Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: glory

One And The Same?

Paul writes verse 1 of Philippians 2 as if it’s a done deal:

If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy…

The assumption is that we have these beautiful and lovely things in Jesus. So with that truth as a foundation, Paul urges all believers to be united:

.…complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord, and of one mind.

Hmmm…. does it complete my joy when believers are united? I like it, it’s a nice thing. But in all honesty it doesn’t get me bouncing around. I need to grow in this area. I so want it to be more than a nice thing to which I pay lip service. Because it’s important.

When I’m facing something challenging, it pretty-much becomes my sole focus and my prayers reflect that. What about Jesus? You can’t get any more challenging that being the Son of God facing unjust death by crucifixion and the horror of becoming the sin of the world. Yet what was Jesus’ last recorded prayer hours before He died? That His followers be united and that we would see His glory.

Wow.

Unity. It’s vital. It’s a God-thing.

When a group of people are united, others take notice. There’s a beauty about it.

When believers are united, we display God’s wisdom and glory. It’s attractive.

To follow Jesus is the highest calling. To be a child of God is the highest status.

I wonder… if we realised what we have in Christ and who we truly are, surely we would be much more likely to make allowances for one another and be loving and kind without being critical and judging. There are times when the truth needs to be spoken, but in a loving way that builds up rather than destroys.

If our gaze was completely taken up with Jesus, I’m sure we wouldn’t be so quick to tag people and write them off because they do things a bit differently to us.

We’re all works in progress. None of us have got it together. And that’s okay: our Daddy-God has promised that the work He has started in each of us He will complete.

So look at our amazing gracious wonderful God and be thankful. The more we appreciate His grace in our hearts, the more we will show grace to others.

Thankful hearts are united hearts.

 

 

*Photo by William White on Unsplash

Light

Your light is brighter
than the sun in noon-day strength.
In You, I see Light.

I’m a child of light.
You’re changing me from glory
to glory – whoop whoop!

Look

Day three’s word prompt for blogging through Lent is:  LOOK.

I’m one of those people who can’t see for looking, who frequently misses the obvious. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve embarrassed myself in shops by asking an assistant, ‘Can you tell me where whatever is please?’ only for them to point it out on the shelf directly in front of me.

A couple of years ago I went to an ACW writers’ day in Bath. I planned to get there nice and early to get the registration table set up before all the delegates arrived. I drove round and round the one-way system. My written directions and Sat-Nav both confirmed that the church was just off the one-way road I was on but I couldn’t see it. Then I spotted a church with a steeple on a hill so I exited left and drove up to it. Wrong church. Oh well. I got myself back into the one-way system and drove round for another go. Again, the only church I could see was the one with a steeple on the hill. Maybe I’d misread the name on the sign outside last time. I exited left and drove up the hill. Same name, still the wrong church.

Would you believe I spent almost an hour doing the same thing over and over again? (Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting to this so freely in public….)

CatOn the seventh or eighth attempt, I sat in my car with the church-with-a-steeple behind me and gazed out over Bath. ‘Lord, open my eyes.’ And He did. The church I needed (without a steeple) was almost opposite me, slap-bang in the middle of the one-way road I’d wasted an hour driving round and round.

Sometimes my looking is so skewed I can’t see straight. This is also true spiritually. There are all sorts of unhelpful things I believe about myself because I’m not seeing straight.

‘I’m stupid.’

‘No one ever listens to me.’ = I’m worthless.

‘I can’t…. because….’

The great thing is that God is waiting to open my eyes spiritually, emotionally and mentally as well as physically so that I can see straight. I think there are two things that run side-by-side for this to happen: I need to ask, and I need to look at Jesus. Because the more time I spend getting to know God and being with Him – gazing at Him – the more I am changed. God is the one who changes me from glory to glory, making me more like Jesus every time I look at Him.

When I look at Jesus, I see clearly because I see things from His perspective.

‘I am loved.’

‘God waits to hear me and bless me.’ = I am precious and my life has worth.

‘I can, because all things are possible for one who believes.’

Linking up with:

Missional Women

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.

 

Reflect

After far too long a break, I’m back writing with the Five Minute Friday community! Today we’re writing for five minutes on the topic reflect.

GO

Watching The Apprentice on BBC1 on Wednesday evening gave me cause to reflect. Each candidate is so driven, absolutely focused on becoming super-successful in business, of becoming an entrepreneur. Business seems to be their whole lives. Long hours, little time for family and relationships, they seem to constantly have their eyes fixed on the end goal of success. They can change communities through business and money.

What if, I as a lover of God, was driven and focused on the Kingdom that Jesus ushered in when He came to earth? What if I was utterly obsessed with God and was, as Heidi Baker calls it, a ‘laid-down lover’ of His?

Surely it would impact the community around me. The Bible says that as we gaze at God’s glory (spending time in His Word, praying, enjoying Him), we ourselves are changed from one degree of glory to another. We begin to more and more reflect God. Wow, that’s incredible.

So what am I messing about at? I only have one life. I want it to reflect my Jesus, my Saviour, my Lord.

STOP

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