Two Kingdoms & Hope For A Weary Heart

img_8382Straddling two kingdoms. Some days I feel my legs stretching into the splits as the crevice between the two grows farther and farther apart in my heart. Looking down and wondering about a free fall. The tears flowing down my face from the pains of this one, while I gaze into the bliss of the other. When will there be no more dying, no more pain, no more ugly… and oh God, I cry out… where is the justice? The windshield wipers clicked back and forth in the rain… I wish I had one for my eyes too. Where is the justice? For children who suffer abuse around our world, for those suffering mental health that are judged and criticized while they are suffocating, for the hurting and the rejected. For the kids who hear whispers behind their back about their clothing, hanging their head in shame.. Don’t you think they wish they had nikes?? Or clean clothes? Don’t you think that they see the differences? Don’t we understand that no matter how tough the exterior is everyone would love a comfy bed like yours or a hot shower in the morning to be a norm? Don’t we know that every soul on this earth is struggling along every day just wanting to know true love… just like me and you?

But, oh the screaming and labeling. The shouting and the angry voices. The fear… the insecurities.

And so where is it that my heart lives? In this struggling, fighting, insecure world? Or does my Saviour invite me to look elsewhere?

Seek His kingdom now. We are in this world… not of this world. My heart is breaking for us as we straddle the two, but oh that we might more and more gain sight of the kingdom He offers!

We must awake all our senses to this gift. Take a deep breath, and inhale the fragrance of His grace. What we don’t deserve, but so freely given. My pastor this past week in his sermon said, “free, not cheap.” No, not cheap – this costly, precious exchange of His life to give us ours with feet set firmly in a new kingdom! May we stretch out our arms and let it flow… We have the opportunity to be the healing hands of Jesus.

For those struggling with mental health who need to be carried!

img_8386For the poor and rejected!

img_8385For the neglected and forgotten!

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For those without a voice!

Aren’t these the ones that Jesus reached out to? Didn’t He come to seek and save the lost.. the broken.. we that are in need?

img_8310Because the kingdom that He invites us to seek.. Oh, my friends! This is the kingdom of a radical Saviour who sees the value of a soul!

It’s a kingdom of hope!

It’s a kingdom of peace!

It’s a kingdom of joy!

It’s a kingdom of love… love that is patient and kind. Love that isn’t selfish or rude, or seeking its own interest. Love that isn’t boastful or conceited. Love that doesn’t get excited over wrongdoing… running in corners to whisper or delight over tragedy. We know the passage.. but do we really sink into the passage? Do we see how God pours out that passage lavishly all over our own lives?

Oh God, Your kingdom, come..

What will your heart given to the complete trust and reign of God look like? Take a minute to ponder that… Seek His kingdom first, Christ says. And all will be added. So, we look at the line we straddle, we lift our eyes up to Him, take a deep breath… and free fall into His love. His kingdom. Every choice, every thought, every talent.. all His. What’s in your life that you can place to use in His kingdom? Why, simply your all. All. All. How shall we walk in one kingdom, and live in another? That’s the miracle He offers us. Seek His heart today. Openly look to Him with eyes afresh and clean…not clogged up by the media, fear, or our own understanding. Lean in; freefall in His love. God will guide you as you navigate this messy world with a pure heart to fight in His kingdom for the news of this love.

For meditation: 1 Cor 13, Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 4:18-19, Matthew 6:33-34

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the fruit — post 5

IMG_9529I think we can all relate to a moment in our life when an unexpected or undeserved kindness changed the course of the moment we were facing.  A bad day turned good by the kindness of a generous, smiling face assisting you with the flat tire change, and a big umbrella (when you had forgotten your own) in the rainy night.  A warm hug, a cup of coffee and a shoulder to cry on when you’re sad, and words won’t do. Checking out at the grocery story, children crying ready to leave and THEN you rummage through your purse, short the right amount of change and you see the lovely lady in line behind you present a nickel and a big smile, “I’ve been there before, too, “she reassures you.  Oh, these beautiful daily kindnesses!  How they can shape our days!  And, not simply our days, but our very lives. Not only to receive, but in the act of giving.  I was reading an interesting article by a Dr David Hamilton who suggests five side effects of kindness, 1)Kindness makes us happier, 2) Kindness gives us healthier hearts, 3) Kindness slows ageing, 4) Kindness makes for better relationships, 5) Kindness is contagious.  Life changing stuff, friends.

So, how is kindness defined?  One of my very favorite writers/speakers is Dr Tim Keller, gives us this definition in his expository study of Galatians;

Chrestotes = kindness, which is an ability to serve others practically in a way which makes me vulnerable, which comes from having a deep inner security. Its opposite is envy, which leaves me unable to rejoice in another’s joy. And its fake alternative is manipulative good deeds, doing good for others so I can congratulate myself and feel I am “good enough” for others or for God.

The beauty of this fruit of the spirit, and all the fruits of the spirit the verses in Galatians listed, is that this outflow does not rely on our ability, it is a flow from the spirit of God which resides in us!   Dr Tim Keller, also reminds us; “In normal religion, the motivation for morality is fear-based. In gospel Christianity, the motivation is a dynamic of love…And now, Paul spells out just how we grow in character through this new dynamic. And his headline is: We grow as we battle…To be “led by the Spirit” (v 18) is to change, and be changed, to be the people we want to be. The Spirit-fuelled development of Christ-like character is liberating, because it brings us closer to being the people we were designed to be, the people our Spirit-renewed hearts want us to be…We are saved by faith, not by growing fruit; but we are not saved by fruitless faith. A person saved by faith will be a person in whom the fruit of the Spirit grows…The fruit of the Spirit has internal roots. It is not about traits or characteristics. It is about a change much deeper than that. Think about an apple tree. Do the apples on the tree make it alive? No – if you tied apples onto a dead tree’s branches, that wouldn’t make it alive! The apples don’t give life; they are a sign that the tree is alive. But the life produces the fruit; not the other way around…It is worth looking closely at each aspect of the singular fruit of the Spirit (v 22-23):”

What kindness our Saviour has freely, unexpectedly, and undeservingly shown us!  Just ponder that for a moment, search Him out, talk to Him about where you are right now.  When He appears in our life, everything changes. Stay connected to the source.  Dig your roots deep, deep, deep into His loving kindness.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Titus 3:4-7