LESSONS FROM A BROKEN MIRROR

“There has never yet been a saint who has not lived a maimed life initially. Yet it is better to enter into life maimed but lovely in God’s sight than to appear lovely to man’s eyes but lame to God’s.”   -Oswald Chambers

When we look in the mirror, what do we see? Do we see a ‘good person,’ or a man or woman living a ‘good life?’ We’d probably say so, but we shouldn’t see these things! Rather, we should see a life of repair. A life broken. We should see the ugliness inside ourselves, and the beauty of Christ through His never-ending work in us. We should be in a pursuit to see less of us and more of Him, and as we begin to see Christ, and accept His gift and love given to us, we can begin to see His plan for us and His purpose for us. And that purpose is ultimately to restore us to beauty – a beauty we cannot achieve on our own – because as we are restored by Christ, it becomes more and more obvious to the world who is doing the restoring, and our lives begin to accomplish the ultimate purpose: to bring Him glory!

The greatest amount of beauty in us can only be found by reflecting Him throughout our lives and towards others, and our life purpose should be pursuing that beauty in total disregard of the world’s opinion or persuasion.We are to live life thankfully broken, knowing the only One who can use our brokenness! A shattered mirror is only as useful as what the person looking into it sees. Do you see a purpose behind your brokenness, and a pursuit towards repair? Or are you too busy praying for God to repair the mirror, unable to notice what God can use it for?

“. . . what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour?”

But for this purpose I came to this hour.

“Father, glorify Your name.”     -John 12:27-28

Through our sorrow, and the moments we need repair, let us not ask God to fix us. Rather, ask Him to use us to glorify His name!

STRIP ME OF MYSELF

Lord, strip me of myself

and clothe me in you.

For I recognize the extent of my wisdom,

and how foolish it is to You.

For the only way to gain in my wisdom

is to completely surrender it

And to identify only in the wisdom of you.

In my own plan, I wander,

Yet in Yours, I can walk straight.

For you are my compass; my bearing,

And only You can light my way.

As I stumble out of the darkness,

You enable me to stand upright

And chase after the sun.

So if anyone looks towards me,

They are overwhelmed by your brightness.

DAY 10 – SIMPLE OBEDIENCE

Patrick, I feel the wheels in motion and I will strive in all I do the next few days to walk in God’s will. My obedience is of the utmost importance. As long as I’m a slave to obedience God will use me to change your life or mine.

We have a day of computer practicals and after I finish I see Patrick struggling, so I sit down to help him out. He seems to appreciate it, as I’m patient with him and try to love him as much as Christ would. I want nothing more than Patrick to experience that love first hand.

We go well into lunch and I tell Patrick that I’m fasting for today. He seems confused because it isn’t Friday, so I explain that its not a ritual – I do it because I think it’s a good thing. I wonder if Patrick has experienced this freedom.

Throughout the day God sends many people my way to love them unconditionally. I respond to the call and notice that my hunger is stilled as I show kindness to all who God tells me to. Patrick, find your fulfillment and food in doing the works of God.

It’s a full on day and there isn’t much time for wants but there was a lot of room for action. I believe for the lost to be found they need true Christian models who are serious about being Christ like – people who do everything out of love, who see God as their highest calling and if God tells them to show others Jesus, they obey. But nothing takes the place of Christ in our lives – we serve only Him.

Just as I’m about to head home, I feel an urge to hang around and say goodbye to Patrick. I obey, and walk around and tell him I’m about to head off. He doesn’t acknowledge it.

As I walk towards the door I hear a soft-spoken voice.

“Wait! Are you driving?”

I turn around and it’s Patrick, so I offer him a lift. I wasn’t thinking much of it then but I feel now Jesus was in that moment. Patrick, you had the boldness to ask me for a lift to your earthly home. Make my joy complete by asking me to show you the way to your eternal home.

As we drive we talk about the software we used that day, and eventually turn to the impossibility of a place on earth where everyone gets what they want in a commercial sense. Patrick says we will never know till we’re in heaven and I look at him and know in heaven we want what the Father wants. I know that at that moment his soul yearns mightily for living waters and paths to eternal dwellings.

At 7:30 I go to a prayer meeting with Nathan and Jonathan and we pray for the things of God. The lost, Adelaide, the stray, the blind, the poor – for obedience.

We all believe that significant things will be occurring in the next 6-12 months.

Patrick I want you to know there is much praying that goes before action. As Dean Knight puts it, 90% prayer, 10% action. Never forget that.

My mum asked if the ‘Scottish’ guy was still with me.

“Yes” I reply, “but with Jesus soon” I think.

Terence

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Thoughts from Joel:

As Terence continues to live a life of simple obedience, he continues to obey the simple requests God puts on his heart, and with this simple obedience, God is giving Terence opportunities to show His love to the people around him.

Simple obedience yields great opportunity. Don’t take God’s request lightly.

Last night, my bible study got into the topic of obedience. We talked about how easy it is to make excuses to avoid obeying God – especially in the simple moments. We are so good at validating it by saying, “it’ll work out. God is bigger than one decision, and He’ll get me to the place He really wants me to be.”

It’s true. God can – and will – overcome our disobedience. He will get us to the place He wants us to be. But what will happen to the people that you avoided by making your excuses? What will happen when we sit in our comfort zone while those outside of it need love? Will we step out? Will we obey? Will we give God the chance to move – in us and in those He has put just outside of our comfort?

One thing I pray for continually is for my comfort zone to be broken. I know that I’m a weak man, and often one of cowardice. But I also know that God is strong – and He has the ability to overcome all of my weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Terence has taught me the value of simple obedience, and shown me the blessings that can come from it.

Joel

WHEN IT’S OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE IRRESPONSIBLE

Throughout history, those who have followed God’s plan have rarely done so in a responsible fashion. The disciples, being the best example, immediately left their careers when asked to follow a man they’d just met. What would the world say if we all left our careers one day to travel with someone we barely knew?  We’d be labeled as irrational, irresponsible, and probably insane. We’d be viewed as someone trying to avoid real life. We’d be asked why we left a steady paycheck for an uncertain future. But that’s just it – our future’s not uncertain.

When we’re young, we’re all told we can be whatever we want to be. We’re told if we try hard enough, we can get anywhere we want in life. We also know what we want to do “when we grow up.” We all want to be firemen, or princesses, or pirates. My brother wanted to be a shepherd – a sheep-saving, robe-wearing shepherd just like the ones in the bible.  Our dreams weren’t dictated by financial security, or at what age we could retire. We were more interested in doing something that we loved. We didn’t care how much it paid until we grew up.

With age the world told us about responsibility. We learned that responsibility is doing homework on time. It’s going to college, and being able to find a job that can provide a comfortable life. It’s always planning the next move, and being ready for the wrenches thrown in. We also learned that if we live irresponsibly, we’ll end up stuck in a low-paying job that we hate, unable to provide for those we love. We learn that irresponsibility will lead to a life full of unhappiness and missed opportunities.

But what if something comes along in the midst of all these responsible decisions that tells us to jump ship? What if this something has nothing to do with money or security, and more to do with trust and faith? What would have happened if the disciples were raised in the shadow of the American Dream?

Before Jesus interrupted, the disciples had promising careers ahead of them. Peter, Andrew, James and John were all commercial fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector – which is about the equivalent of a lawyer today.  Peter, Andrew, James and John were in a family business destined for the same futures their fathers and grandfathers carried out before them, and they left it at Jesus’ first request. Being a tax collector was among the most financially rewarding careers of the time, and Matthew left that for a life of homelessness and wandering. They each gave up their worldly security, and made an irresponsible decision to follow a man they hardly knew, and it led to the revolution of Christianity.

Now most of us won’t have the opportunity the disciples had, and most of us won’t be asked to leave everything we have. We will, however, be asked to do things we don’t understand. Often times it will involve one of our greatest insecurities.  For most of us it will be something small, like befriending a co-worker or volunteering around the community. For others, it may require a bigger commitment. When Henry Blackaby, the writer of “Experiencing God,” told his pastor he felt called to ministry, his pastor responded by telling him he had “too much promise” for that. Dr. Blackaby could have listened, but instead he didn’t settle for less than what God could accomplish. He is now among the most influential Christian writers on earth, and has now written over 20 books, published in up to 45 different languages.

Whatever we feel called to do, it’ll likely scare us to death. The things I’ve felt called to always have. Often times, it’s just telling something to a friend – something that they might not like to hear—in order to show them who I am on a deeper level, and letting them know that they can come to me with issues. Other times, it’s simply talking to a stranger and seeing what comes up. Of all my callings, however, writing has quickly become one of the most frightening. I’ve gone through school thus far thinking I’d graduate with one of the better paying degrees – going on to live a life of no financial worries. I then discovered I have almost no interest in my degree. So I started writing. In order to succeed, I must trust that God will provide, and won’t have to use my plan-b degree. Although the financial uncertainty is frightening, I feel that through writing I can truly impact those around me. I can impact them in ways that designing a building never could – in their faith. I know that by taking this direction, I have no idea what my life will be. I’m trusting that God will provide in the midst of these uncertainties.

What is God telling you to do in order to fulfill your potential in Him? All God needs is our trust, and He can put us anywhere. The disciples put their trust in something better, yet unknown, and were then used to spread the message of Christ throughout the world. Henry Blackaby trusted in things greater than his potential, and is now a leader in the Christian world. I’m trusting, without fully understanding, that God will lead me to things better than what the world could offer. Where does God need your trust in order for you to become who He wants you to be?