Hunger

‘Blessed are you who hunger and thirst after righteousness. For you will be filled.’ – Matthew 5:6

Hunger is a necessary thing. I soon get tired, grumpy and dramatic when I’m hungry.

Dinner (‘tea’ as we say in Yorkshire meaning evening meal) in our home is normally between 5pm and 5:30pm. After that I get more and more irritable. Occasionally, we have a meal for date night. In order to make it passed the kids bedtime without chewing a leg off, I normally need a snack or two to get through for a later meal.

Even when we eat a meal we begin to feel hungry again within a few hours…

God honours hunger for Him. Jesus addressing the disciples says that you are blessed if you are hungry for righteousness. If you are hungry to be right with God. How are we right with God? By faith in His Son.

Therefore, what exactly should we be hungry for? I believe in Jesus, therefore, I am right with God.

But the Christian life is a paradox….

I’m both full and hungry at the same time. I have everything I need in Jesus, and yet there is a longing for more of Him. I am righteous before God, because He who was without sin became sin that I might become the righteousness of God. And yet, for me to go places in God I have never gone before, I require a hunger for the deeper things of God.

After a meal I feel satisfied for a time. But I still need food to live.

After I have encountered God, and learned to put those revelations into practice, I soon become hungry again for more.

Why? Because God wants us to know Him. It’s the essence of the gospel. ‘I consider all things rubbish compared to knowing Christ.’ And when I know Him more. I am set for a life changing encounter.

Hunger keeps me close to Him. It saves me from apathy and keeps my heart humble, knowing that without Him I can do nothing.

My friends, continue to remain hungry for the Presence of God, for in Him you will be truly satisfied.

‘Hunger is the escort into the deeper things of you.. you satisfy.’ – Misty Edwards.

God bless you

Oliver

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Shelter from the Storm

“Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him. Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.” Isaiah 32:1‭-‬2 NLT

It was a windy January morning. I was sat in a Chaplains prayer meeting, gazing out of the window to the Slopes. The wind was blowing strong. The trees, although buffeted by the winds, stood firm. The branches swayed up and down. But the trees stood regardless of the storms striking them with icy fists.

As I sat looking at the trees. I began to see. God opened my eyes to see that the roots were deep and that, the reach of the branches, depended upon the depth of the roots. The deeper the roots, the deeper the reach. The wider the shelter.

You see, as followers of Jesus, we have roots. These roots go down deep into the soil of God’s Word and are fed by the nutrients of the Holy Spirit. The deeper our hearts go in faith into the depths of God’s Word, the further our reach and influence in the world.

Jesus reigns in Righteousness. He has right standing with the Father. He has been exalted to be the Name above all names. He is the Father’s appointed King.

He is in me and I am in Him.

We have,therefore, become princes who rule God’s justice. We too have right standing, and we have been given authority to rule in life. It’s not a rule to be selfish and arrogant but a calling to shelter others in their storms of life. As we go deep in Jesus and we extend our shelter to the world, God uses us as his Ambassadors and co-labourers to draw people into the love and shelter of the Father.

He is in me and I am in Him.

Many are walking around hungry for love, truth and mercy in a harsh world. They need the shadow of a mighty rock and the streams of water in a dry land.

I have a deep conviction that it us whom God uses to be this Shelter. He is in me and I am in Him.

How do we do it? Relationship. And our actions? As Paul says in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians ‘comfort, with the comfort you have received.’ This comes from our personal history with God, as we have learned to respond to the deep calling out to deep‘. Our trials, our discomforts, our disappointments, our pain, our heartache, our grief… If we learn to dig deep and allow God’s seed to take deep root in us, will become a spring of living water to others.

Freely you have received, freely give.

The Father is our Shelter and we, too, share that calling to be shelters to which, our loved ones, our neighbours, our friends can find the peace and comfort of knowing Jesus.

I am in Him and he is in me, therefore, I become the shelter, that He is to me.

God bless

Oliver

Ps.. the above painting is the picture I saw. I managed to get it down on canvas a few weeks after I saw it.

The Church Boiler

Dear friends,

This year we survived the deepest snow that I have ever experienced. It was deep! The Beast from the East took hold of Buxton, bringing deep snow drifts, -10oC conditions, and for a few days we were cut off from the rest of the world! All the major road routes were shut in and out of Buxton. It not only struck once BUT twice! The kids thought it was great. Sledging, snowballing, snowman building, days off school!

In the middle of all this chaos, at the point where many people needed some community and human contact, the boiler at church broke!

Yes, it broke. Twice, we had to cancel a Sunday gathering.

Without a boiler, the church building became very cold, very fast. In fact, I honestly thought I was going to get frost bite, waiting in the building in case anyone missed the message that we were closed.

Our church boiler is a beast of a boiler. Its probably as old as the building (at least 130 years old!). It sits in the cellar and when it fires up, you can feel the vibration on the floor above. It rumbles away heating the building (that’s when its working of course!).

The boiler represents our life with Jesus. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to ignite us with passion and stamina for the journey. When we are relying on an old power source, or an experience, that happened a long time ago, we can miss out on the new things God is doing. We can become cold, cynical, frustrated, and eventually lose our joy.

But, if we keep the boiler up to date, if we catch what the Holy Spirit is doing now, we remain joyful, expectant and connected to the Father’s purpose now. We can easily rely on what we once had but hunger for the things of God is essential to keep us close to Him. To keep us in step with Him. To ensure we are hearing what God is saying now.

No matter, how many beasts from the east come against us, if we have an up to date boiler, maintained and serviced, we can continue to burn, even when there are minus conditions. If we continue to allow ourselves to be filled by the Spirit, we will resist all the icy blasts of the enemy, and continue to walk in the purposes that God has for us.

Let’s seek God for a new boiler for a new generation and no longer rely on the past glory days but look to the future and the purposes God has for us.

God bless you

Oliver

 

Contractions of the Spirit

“To this day we are aware of the universal agony and groaning of creation, as if it were in the contractions of labor for childbirth.”
Romans 8:22 (Passion Translation)

Our 3rd child, a son, is finally here. My wife began with contractions on the early hours of the Wednesday morning. These contractions came and went, on and off, until the Sunday mid afternoon… And then they stopped! Nothing…

My wife was frustrated. Everyone we spoke to said how notorious 3rd babies were at yo-yoing in and out of the birth canal.

The midwife had words of wisdom … Lay down and don’t try. See what happens. Rest your body.

It seems counter productive to rest, when everything is saying, walk around and get this thing going.

As it happened the midwife was right (and so was our friend who prophesied the week before about rest). The contractions started up again and within 4 hours our little boy was born.

So. Through all this what was God saying to me as I watched on, helpless to do a thing about it… I thought about the contractions creation has been experiencing since Ascension Day. I felt a sense of frustration at what was happening in the natural and then felt God remind me of all the moves of the Spirit that have happened for the past 2000 years, when along with a zeal to see people transformed by Jesus, there has also been a renewed sense of urgency at the return of Jesus. Paul goes on to say creation is groaning for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. They will be revealed in the end times…

It’s so close. And yet its so far… Its frustrating.

I don’t have the energy to keep calling down heaven and pleading Jesus to return. But I can rest in the hope and assurance that it will happen.

Just like my wife and I knew that eventually our son would be born. We didn’t know when, but we knew that is what was going to happen. We too can rest in the assurance that God is on the move, His Spirit brooding over creation, waiting patiently for the time set by the Father to send His Son to rule and reign on the last day.

Don’t lose heart at the ongoing contractions but rest in childlike faith for the Return of the King.

God bless you

Oliver