Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Living Selfless in a Selfish World

I was out with a friend the other day, telling her...

If you think about it, if everyone in the world were completely selfless, we'd all have all of our needs met all the time because everyone else would always be looking out for us, and we'd be looking out for them.  Yet no one does live like that, so we can't depend on each other.  We live in self-defence mode.  Carrying our own struggles because no one else is free enough of their own burdens to carry them for us.

Then, last night, I was thinking about this again.  It is so easy to become self-focused and self-absorbed in our minds... because we are the only ones that live inside of our own heads, so we are the only ones who know what's going on in there.  When we're hurt, we know it.  No one else does, unless we tell them... and even then, they can't feel what we feel.  When we're happy, we feel it.  When we're sad, we feel it.  Whatever we're going through, other people are limited in their understanding of where we're at based on how we can communicate it to them, and then how they can relate based on their own experience.  You are the only one who *really* knows what it's like to be you.  And the same is true of everyone else you know; they are the only ones who *really* know what it's like to be them.

Often, when we're hurting, or feeling particularly selfish, it's because we feel the weight of our own emotions and struggles, and we can't seem to get out of them.  You are you, and you're the only one who knows what it is to be you.

So, this selfish condition of ours... it seems a little helpless... You're stuck being you forever, and as much as you would love to think about other people, and feel for THEM even more than you feel for yourself, you just don't know what it's like to be them, because you're not them.  And you are limited in your understanding of their hearts based on how much they are able to communicate it to you, and then based on your own level of experience and ability to relate.  Your greatest depth of understanding of anyone's heart would be your understanding of your own.

...It makes sense that you would think about yourself a lot then, doesn't it?

Yet... There is One who also knows your heart.  In fact, he knows it better than you do, and he cares about you more than you care about yourself.  He cares about you more than anyone ever has, could, or would.  He knows and loves you like this, AND... he knows and loves everyone else the same way.

He is our God.  And he inspired the Bible to be written in order to adjust your focus.  To take your eyes off of you, and put them on him. It teaches us that his heart... is full...  Of you.  Of others.  Full of people he loves, who break his heart on a consistent basis.

So... If you can't know other people's hearts like you know your own, why not stop focusing on yours, and start focusing on the One that made and knows both yours and everyone else's?

If you could really stop looking inward, and start looking upward, you might learn that there is a heart that overflows with love for you and meets your every need, and that this heart is full of love for other people, just like it is for you.  So if you focus on THAT... You find yourself, and others, in the centre of his heart.  You find yourself loved and cared for in a way that the people around you cannot do.  And you learn to see others as loved and cared for in the same way.

You learn that to live selflessly in a selfish world, you have to take your eyes off of yourself... To find that you are fully loved in the heart of someone else. And that this powerful, gracious, kind love also exists for everyone around you.

Gives you a bit of new perspective, does it not?  You don't need to learn to stop thinking about yourself to be a selfless person; you need to start thinking about yourself through the heart of the One who made you, in which place you are not the only one present.

The dictionary defines "Selfless" as "Having no concern for self."  You don't need to be concerned about yourself.  You have to learn to know the heart of the Father, who knows the depths of all of our hearts equally, and is, in and of himself, fully sufficient to satisfy ALL of our needs.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, self.  Your cares are not overlooked or misunderstood in his presence.  Cast them on him.  He cares for you.

Look at others with the heart of Jesus, self.  Their cares are not overlooked or misunderstood in his presence.  Carry their burdens to him with them.  He cares for them.

Focus your thoughts on the heart of Jesus, self.  He'll teach you how to dwell on it.  And through it, will teach you how to live and love like he does.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Believe in Fairy Tales

I was thinking the other day... I don't think I believe in fairy tales.  Looking forward to love, romance,  and marriage... One tends to think about fairy tales, and imagines that life might be that magical, that special.  But then there's a "Real-life-reality-check" that kicks in at the same time and tells me, "It's not true. Don't believe in fairy tales."

Yet still, somewhere deep inside of me, underneath all of that "I don't think they are real," lies a little princess who desperately hopes that she's wrong.  She wants life to surprise her; to show her that fairy tales are real after all.  She wants them to be so badly.

That was me.  I didn't believe in fairy tales.  I hoped I was wrong, that life would surprise me and show me that fairy tales happen after all, but honestly I didn't think it could ever be true...

...Until yesterday, when I realized something.  It is true.

This is my story:
 - I am a princess.  My father is the King of kings.
 - I am sought out by a Prince.  His name is Jesus.
 - My Prince pursued me to the death - He fought the treasure-hoarding dragon, the serpent, my enemy captor, to save me.
 - He values me like a precious gem.  He fights for me, leads me, defends me, blesses me, and wins my heart and my love.  He is my Lord, my Saviour, my King.
 - I am a blessing to Him because He has loved me, because He has blessed me, because He has won my heart and my passion.  I didn't do anything to make Him want me.  But because He wanted me, I adore Him... and that love will bless Him as long as I continue to allow His pursuit of me to draw my heart to His own.

I do believe in fairy tales.  I live one every day.  "Happily Ever After" is the end of my story; and when He comes to carry me off to His kingdom, what a beautiful day that will be!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prayer and Fasting

Our church just went through a week of prayer and fasting.  And this is what I have learned.  So far...

First, I had a picture.  A vision, I suppose.

I was thinking about my burdens, and what it means to cast them on the Lord... and then after that, about taking his yoke upon me.

1 Peter 5:7
"Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." 

Matthew 11:29-30
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

And then this image came to my mind:

I imagined myself, or a person whose pain I could feel, standing there.  They were cringing, awaiting the slap of a heavy burden, about to fall on their back.  It was one of those pre-pain crying moments.... ready for the weight that would fall.  I was ready to receive what was my own.  It was coming to me.  Yet, just before the burden hits my back, Jesus steps in, spreads his arms over me, and catches my burden on his own back - A heavy wooden cross.  

I find this image so powerful.  That burden, that cross, was meant for me.  I earned that.  It was my cross to bear.  Yet, he took it.  And his banner over me is love.

Psalm 91:1
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the AlmightyI will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”"

Then, the next thing I got this week was this passage... 

Colossians 1:9-12
"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."

I have been praying this now for myself, and for others.  That he would teach us all the knowledge of his will through the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.  This passage is so much what I want... To know his will, to walk in a manner worthy of him, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.  I want to be strengthened with his power, by his glorious might, so that I may have endurance and patience with joy, giving him thanks all the while.  He has qualified me to share in the inheritance of his saints... in light.  His light. 

Then, the last thing I learned was this:

I was teaching Sunday school this week, and the lesson was about Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33).  And wow... talk about powerful.  I was convicted... because I was able to enter into this story in a way I hadn't before.  It was like I was there.  

No, I'll say that again: It is like I am there.  Only my story looks more like this...

The wind the waves are swirling around me in the form of fears and lies.  I am terrified.  Yet, there, in the midst of my storm, I see Jesus - And he is walking on the water, untouched, unafraid, unaffected by fear.  It does not swallow him; it cannot hurt him; it cannot touch him.  And I say to him, "Is that you Lord?"  And he says, "It is I.  Do not be afraid."  I respond, "If it is really you, tell me to come to you."  He says, "Come." I step out - reaching toward him - yet I still see and feel the wind and the waves around me, and they still frighten me.  In that moment, rather than focus on Jesus and his command of "Do not be afraid," I begin to look at the wind and waves, and I begin to sink in my fears.  

Yet, he is gracious to catch me.  He is gracious to save me.  And he says to me, "Why did you doubt, oh you of little faith?" His strong arms lift me up out of my fears, and then he steps into my boat, my heart (the very thing these fears are surrounding)... And all of a sudden, my fears are gone.  The storm ceases.  The wind stops.  Perfect love casts out fear. 

Forgive me, Father.  I have been afraid.  I have been sinking.  Thank you for saving me.  But thank you that it is not too late to learn to walk on the water with you.  Teach me to trust in your voice above the sound of my fear crying, howling, raging around me.  YOU are strong enough to save me.  You and you alone.  And even the wind, even my fears, must obey you.  Truly, Jesus, you are the Son of God.


Proverbs 18:10
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe."


1 Peter 5:6-11
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Monday, April 14, 2014


Feeling small today.  But good.  God is good.  And he is with me.

I am so thankful.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

He is Enough

Here is a thought.  Perhaps this is a little out of context, perhaps not...

Philippians 4:19 - "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

My God... will supply your needs.  He doesn't say, "God will give you water to quench your thirst, he will give you money to pay your bills, he will give you food to satisfy your hunger, he will give you STUFF to meet your needs..."

Rather, he says, God will meet your needs.  Just, HIM.  He is enough.  Yes, he meets our needs in tangible, practical ways; but yes too, he is more than enough.  Our needs are met in his presence, and there is nothing we need besides him.

"According to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus..."  

Riches in glory... How is he glorified?

John 15:8 - "By this my Father is glorifiedthat you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples."

How do we bear fruit?

John 15:5 - "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

So basically, to have our needs met...

All we can do is abide with him.  God meets our needs because he comes to us, and he invites us to come to him. We need him, and he is available to us.  He is rich in glory through Christ Jesus, and as we dwell in him and he in us, we produce fruit because he is there (and only because he is there), and the Father is glorified in that.  

So, to summarize, he'll meet our needs because he IS OUR NEED MET.  He meets our needs by his riches in his own work and glory.  He is great.  And he is our greatest need.

Pretty amazing, I say.

Matthew 6:31-33 - "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Just got back from a few days away.  Happy to be home.  Happy to see the world with fresh eyes in a way... God is good.  I feel that I have been learning the obvious.  Things that were right in front of me, things that I "Knew"- Are suddenly clear.  It's like I've seen things all my life that I can finally SEE.  I've heard things all my life the I can finally HEAR.  

...There are many more things that I have to learn, but God is loving, kind, and patient.  I am thankful.

I'll write more later, likely, about my recent lessons.  They're things maybe you've heard too.  But wow, when the Lord applies a learned lesson to your heart, it speaks volumes of truth into your life... and it is transforming.  

The truth will set us free!