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MATURITY – Royalty

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 11.19.38 pmThe kings and queens of old owned property, the rulers of today own intellectual property. They are the ones who receive royalties. They are those who own spheres of influence. Spheres of ideas. They are the ones with intellectual property. The kingdom of thoughts and rights.

They are story tellers, innovators, song writers and traders.

In the digital sphere the concept of ownership is changing. Once we would buy a CD and then own a CD with potential to sell a CD. We had the illusion of ownership. We didn’t actually have any ownership of the intellectual property. We essentially bought access to the intellectual property. Now with digital streaming the illusion of ownership no longer exists. We cannot sell the ideas. We can only share the ideas. Instead of having limited access we now have unlimited access to all ideas globally as soon as they are released.

I feel much of this shift in technology relates to how we can relate to God. The mind of Christ is our subscription to the best ideas. The bible is a book of ideas, revolutionary ideas that transform natural thinking. There is a stream Flowing 24/7. These ideas are to bring joy to the earth. I believe God can dwells in these ideas.

Psalm 46:4
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

Once the owner of the the intellectual property dies, the rights are for open access. Jesus is the highest royalty. When he died he gave us an open and unlimited or restricted subscription. Yet after passing on those rights he returned to life to join with us again.

It is absolutely imperative that we take time to converse and rest with him. Christ has ideas in his throne room that he wants to share to benefit his kingdom. It is not a place of intimidation or grovelling. It is a place of prayer where we live boldly in the throne room discussing points that shape his kingdom through our lives. There is no lack or worm like desperation. It is a welcome seat saved for us because of his kindness. We do have a choice to sit in our rightful place or we can choose to ignore it put Christ back on the cross and act like there is more to be done to please God before we are to reach this privileged position.

It is surprising that many seasoned Christians can become desperate. Desperate for ideas, desperate for love, a marriage, a house, a child, money, a career, a purpose, an outlet. Just because we may feel ignored doesn’t mean that it is true,

Here is a link to some research I was collating on Royalty. http://www.pinterest.com/johncavallaro/regal-fashion/

We hear about celebrities and constantly see them highlighted in the media. A celebrity simply means ‘to be celebrated’. Weather you believe it or not, you are worth celebrating.

God is only looking for desperate people at the start. Once we enter his rest we should never return to desperation. The only time in the New Testament it talks about being desperate was when Jesus said, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. Jesus also said whoever drinks of me will never thirst again. Once we are first satisfied, that filling constantly replenishes us.

Desperate people seek God from an empty place. Passionate people seek God from a full place. Desperate people are needy. Passionate people are full and overflowing. From the outside they may look the same but the driving force is vastly different. God wants to meet the needs of our desperation fully satisfying them so that we are passionate. Relationships can only flourish when we are passionate. Desperation kills community and sucks the life out of people. It believes a lie that we do not have enough and blocks God out in doing so.

Maturity is the ability to think for oneself. To provide for oneself. To protect oneself. Once we know how we are loved we can then experience the maturity to partner with others. Father Son and the Holy Spirit. The ultimate collaboration.

Again here is another Lorde song I feel is prophetic that shows that at the right time we are unstoppable. Not to conform but realise with the people already in our lives our broken dreams can become reality.
 
LORDE
Team
Wait till your announced
We’ve not yet lost all our graces
The hounds will stay in chains
Look upon your greatness
That you’ll send the call out.
 
I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air, so there
So all the cups got broke shards beneath our feet but it wasn’t my fault
And everyones competing for a love they won’t receive
Cause what this palace wants is release
Living in ruins of the palace within my dreams
We are on each others team

Many people have lost who they are because they feel pressure to become something they are not. They fail to receive love and it separates them from God and from people. The very source what they need to be alive. Their dreams are in ruins.
Kristan Vatneratnum once shared a thought on the story of Jacob. He noted that when Esau saw him he ran at him and wept.  To Jacob the scriptures state ‘it was like seeing the face of God.’ He concluded that   we receive love we see the face of God. The biggest challenge for most is not being able to give love, but being comfortable to receive love. To receive love we have to realise we are worthy of love. We have to see our true nature as kings and queens.  It is a lie that we are unacceptable. Righteous means, made right or acceptable. Sin is the fruit of not living in our true identity. We are looking to meet the legitimate need of acceptance in the wrong place. The truth is that we are fully accepted, the more we accept the fact, the more our life and church will flourish.

Understanding that we are not desperate beggars but we are seated with him in his heavenly kingdom has the potential to revolutionise your life.

Ephesians 1:20

God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom because we belong to Christ Jesus. He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come, His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us because of Christ Jesus has done.

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PULLING THINGS APART – Failure is fun

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I remember punching my brother in the head once while we were being baby sat. The poor baby sitter freaked out as my brother lay unconscious on the floor after hitting the door frame. When she asked me why, my answer was simple. ‘I wanted to find out what would happen if I punched someone in the head’. It wasn’t personal my brother just happened to be the closest person to me and I was curious to see what would happen. He got up and laughed with me. Needless to say that baby sitter never returned.

As a child it’s fun breaking things. Pulling them apart.

A friend Stephen Packer told me that he realised that God was not disappointed in many of our frustrations . He actually enjoyed every phase of development. He is not mad when a child falls trying to walk. He is fully aware of the child’s capabilities and finds joy in the joy of his children’s curiosity, and dependance on him. Infact there is a certain Glory of God revealed in every phase of development that passes with time. It is no lesser satisfying to God in the same way a baby is cute making up words, verses an educated articulate lecture by a professor.

Growth and pleasure are linked. As a child grows most of the time they are in “play” mode. God wants to play with us to learn and practice motor skills. The curiosity is fun.

For some pleasure is a carnal word, but pleasure is from God. Many have thrown out pleasure because of the error in seeing pleasure as the end game. Pleasure itself is not the problem it is just the beginning of eternity. It is a glimpse of heaven. It is a taste of things to come. It is what leads us down the path to him.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

We are his pleasure. We are with Christ at his right hand who is our pleasure. It is not fleeting, it is forever.

To develop the gifts of the spirit we must take risks. If we believe we can never make a mistake then we will be too afraid to practice prophecy, words of knowledge ect.. It is important to realise unless we see it as enjoyable, safe and relaxed we will be locked by fear and present Christ in a distant and distorted manner. He wants the process of learning to be pleasurable and satisfying. Not intense and unnatural.

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IDENTITY – Addiction and Affection

There are many development disorders these days. Attention deficit disorder is prevalent. It comes as no surprise that children need attention. From a young age we constantly cry out ‘watch me’ , ‘listen to me’, ‘hold me’ or like when I was young repeat incessantly ‘Mum,mum,mum,mum’. It is how we are wired. If we don’t receive it we crave it and fail to thrive.

Have you ever seen a child or teenager playing up and someone say “They are just attention seeking”
I heard someone once say. “If they are seeking attention, we should just give it to them”

The explosion of social media via facebook, instagram and tumblr are really just outworkings of the human need for attention. We want to be liked. We want to be seen. We want to be heard.

More then attention teenagers are seeking affection. Facebook started with the idea of being able to find a suitable partner sharing pictures of the best looking college students. Today nothing has really changed. People are looking for those who they think might provide attention which then leads to affection. It is such a strong human need that social media sites literally volcanoed out of a simple idea that tapped into the heart beat of humanity.

The cycle of addiction begins with the lack of intimacy. A yearning for intimacy. The addiction meets that need temporarily then we follow the cycle of addiction. A high, a release, a low, shame, increased emptiness and isolation, craving for comfort, and the cycle begins.

These may include the standard addictions, such as drugs sex and alcohol, but there are many more subtle addictions that I feel are just as prevalent and equally debilitating.

These include, melodrama, approval, people pleasing, prayer, worship, feedback, talking, fashion, food, talking about God, appearing in control, body image, being liked, sermons, education, church services, being seen with the right people, digital media, lifestyle, titles and position, the gym, following instructions, systems, chaos, last minute panic, anger, being happy, theological correctness, being right, self pity and the list goes on.

Each one in itself may not be bad, but if it is difficult to stop one without feeling a sense of shame, I would suggest it may be an addiction. If we yearn for something so much that we can’t believe we could possibly be live without it, it might be a time to stop and take stock. You may feel withdrawals even and a sense of unworthiness for not perpetuating a practice. To meet addiction we can replace it with a satisfying addiction. One we are made for. An addiction not to an experience or religious practice but to Christ. The difference may seem at first seem negligible but I would argue it is the difference between life and death. Any addiction outside of Christ is sapping the life from you.

Even the most hardened tattooed bikie needs affection. We are all made for affection. Have you ever wondered why there is a proliferation of puppies, kittens and cute things on youtube? It is because it gives us a warm and fuzzy. We sense a sense of softness and affection. Ever wondered why the Internet is rife with pornography? Why women get lost in romance novels for weeks on end. It is because we all seek intimacy and at the core is a need for love and affection.

I read once that most mental health problems and addictions come from an avoidance of feeling even the mildest levels of pain.

As soon as we feel a level of discomfort, we self medicate. To break the cycle of addiction, as Mel Gibson made popular we must “Hug the cactus”. It is realising that to be fully human we must let our body process pain. It is only then that we can see our true nature. Our bareness and awareness that we need the affection of Christ. Many times our works separate us from receiving the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We are so busy trying to fix it that we can’t receive the Love of Christ. Our true identity as sons and daughters.

2 Corinthians 1:22 And he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first instalment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

The very first thing we need is his affection. When we let him identify with us by loving us we find our identity. It is a very humbling state that can only be received when we allow ourselves to be weak and vulnerable and feel pain. This is the only way we can receive affection.

I have found when I am being driven by a cause or running from a situation because something is making me uncomfortable it is a red flag for a need for affection from God. Instead of diving into another activity I now stop and sit or even lie down and let his affections sweep over me filling those God given cravings. This breaks the power of addiction and reveals our true nature as kings and queens seated in heavenly places with the father. Most of the time that drive disappears and the addiction is broken.

The desire to be seen and heard is not wrong. The trend of selfies I believe is actually an opportunity for self expression. When we realise God sees and hears us and has affection to pour out, instead of being desperate it is possible to see that we are royalty.

I am finding alot of prophetic statements on the radio lately. It seems many people outside of the church understand thier value more then in the church.

Below is an example from a line from Lorde. I feel she is prophetic about our true nature as royalty and not just servants or slaves.

ROYAL
Ooh ooh oh
We’re bigger than we ever dreamed,
And I’m in love with being queen.
Ooh ooh oh
Life is great without a care
We aren’t caught up in your love affair.

When you understand your position in Christ it will revolutionise the understanding of your ability to influence the world around you breaking your addictions for approval and comfort. God can meet the deepest of this primal need.

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MENTAL GROWTH – Seeing in the dark

As we grow our eyes are opened. We begin to see that the world doesn’t revolve around us. It is much more spectacular then that. As we mature God will reveal his light in the darkness. Most of my life I have believed light and darkness cannot coexist. I believed that soon as the light turns on darkness must flee.

I am now realising light and dark can co-exist. It is to do with our perception. When we put on infra-red glasses we can see the light in a room that was once dark. God can give us an awareness of things that was once out of our perception. In Christ we can see light in every sphere of life. As pioneers, areas that were once darkness become light before us. We no do not need to bring the light to dark places but reveal the light in dark places.Someone once told me hell is locked from the inside. Hell is just a place where God doesn’t dwell. It’s a nice idea. The problem is it isn’t true. God is everywhere and holds all things together.

Psalm 139:8 If I make my bed in the depths of hell, thou art there.

2 Corinthians 4:4.6 “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

To become a full rounded individual God wants us to see and experience the full spectrum of sights sound, touch, taste, smell and emotions. Not to be disabled or emotionally handicapped. For many christians dark sad emotions are seen as bad. The problem with that is that we cannot choose which emotions we shut down. When we shut of so called bad “emotion” we cut off all emotion. We become fake and crippled. Never happy never sad, just numb. Numb to the reality of the world, insensitive to the heart of God. God gave us sad emotions to empathise with those in pain. To experience pain ourselves. There is joy in the communion of sharing not simply because it is a joyful occasion but because we are not alone. We are called to bring light out of darkness. To join with others in the full spectrum of life.

There is light in dark places for Christ is already there shining in full brightness. People are blinded and need the veil removed. The veil of isolation and lack of hope. Alternatively things that seemed full of light can be darkness. For many we feel close to God only after we sing 3 worship songs in a Coldplay style song and hit the chorus and then sense God with us. This can be darkness because we may think it is the formula that brings God when in actual fact God can come in an style of song at any time. In reality he doesn’t need a song he does’t even need our attention. Ironically the reason God comes at the high point of a chorus is simply because we think thats when he does come which in a way can be darkness.

 Exodus 1419 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

Here we can see the same cloud was dark to one and light to the other. God is speaking constantly and revealing him self in all the arts secular and sacred. It is only those growing in maturity who can see it. It doesn’t mean we should make those to stumble who are growing but amongst those who are mature we can sit perfectly comfortable in so called dark places. In Christ there is no darkness.

Immaturity is afraid of things that are safe and fearless when it there is a need for safety. My wish is that you allow your mind to be conformed to Christ to awaken your mind to the reality of what he sees.

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REPLENISHING GROWTH – Food fight, or fighting for food.

food fight

I was with my family at a well respected families house for the first time. He was a high ranking government official and an elder in the church. We were all quietly eating on our best behaviour. All of a sudden from the periphery of my vision a spaghetti strand flew across the table and hit me in the face. Shocked I looked up and found not a soul flinched. They all just continued eating, business as usual. I wondered if this was a particularly sneaky perpetrator or just a very clumsy eater. Anyone who has seen lady and the tramp knows the whiplash from spaghetti can be hard to manage.  I peered down at my plate perplexed. Suddenly another strand hit me.

“Excuse me. Mr Bean” I asked. (The fathers name was Mr Bean.) “Did you happen by chance to sling spaghetti at my face?”

He burst into a big grin and at his wifes horror a food flinging affair began. It was world war three. Amongst the raw of laughter and clanging of cutlery and dinner plates Mrs Bean relinquished her protests and actually joined in. It was possibly the greatest formal dinner I have ever attended.

Food fights can be offensive. We wasted food when people are starving. It is true, but what is worse is when we believe we must fight for food when there is no need. I think in a spiritual sense it is a great lesson.

Many people are in an aggressive or grovelling posture for spiritual food. They pray things like “God have mercy on your child and feed me”  My point is that God has an abundance of spiritual food and physical food for us before we are even hungry.

Recently I prayed for the restaurant out the front of my church called “Loveeat” as the pastor felt it may be closing. I talked to the owner and discovered there was a new very experienced owner and that he was delightfully happy with the profits and location. I ordered a big breakfast and then God reminded me of where I was.

Low and behold, I was in a restaurant. A place of rest. After a 0.083 sec Google search I learned the word restaurant comes from the french meaning, “To restore”. Rest restores. I started to think that maybe if we wanted to bring restoration back to a broken, disjointed humanity we needed to eat with them and actually enjoy it.

I was at a friends place a short while ago and he and his wife were going through marriage problems. She cooked a meal but would not sit at the same table as us. It was silent but a very loud message that there was a communication breakdown.

God is not like this. He actually likes us and wants to be with us.  I believe God wants to give us physical food together and spiritual food together. The disciples ate and drank together and then performed signs and wonders. They also waited for forty days eating and drinking at the passover meal before the Holy Spirit descended.  Maybe it wasn’t accidental that the two were linked. Did the signs and wonders come out of a trust between each other formed around food centred on Christ?

This food and wine is not for everyone. Water is for everyone. Pressed wine is for the mature. To “Drink from his cup” requires maturity. Solomon repeatedly requests not to “Awaken love before its time”. The intimacy and sacrifice which I will elaborate on at a later time is reserved for those completely committed. This love will ruin you in the best sense of the word. It will keep you up at night wondering. It will possess you to put way more effort in then you initially intended. It burst through your veins so that you loose any inhibitions. But let me focus on basics.

For the young eating and drinking is very important for physical, emotional and spiritual growth and sustenance. As a child develops their parents provide emotional spiritual and physical food. It isn’t the child’s fault if there is no food in cupboard. It is the parents responsibly. God has a constant supply to share. It isn’t just like food slipped under a prison door in isolation. It is at his table, side by side.

Eating together opens up communication. Communion is a time for community. The first communion was around a meal. Maybe its the Italian in me, but a banquet is what I think it should be. Its amazing how communities/families are built around a meal. People relax, drop their guard, laugh and connect.

It is also a place of equality. The poor aren’t fed separate from the main community. Our charitable endeavours are not a side project. The poor don’t simply need nutrition. They need family. The rich don’t need another meal, they need to be connected to the grass roots of life. The children don’t eat in another room. Children eat with the parents. Poor and rich alike. Abolishing the class system in the simplicity of a meal. We are all equal when we eat together.

We are not servants, we are his sons and daughters. As sons of God we sit and eat at his table. We can sleep in his arms. We can just sit in a room together and not talk. 

Its funny how eating fruit from a tree we shouldn’t in the garden of eden, caused so much separation. It shouldn’t be surprising that eating fruit from the right tree breaks the curse amongst people from all walks of life and even in nature itself. The knowledge of the Glory of God brings humanity into alliance but also nature into harmony. Unified eating is a sign that the earth is in right order.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
Isaiah 11:6-9 (King James Version)

Eating together is a spiritual act. It breaks down divisions, misconceptions and prejudice. It builds community and is ultimately essential sustenance for all parties involved. There is a spot at the table for everyone. His restaurant is free and open 24/7 in fact its not his restaurant, its his dining table. Maybe next time you have a meal you might see it slightly different. You might even fling a strand of spaghetti. 

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SLEEP – The Fastest Way to Grow

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Have you ever noticed that we spend much of our life asleep? Despite all our productivity, life goals and ambition almost a quarter to a third of our life we spend flat on our back effectively doing nothing. Perfectly idle in a subconscious state. As babies we enter the world sleeping at routine intervals and then in our latter years our days dwindle buffeted by afternoon naps.

I was at a 7am prayer meeting a few weeks ago and I found God wouldn’t let me pray. I was a little annoyed because it was cold, early and I was ready to pray but felt constrained. Most people might think I was wasting my time or going a little loopy, but I knew God was up to something. Fortunately I was the only one who attended the meeting so I didn’t have to explain myself or feel guilty. No one else had bothered to wake up so I felt I was one up on them. So I thought.

Sitting on the cold concrete stairs locked outside of the building a thought of rest crossed my mind. Unbeknownst to me it became a rather gripping idea which seems to unravel on a daily basis.

I pulled out my phone and started reading the book of Hebrews. Maybe it was because of my desire for slumber but the thought of rest started to lead me down a trail of ideas. Straight after the writer of Hebrews talks about leaving the desert to head into the promised land he emphasises the day of rest, or the Sabbath. I saw that God might not desire for us to go back and forth between the desert and the promised land.

Hebrews 4:4
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.”

God worked six days and then rested. He never went back to work. It was finished. If we are to follow his lead we must realise the day of rest is “Today”. The sabbath is “Today”. Today is the day of Salvation. I discovered that we don’t need to only rest in peace when we die. We enter his rest when we receive him. Rest is salvation. Surprisingly the scripture warns us several times to be careful NOT to rest. Most people it seems warn of not working. I’ve never once in my life been reprimanded for resting too little?

I began to see that the sabbath is intended to remember God, but when Jesus showed up we can’t forget him because he is with us everyday.

The Jewish tradition of the Sabbath or Shabbat starts on a friday night with wine, dinner with the family and the married enjoying marital relations finishing at saturday lunch. These aren’t things that we should only do once a week. God wants us to experience this everyday with him at the centre.

In Jewish law the severest punishment is for those who don’t observe the Shabbat. I wondered why the same punishment for murder,rape and adultery is the same for mowing the lawn on a sunday. It is because rest and salvation are the one and the same. In no uncertain terms God commands us to rest. Our bias as is to appear busy. Busyness it seems is something to be proud of, something of a badge. We even lie to appear important. How was you day? “Busy”. Not many people would gladly admit to watching youtube videos for four hours.

We even label a whole industry “Busyness” or the “Business Sector”. Unfortunately busyness does not equate with productivity. I felt I was being made aware of a new type of business practice.

Running a small business I found to take a holiday was one of my most pressing challenge. I was afraid that when I came back, my business would irrevocably suffer. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a chance to rest, I just didn’t allow myself to rest because I needed to stay on high alert for the sake of the business and sense of duty. After several years of very few restful breaks, I started to wonder if God wanted me to live like this. To me, it was incredibly difficult to book in a holiday, not knowing how busy I would be, or what my financial situation would look like. Once I acted in faith, I discovered my perspective shift on the nature of God changed my life dramatically. I realised he wanted me to enjoy my life, and not just endure. I’m not perfect at it but more and more over the last few years I now cherish these holiday times and don’t allow future concerns from stealing my present sense of rest.

After starting to gain an understanding of rest I needed to go to the toilet. Feeling a little despondent and like I was wasting time at the prayer meeting, God asked me what room I was in. I realised I was in the “Rest Room”.

At risk of sounding vulgar,  I felt I needed to get rid of religious “waste”.   My religious activity was ironically separating me from him from the start, putting him at arms length and making me climb back into him via prayer.  Prayer was not a way to get to him. He was already with me. He was seeking me.

I felt he wanted me to understand I needed new regular revelation and needed to let go of the past otherwise it would make me bloated and poison my system.

I realised how all my christian activities were centred around getting to God. In essence they became the very thing that stopped me from seeing God because they perpetuated the lie that I wasn’t already with him

The time children grow the fastest is when they are asleep. On average a babies birth weight is doubled by 4-6 months and tripled by 12 months. Exponential growth occurs. For this growth to occur a baby needs to be at rest with his little heart and body optimised, building new cells. When we fill our lives with activities our thinking does not have required energy to be directed into thoughts of growth. We are too busy in survival mode to focus our attention onto new thoughts. Too busy playing catch up.

For some the thought of rest is actually stressful, the thought of new ideas overwhelming. Who will do the work if I don’t? I would argue if you don’t have time to rest you are doing something God is not asking you to do. Rest is a state of faith.  It shows that we completely trust and completely feel safe in Gods in plans.

Isaiah 66
This is what the Lord says Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
Could you build me such a resting place?

Rest is receiving Gods nature. Heaven is his throne. The earth is his footstool. A throne is comfortable, a footstool makes him a little more comfortable. When we rest we are giving God his rightful place.

Rest is total authority. His feet on the footstool shows total dominance. We don’t’ need to be fight or flight mode because perfect love casts out fear.

Rest kills a religious spirit because religion makes you feel you can do it. We sometimes put ourselves in the place of Jesus. The messianic complex starts with thinking “If I’m not here, this ship will sink.” Its a burden we are never supposed to carry. If we are doing Gods will and what he requires the rest Gods responsibility.

Rest is visionary because it values relationship over the long term rather the production in the short term.

Rest gives God a voice to speak to us and for us. Many times simply stopping and listening has saved countless hours of wasted time, money and effort.

Rest is a statement that God is with us. When we don’t rest we are inadvertently saying, God is no longer in charge.

Rest reveals lies. It is the true understanding that it is finished. Jesus already died on the cross. It is not a something to be proud of when you put yourself back on it.

Later in Hebrews 4:3 it says
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.”


The includes all works including the work of the cross.

Revelation 3:18
That book belongs to the lamb who was slaughtered before the creation of the world.

We can rest because God is not surprised by anything. God didn’t bat an eyelid even at Adam and Eve’s seemingly cataclysmic mistake. He already moped up the mess “The lamb who was slaughtered before the creation of the world.” At the right time he decided to reveal it to us.

1 Peter 1:19
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV)

Its interesting that alot of the time we can only rest when feel like everything has been done. Many feel like there is always something to be done and actually struggle to stop. They think its a waste of time to stop and smell the roses. When we see that “It is finished”. The work of salvation is final we can cease striving. God never asks us to strive. He asks us to be led. To only do what the father does. The cross broke the curse of “toiling”. It now asks us to tend the resurrection life offered.


Psalm 127:2
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves.


Many people don’t want to rest because of fear. They want to please others. They hide behind works and serving others because if they stop they don’t feel loveable. Rest confronts the issue of value. It asks the questions “Am I just as important when I am not doing anything?”. “Am I worth spending time with when I’m not a practical help?”. Few find it enjoyable to confront these sensitive issues and prefer to scoot along the surface. Past rejection or hurt may be the reason we avoid rest. Sometimes we’d rather not actually deepen the relationship for fear of loosing what we have. Unfortunately being loved for what we do rather then who we are is a self defeating type of love, if we can call it love at all. It is a return to the curse of toiling and separation from God’s love.

Rest is unselfish because it puts value on other peoples actions and thoughts, and allows them in. We stop what we want to do and put importance on what others want. Rest allows space for interaction and removes the busy clutter that blocks relationships.

Rest improves relationships. It is no surprise we even use the term “Sleeping together’. When we are at rest, we are vulnerable. We are not in a self protective state. It facilitates deeper fully present, authentic connection. It creates an atmosphere for intimacy.

Rest is immensely productive. Fruitfulness comes from intimacy. There are so many things out of our control. Weather patterns, stockmarket, our health, the actions of others. Rest puts these concerns back on the shoulders of the one who is in charge and leaves the rest to God.

Discussing this with a friend Tom Biasetto he shared that elite athletes i.e. when Tiger Woods have a crucial putt to make or when Ronaldo was to make a spot kick, in those high pressure situations what separated them from lesser competitors was that their heart rate would drop to that of just above sleeping. They could master primitive fear states of flight or fight. Lesser sports stars in similar situations found their heart rate spike with a corresponding drop in performance.

Its funny the effect senior players have when they step onto a field. Experienced players change the atmosphere of the team. They are not panicking. They have composure and an air of confidence that instills strength into the entire team and even the supporters. They may not be at the top of their game physically but they are completely relaxed which facilitates the team rising to its potential.

Rest is not laziness. It is operating in the spirit. It is higher efficiency, clearer thinking, it is enjoyable, attractive, and a reveals who we truly are. We can relax in the individual identity of how God made us. We don’t have to work to put up a facade. We are accepted. More then accepted we are sought after. Our messy humanity completely connected with divine nature.

Adam received his wife while he was asleep. The disciples rested in the upper room for 40 days eating drinking at the feast of Pentecost until the Holy Spirit descended.

Stopping helps us face the larger questions in life that we subconsciously carry. When we start feeling the weight of what is on our heart many times it makes us tired and sleepy. It is because we begin to feel the burdens we are carrying. We are not supposed to be carrying these burdens. Many times the best thing to do is sleep. We are supposed to give them over to God to carry. To lighten our load. This dream state is a place where God can fill us with vision and ideas. When we wake we can trust that God has things under control. It is interesting how often I go to be feeling overwhelmed and by the morning the problems of the night before have seemed to dissipate.

When we rest we move out of our head and into our heart. Our heart moves slower then our head. To live from a place of the heart we must slow down. Then when we act we will live from our heart. Our words will come from the heart and be loaded. Have you ever found it difficult to be heard in a board meeting? Many times the one who is at rest is listened to the most. The person in panic mode is ignored. Even listening to them unsettles the team. The people at rest are usually the leaders. They have processed the issues and are resolved. When you are at rest, people stop and listen. They sense you have the ability. It calms their personal doubts and the voices of inadequacy that they may carry.

So how do we enter this magical rest you may ask? I noticed a cousin of our family Chas Gullo entered a building during a wedding once. To me it seemed the atmosphere of the room changed as he walked in. I felt a sense of peace. I asked him if he knew what I was talking about and I found his answer very enlightening. He told me that he walks as if he carries a dove is on his shoulder. He walks slowly and moves softely so he can be in-tune with what the Holy Spirit is doing.

Even just going to bed early is a way to enter this rest. I remember as a teenager I would wake feeling taller. While I was asleep my body entered a growth spurt. Although I am aware of God all day long, these days I also experience Gods presence the most when I am in bed, before I wake and as I sleep. I see it as a type of meditation on Gods goodness and feel like I am growing closer to him like never before. 

I’m not saying sleep all day and don’t do any work. I am saying carry God with us as we work. This rest isn’t something I can conjure up. It is something we have to perpetually receive. It is is something we carry. It is an act of mercy and grace.

Hebrews 4:11

Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish, by following an example of disobedience.


I challenge you to today to listen do what he asks, rest and leave the rest up to God. It may be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. People around you may miss out on eternal life because you are so concerned about the tasks you need to accomplish. Don’t be disobedient. Make the changes you must to allow rest into your life.  It is one of the most fruitful modes of living.

 

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Personal Work/Interviews/Thoughts, Uncategorized

NEW BORN – Milk Drunk

I have started a business called “Picture and Portrait”. People send me a picture usually over Facebook and then I draw it. It is no surprise this black duck has been drawing a lot of babies lately. ALOT. What can I say? Parents love their bundles of chubbyness and they want them immortalised in a portrait for all to see.

https://www.facebook.com/PICTUREANDPORTRAIT

It has dawned on me that this is how God sees us. Like a parent sees their child.

Over the last few weeks I feel I have seen a new side of God. The parental heart of God. A few weeks ago I was about to fall asleep and then I had a little day dream.

I was on my back with just a nappy. I then filled my nappy. God came and wiped me clean and replaced my nappy. I felt shame and was a bit embarrassed to let God see this. He then blew a raspberry on my belly and made me laugh and I forgot about my shame. We then blew bubbles in the bath tub and God frizz dried my hair with a towel. I then saw some “assets” and God told me to suckle and feed.

I later asked a friend about this because it felt a little strange. Was I going completely bonkers? He told me that the word ‘El Shaddai’ connected to Shadayim, the Hebrew word for “Breasts” and meant “The One of the Breast” or “Destroyer”. Without sounding too sexist those extremes seemed like very feminine attributes of God. I researched the Hebrew and confirmed it to be true. I realised God was my life source and without him I would shrivel and die. After being “Milk Drunk” God wiped the drool off my face. He then strapped me into a stroller and I sat there drunk asleep bouncing along as he jogged. I achieved things way beyond my abilities, but it wasn’t my achievement that mattered it was being in his company. At this stage in my own strength I couldn’t even crawl.

It wasn’t my abilities my prayers, my songs, my readings of his actions, my ideas, my strategies, my performance, my fruit, my strength, my service, my love, my affection, my generosity,or my words that mattered at this stage.

It was his prayers, his songs, his actions, his ideas, his strategies, his performance, his fruit, his strength, his service, his love, his affection, his generosity and his words that mattered.

The hardest work I had to do was to learn to be a son. To receive and understand my value and worth. I felt God was pruning away all these works of prayer, worship and reading my bible I thought were so important right back to letting him love me. A circumcision of the heart. The Gospel is quite simple. Many times we add lots of paraphernalia to it. It is so important that we are joined to the vine and not joined to good ideas, patterns or at worst addictions that ignore Gods subtle whisper.

God wants to deal directly with our heart. He wants to satisfy our heart for it is the place where good fruit is formed. An interesting thing about wine making is that the vines are heavily pruned. I thought it would be once a year at the most, but it is standard practice to prune the vine seven times each season. The purpose is so that the nutrition goes to only the most essential shoots of the vine and the foliage doesn’t block the new shoots from the sun.

I’m not saying any of these things are bad. I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water, but I am saying unless everything we do comes from an understanding of love it causes more damage then good. What does a baby have to do to impress its parents? Rest and trust. It is actually unnatural for a baby to take on works of life. True maturity is understanding that we are both an adult and baby before God. I am saying sometimes we need to get the order right. John 4:19 says “19 We love because he first loved us.” We must regularly prune back to the essential life giving attachment to Christ before we run off chasing “results” or proving our love by our actions. I am not saying don’t do any of the aforementioned practices. I am saying here is an incredible tool to put in your arsenal. It is arguably the most powerful as the rest stem from it. Be careful that you are not so busy trying to impress God. He is impressed by you already. Before you lifted a finger you have his heart. The more we realise that, the more Gods power can flow throw us unfiltered. When we attribute Gods power to our action he has to limit it, not only will it destroy us but it presents a formula that can be devoid or relationship. Pruning doesn’t remove only the bad parts, it prunes healthy things to become even healthier. We think we have lost something great only to find out there is better.

Here is a film I made about being pruned to become more fruitful.

Fruit that remains

After all this “work” it was now time to rest. We then fell asleep in bed no one needed to talk. We just enjoyed each others presence and my body started to grow.

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