Changing clothes

Traditional Filipino dancing

Traditional Filipino dancing

traditional Flippino Dancing

For those of you who have just joined us –welcome. Let me explain what we ramblers are chatting about. We are looking at the way God is bringing us from this old culture into a kingdom culture. To help us do this we are looking at the culture in the Philippines and looking at what God is saying to us through it.

Clothes

The Filipino national dress is very different from my preconceived expectations. It is very noble looking and made of a mixed past inheritance. Everyday clothes are not much different to western countries – t-shirt and shorts. The Philippines wear more modest clothes than some skimpy western clothes. The thing about the clothing in the culture that took me while to understand is that Filipinos will change their clothes around 3times a day. You may spend a morning with a group of people and get to know their names – but by the end of the morning they have changed their tops and I loose track of who is who: for example the lady who I met 10 minutes ago wearing red is now in a yellow top.

In Kingdom culture we get used to people changing. Changing ourselves as individuals  so often that people don’t recognise one another and have to do a double take. We are not to hold snap shots of each other in a good or a bad moment which new stick to the wall of our mind like a family portrait. “Ah yes” we think when we look at our snap shot “I know how that person will react in this given situation – I have them organised in my thoughts”. We are to give each other room to make mistakes, room to learn and room to change.

As far as clothes go we are no longer to wear the rags of slavery. We are slaves no longer. When we live likes salves this looks like us expecting less than the best, putting up with dirt in our lives, being comfortable with less than good – both spiritually and naturally. I always thought it was spiritual to put myself down, humble not to ask for anything and submissive to live for others all the time. I am finding that to love myself and others does not mean I have to come last – we all come first.

Let’s stop wearing the rags of shame and guilt for past wrongs, wearing the filth of habitual rubbish, wearing the shame for thinking we are second rate and worthless. When I was a child I constantly walked with my head down. Why? Because I wore the heavy clothes of shame and I thought that was my identity. I thought that however hard I tried I could never reach the standard set for me. BUT then my Father God came. Picked me up. Washed me down. He told me that I was chosen, royal, a priest and holy. I was his special possession (1 Peter 2:9). The strange thing is there are days when I have listened once again to the lies and I have picked up my stinking rags again and put them on. How crazy! It is time to take off those things and burn them!

We put on our royal clothes. We are to be those who are meeting their lover.

So wash yourself. Pour oil on yourself and wear your best clothes. Ruth 3:3

We are to put on the robes of a loving Father. Bearing his acceptance snuggly around our shoulders

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him.” Luke 15:22

We are not to be those who hide our royalty for fear of the responsibility it brings. Being royal means that you will be in the firing line. You will be drawn upon to bring wisdom, you will be called upon to give of yourself and you will be a representative of your Father’s Kingdom. People will expect much from the daughters and sons of heaven – we need to be confident in who we are and bear our responsibility well. See how the King of Israel treated his royal robes…29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. Chronicles 18:29 (NIV)

We are no longer to wear clothes that don’t fit us. We are called to be who we are – not try to fit into other people’s shoes or clothes. They will be cumbersome, trip us up and at their worst they will make us ineffective in the task ahead. David had this dilemma when King Saul wanted him to put on his royal armour. He didn’t bend under the pressure of trying to be like someone else even under the persuasion of the king. He wasn’t tempted to put on posh clothes to show he was special – he just went in his own tunic to face his biggest enemy ever. There was a lightness to his spirit by being true to who he really was.

38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armour on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.  Samuel 17:38-39(NIV)

Lastly, but by far the least, we are not longer to wear clothes with badges. For a long time now the church has been just like Sainsburys – we all pin badges on ourselves during certain times. These badges may be lies stuck to us. These badges show others our ‘position’ in the church, our sphere of influence and also our limitations.  You are a musician of course I am not expecting you to offer to serve coffee, I am a crèche worker I am not qualified to pray for healing. In the Kingdom we are to wear our ‘ministry positions’ lightly so that they do not become our identity. Why do we presume we will always be in same place? everyone is interchangeable from the youth worker to the senior leader – we are there for a season only. This is the season of changing our clothes regularly.

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We are the Prophetic Message

 

Gan Eliezer, Rehavia, Jerusalem

Gan Eliezer, Rehavia, Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a strange man. Eating locusts, dressed in camel hair, no wife, no kids, no house – what was he thinking?  His name was John the Baptist. He was a man declaring that there was something coming far more important that this life, these pleasures. He showed his message in his life he lived.

Moses second son was prophetic too – by the name he carried.

Exodus 18:4 Eliezer – which means ‘God was my helper, he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh

Moses sent his wife and 2 sons off to stay with Jethro (his father in law) to keep them safe. This was sometime before the Israelites escaped from Pharaoh. One month into the journey around the wilderness and Moses sees his children and wife again. What a fantastic re-union. How he must have missed them. Moses tells them all that has happened and about the amazing miracles God did – the way he helped them cross through the sea.  Eliezer heard all about his name being fulfilled. He understood who he was. He had found his identity.

The name of his son shows what faith Moses had that God would rescue the Israelites. Even before the mass exodus Moses named his son “he rescued”. This was a brave step to stake his belief so clearly in the name of his child. Everyday when Moses looked at ‘he rescued’ he must have wondered when his freedom was going to come.

Jethro is delighted at the testimony Moses brings.  He sees the hand of God in all that had happened. The testimony takes him to the presence of God in worship. Aaron and all the elders feast in God’s presence.

My name means noble and for years I only felt shame. God brought me out into a place of freedom where I saw his grace on my life and I understood who I was. I discovered my identity as a noble princess of the King. It is something that I am still discovering and coming to an understanding of. As I change and tell my story I am the message. I rub off God’s love and goodness into other peoples’ hearts.

Your story (testimony) of all that God has done for you will turn peoples hearts to God. You will cause them to desire a relationship with God. Be generous in sharing your story around.

Today: What does your name mean? Feel free to adopt a prophetic name that you see being fulfilled. Eg loved of God, free son, adventurous daughter etc Share your story with someone today and be the message to them.

Forgiveness 1

For few days we will be looking at  the power of  forgiveness – the answer to bitterness

World Without End (Follett novel)

World Without End (Follett novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I start with a personal revelation whilst watching World Without End by Ken Follet. In the last episode there is a scene where the wicked Petranilla (who had killed many for the sake of ambition) was in a room with the heroine, Caris. Petranilla had killed Caris’ mother, father, best friend and tried to burn Caris at the stake. When Petranilla realises all her evil plans had turned against her she takes some poison to kill herself and Caris has her chance for revenge. I found myself seething with anger at this venomous character and wanted Caris to make her move. Caris, however, turns to her enemy looks her in the eye and says “I forgive you” and then starts praying for her. I was moved to tears and thought “so this is what it looks like to be truly powerful”.

 

Here are some key thoughts on how to be powerful in forgiveness.

•        God recognises that we have been treated badly

‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.’ Genesis 50:17

•        He sees our tears

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

•        Forgiveness always costs

They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. Leviticus 5:18

•        We are not to forget the sacrifice God made for us to be forgiven

“who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit  and crowns you with love and compassion”, Psalm 103:2-4

“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” Hebrews 8:12

•        God forgives as we forgive

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15

•        Forgiveness is as powerful as a healing

Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? Mark 2:9

•        God wants us to forgive others much as we have been forgiven much

Read the parable of the unforgiving servant  – Matthew 18:21

Today: think about the the attitude of heart that Jesus encourages where one person freely forgives another (Matthew 18:22). This is what a powerful person looks like in action.