Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Month: January 2016

Quiet

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:  QUIET. 

On The One Show this evening, they did a clip on whether or not singing lullabies to babies really does help in getting them off to sleep.

Seeing those babies snuggling contentedly as their mums sang softly to them brought a lump to my throat. Because that is a picture of the Father and me. He quiets me by His love. There are times when I feel overwhelmed with life – difficult patients at work, lots going on at church, responsibilities coming out of my ears, washing machine breaking down.

When that happens I have a kind Daddy who I can turn to and ask to snuggle in His lap. I’m always welcome. The Bible – His love letter to me – reassures me that He carries me in His arms and quiets me by His love. That can feel like snuggling in His lap.

Daddy God is always with me,
He sticks up for me and clears away the bullies;
He spins and whirls in delirious delight because of His outrageous love for me,
He quiets me by His love;
He sings loudly in jubilation over me.*

I rest in the quietness and know that I am loved.

* My adaptation of Zephaniah 3:17

Time

Today the Five Minute Friday community is writing on TIME for five minutes.

START

What a start to 2016 – the sad news that David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and the man who played Grizzly Adams have all died.

Ten years ago, time for our tiny twins ran out so soon and God took them.

Time. We never have enough of it when we’re busy. Yet when we’re ill, in pain, going through difficulty, or lonely, time hangs heavily and a minute can seem like an hour.

We all have twenty four hours in a day. What do we do with it?

We’re known by what we do, generally speaking. Singer, actor, author, doctor, loafer….

I’ve been pondering recently: what do I want to be known for? Whose approval is most important to me? Whose praise is sweetest?

Centuries ago, there was a man called Enoch. He lived a long time – 365 years – and he was known for one thing – that he walked with God. In fact, his relationship with God was so close and so precious that the Bible reports that he never died. God simply took him and he was ‘no more’.

I’d always assumed that there could only be one Enoch in the history of the world, but what if I spent my time making God the highest priority? Could Mandy be another Enoch when my time comes?

With the time I have left, I want to set my heart on things above.

STOP

Glory

What if Jesus were to take you for a walk along the beach and make you an offer?  ‘Give Me your heart, and you will gain Me.’

What would you do?

Last summer, that happened to me. I was in Hunstanton with my dear friend Elizabeth and we’d been enjoying soaking in God’s presence. Then He invited me for a walk along the beach. I’d never heard God speak so clearly to my heart before. First the Father, then Jesus, then the Holy Spirit put their case.

‘Give Us your heart, and you will gain Us.’

There was no manipulation, no blackmail, simply the most amazing and important offer I will ever get.

At the end of that incredible hour-long walk, I responded: ‘Yes.’ How could I say otherwise? I wasn’t sure what giving my whole heart to God would look or feel like, giving up my rights, doing what pleases Him simply because I love Him, but I want to gain Him – to know Him better, deeper, more intimately, for Him to trust me with His heart – than anything else.

I’ve had an increased longing to see God’s glory since that memorable walk. Three years ago the Spirit broke in on our church meetings with unusual power, bringing joy and freedom. I would love for that to happen again and then some.

There is a weightiness to God’s glory and presence. In the days of the Old Testament, there were occasions when the priests couldn’t even get in the place of worship because God’s glory filled it, making it impossible for them to stand or do their duties.

It’s awesome to think that that same God now lives in me and has made me a carrier of His presence. Wherever I go, I’m a representative of the Kingdom of God.

When Jesus started His ministry, He introduced the Kingdom of God – and God’s glory was seen clearly. The coming of the Kingdom meant supernatural things happening in everyday life – sick people were healed, dead people were brought back to life, violent storms immediately stopped. Just before Jesus brought His friend Lazarus back to life He said, ‘Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’

20150721_050820Jesus really wants us to see His glory; He prayed about this to His Father a few hours before He was arrested and executed.

In those early days after Jesus had come back to life, the Spirit-filled disciples took to heart His instructions to proclaim the good news and ‘heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers/skin diseases, cast out demons’. You’d think that people would have been happy and excited to see that happening. And some were, especially the ones who experienced these life-changing miracles. But not everyone was pleased and the disciples ran into trouble. Yet their reaction was to ask God for more, and His reply was to literally shake their meeting place and fill them to overflowing.

And so my word for 2016 is GLORY (if you haven’t already guessed!). My prayer for this year is for God to be my magnificent obsession and for nothing to keep me from pursuing Him until I, too, overflow with the power of the Spirit and we see God’s glory.

 

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