ. I woke up in a cold sweat but rejoicing! Victory in Christ! The result was a time of great blessing and persecution started to roll out.

Dreams matter. I am not sure we pay them sufficient attention in spiritual life. I don’t think I have been paying sufficient attention. Looking now for a new light up pen to make notes of what I dream about when I wake up through the night, instead of trusting it to memory!

God Bless

Kenny

#spiritualdreams
#visions
#GodSpeaksThroughDreams

Some wee snacks for you

Dear Word Press followers. Have put together in this blog various bits and pieces of my Facebook activity from today for you to take a look at. Pick and choose!

 

1:The strengthening truth behind “there is nothing I can do to make God love me more and nothing I can do to make Him love me less” that blessed the church with release from condemnation and religious legalism for years when It was first penned and proclaimed with joy, can become a tool in the hand of the devil to immobilise the armies of God and render our witness to grace and to the Saviour of the World and liberator of human beings ineffective. Well, if Satan can twist the truth of Scripture, he can certainly do it with our soundbites.

 

2:Reading Hebrews 7 and 8 today. Alarmed still at false understanding of the grace that has come to us in Christ being popularised today by voices of powerful influence. The aim of the Old and New Covenants is the same according to the Scriptures: a people walking in obedience to the Living God out of gratefulness for all He is and has done by His redeeming love being His light in the world: impossible when all that is on offer to help us is works of the law and commandments unmet by inner willingness or power to obey: possible through the provision and power of the grace which appeared in Christ – the once and for all sacrifice on the cross and an eternally alive and interceding Priest.

 

3:If only we could stop theorising God, stop philosophising God and everything about Him be it grace or mission or a thousand and one other things; it leads to vanity and division on the whole despite the odd bit of good fruit here and there in smallish doses. Better to manifest Him in faithfulness to the Written Word of Scripture as incarnate in the Living Word, Jesus Christ, the Son of God…

 

4: What God has joined together let not man put asunder: Grace and truth? Repentance and forgiveness? Resurrection and the cross? Mercy and Judgement? Old and New Testament Scriptures? Holiness and Mission? Grace and Obedience? Personal faith and church commitment? Word and Spirit? Father Son and Holy Spiri?

 

5: The devil often quotes the bible to Christian believers in order to back up the lie he is hoping to get us to entertain or fondle. Test all things. Of course he does the same with non believers: “God is love” to back up all love must be God; grace verses to drown out repentance verses…

 

6: Prophetic Word or Scatter Brained Steroid talk? Well, it’s up to you to decide and to decide whether this if for you or someone else. Woke up earlier thinking someone needed this encouragement from God: “It can be hard to get rid of some bad smells. Remember though, their source is no longer present. Don’t be afraid or intimidated by the stubbornly persisting smell that lingers. Breathe the fresh air of a near and all pervasive heaven: there is a rose that blooms for you with rare fragrance.”

Hope some of this blesses you.

God bless

 

Kenny

Marriage according to God’s plan and purpose…

What God has joined together let not man put asunder: Grace and truth? Repentance and forgiveness? Resurrection and the cross? Mercy and Judgement? Old and New Testament? Holiness and Mission? Personal faith and church commitment? Word and Spirit? Father Son and Holy Spirit? Suffering and glory? Humility and divine indwelling?

No doubt you can add to this or for that matter may feel you want to subtract from it.  Let God guide the meditations of your heart.

God Bless

Kenny

Simply…slowly…softly…clearly….

Never self conscioulsy try to impress as a Christian minister (whatever your ministry may be)  in terms of content, learning, or delivery, though do not self consicoulsy hide any abilities God has given you. Those ready to meet the living God don’t need to be impressed. It won’t help those distant from God either though it may keep them comfortably far from Him.

1
Tell me the old, old story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love;
Tell me the story simply,
As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
And helpless and defiled.
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.
2
Tell me the story slowly,
That I may take it in—
That wonderful redemption,
God’s remedy for sin;
Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon,
The “early dew” of morning
Has passed away at noon.
3
Tell me the story softly,
With earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner
Whom Jesus came to save;
Tell me the story always,
If you would really be,
In any time of trouble,
A comforter to me.
4
Tell me the same old story,
When you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory
Is costing me too dear;
And when the Lord’s bright glory
Is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story:
“Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

 God bless

Kenny

Take care how you hear…

Always check your favourite writers, preachers, conference speakers align with the Word of God. No one gets it right all the time, not even your own much loved pastor or minister. Though they will have definite influence upon you that you are conscious of or unconscious to, don’t try and become them, don’t start to speak like them or copy their mannerisms. Their mannerisms are not their power and won’t be the power of God in you! Absorb their partial truth into your God created and redeemed self that it may help you become a unique channel of the Word of Life.

God bless

Kenny

 

At the end of the day….

When I feel as much wonder reading Jesus words as when I read of miracles I have truly met the one they called Jesus of Nazareth, now risen forevermore.

When I am as thankful for toasted cheese as for angelic rescue, I am learning that God is my God in all things

When God helps me sing songs in the night not just in the day when I can read the notes I am making first steps in the faith of Christ.

When I can say “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!” I am in good shape.

When I delight when God prefers someone over me, I might at last be ready to be used for His glory…

Heavenly angels are real and you have probably met them…

The majority of you who read my blogs will have met angels. I don’t mean human beings who “behave” as angels, wonderful blessing though that may be. I mean heavenly beings who appear as they appear in heaven or in human disguise. If in human appearance, probably we did not recognise them, though we may have wondered.

I think for example of a time when my friend who was disabled and myself went off the road in his adapted car. I got out the car, but he had to stay in the car which was in a ditch. Within less than two minutes an enormous man arrived on the scene. He said nothing to either of us. he simply got down in the ditch and with his bear/bare hands lifted the car out of the ditch on to the road again and then went on his way, still without saying a word. As far as I know I have only met heavenly angels on one or perhaps two other occasions.

I have found over the years that people from earlier generations than mine have remarkable stories to tell of divine encounnters, but are less at ease telling them than my generation or younger. Thinking tonight of Murdo from Thurso. Along with a fellow POW in Italy he made his escape one night. They simply ran towards the gate not really knowing what they would do. At the gate there was a very tall soldier in immaculate uniform. He sprang to attention saluted them both and then opened the gates for them and beckoned them through. Another few hundred yards away from the camp and they were greeted by two beautifuly dressed women, each carrying a basket of food, one for each of the prisoners. In the basket were all sorts of lovely fruit, including grapes. It was not the season for grapes. He didn’t say it, but I knew Murdo was trying to say he thought he and his fellow POW had met angels that night – not human agnels, but heavenly ones in human disguise. I think he did too.

May we become aware when angels have drawn near, flames of fire swift to do their master’s bidding, no less, no more. Please don’t warm me that in the bible there are those who got puffed up by such things and lost connection with the head, Jesus Christ.  I know that bible verse. Telling the odd angel story, or even the odd odd angel story now and then is hardly making a religion out of it all…

God bless.

Kenny

 

From survival (miracle enough!) to life in all its fullness…

OK then. Nothing new in this blog, but though some people may find my  topic  mix and choice random and scatter brained, I have to go with what I believe God gives me when He gives me it these days. Concentration is difficult for me, so I have to trust God in the immediate moment and “put it out there” when something comes to be that I believe is to help others via this blog. The result is a soup of a few hundred blogs at revkennyblog.com constantly ready to eat, which you can taste from as little or as much as you choose whenever you wish. I trust God the right ones will find their way to the right people on the right day. Simple faith!

I was thinking about how when we are at the receiving end of  a nasty, humiliating or vicious  comment, however that comment comes,  be it public or private, the  effect can last for days. Being a Christian helps us through that process, but it does not eradicate the process, as being a Christian helps us to be more human and humane and to feel more keenly rather than making us less human or robotic or stoic.

Well, this seemed to be the thought God gave me as a useful one to carry to wherever you gather with other beleivers this weekend. If one comment can affect us so much, what about when someone has faced continual comments every day throughout their childhood and young adult life? What about someone living in an abusive marriage where confidence dstroying and humiliating comments are deviously slipped into conversation in heavy doses? What about someone who is carrying the dark shadow of bullying all through their school years?

I had this awareness earlier: some of us who are keen on seeing church grow and mission happen can become frustrated when we see people in church who seem to contirubute little other than to be there to worship God. “Why are they like that? Can’t they see how tired those who do stuff are getting and offer to help?” Well for some at least this is the reason: the effect of continual daily year in year our nastiness on the tongue of other people. In saying that I have not even mentionined the effect of horrible deeds which some have also faced being carried out against them on a year in year out basis. It is a miracle that they are in church at all. They don’t need to feel the poisoned air  of your furstration being breathed forth upon them; feel it they will I can assure you. Don’t think you can hide it behind a cheery “hello” and a nice smile. Pretence in such manifest ways is no barrier to the powerful poison of what is in our hearts spreading beyond our control!

“Be patient with one another…” “Encourage one another……”

Perhaps you are thinking that you had a pretty rough time and you came through it with the help of Christ, so “they” should be able to be like you? Make sure that the story of your victory in Jesus does not become a bigger burden on others who are struggling to come to victory beyond survival for themselves. No two stories are the same. No two people are the same. It is just fact that levels of reslilience differ for a host of reasons. Equal faith but different reslilience in the face of much the same story in terms of chapters past  can result in different chapters present and future. Don’t judge. In any case, what do any of us have that we did not receive as a gift when it comes to victory in Christ?

Switch off the judgement. Switch off irritation. Switch off the lovelessness of seeing only what a person does not do which you wish they would do. They are not you. You are not them. Perhaps if we breathed forth the unseen pure air of the love of Christ on one another a miracle of survival would lead to more miracles of life in all its fullness, not for the sake of church work or church mission but for the sake of those whom Jesus loves. Why not pray that tomorrow in your church gathering that because of your repentance after reading this blog, someone will know from you that you are just delighted to see them? Someone you may have sent home with a heavy cloud resting upon them each Sunday, may go home tomorrow with an awareness that the Sun/Son of Righteousness has indeed risen upon them with healing in His wings and believe for a new day. You yourself will be able to go home and for the first time in many a week be able to enjoy Sunday dinner without the sauce of accusation and frustration being poured out yet again.

God Bless

Kenny

Are you being taken along a new path?

Well, yesterday I shared a couple of prayers from the Psalms and from a  Devotional Book I use, “Celtic Daily Prayer.” Today I want to share another one. A beautiful book arrived, as a gift, at our front door yesterday: “Sanctuary, Moments in His Presence” (Malcolm Down Publishing) by a Facebook friend and great encourager, David Strutt. I say beautiful, because that is what it is on every level: beautiful to look at, beautiful in use of language, beautiful in tone. I am looking forward to using it and finding Christ in its words.
However today it is simply a prayer in the Introduction of the book that I want to share. Why? I guess it spoke to me as someone who not completely willingly or easily but through ill health has had to learn to walk a path with God that I did not expect to find myself on, meaning among many other changes, giving up being a Parish Minister, having to find a new home etc. I am not saying I have lost hope or faith for healing, but at the same time I want to say something that may well make some of you think I have! Whatever the source of the illness, I have found this new path to be a gift from God. I have discovered fresh ways of serving Him that I would never have discovered otherwise; learned by experience many truths about God or discovered familiar truths in new depth on this unfamiliar path; received the love and wisdom of God throughHis People. Indeed, there have been blessings of many types on a path that I would not have been able to freely choose at its starting point.
If I had known the prayer I read in David’s book it would have helped on that journey and I know it will help me from this point on, however the Lord leads. I trust it will help some who read it this very day. It is the prayer of St. Brendan:
“Help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.
Give me faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.
 
Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm of life within me.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.
Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
And somehow make my obedience count for You.”
First written 1500 years ago, yet so modern and up to date. Of course it is. God is always calling us to follow Him. Our Shepherd leads us from one pasture land to the next. Give up fear! Take up faith! Follow Him!
God Bless

Kenny

Thin places…

Be alert to when you have come to a thin place and a thin moment. Drop everything, get alone and be still until you sense the stillness lifting! If you do nothing, say nothing pray nothing that is fine. Simply drink in the One who is in the stillness. Something will have happened in that moment, something will have shifted in you or around you to the glory of God, even if you are not sure what. It will be made plain in time.

When the shadows fall upon hill and glen;
and the bird-music is mute;
when the silken dark is a friend;
and the river sings to the stars:
ask yourself, sister,
ask yourself, brother,
the question you alone have the power to answer:

O King and Saviour of all,
what is Thy gift to me?
and do I use it to thy pleasing?

From Hebridean Altars

Hope this blesses you as it blessed me today when I read it in “Celtic Daily Prayer”

Kenny

If only we asked how to use a gift…

Thinking about the tone or fragrance of Christ.

Was reading the work of A Scottish Christian writer today. Will not say who in case it puts you off reading their work should you come across it. As I read, I thought of these lines in my daily readings book:

“…what is thy gift to me
and do I use it to Thy pleasing?”

The writer I referred to above is brilliant with words, that is why I like looking at his writing from time to time…but the tone? Regularly inhumane and angrily judgemental, even cold and cruel with regard to his analysis of  human suffering. Sad… sad for him too. One day he may yet humbly ask God, “Why am I like this. Help me.”
How we use a gift matters: “Do I use it to Thy pleasing?”
Tone matters , it matters a lot. If we have a gift of teaching or preaching or some other speaking gift such as prophecy or interpretation of tongues and use that gift this coming Lord’s Day, let’s remember that.  For a lesson in tone, read the encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well. What did Jesus voice sound like when He said, “You have had five husbands and the man you are living with now is not your husband,” ?

God bless

Kenny

The two sides of the coinage of the Kingdom of heaven: Emptiness and Fullness

I have been thinking more about the whole idea of trying to hold before God a blank page or keeping open a place of silence so that by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as those we read of in 1st. Corinthians Chapters 12 – 14, we might be enabled to hear something God wants us to hear, see something God wants us to see, speak something God wants us to speak or do something God wants us to do in order that another person may know that God is close to them and in the midst of His people, and at work through the gospel of Jesus proclaimed in Word and Deed.  (Whew: a long sentence: Considered seriously bad form, I know, like using the wrong case when you text!!)  Of course there are other lists of gifts in the bible other than the list now being referred to, none of which are exhaustive in my opinion, but for some reason it is the gifts mentioned in 1st. Corinthians, manifested in the ministry of Jesus  and entrusted to the church for her strengthening and mission, that are rarely talked about in many churches within Scotland; sadly they are sometimes not wanted or even believed in as being authentic manifestations of the Spirit for our day. 

The gifts of the Spirit are of course often counterfeited, whatever list of gifts you draw from in the New Testament. There can be genuine speaking in tongues and prophesy or counterfeit versions of the same. There can be genuine teaching , or counterfeit and false; there can be a genuine gift of leadership or its counterfeit,  namely a demonic spirit of control.  Because of fear of false fire against which plentiful and fear-filled or angry warning is given instead of the biblical injunction to simple awareness and alertness, some of God’s people have been unwisely corralled and herded  into a place of settling for no warming from the gifts of the Spirit at all, other than perhaps the gifts of teaching or pastoral care. Silence in these matters  has meant that for many years in Scotland, many Christians in many settings and denominations desiring to honour the command to earnestly desire the gifts of the Spirit, were not sure how to move from earnestly desiring to receiving and using/being used in these gifts. In that regard the situation is better than it was back in the late 70’s and 80’s. There has been a lot of good teaching available to local churches to  help God’s people into a place of moving in the reality of the gifts of the Spirit. Anyway, this is not a history lesson so I don’t want to expand on that last sentence at all, but stick to the point. (Steroids make me want to make a hundred points at once!)

For the last few blogs I have been trying to help those who may find themselves in the situation of wanting to be used in the gifts of the Spirit but who are perhaps in a church setting where they are getting no help in that matter and are even meteing discouragement. How do we receive the good gifts of God’s Spirit, the Spirit who is in Himself the gift of the Father promised to us by, in and through Jesus? Take  time to read to read these words of Jesus from Luke Chapter 11:

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

There is so much to learn from these words that is relevant as we think about how to open ourselves more and more to the Gift and the gifts of God’s Spirit, abilities, “gracelets,” “spirituals,” that are received from and understood by the Spirit in our spirit (which is of course not the same as our mind or the ways in which our mind learns).

The Motivation:  I want to know the reality of the Spirit and His gifts and power for this purpose: There is someone who I am speaking with, sitting with, someone I know, someone I am praying with or for,  who is wearied from their journey in life and out of friendly compassionate love, I want to help them.

The Realisation: My cupboards are empty! I feel that the help this person needs is beyond my abilities to help, despite the love I bear toward them.

The Solution: I will go to my friend whose cupboards are always full, on behalf of this empty one who needs help. I will stand in my emptiness at the door, asking, seeking and knocking.

The Conclusion: The story that began in emptiness and powerlessness ends in fullness. The help receive is ministered and passed on. What was freely received has been freely given.

The whole drift f the story, is that at the start we read of two empty people, at the end we read of two full people. The catalyst is the willingness to move in emptiness on behalf of another’s emptiness  to the one whose hose is full of that which can bring the much needed help.

I am not sure I know much more than this  when it comes to how we make ourselves open to receding and ministering in the Spirit’s power and gifts than this: we go to God and say with the urgency of friendly and caring and non-judging love toward the needy “A friend of mine has arrived, wearied from a journey. I have nothing to set before them. Help me so I can help them!” As we do so in contrast to a reluctant and grumpy neighbour, the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ opens the door of access to His Kingdom of Heaven cupboards and says, “Take whatever you need to help them, to help the weary ones! Take my seeing, my knowing, my wisdom, my power, my speaking, my eternal love and go to that weary one again. I offer it all to you!” The best place to begin to minister from, the best place to begin to experience the operation of the gifts of the Spirit is  in a fresh awareness of our emptiness and powerlessness in which reality  the love of God refuses to go unheard and unnoticed, refuses to be silent or inactive,  but drives us to the riches we know are God’s to give.

In short, emptiness mixed with the propulsive power of God’s love for a needy world is where we begin in this journey of earnestly desiring  the Holy Spirit in His diverse ministries that all bring glory to Jesus as the Eternal Son of God  and the only Saviour of the World

So here is the preparation: Be scrupulously honest; don’t pretend. Have I reached the place of emptiness, genuinely so, in terms of realising that without the Spirit of God,  I will experience the truth of what Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing”? Is the love of God a constraining pressure upon me that is driving me heavenward in a paradoxical mix of desperation and faith to ask, seek and knock? We cannot pretend to be there. We are or are we not….

The journey towards being more full, begins at the place of being more empty.

God bless you as you obey the command to earnestly desire the gifts of the Spirit because you are obediently seeking to pursue love. God bless you as you ask, seek and knock at the door of your Father in heaven who loves to be generous in the measure of His giving to His children so that they may be blessed and bless others.

Kenny