Travel in the new culture

Photo i have taken myself, for the "jeepn...

Photo i have taken myself, for the “jeepney” gallery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

With the heat soaring up to 100°F and humidity around 80% the Filipinos find it uncomfortable to walk. It was amusing trying to explain to our Filipino friends that some Britains enjoy walking for fun – they couldn’t believe it. Because few people walk in Manila there are lots of differing transport to choose from. You may want to travel on a Jeepney, a taxi, a tricycle, a motorbike, car, horse and cart, bicycle or coach. Take your pick. The roads in Manila are full of traffic, swerving, beeping their horns and finding their way from A to B. The road markings are guidelines and marked lanes are not mandatory. Vehicles are joining roads, changing lanes, overtaking and turning from everywhere, it is a real experience to see!

If you did choose to walk along the roadside there are rarely pavements. There may be one for a while and then a few market stalls, or a ditch with rubbish in, or it might just disappear.

The journey in this new culture, we have been exploring together, is different from anything we have experienced before. There is not someone telling us where to go, what to believe and what to do. In my Christian walk I feel that I have always had authorities giving me white lines to travel within, markers that define what I think and how I should behave. There has been temptation to clone thinking and behaviour, to count as dangerous or an alien anyone with differing thoughts and to restrict movement so that it is containable. Now I feel the white lines are optional. I can choose, think and behave according to the real me.

No longer are we travelling on mass. There is still unity, still co-hesion, but there is also a new freedom to explore. Some may wish to take a Jeepney to the market, others a tricycle to the mall, others a taxi to eat out. Different groups of people have the freedom to go where they want without judgement.

Even those that chose to travel together they will not find they walk in single line behind a leader. They will explore different things and come back to share what they have found. One may go to the cloth stall to feel and explore the colours, one may go to the bakery to try the cakes, one may go to the book stall to find some further knowledge – then the individuals will cross paths, share stories and perhaps take each other to the best places. The adventures then meet up with a unity of spirit to share the exciting treasures and truths they have found together.

What stops this turning into chaos? It is the heart connection. The honouring and respecting of authority that pulls everyone together and sets a direction for the next area of exploration. For the desire of the travellers to honour each other and put each other first. Togetherness is no longer the fact that everyone is in the same room doing the same thing, but a connection of heart in their various stages of advance. It is being real, honest and sharing a common vision and purpose. There is a compass of God’s word, there is a direction to head for, but there are ways of exploring all that Jesus has done for us.

Today: What area of God are you exploring right now? Why is it you are exploring that? Who are you meeting with to share your new found treasures?

The Golden Calf – identity

When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain,

P question

P question (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 32:2

What had happened to the chosen of Israel? Those whom God had said of them ‘I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’ Exodus 19:4-6 (MSG) When did they forget that they were a chosen nation – a  special people? Did they forget what God had done bringing them out of Egypt?

Moreover had they forgotten the vital role Moses took in laying his life down to rescue them from their strong oppressors?  He had been a skillful communicator, a powerful advocate and a caring leader. He had been willing to lay his identity down as a Prince in the palace to lead a group of lost ragamuffin slaves out into the desert. He had been faithful, consistent, strong, obedient to God and showed incredible courage. He had been the man who had met God face to face and spoken with him as a friend. Wow what a guy. Let’s look again at how the Israelites described him – ‘this fellow Moses’. How disrespectful, what a lack of honour and appreciation for who he was.

When we loose sight of all God has done for us, loose respect and honour for the anointed of the Lord  we loose our own identity

 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!  9

If you are the Son of God prove it. If you are God’s chosen people prove it. If you are a special nation prove it. If you are holy priesthood prove it. The enemy would like us to doubt who we are. He would love it if we felt we had to prove ourselves all the time. This leads to squabbling, jealousy, back biting, pushing ourselves forward and self promotion. He wants us to forget where we have come from, forget the miracles he has done for us, forget the journey we have been on, forget the times he has carried us and held our hand.  The enemy would like us to break heart connection with our Father and each other. When we are isolated and bitter we are no longer effective.

Let us instead honour one another, speak well of each other, remind each other where we have come from, speak highly of one another – this is the way we find ourselves and our Father. We are special, chosen, holy and royal – this is your identity.

Today;  Ask these questions of yourself: who are you, where have you come from, what has God done for you, what are here for and where are you going? For if you are confident in who you are you will be affirming and honouring of others and who they are.

You don’t belong here

Sandwich for Tea Time

Sandwich for Tea Time (Photo credit: Johnragai)

There are so many beautiful and encouraging names Moses could have picked for his first child. I know he perhaps didn’t have an A-Z of children’s names, but I am sure he could have found something a little more positive. In Ex 18:3 we find that Moses named his child Gershon which meant ” a foreigner there” .  I don’t if his mother called him in for tea loudly – but I wonder if it got some funny looks.

“Come in for tea son – You don’t belong here!”

It is strange being a foreigner in a land. You feel different, you look different, you sound different  – I probably smell different.

Moses knew he didn’t fit into the land of Egypt. He knew that wasn’t his home land and he looked forward to a homeland where he felt he belonged. He was an alien, a foreigner in a land whose culture felt strange to him – although he had lived there all his life.

I look at our society and find that as people we do all we can to fit in. Perhaps I watch TV, read magazines, discuss the right topics, wear the right clothes and do all I can to fit in and not feel different. Perhaps I am wondering if I measure up to the standards in this land – to look great, be famous. big car, nice house, successful kids. I do know that there are days where I am jealous of those who have bigger houses or seem more successful in life. All of us are so immersed in the Western society that we have allowed it to seep into us. Being away in a poorer culture has only shown to me how much we have taken into our lives but do not notice. I am to be different: I don’t belong here – I am not to use the measurements that this land uses for success. These are not my standards of being who I am meant to be. This is not who I am. I don’t belong here.

If we look at Psalm 73 we find David is having the same issues. How come those who do not care, and are selfish seem to get the big houses and the good jobs. He says his feet nearly slip off his journey until he looks into heaven and sees God. Then he knows that

“you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”

God is walking with us. He is holding our hand. He is taking us somewhere glorious. We do not belong here.

Today: Fix your eyes on your home – the kingdom of heaven. Spend some time asking the Spirit how has the consumer society affected your heart?

Father who loves to walk (with us)

Get your boots on! We are off for a walk. It will take effort but you will see and hear things

holding hands, se 39th ave

holding hands, se 39th ave (Photo credit: cafemama)

to delight you on the way. The birds singing, squirrels scurrying and the trees whispering to one another. It will make you feel alive and your heart vibrate with life!

I love walking. I feel close to God when I walk. I have been learning, however, that he enjoys walking with me also. In fact He has called me out of bed recently to go on a walk because His heart is to spend time with me. I have been shocked some mornings by His excitement.

 Ex 17:1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, travelling (walking) from

place to place as the Lord commanded.

Nehemiah 9:12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, what is good. To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

One of the first things we see God doing with mankind in Genesis is walk and talk with them. He would spend time with Adam and Eve wandering around the garden.  How does a spirit God walk? Has he special legs? Anyway, it seems that He still likes walking with us. He likes to wander with us through the paths of life keeping a conversation of intimacy open. He does not ask us to journey or adventure alone – He is with us all the way. He is in not rush to be anywhere – he is just enjoying your company.

He will even walk with you (escort you) for a good night out. Perhaps a feast in a great hall. He just wants to be with you – because he loves you.

He escorts me to the banquet hall;

  it’s obvious how much he loves me. Song of Songs 2:4

Today: Perhaps go on a physical walk with the knowledge that God walks with you.  Or sit down with God. Make an effort not to pray but just enjoy his company.

See the food – but you can’t eat it

This is the ultimate sea food diet. You can see the food but you cannot eat it – it is in  a jar!

Day 38 - Quince Jamí

Exodus 16:33 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”

When I thought of this it did make me laugh. The first food in a jar. Who thought that it would be manna eh?. I wonder if they stuck a label on it and what it would look like.

Manna

Ingredients: Heaven

No added preservatives or sugar

Once gathered eat the same day (unless it is Sabbath)

The fact that the manna in the jar didn’t go off is in itself a miracle: manna after being collected went off very quickly  with the added bonus of maggots and a stinky smell. We have to ask ourselves what was so special about this food put in the jar that they cannot eat it? Why didn’t it go off?

This is the legacy for the next generation

  1. It was to make them hungry

When the next generation saw the food from heaven it would make them hungry for a diet not of this earth. Their appetite and expectation of life would change.

2. It was to show them God’s provision / miracles

When the manna was shown to the kids they would ask “What is that mummy?” and a story would begin about God’s faithfulness, love and protection. This would be a show of all God could and would do for them. Testimony is powerful in bringing what seems impossible into doable.

3. It was to show them what to eat – what does heaven food look like?

It would show them that dreams of miracles and heaven coming to earth is a reality. If they had seen it before what would stop them seeing it again. They would recognise a wonder if they saw it again and see God’s favour there.

How do we show the next generation food?

Jesus said “I do what I see the Father doing” – in other words He saw His Father and showed everyone what He looked like and how to live like Him. Jesus became the display of heaven for the generation who would listen. We also live out the heavenly revelation that God is placing in our hearts. If you want your children, grandchildren to change – you start by being the change. Show what love looks like, show what being powerful looks like, be the miracle on display. If you can show the generations what heaven looks like they will be hungry for it and know it is attainable. We are to be the manna in the jar – God’s glorious heavenly chutney on display!

Today; Think how much is your revelation is accessible to others? How can you put your relationship with God in a jar for others to hunger after? What does that look like?

Morning by Morning

Exodus 16:21 they gathered the food morning by morning

Cock-a-doodle-doooooo!

Cock-a-doodle-doooooo! (Photo credit: Ian A Kirk)

 Lam 3:23 great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning

Was it a coincidence the manna started off like refreshing dew? I don’t think so. It was a sign of his fresh faithfulness each morning. His mercies lying on the ground. They had to go out and gather the overflow of blessing and goodness. Some would have landed around their tent but most of it they would have had to make an effort to reach out and gather

I would like to be aware of the fresh faithfulness and mercies of God falling around me all the time. Some are within arms reach – obvious blessings. My house, my health but some are further out to look for; new friendships, fresh success, new opportunities. These blessing I have to reach out and gather.

I am challenged over the number of blessings that fall around me that I miss. That sunset laid out in the sky for me, the bird outside my window singing for me, the smile from a friend made for me, the warmth of my socks, the crunch of gravel on the path, the embrace of a daughter, the lift in a piece of music, the droplet of rain hanging off a leaf, the smell of bacon in a pan. These are all an extravagant love gift from my Father that were given me fresh this morning.

Do we feast on the goodness of the Lord every day because we have gathered in his faithfulness into our heart ? We have been aware of his fresh blessing morning by morning and have taken them as precious mercies into the storehouse of our souls? To do this we have to be turned onto the overflowing gifts that fall around us all the time.

The feast we eat is set in the midst of our enemies Psalms 23 is the goodness that falls around us. He shows those who conspire against us that there is a feast of mercy and goodness for us to partake of. This abundance of love laid out for you is for you to enjoy, savour and imbibe.

The feast of manna  in Exodus 16

  • v13 Wet like dew – refreshes the soul
  • v11 Like bread – food for the soul
  • v11 You can eat all you want – satisfies
  • v31 Tastes like honey – is good and sweet

 “Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!“

  Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

    “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Thomas Chrisholm 1923

Today; Spend time being aware of the blessing that Father God is giving you fresh morning by morning. I have even started a notebook to gather my blessings in so that everyday I am  being aware of his lavish love for me – perhaps you need to start one too 🙂

Every adventure needs a compass

I love walking – especially in the hills with my collie dog, Gemma. There are not many times I venture away from walks that I know well and so I am not very used to using maps – but I do know how to use a compass. Compasses are fairly straight forward once you know  where you are and where you want to go. There are 4 basic choices – North, South, East and West. On this journey God is taking us on how do we know which direction to walk?  – we use a compass.

Let’s look at the compass the  Israelites used.

Compass

Compass (Photo credit: Roland Urbanek)

He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus  15:26

The four points on this compass are

  • Listen to His voice
  • Do what is right
  • Do what He ask
  • Let him heal you

When you use a compass the first thing you need to work out is where you are and where you want to go. God asks the children of Israel what their intentions are? Why are they on this adventure? How will they know where to go?

Adventures are  tough. They will push you to your limit, but on the way you will see some amazing sights. At times you will wonder what on earth you are doing and why you are putting yourself through all this. It is important to know why you are setting off, who you are journeying for, who is travelling with you and how far you are prepared to travel.

If you are travelling on this adventure what are your intentions? Why are you setting off? Who are you journeying with? Who is travelling with you? How far are you prepared to travel? How will you know where to go?

Today

  1. Listen to my voice – make it a priority to spend time listening to God
  2. Do what is right – pay deliberate and thoughtful attention  to what you are learning and how you need to apply it
  3. Do what I ask –  decide that no matter what he asks you trust him enough to radically obey
  4. Let me heal you – open your life to God and allow Him to heal you mind, soul, spirit and body