Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The burden....

I noticed the president was bothered about something. You could see it written all over his face that he was weighing something in his mind, the outcome of which seemed to concern him terribly. Being a member of his staff and well, me just being me, I went up to him and asked what was on his mind that concerned him so. Somehow I found myself sitting on a chair across from him, he was also seated. He said he would have to demote some people and this obviously bothered him. I shrugged saying something along the lines of well, life happens to us all. I wasn't feeling particularly generous, I still hadn't forgotten the financial tsunami that was 2009 and a few other events here & there. I for one had taken more than my fair share for Team Lara, therefore couldn't get into the sympathy groove much, more so I didn't recall seeing a sympathy envoy at my side when I was going through! I was learning that life was tough, that you take the good & the bad with it!

Then Mr President proceeded to speak with me in the way that only one person could...he went along the lines of not so Lara, when a, b, c & d happened I had your back. He took me through a no of events, showing how I had been protected although others lost their positions. Nepotism I hear someone say? Perhaps or I was just a really good worker he didn't want to loose. I took my leave at the end of our little chat headed for bed but not till I did one last thing; because I knew I was leaving him there, mulling over his thoughts still, I turned around and said to him....you have to take the bad with the good, when bad things happen, just think about the good things, they make up for them. He looked up at me and smiled, the warmest, deepest & most sincere smile, there was so much love in that smile and you would have thought I had just said the most profound thing in the world and made his day. Odd, this relationship with my boss right? Well, he treats me just like his child, I guess it helps that I sleep in the same bedroom as his daughters. I got into bed, the girls were already asleep so I turned in for my beauty sleep.

I woke up ...from my dream and realised that it had been the Lord. There is only one person who looks at me like that, face full of love & compassion, strong but yet meek, no condemnation ...this wasn't the first time I had encountered Him. Yes, it was nepotism and I hadn't really said anything profound. He simply loves and delights in me because I am precious in His sight.

I got up out of  bed, went up to the living room and somehow managed to dose off again on the couch. Then I heard someone call my name. I was expecting a friend of mine to drop off her kids that morning so that she could go to an appointment, she couldn't really afford to be late and I was conscious of that fact. I thought she must be at the door calling but I just couldn't get out of sleep despite how hard I tried to rouse myself. When I saw that that wasn't working, I decided to call in the big guns, I said Holy Spirit help me wake up, I don't want my friend to be stuck outside with the kids. Immediately I woke up, I looked at the time, it said something like 3.58A.M, it wasn't my friend who had been calling me. Yet I knew that I had distinctively heard my name, I was a little concerned at this point I must confess. Reluctant to go downstairs, I started to pray and as I was praying it dawned on me that it was the Lord calling, so I decided to respond like Samuel ....Yes Lord, open my ears and my heart, speak to me, what would you like to say to me, what would you have me do...something along those lines.

Three days earlier I had decided to wait on the Lord in prayer and fasting to seek His face, and now I had found it. The thing was though where I had my attention focused was not what the Lord had come to talk to me about, he did address directly some things that had been on my mind which I had acted out in the dream but He had come to share His heart with me....His agenda.

Over the months the Lord started to open my eyes to a number of things, through wonderful people He had placed in my life and through His word; I understood that I had to re-align some of my focus and the reason I am sharing this, is to urge you to do the same.

I learnt something from a precious man of God when he shared with us a revelation about the Shunamite woman and urged us to follow after her example. Here was a woman whose husband was advanced in age and they did not have a child, when Elisha passed by, she made a decision to make his journeys more comfortable and when she was asked what he could do for her, she didn't think to ask for anything, she didn't even think to ask for a child. Some might say, she didn't believe it was possible any longer...perhaps. But it is quite clear though that it was not the foremost thing on her mind, it wasn't her focus, rather she honoured God by honouring Elisha ...one would call that busy with the Lord's business. She was not consumed with or dominated by the need in her life (2 Kings 4).

The Lord once said to the Pharisees (Matthew 23) that they had neglected the weightier matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness and had gotten carried away with self indulgence, straining out a gnat (fly) - they had swallowed a camel ..rather counterproductive, don't you think? I mean look at the sheer disparity in size. He admonished them to clean the cup from the inside and not just the outside - which was where they had their focus.

When the Lord came, the rest of Israel could not recognise Him because they looked for an earthly liberation from Rome rather than eternal life & deliverance from sin, they chose to stay in darkness because the life of compromise was easier and their eyes were focused only on an earthly agenda. They could not understand a crucified Christ. That is why the gospel is said to be as foolishness to those who are perishing because you can not attain it by earthly wisdom, the cross comes hand in glove with the glory. "but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles" I Corinthians 1:23

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Two things.... Paul was pointing to in Philippians 3:10....the power of his resurrection which is the glory and the participation of his sufferings which is the cross. Which is why Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Matthew 16 vs 24)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me Philippians 3:11. He poured out his life because Christ meant more to him than his own life or agenda. His life was a love song to the Lord, this was demonstrated by how he lived and what his priorities were. This was a man who died to self, he said I die daily..daily! (I Corinthians 15:31) Everyday he places Paul on the altar before God and rises up in Christ. That is the cross and the resurrection: he dies to live, he dies to the flesh so that he can rise to life in the Spirit. Lord help me to die daily!

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. Philippians 3:17-19

I've had to take a long look at my priorities, I urge you to do the same. Are you stumbling at the cross? That part of your faith which requires you to crucify your own agenda? Is this an offence to you? Or do you rather ignore it completely, telling yourself that it's all about the glory and seek the glory only?

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 4:17). What does the kingdom of God mean to us? Is the agenda of our life driven by the Holy Spirit or fueled solely by our flesh?

The burden I saw on the Lord's heart was people ...souls within the Church languishing due to misplaced priorities and ultimately souls unsaved outside of the Church. "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 1 Peter 4:18

Revelations 1 to 3 - I urge you to read it, we as a Church need to see where we hold parrallels with the 7 churches of the revelation and address the issues identified there.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


Adebowale Eboda said...

If the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do? Answer is nothing!

May we learn to truly submit to the Lordship of Jesus and to let His kingdom (agenda) hold sway in our lives and in all we do!

Lara said...

Amen Debo!

May we move in resolve and power to re-assign every skewed ratio in our life's focus. As per Matthew 23 ..the things that should hold the significance of a fly be kept to the size of a fly and those that should hold the significance of a camel's size be given their appropriate ratio since we know we can not swallow a camel and survive ..meaning we can do nothing!