For those of you who have just joined us –welcome. Let me explain the things us ramblers are chatting about. We are looking at the way God is bringing us from an old culture into a kingdom culture. To help us do this we are looking at the Philippine culture and seeing what God is saying to us through it.
When you enter Manila you notice the dust filling the air. It lands everywhere. You also notice the business in the city of Manila from 4am until early the next morning. There are stalls selling goods, people transporting things, cooking, mending and sweeping etc.
God has been showing us the kingdom culture has to do with resting and waiting on him. We imbibe the business of our society, especially in the UK– feel we need to be busy to be valued.
“Doing is where I have found solace sometimes. I can find or hide myself in doing. I can find on days when I am angry, upset or confused that I just want to clean and tidy – or do something to distract myself. I must ask myself do I measure my self-worth by what I achieve, by being busy? I have notice that when people greet each other they ask “What have you been doing?” The underlying message is “How have you demonstrated your usefulness? What have you achieved? Are you worthwhile? We give labels we give ourselves as doers as this adds meaning to our life – I am a gardener, a cleaner, a children’s worker, a steward etc. Business is not godliness.” from May 17th blog post
Let’s take a look at the eagle
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
The eagle doesn’t flap it soars. (There is a fantastic sermon on this by Ern Baxter. He is a man whose sermons forged my early Christian life. The friends I babysat for leant me a tape per week. His sermon Eagle Life on Wings speaks about living like eagles. You can hear it here: http://www.brokenbreadteaching.org/Ernbaxterpage_files/Teaching%20List/Ern%20Baxter%20List%20BY%20SERIES.htm) .
The Philippines national bird is the Philippine Eagle. I saw a couple last year chained up in yards as pets. They did not look grand, they were not soaring, they were not rising above the clouds they were scrabbling along the ground and sheltering away from the relentless rain. They they were born to be Eagles but they were living as slaves. I was so moved by their plight.
We were born to be grand eagles. Yet too often we are chained up or scrabbling on the ground like chickens for scraps. We shelter ourselves from rain rather than rising above the clouds. It is time to be soarers not flappers. Eagles do not flap, they do not create their own momentum, but instead they use thermal currants to lift them up. They just need to position themselves well, open their wing and ride the ascending air. Those who live in peace live positioned with the wind of the spirit under their wings. Finding the currents of heaven and rising upwards on them. They do not scrabble on the ground, they fly high over other birds a get an overall view of the landscape. They are not shocked by what is coming around the corner and they rise about restricting avenues. Let’s be like the eagle.
This culture also causes people to be thirsty, it is hot and dusty. The grit and heat of the day gets stuck in our throat, makes us feel tired and weary. It can sap our energy, our will and our desires. It can cause us to lose the taste for things Do we plod on thinking that we have to live constantly on the edge of dreary or does it drive us to long for the cool waters of the Spirit. In this culture the Spirit flows freely and the presence of God is tangible. It is up to us to drink, up to us to meet with him, up to us to stand under the cool refreshing waters.
Those full of the Holy Spirit have a great power inside. He who is greater in you is greater than he who is in the world. This inside communion causes a change of atmosphere inside us. In this atmosphere is heaven’s joy, peace, hope, life and it bubbles till it leaks out of us wherever we go. When we are full of heaven’s atmosphere within and we then open our mouths the force of the atmosphere we are creating within us causes a change to happen outside us. We are no longer affected by the atmosphere around us as the internal atmosphere is a greater pressure than the pressure on the outside. Try crushing a coke can when it is upright –you can’t because of the pressure inside.
We see all this beautifully played out in the story of Jesus in the storm. Jesus is asleep in the boat whilst a horrendous storm raged outside. His internal atmosphere was one of peace and security. When the disciples woke him in a panic he walked up onto the deck and said “Peace, be still.” What was Jesus doing? He was opening His mouth to let the atmosphere inside rush out to bring peace and security to the atmosphere outside him. He was overflowing peace in a tangible way. This is how we share the gospel. We overflow the atmosphere of our hearts into people’s lives.
I see this most praying for non-Christians. By laying on of hands and speaking the friend will often burst into tears being impacted by the overflow in your own heart. We are called to live everyday lives filling the atmosphere with the presence of God.
Today: think what atmosphere are you cultivating in your heart? When you speak out at home and at work what change happens to the atmosphere? What overflow are you bringing? Does this need altering? How are you going to change it?