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Forward to the past

to walk where he walked....

Forward to the Past.

Serene as it seems, watching the glorious sunrise over Lake Galilee was not my most treasured moment of that trip to Israel and Palestine …

The best moment came on a hill on the balcony of a little church next to the lake, marking the probable spot where the sermon on the mount was preached and taking that moment to read through the beatitudes and knowing this was me, that I was reading my heart. In the place where he had preached it 2000 years before this was my spiritual inheritance.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

This was the journey’s end, a moment that could have stretched out into eternity, some call it Kairos. The moment means more to me in retrospect as I see the pieces of my life’s puzzle fall into place and the significance of certain moments step into their full glory.

I didn’t realise at the time what a spiritual desert I had put myself in and yet God spoke to me even then.

A week before we had been in the scorching heat of Jericho in a monastery in the area where Jesus had spent his 40days in the desert, alone in a little up stairs room I had read through the passages in Luke 4 about what Jesus endured and was struck by the first line… the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness… he was led to a place of hardship.

Sometimes God will lead us into the wastelands.

Is this Love? Yes. God wants our minds renewed, sometimes the only way we’ll see change and break through is in the desert.

Would flowers be a miracle on the banks of a stream? No. But blossom from parched and arid earth is something extraordinary, unexpected like peace in the middle of a storm.

When I try to untangle the mystery of Jesus’ humanity I can’t but when I listen to all he went through in those days in the desert I see God’s glory. When we choose the spiritual vision over the physical reality something breaks (I think its the power of the fear of death in our lives) and God is glorified. As Christians we are born again, but I often fail to walk in the reality of that and fears begin to define my life and circumstances dictate my emotions, yet the spiritual reality is life giving.

When we go through tough times our choices define who we become. I want to be transformed ‘from Glory to Glory’.

In the last days of that trip the beatitudes impassioned me in a new way because of all that I had seen and heard traveling through Palestine; the heartbreak layered with retaliation and inevitably more heartbreak, beautiful acts in the name of God, horrific acts in the name of God, and poor souls lost in the confusion.

Even in our own church history there is confusion and times when I know the Holy spirit has been deeply grieved.

‘That the church has with stood bad theology and survived is a testament to the goodness of God’ (Eric Johnson). I hope that we as a church can truly take hold of our spiritual inheritance, to stand as sons and daughters of the King of kings and to have his Love and truth define reality. To rebuild what organised religion has crushed, to be the Nehemiahs and restorers of our times.

I was reading proverbs 8 because of a picture I think God gave me for my sister and as I read I felt more and more excited about this scripture. It talks about wisdom being there in the formation of the earth, many people see this text also as a description of Jesus’ love and presence at the start of all things and the design of this world.

“The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,

before his deeds of old;

I was appointed from eternity,

from the beginning, before the world began.

When there were no oceans, I was given birth,

when there were no springs abounding with water;

before the mountains were settled in place,

before the hills, I was given birth,

before he made the earth or its fields

or any of the dust of the world.

I was there when he set the heavens in place,

when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

when he established the clouds above

and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,

when he gave the sea its boundary

so the waters would not overstep his command,

and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

Then I was the craftsman at his side.

I was filled with delight day after day,

rejoicing always in his presence,

rejoicing in his whole world

and delighting in humankind.

How beautiful. I Love this last verse, it makes me want to run along a beach shouting praise to God or give someone a big hug…  to stand in his presence, to rejoice in his creation, in this world, his world, to delight in humanity…

surely this is what kingdom looks like?
If we are going to have sustainable revival, and by ‘revival’ I mean resuscitation of God’s perfect Love, healing and Joy in our world, we need to go back to the start, let our journeys end be the beginning of all things, the genesis of God’s original design. We see it in creation, we see it in Jesus…

God’s vision for this world.

The world was born with delight, praise and celebration.

I want this to be my reality; to delight in people with a thankful heart , to celebrate creation, and live a life of praise dwelling in the presence of God.

Let’s stand in our spiritual inheritance, when God breathed and creation began, at the side of Lake Galilee, on our front doorstep.

Let us step forward into the prophecies of the past.

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4 responses

  1. peter and angie

    Thank you Ruth. It is very moving and full of hope and endless possibilties. May you continue to know the reality of Him who fills all things in every way.

    With much love from us both. P&A

    November 11, 2011 at 9:24 am

  2. That’s beautiful!

    It reminds me of something one of my favourite authors Andre Rabe writes in his book “Imagine”:

    “When God thought of the ultimate expression of His creativity, the masterpiece of His artistic expression, the end result was mankind! This masterpiece would be a self-portrait: His vision of Himself, His likeness and image expressed with artistic skill upon the canvass of the human heart. However, each and every person would be a unique expression of His person. Unique … but still a full expression of his person……….What is it that motivated God to create? Are you ready for the shocking truth? You were present! In fact you are the inspiration behind all of creation. God had you in mind even before the foundation of the earth and He is still just as excited about you as He was then!”

    November 14, 2011 at 12:16 am

    • Thank you David, what a lovely picture that paints, yes, I Love knowing we are made in his image. The more I get God’s Love deep down in my heart the more God blesses me with the ability to see people with spiritual eyes, how he made them to be… it’s wonderful, it changes judgement into compassion and the spirit of comparison into celebration.

      November 14, 2011 at 9:52 am

  3. Hey!

    Love this post! It really reminds me of my trip to Israel too, in fact some of the places sound familiar too – Sea of Galilee :oP. It really is a truly inspiring place to visit, and really helped deepen my faith and understanding, actually seeing the places I’ve read about for so many years for real!

    GB

    January 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm

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