On Sunday, the sermon was about serving with a smile and Sarah said we should be living for an audience of one. That idea has left me unsettled this week. I know that I so often don’t live for an audience of one. I want thanks for doing what I do on a daily basis. I complain that my children don’t thank me enough for doing all the mundane jobs behind the scenes. I check for likes and comments on my Instagram posts every morning. I get annoyed when not many people turn up to my classes. I don’t include God in everything. Sometimes I can go quite a while without thinking about Him at all. This isn’t living for an audience of one. This is living for myself. I think this feeling has been made worse because I am reading the book of John and being reminded just how much Jesus gave up for me. He was sin-free and gave his life and here I am moaning about cleaning the bathroom again. Sometimes we need a perspective check so here it is, Romans 12:1 says “so brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to Him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship”. Luke 9:62 says “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” We don’t need to be focusing on the work we have done but think about the harvest. If we can keep in a season of giving, keep praying for blessings on those who we need to forgive , keep doing it all for the one who gave his life for us to have ours we will be doing it right. This message is for you and me too!
Last year as I stood in a field with my stereo cranked up to full volume at a festival ready to dance alone doing Worshipcise it was made very clear to me that Worshipcise is about God first. It is an hour out of our week to worship. What pleases God most about Worshipcise is, I believe, about what we do with the investment of time we have made together. The energy we expend should mirror the energy we should be giving to fulfilling the commandments of loving one another. The words should act as reminders of God’s promises to us so when we are struggling with setbacks we can remember them. I know the Bible says at the end of our life we will give an account of our lives but I also cherish the idea that the seeds we have sown, we will get to see the fruits from the seeds we sew. Maybe this week we have given a lot of others and are not sure whether its made any difference. It makes a difference to God and its for his glory we do it for so keep sewing seeds and use each day to refuel on the Holy Spirit, give thanks and praise to God who has chosen us to do the good works and get ready for the new battles that God knows are coming. No time for God is ever wasted.
I arrived to drop Frankie off at my Mum’s house this morning and found my dad sitting in the garden with his bible. He looked so peaceful and it just reminded me of the verse “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It has been a beautifully sunny day today. How much time have you spent enjoying it? Have you actually looked out and appreciated the flowers, sky, sun and trees today? You may have been at work rushing around but doesn’t God deserve some time to be thanked for it all. At the end of my bootcamp today, inspired by my Dad, I laid in the grass and looked upa the trees, just spending time in awe that God knows exactly how many leaves, branches and pine cones are on each of the trees. He knows everything. He even knows the movement of the animals in the coldest part of the ocean. It’s just mind blowing! When we rush, we don’t notice the miracles right in front of our eyes.
I am going to challenge you because this issue keeps coming up for me so God either wants me to get it or you or both so I’m going to ask you to stand in front of the mirror. What do you see? Do you see a child of God or do you straight away focus on all the bits of the body you don’t like that much? Do you look at your legs and thank God they work and can do God’s works. Do you look at your mouth and thank God we can use it to praise God and tell others about Him. Do you look at your hands and thank God they can be used to do good. If you stood in front of that mirror today with no other influences, no social media telling you how “should” look, just Biblical truth, how would you look at yourself differently? Would you no longer believe the lies the Devil has thrown out into the world but instead KNOW that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that you are created in God’s image, that there is no flaw in you. If these are truths that are not yet real for you, take a moment to say them in your heart and mind so we remember who our bodies are designed by and for. Look at the parts in the mirror you don’t normally look at and thank God for them.
Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as a “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. Last Sunday, we prayed over a box full of names of people who have not yet given their life to God and we prayed victory in Jesus name for that to come to pass. I added quite a few names to that box. I have been reading a book this week called “Crazy Love” and is asked this question, what are you doing now in your life that requires faith? To be honest it made me squirm a little but because I have written down awesome things I want God to help me achieve in my life but sometimes I go off the boil with praying about them. I pray for them one day and neglect praying for a few days or give up praying because maybe it seems like such a far off goal it won’t happen. It’s like when you start a diet and lose a pound and then don’t lose anything for two weeks so you give up and go back to the chocolate bars. We have all been there! So today, I ask you what are you doing right now that requires faith? If nothing, then that is a whole new challenge. Hebrews 11:6 says “and without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him”. God’s pleasuee rests on us having faith. Does your life in faith cause you to live differently? What are you doing n life that without God’s presence, strength and help there is no way you can do it? What has God been pulling you to do that requires faith and you have said no? God wants us to have extraordinary, faith filled adventures. Lets keep praying for one!
Phillippians 4:8 says “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”. I have been challenged by this verse this week as when I have been outside mowing the lawn or walking on my own I have been allowing, and I use the word allowing on purpose, allowing my thoughts to become negative. I have been imagining scenarios in my head and deciding how I would react to them. Do you do this or is it just me? I had to speak out loud when I realised what I was doing and then did what only a good Worshipcise instructor would do, and blasted out the tunes that reminded me that I am God’s, I am loved, I am chosen and God sometimes gives us enemies, people we don’t see eye to eye with, so as you pray for them we get blessed too. God wants enemies in your heart so they don’t get under your skin. So today, if there is anyone who you have been having negative thoughts about, spend some time praying for them. Here are some verses you can pray over them.
“May what happened between us bring good in their lives” (Gen 50:20)
“May they realise that all they have comes from you” (1 Chron 29:14)
“Heal their broken heart” (Psalm 147:3)
“Complete a good work in them” (Phill 1:6)
God is all about creating heartstrings between people. He knows heartstrings make the heart sting less.
What I love about God is that no matter how many times you mess up He never gives up on us. No matter how ashamed we feel of our actions and how much we beat ourselves up about them He is always ready to forgive us and we just have to be able to forgive ourselves. I hate it when I am reminded that I am only human. I hate having to swallow my pride and apologise. I hate the feeling of wanting to wallow in self-pity when i make mistakes, like I should have learnt to be perfect by now. Jesus made it look so easy didn’t He.
It takes lungs about seven years to regain a clean colour after someone gives up smoking and often i feel like my failures are like these lungs, the scars are still evident on me and I haven’t let God heal me but instead stay unhealthily attached to the darkness that sin brought me but God has been trying to remind me this week that trials will come, I will make mistakes and He loves me still. He doesn’t need me to feel shame and guilt. He has forgiven me by His grace and He does the same for you so if there is something, some circumstance or situation where you have given a human response and not a God response just give it to god and allow Him to forgive you and give you permission to move on so nothing gets in the way of worship, praise and opportunities to have your undivided attention which is all He wants.
I need to carve out time with God and I use the word cave on purpose. It is easy to be busy but God wants us to spend as much time as possible with Him, all day if we can. God created the world and us so we can be with Him. Faith is not about us climbing up to meet God but Jesus climbing down to Earth to be with us. Psalm 28:16 says “He reached down from on high and took hold if me, He drew me out of deep waters.” This poem shows how much he loves us and wants us to be communion with Him.
And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I’ll make me a world.
And far as the eye of God could see
Darkness covered everything,
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.
Then God smiled,
And the light broke,
And the darkness rolled up on one side,
And the light stood shining on the other,
And God said: That’s good!
Then God reached out and took the light in his hands,
And God rolled the light around in his hands
Until he made the sun;
And he set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
And the light that was left from making the sun
God gathered it up in a shining ball
And flung it against the darkness,
Spangling the night with the moon and stars.
Then down between
The darkness and the light
He hurled the world;
And God said: That’s good!
Then God himself stepped down–
And the sun was on his right hand,
And the moon was on his left;
The stars were clustered about his head,
And the earth was under his feet.
And God walked, and where he trod
His footsteps hollowed the valleys out
And bulged the mountains up.
Then he stopped and looked and saw
That the earth was hot and barren.
So God stepped over to the edge of the world
And he spat out the seven seas–
He batted his eyes, and the lightnings flashed–
He clapped his hands, and the thunders rolled–
And the waters above the earth came down,
The cooling waters came down.
Then the green grass sprouted,
And the little red flowers blossomed,
The pine tree pointed his finger to the sky,
And the oak spread out his arms,
The lakes cuddled down in the hollows of the ground,
And the rivers ran down to the sea;
And God smiled again,
And the rainbow appeared,
And curled itself around his shoulder.
Then God raised his arm and he waved his hand
Over the sea and over the land,
And he said: Bring forth! Bring forth!
And quicker than God could drop his hand,
Fishes and fowls
And beasts and birds
Swam the rivers and the seas,
Roamed the forests and the woods,
And split the air with their wings.
And God said: That’s good!
Then God walked around,
And God looked around
On all that he had made.
He looked at his sun,
And he looked at his moon,
And he looked at his little stars;
He looked on his world
With all its living things,
And God said: I’m lonely still.
Then God sat down–
On the side of a hill where he could think;
By a deep, wide river he sat down;
With his head in his hands,
God thought and thought,
Till he thought: I’ll make me a man!
Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
This great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till he shaped it in is his own image;
Then into it he blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
When the snow melts, a shepherd will make a trip up the mountain to see where the flock’s summer grazing land will be. He will decide where the best ground is to bed down and the best places to graze. One on of his trips he will take salt and minerals and distribute them to make sure the sheep have all that the mountain lacks. The shepherd will remove poisonous weeds, repair dams for drinking water and clear waterholes so that the sheep have the best chance to thrive. When I think about how God goes before me this is a beautiful way to imagine it. God goes before us to prepare us to thrive. My son was crying last night because he felt overwhelmed by all that was going on in his life at the moment and I reassured him saying that like following footprints in the snow, God has gone before us and already know the path we will take tomorrow. Like the shepherd, he will provide everything that tomorrow may lack so we have nothing to fear. I didn’t fully appreciate this until I was reminded that we should have a joyful expectation that something amazing could happen so before Christmas when I went to support the church at the late night shopping I was feeling a little nervous and so prayed on the way and ended up having this amazing conversation with someone about being fit for god, in fact she is going to email me with some work she has done on the topic. God knew this was going to happen before I did. Often he goes before us to teach us how to be more like Him, when we are challenged by that icky feeling in our hearts when we haven’t done what you know He wants you to do. I had a run in with a Mum at school and have been discussing this issue with a non-Christian friend when God spoke to my heart to say “what should you be doing?”…praying for her and encouraging your friend to think how he can help her rather than being sucked into negativity. I didn’t like that feeling but I know if I don’t change my behaviour that icky feeling wont go away. Deuteronomy 31:8 says “the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged”. We dream of seventy years of happiness while God has eternity on his mind as is clear in Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The Lord is our shepherd, he will look after us and so we can have the courage of a lion.
A man was asked to paint a boat. He brought the paint and brushes and began to paint the boat a bright red, as the owner asked him. While painting, he noticed a small hole in the hull, and quietly repaired it. When he finished painting, he received his money and left. The next day, the owner of the boat came to the painter and presented him with a nice cheque, much higher than the payment for painting. The painter was surprised and said “You’ve already paid me for painting the boat, Sir”. “But this is not for the paint job. It’s for repairing the hole in the boat”. “Ah, but it was a small service…certainly it’s not worth paying me such a high amount for something so insignificant”. “My dear friend, you do not understand. Let me tell you what happened; when I asked you to paint the boat I forgot to mention the hole. when the boat dried up, my kids took the boat on a fishing trip. Thy did not know that there was a hole. I was not at home at the time. When I returned home and noticed they had taken the boat, I was desperate because I remembered the hole in the boat. Imagine my relief and joy when I saw them returning home from fishing. They I examined the boat and found that you had repaired the hole. You see now what you did? you saved the life of my children! I do not have enough money to pay your small good deed.
It is easy to feel proud of ourselves when we do something big for other people, something that we can get credit for, something others will see we have done but how hard is it to do the things that noone sees, like praying for a friend or not doing something you know God would not be happy about. I can get frustrated when I don’t see seeds i have sown bear fruit but the song “Way maker” reminds us “Even when we don’t see Him He’s working. Even when we don’t feel it He’s working”. God does so much more for us than we can ever do for Him and his glory so this week I want to encourage you to sew the seeds with people around you even if you never see it bear fruit and even when you get no acknowledgement. John 5:17 says “God is always at work for us” so let us find opporutnities to work for Him.