Tag Archives: jesus

Alan from behind looking into the distance

Finding Myself Again

(A two minute read)

I have people in my life who will say that I ‘found Jesus.’ Others will say that I ‘came to faith.’ They misunderstand. The opposite is true. God came to me. I wasn’t looking for Him. But He was looking for me. Endlessly. And when my time came, I couldn’t ignore Him.

He approached me first, then I found Him. Then I came to find faith in Him. Only then could I hear Him say ‘Follow Me’. Only then could I follow Him.

In that faith that I found, I now know that there are great things in store for me. I’m God’s masterpiece, ‘created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that (I) should walk in them.’ *

Here’s the deal: I was His masterpiece before I followed Him in faith. I was His masterpiece when I was still His enemy and hated Him. I was His masterpiece when I was broken. That’s why He came after me, because I was broken and had thrown myself in the trash. I was like Forky in Toy Story 4. Because I lived in the trash, I thought I was trash.

God disagreed, and tracked me down. What artist paints a masterpiece and throws it in the trash? Or, in my case, if the masterwork is thrown in the trash, doesn’t the artist go to retrieve it? To redeem it?

It’s by God’s grace that I was pulled from the scrap heap, saved from my own destruction. Now, I may finally ‘walk out those good works that God prepared beforehand.’

I do this successfully only through complete surrender. Surrender is difficult sometimes, but it renders the Christian life very simple. The simple answer to every question is to turn to Jesus, who tracks me down no matter how far I wander. And when He reaches me again, He says ‘Follow Me’. And I do, because He’s the one worth following, and I find myself again.

* Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Photo by Rachel Richards

an arrow attached to a tree

Things to Think About

(A two minute read or a lifetime of pondering)

Life is full of a questions and ideas. Some of them pass like the wind. Some fall to earth and become objects of curiosity for a time. A few of them grow into something I can write about.

Some parts of this short collection could appear later in more complete form. Or, they may pass like the wind. I can’t see from here.

They are offered for you to think about, write about, dream about or forget about. Freely they were given, so freely I give them away.

  • Jesus is the new tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We eat of Him and it undoes that other one.
  • Look at all the things the tree provides: Seed, fruit, sugar, shade, protection, beauty, heat. What else?
  • The world: Based on a true story.
  • “What if?” That is simultaneously the most wondrous and the most dangerous question in the world.
  • We are, all of us, works in progress, but only if we keep our minds open to weigh all things carefully. Otherwise we are standing stones, casting a shadow, providing no light.
  • Resentments are nothing more than bones chewed beyond nutrition or taste. Long after the taste is gone, the hater gnaws compulsively, not considering the worthlessness of his action.
  • It’s easy to remember God loves me. It’s harder to remember that He died a brutal death to express it. Harder still is to accept that He did this because of his hatred for all the evil and sin in my life.
mountain stream

The River Rolls On

(a three-minute read)

The old saying is that we can never cross the same river twice. The same is true for our encounters with God. No two are alike.

Sometimes when I seek him, I don’t get what I ask for or expect. Sometimes I meet the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can lift me up, or remind me (always gently) where I need improvement. Or he will coach me until I am ready to compete.

Sometimes the Father shows up and overpowers me with His love and dominion. Sometimes Jesus appears, to teach – you guessed it – a word.

Sometimes when I seek God, He doesn’t come at all, in any of His persona. He leaves me alone. But it isn’t a lottery. Like the rest of life, it’s not random. It’s part of a plan. I always get what I need, and He knows what I need before I need it.1

He shapes and molds me into a vessel that can receive more of Him over time. Just as the potter’s lump initially holds nothing, the artist’s hands slowly, patiently, draw it into the shape of a primitive cup.

Then, with more revolutions and more, the cup changes in size. Its walls narrow and it grows taller. There’s no more material now than in the original lump, but it’s given an inside and an outside. It has boundaries. So should I.

God shapes these boundaries in us. If we accept them, our insides grow larger, and we can contain more of Him. If we reject them, we are misshapen, ugly and of little use until we are ready to lay ourselves on the wheel again as an unformed lump.

In eternity, I’m a vessel that can receive all of Him. Here in the world, I have time and space limitations, but He has me grow, steadily, patiently.

In eternity, I’m a learner with the patience and obedience to sit endlessly at His feet. I learn. I worship. I grow. I change shape. I’m filled. In the world, I’m a learner who can be impatient and disobedient, sometimes from wilfulness, more often from the loud and real distractions life presents.

So, I go in circles on the potter’s wheel. No, it’s not that. It’s a carousel. As I circle round, I reach for the brass ring that is Christ.

It’s His music playing as I orbit. It’s His pony I ride, up and down, up and down. Even though I move in a circle, I never quite come back to the same place. Like the water that is never the same river flowing under the bridge, the stream of my life is constantly moving and changing.

From my belly will flow rivers of this living water.2 Christ promised it. I’m just a rock face. It’s the Lord Himself that tumbles out of me to water the plains below.

1. Matthew 7:11 – ‘If you then, being evil, know how to gie good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’
2. John 4:14 – ‘But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.’