The Outpour

...Finding truth In Darkness.

The Outpour is much more than a website - It is the uprising of God's Children. A wake up call for each of us to truly realize who the Father is, and how to live the God-Life He intended for us to live, by letting go and letting Him work through us, in us, with us, and for us.

Selfless


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You suck. You’re unworthy. Undeserving. Unqualified… At any point in each of our lives, we’ve heard these words, or some variation of them. We’ve heard them uttered from the lips of those whose opinions we hold dear. Worse, if honesty were to prevail, we may even finally admit that we’ve heard these words in our own minds.

Everyone has a purpose — this singular theorem has shaped several lives, particularly in the Church. Isn’t it always so great to see that pastor or doctor who so glaringly appears to have not just discovered said purpose, but is walking confidently in it? He/She seems to have it all figured out. If you never believed in “all things work together for good”, when you meet these people, your inner skeptic takes a hike, and suddenly, it all seems possible. Perhaps if this person was able to find their unique calling and so boldly answer the call, then it would be possible for me too.

Knowing your purpose and summoning the courage to take the terrifying leap that walking in it involves, are two completely different things. It’s so much easier to watch someone else do it and be “happy” for them, because when it comes to the business of fulfillment, we often externalize rather than internalize. We’re more comfortable in our comfort zones, no pun intended. We would rather adhere to a predictable and reliable structure than plunge into the scary and infinite uncertainty of the great unknown. Bills do have to be paid after all, right?

The question however, becomes, why? Are you content with an okay existence that pays the bills and keeps things easy and “stress-free”, instead of exploring the bold, vibrant life that comes with doing the one thing God literally made you to do? Would you rather survive on your own terms than take a literal leap of Faith? Honestly, the answer to these questions, depending on who you ask, will differ. Many jump right up and proclaim how eager they are to explore uncharted territory, conquer the world, live by faith, etc. Then why don’t they? Why don’t we all?

The truth is that purpose is terrifying. It can come with several discomforts, especially regarding validity. Why, of the several billion occupants of this beautiful planet we call home, would God choose me for this task? What does He see in me that I’m so fatally blind to? Why me? Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? These thoughts propagate feelings of inadequacy that inevitably lead to further frustration and in many cases, depression and anxiety. We are, and will always be, our biggest and most prevalent hinderance to the life and purpose that God has ordained for us.

“Self” can be defined in a few ways… “One’s own desires or pleasure.” “By one’s own efforts.” “Of, or directed toward oneself.” All these definitions, regardless of their focus, have one thing in common — they each disregard others. If you look closely enough into the lives of all those paragons of purpose that summon emotions of inspiration and frustration in many of us, the one thing you will likely find, is people. That Pastor’s life and purpose, are incomplete without his congregation. That doctor? Take away all her patients, and she’s just a highly educated lab coat wearer. In each of these cases, it is the introduction of “others” that leads to total fulfillment, both professionally and purpose-wise.

Take away all those lives the pastor/doctor has touched, and they’re just people who struggle like each of us. They have problems of their own, like us. Bills to pay, like us. Family to support, or impress, or disappoint, also like us. Their insecurities don’t take on a different face than ours … they have simply stopped letting those insecurities get in the way of their purpose.

Let me call your attention to a scripture you’ve undoubtedly heard/read a few hundred times; “Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I have known you and called you by name.” Jer. 1:5 This is God speaking here, folks! He, in His infinite wisdom, created us and molded every inch of us to His uncompromising standards, unique in every way. We each have a purpose, and you’re no exception!

“God does not choose the qualified, he qualifies the chosen.” Sure you’ve heard that one even more frequently than the above scripture. You must now be wondering, “If that’s the case, then why don’t I feel qualified? Nay, why do I feel colossally under-qualified for the responsibilities in my life and purpose? Why, despite my many efforts, does my own mind still taunt me with visions of inadequacy and impending failure?”

Perspective in its simplest form, means point of view, and your perspective goes a long way in not only shaping your attitude, but shaping your purpose. Perspective is the difference between crumbling under self doubt, and overcoming the limitations of your own self.

Jesus actually said it best in the Book of John;

“I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains.” John 12:24 GNB

Put simply, we are tools in the Hands of our Father. A piece of charcoal, on its own, probably doesn’t think it can be a tool for beautiful art. On the contrary, charcoal is one of the least pleasant things to look at, but in the hands of an artist, this same little piece of charcoal can be used to create baffling works of art. Similarly, regardless of our own shortcomings, flaws, insecurities and failures, we too can be used as tools in His Hand.


Discovering Grace


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|Genesis...

Everyone knows the Story - God made man, and gave him everything... power, dominion, authority, etc. God and man were besties. They had direct contact and man had unlimited access to his Father. Then Man sinned, and that relationship was fractured.
Consequently, man lost his power, access to all his privileges, and his prized position at God’s side.

|Remission...

Sin soon grew beyond a one-time thing, and inevitably had man enslaved, so much so, that it seemed impossible to break free. For millennia, man strived to get right with God again, by trying desperately to adhere to “The Law”, and offering innumerable animal sacrifices, in hopes of forgiveness.

The Bible states that without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin, and man did his best to comply with this directive. However, even in the midst of many burnt offerings, something still wasn’t right. Unsurprisingly, man soon got complacent — He sinned, offered sacrifice, then sinned again. It became routine. The blood of an animal doesn’t have the power to remedy the sin, but only to conceal it. Invariably, man was still a victim of Sin, consumed by guilt, and his relationship with God was still... broken.

|Redemption...

God couldn’t take it anymore. He had watched the creation He loved struggle in a sin-inflicted bondage for so long, that He had to do something drastic to save him. Nothing of this world could settle such a debt… nothing on this earth could bring about a true and genuine Forgiveness, so God did the unfathomable — He gave a part of Himself for man’s Redemption, in order to repair their fractured relationship, and restore man to his original status of a god, giving him back authority and dominion over everything, including sin.

|Grace...

Jesus, the Ultimate Sacrifice, was born. He lived, was crucified, and on the third day, was resurrected. Through the profound suffering He bore, our Sin was, at long last, permanently washed away. The Blood of the Lamb paid the price on our behalf, and as He said on the Cross, it was indeed, finished. The toll was paid, and Grace was birthed.

Grace is more than just “unmerited favour”, as defined by most. Grace is Freedom. It is Power. It is unrestrained Restoration. Grace goes beyond accepting Jesus, it’s more about how you choose to navigate your life with Him. Grace is Divine exemption from the Law. It is a passport that identifies its holder as a Citizen of Heaven, entitled to every privilege and blessing, with absolutely no limits! Through Jesus, the Giver of Grace, we are no longer slaves to sin. Through Him, we are righteous, and only through Him are we once again, made perfect — not by our efforts (which are grossly inadequate), but as a consequence of His love, and the resultant Grace it bestows upon us.

Contrary to popular belief, Grace is not the by-product of a seemingly perfect follower. Grace is boundless and doesn’t come with a price tag. It is not influenced or multiplied by the long list of checkmarks that seem to define “Christianity” these days. Many believers operate in a transactional framework in which they believe that if they are good, or do something “for God” (go to Church, read their Bible one a day, pray at least twice, fast, etc.), then God is contractually obligated to reciprocate… As though Grace is some spiritual ATM that dispenses blessings based on how much “heavenly collateral” you’ve managed to amass by your efforts. But that’s entirely not the way this works. Grace can not be earned or purchased... it is a gift that is simply, Given.

|Grace vs. Law

Grace and The Law often function in opposition to each other. The Law imposes an intolerable amount of pressure to live perfectly, in order to be right with God, while Grace on the other hand, whispers gently, “Come as you are”. The Law is designed to judge and execute all who fall short, but Grace strengthens the weak and empowers all who would only but ask.

If you remember nothing more, leave with this truth — when you have Jesus, by default, you’re privy to His unrestrained dispensation of Love, and if you revel in this Love, then you automatically stand with Grace. So, stand tall! Live free! Jesus already paid the price, so you and I don’t have to. All that’s left to do, is to let go and receive what He has already done for us.

After all, only by His Grace are we truly, free.


Expectations


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There is a somewhat famous psychology experiment in which people are told to concentrate on a group of people on a stage performing a certain activity, like playing basketball, and suddenly, a man dressed in a gorilla suit walks across the stage. You’d think that this unorthodox phenomenon would derail the entire experiment and draw everyone’s attention away from the basketball game, but surprisingly, most people don’t even “see” this gorilla-man, and have no recollection of any such thing happening.

I know this sounds highly unlikely and incredulous, but according to Science, there’s an explanation. The subjects of the experiment didn’t notice the gorilla dude, because the human visual system is primarily task-focused — though our eyes “see” a wide gamut of things, our brains are designed to selectively filter out copious amounts of these data, and focus on a particular thing at any given time… in this case, the basketball game. Summarily, these people didn’t have any visual defects, they were just so engrossed in the basketball game, that they didn’t realize when a man in a gorilla suit walked right in front of them.

Similarly, an extensive piece of research literature by Dr. Jon Lieff, M.D., reveals that ‘Expectation is often the reason for Selective Attention, and Perception. Therefore, in the brain, the unexpected is often, suppressed.’

And isn’t this just the story of our lives as believers? A lot of the time, we perceive our prayers as unanswered because God didn’t move in accordance with our many expectations. The phrase “God works in mysterious ways” has been beaten to a pulp, but it is also completely true. Basically, if we fix our attention solely on how we “expect” things to happen, we just might miss the real-life testimony going on in the background.

Take the Jews, for example. Can you imagine undergoing undue amounts of pressure and persecution while praying for generations to be rescued by the Messiah? By default, your expectations would gravitate towards a strong and mighty leader, clad in bulletproof armour, Angels at His side, riding His noble steed to slay all your enemies in glorious combat. Or, a savvy and noble politician who wittingly outsmarts all the evil folk, and against all odds, gains the seat of power and vanquishes all opposition, forcing them into a lifetime of servitude for their crimes. But oh, how wrong these expectations turned out to be, as God, in His infinite Wisdom, decided to send a manger-born carpenter’s son, who, instead of gaining a glorious victory in combat, was destined to be persecuted and eventually, nailed to a cross for heresy. What a twist, right?

Most of the Jews missed their Salvation as a result of their lofty expectations, but can we even blame them? They had spent so much time imagining the Messiah, that when He stood before them, they couldn’t comprehend the drastic irregularities between their expectations and the physical reality of their long-awaited miracle.

There’s surely a lesson in this story. A lot of the time, we expect things to happen in a certain way. We hope and pray for them to happen in an exact shape and manner, in accordance with our expectations, but most of the time, they don’t happen in our way or on our terms, and we are left feeling discouraged. We prescribe a recipe for how and when God should work in our lives, and when He doesn’t follow our orders disguised as prayers, our Faith inevitably takes a hit.
We pray for a door and get a window. For wine, but get water. For steak, and get bread… But are any of these less than miracles simply because they don’t adhere to the strict guidelines we’ve placed on our prayers? Are they any less miraculous because they defy our expectations? I should think not!

Open your eyes. God is moving in your life every day. Can you see it? He is talking, but are you even listening, or are you so preoccupied with your expectations that you begin to ignore the many real-life miracles that surround you? God cannot be placed in a box. Though He is always working in our lives, He does so on His terms, based on His Will, not ours, and definitely not based on the trivialities of our expectations. Even Jesus, when praying in Gethsemane ended His plea with the elegant “Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours.”

This is a hard truth — not every prayer gets answered on our terms, or within our timeline, or at our behest, but though the path may not be to our specifications, His way is the Right Way.

Always.

Open your heart. Open your mind. Open your spirit.

Becoming Sons


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"But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."

John 1:12

Every Christian is, by default, a Child of God. Imagine having an all-access pass to a Spiritual Disneyland, owned by your Father. You can go whenever you like, enjoy as many turns on any ride you want, and do all sorts or exciting things. Sounds great. However, there’s a more exciting level, a higher level- one in which instead of an all-access pass, you’re bestowed with Managerial Authority. You no longer just have the right to go into Disneyland whenever you please, but you can order ALL the employees at Disneyland to do your bidding, and they have no option but to obey your every command; to grab you coffee, clean your room, fetch your lunch, etc. This Managerial Authority, is more akin to a Son of God than a Child. These two positions are equally loved by the Father, however, a Son is bestowed with Spiritual Authority, and a Child merely has access to the Kingdom.


The dictionary definition of Authority is;

1 [mass noun] the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience: For example, “He had absolute authority over his subordinates.”


The determinant factor of Sonship in the Kingdom, is Authority. So, yes… Every Child of God is, by default, a member of God’s Kingdom, but this is the basic membership. This is the Spotify equivalent of a Free Trial. There is a Premium Membership that is available, if one so desires, and this Membership comes with certain perks and membership benefits; The right to order Angels, bind principalities, and alter spiritual situations. This Premium Membership is called Sonship, and the cost of purchase is total and utter surrender to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. In order to attain Spiritual authority, we must first be led by the Spirit, and through His leadership and authority, we become an extension of our Father. So, in order to gain authority, we must first surrender.

In the absence of Authority, we operate in the base levels of the Kingdom. We’re still able to assert authority in the Kingdom, but only by using the authoritative Name of Jesus. Now, there’s a clear difference between an Ambassador and a Messenger… a messenger has no imbued power on their own, and is therefore only able to command respect and reverence solely based on who he/she represents. An Ambassador, on the other hand, is an embodiment of power. He/she does not require any external validation of his authority, because his power is recognized, and his leadership, unquestionable.

Jesus, was sent to ensure that we are elevated to Ambassador level. His life on Earth, in Human form, flesh and blood, was a preview of the possibilities that await us. The dominion He displayed over the wind, water, principalities and powers, was a window into what a Premium Membership looks like. His selfless sacrifice makes us one with Him, and allows us access to the Holy Spirit, who in turn, instils us with the Authority to take our rightful place in the Kingdom. We go from mere Child to full-fledged Son, with the full understanding of who we are in Christ. The Holy Spirit reminds us of our initial identity of God’s original plan when He made us in His image and instructed us to Subdue and Rule the Earth. Through Him, we are restored to the Glory that was ours before the Fall in Genesis 3. Though Him, we are once again, made perfect.


Maggie Eriksson did a great job of putting all this into perspective;

We are all God’s children, immature, without legal status, and without recognition as “adults”. We are moral beings with the potential of making the choice to become Sons of God. Therefore, as Children of God, we can obtain recognition with legal spiritual status as heirs— sons… only though Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit.


So, where do you stand? On what level are you operating? Are you content with a Free Trial, or do you long for the legitimacy that comes with a Premium Membership? Are you satisfied with occasional breakthroughs as a Messenger, or are you ready for the Ambassadorial responsibilities that come with real, unbridled Authority? With all the groundwork already done for us by Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit made available to us, all that is left is for us to reach out and seize the Authority that is already before us. We must only choose to become Sons, to gain our rightful place in our Father’s Kingdom, to establish our position as joint heirs with Christ.

The choice is yours.

Enough


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Everyone is special… or so we’re told.

From infancy, coddled and adored by our parents and families, incessantly told how exceptional we all are. But what then happens when we go out into the big bad world and encounter the vast jungle of humanity’s stern gaze? How do we cope in a world filled with people that are far more exceptional, or at least appear so on the surface? What do we do when our “specialness” is outranked and outmatched by others who excel beyond us in skill and/or ability? As people, the gut reaction is often this little thing called Envy.

Envy — a deep-rooted feeling of unrest borne from our desire to have something possessed by someone else.

Envy is such an integral part of humanity’s imperfection, that it manifests itself in infancy, even before we’re able to form language. Some would go as far as to argue that Envy was the First Sin, because Eve ate the proverbial Forbidden Fruit to be like God — to see the world as God sees it, to possess God-like knowledge… to be, more.

As Christians, we too are not impervious to the sickness that is envy. As a matter of fact, if anything, we’re more susceptible to it. Doesn’t it just feel like everyone in “the world” seems to have it much better than those who follow Christ? Easier? When we spend our lives following God’s commands and His Word, shouldn’t we inherit the earth as promised? If we’re to be completely honest, every Believer has, at some point, fallen victim to envy.

Have you ever caught yourself staring at someone’s social media for inordinate amounts of time and craving their life? Have you envied someone’s accomplishments so much that you stopped being proud of yours? The reality of humanity is that we’re so quick to notice the things we don’t have, or don’t realize that we do. Kids often display this behaviour with little or no inhibition — “I want HER dress!” “I want HIS toy!”… As adults, we’ve developed some very effective ways to conceal these feelings, but that doesn’t make them any less prominent. If you’ve ever felt like your life was not commensurate with all the dreams and amazing ideas you have in your mind, then you know exactly what I mean. The million-dollar question then becomes… “How do we navigate the intricacies of a volatile existence marred by the constantly-emphasized achievements of others, in lieu of our own?”

Timeline - a graphical representation of a period of time, on which important events are marked.

In life, we all have our timeline, and because everyone’s timeline is unique, some people have timelines that appear to be more eventful and run more smoothly/effortlessly… especially in comparison to the otherwise modest lives that the vast majority of us seem to lead — lives awash with trials and turmoil. Instead of obsessing over everything going “great” in other peoples’ lives, we should focus on our own lives, respecting our own timelines, and embracing ourselves and the (sometimes tumultuous) journey that God has designed for us.

Social Media has made it so easy to feel like less. Everyone seems to have the perfect life when viewed through a 4.7 inch screen and myriad Insta-filters. The locations are ultra-exotic. The food appears so tasty. The outfits, supremely elegant… all wrapped in a beautifully deceptive ribbon, and served up at the forefront of our cyber lives with the ever-present “#Blessed”. And when we unconsciously compare our lives with the ones we see on those little screens in our pockets/purses, or to the lives of people around us, we inevitably fall short, and it hurts. This hurt then gives way to unbridled Envy, which slowly propagates jealousy, depression, low self esteem, discontentment, or even hate.


“I have also learnt why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy their neighbours. But it is useless. It is like chasing the wind.” — Ecclesiastes 4:4 (GNB)


When we measure ourselves using others as a yardstick and fall short, the natural next step in the envy flow chart is Competition. We all want to be the best, or at least be on the same level as whoever holds that title in our minds, so we subconsciously begin to evaluate our lives by their standards. We begin to do everything necessary to match up with, or be better than them. We get distracted, stop focusing on our own journeys, and expend valuable time and effort competing with someone else, instead of growing at God’s desired pace for our lives. We begin to pray for, and chase after, things that are not meant for us, which as Solomon rightly stated, is useless.

“Envy of another man’s calling can work havoc in our own” - Anonymous.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with ambition. What we should all ask ourselves however, is Why? Why do we want what we want? What’s the true source of these desires? Are our motives God-centric, or just to make others feel like we’re “better”? Are we trying to fulfil our purpose, or simply trying to measure up? Answering these questions can help us realize when we’re straying off our path, and help us realign ourselves to God’s plan for our lives.

However, regardless of how vigilant we are or how hard we try, we’re all still human, and the truth is that we will all experience envy again at some point in our lives. So, when next you’re feeling inadequate in comparison to someone else, simply remember that you are… enough. Take comfort in the knowledge that you indeed ARE special, that you were molded limb from limb by a Father whose love for you will confound even your wildest imagination. Understand that you’re only human, and give yourself some much-needed Grace. Count your blessings and take stock of all the amazing gifts and qualities that you possess. You are a child of God, a position for which there is no rivalry. Renew your mind with your Father’s Word, and His promises regarding you — not all that seems “good” is God. Not all that seems good is good for YOU.

So, wake up, pray, grind and slay.

You may not be perfect, but by His Grace, you are Enough.

Dark Waters


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Have you ever felt fear? 

That cold, chilling, paralyzing sensation that creeps up your spine and overtakes your mind? Have you ever sat alone in the dark, wondering if tomorrow will come, or better yet, if you’d even see it? Have you ever found yourself quivering in the face of a challenge? If so, you and Jesus have a lot in common! Imagine Christ, the Son of God(!), thrust into uncertainty, with friends and foes coming together to betray and imprison Him, and eventually, take away His very life. Can you imagine what that must have felt like? If you’ve ever faced a challenge, regardless of what form it took, then you must know what it feels like to be too afraid to carry on. The question, however, then becomes, when the tide of fear rises, what can we really do?

Drawing from a popular Biblical example, let’s look back at Peter — the bold, the unflinching, walking on water in response to a call by his Saviour. When a lot of people reference this story, the main focus is usually Jesus walking on water, but that’s really nothing surprising. That’s not remarkable, because He was Jesus! The Son of God! He worked miracles and raised the dead in His spare time, of course He can walk on water. Peter on the flip side however, is a different story entirely. Peter walking on water was, IS, nothing short of borderline insanity, and that’s the miracle of it! But Peter, being a man, started to notice the insanity — the madness of planting his feet upon Dark Waters. The waves caught his attention. The wind swayed his balance. The thunder awoke his fear, and the tide inevitably, toppled him. 

At the centre of every miracle is a little madness, and at the centre of every challenge, is an opportunity to choose that madness, or to cower in fear of the unknown. For every step that Peter took on the water, he was choosing the madness. He was making a conscious decision to trust God, or in this case, Jesus. Peter’s radical exercise in faith, even in the face of the impossible, is a lesson to us all.  A lesson that as a Christian, challenges will arise, but they don’t signal the end. On the contrary, they're an opportunity to grow, and a lesson in the exercise of faith. They can shape us as people, make us more mature Christians, nudge us back onto God’s plan, and leave us permanently changed for the rest of our lives. 

This piece of Scripture pretty much sums it up;


“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

James 1:2-4 MSG


Let’s get back to Jesus for a second. We see in Matt 26:39-44 that while Jesus was contemplating His crucifixion, He asks God to take the Cross away. Isn’t that interesting? Even with the knowledge that He will rise again in 3 days, the fear of the Cross still prompted the Son of God to ask His Father not once, not twice, but thrice to take the looming challenge away. However, the fact that Jesus felt fear is not the most important thing… He was a Man, after all, and therefore, flesh and blood. What’s more remarkable is the fact that He still submitted to God’s Will in the face of that fear, because He understood that God’s Will is perfect. Jesus trusted God so much that He was willing to let Himself die, in the confidence, that God will not abandon Him.

With that in mind, what are you going through? This Easter, I need you to remember that worrying and focusing on the “problem”, whatever it may be, is not the answer - all that'd cause is sadness, stress, anxiety, and more fear! Similarly, seeking human help is also not the answer. Trying to do it on your own? Nope. The answer is Jesus. Focus on Him - rest in the finished work He’s done for you. He went through all the pain and hurt for me and you, so we don’t have to go through any of it again. 

So receive His peace, and let go of your fear. Trust God enough to know that He will not let the challenge overcome you. Trust that He will never abandon you in Hell — whatever that may represent in your life. Trust His timing.  Jesus didn’t die and resurrect on the same day… He spent 3 days in Hell, because that’s how long He needed to be there in order to secure His eternal place on God’s right hand, and by extension, our Salvation. Jesus didn’t appear to Peter and immediately quiet the storm, rather, He first told him to walk on it. God may not always work things out the way we want, or on our schedule, but He will work them out for our good, and at His time, which FYI, is the Perfect Time!

Remember this. God knows the end from the beginning. He says, “Fear not”  365 times in the Bible — one for every day of the year. So, the storms and dark waters may come and try to unravel you, but don’t be afraid because you know that God has gone before you, is working for you… and that all things work together for YOUR good, even on Dark Waters.


The Dancing Fool


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Whisper (Verb)

To speak very softly … especially for the sake of privacy.


There’s a popular saying that goes “... those who dance are thought mad by those who can't hear the music”.

And that pretty much sums up the life of a Christian. Do you know how crazy speaking in tongues is? Spontaneously bursting into dialogue in a language you’ve never heard before… one you neither know nor understand? Actually, let’s back it up a bit and go down memory lane, to the good old Disciple days. 

Imagine being in modern day New York, grinding it out day after day at your job, in an attempt to make ends meet — pay bills, feed your family, keep a roof over their heads, pay for gas, etc. So, you’re just at work, slugging it out, and some random dude walks in and tells you to quit your job, abandon everything, and follow Him… What would you do? No, for real. And please don’t give me the “pick up my cross and follow Jesus” line, because it’s simply, a lie. Why? Because every single (sane!) person I know would probably burst out laughing, call security or walk away, and post about it on Snapchat. 

See, when faced with supernatural possibilities, most humans start to crumble. But those who don’t — the rebels, the misfits, the outlaws — anyone who doesn’t shatter in the presence of the impossible is looked upon like an outcast, and Christianity is simply a slight variation on the insanity and outcast lifestyle. Hence, the World will think of us as crazy. Believing in a God we can’t see, a Promise of Redemption offered by a carpenter who was crucified on crimes of heresy over 2,000 years ago, and hoping for an eternal life of Heavenly pleasures as a reward for our piety… But the World can’t hear the music. They don’t know what it means to be Redeemed, Forgiven, Died For. They haven’t cried out in the night for Salvation and felt the Still Small Voice whisper to them in their struggle. They haven’t been drowning and felt His hand pull them out of their demise.

Our personal lives are no different. A lot of the time, in our walk with God, we will certainly be tagged “The Dancing Fool”. God would instruct us to do things that don’t make sense to everyone else, or even to us… quit that job, cut that person off, move out of that city, drop out and start a ministry or business.... Regardless of what form your challenge takes, His Will is often in conflict with our flesh and earthly desires, compelling us to do things that our friends and maybe even our families, would deem ill-advised, or put simply, nuts. 

But there is Hope! And thank God for that! Because the Bible is full of Radicals who, much like us, were confronted by the reality of His Will and were faced with an impossible decision. But instead of playing it safe, they chose to play The Dancing Fool, at the expense of their social standing, familial ties, and more often than not, their very lives. Gideon, the military general who went to his most trying battles armed with nothing more than trumpets. Noah, the man mad enough to build AN ARK, in the middle of what could be imagined as a desert. Matthew! Paul! Abraham? Elijah! There is no shortage of Crazy and UnAshamed people throughout the Bible who risked it all to obey the voice of God, and in doing so, experienced the best adventures of their lives.

So, where does that leave us?

" Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool— that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid."  1 Corinthians 3:18 &19.

Are we firmly rooted enough to abandon everything, disregard conventional wisdom and embrace that glorious Foolishness? Are we brave enough to follow the Madness and eschew the norm? Even if it means we’re branded Outsiders? Will we listen to the Whisper and leave our comfort zone? Can we ignore the incessant bickering of other people’s opinions, and the Loud Voice that is mediocrity? Everyday, we are faced with these very questions, and everyday, we must renew our commitment to our Holy Rebellion. When we boldly step into the abyss, giving Him complete control, God shows himself in game-changing, no-sense-making, amazingly crazy ways. 

Is God leading you down a path that makes no sense? Do you have something burning in your Spirit? Have you found it impossible to fit in? To just be another “regular guy/girl”? Then lucky you! Embrace it! Allow God to do His part, and simply be still. Listen to the Whisper. Follow It. Join the Rebellion.

Live life on His terms. 

For therein lies your greatness.


 

The Beginning


Love. Love is a multifaceted concept that we’ve been taught for years and have become accustomed to. The book of 1st Corinthians 13 explains that “Love is patient, Love is kind…” and we say this all the time. But going down the passage, I was struck by something that we usually don’t get to when “reciting” this passage of scripture. “Love… keeps no record of wrong doing”. When I first read this, I figured that this was just a forgive-and-forget-those-who-wrong-you lesson, but the Holy Spirit drew my attention even closer to it, and I saw that it wasn’t about them. Not really — It was first, and most importantly, about Me and Him… about You and Him. 

 Over the years, a lot of us have been taught primarily about the God of Rules and Punishment. You know… the Old Testament, fire-and-brimstone God. And to be honest, this used to scare me like crazy. I remember being younger, and having a slight "problem" with lying, as most young kids do. At that age, the Truth sometimes feels flexible, and every time I “bent it” (Read: Lied), I used to be afraid to pray. I’d feel so terrible with endless thoughts of  “Oh no, I’m a sinner”, and “Oh no, my name has been removed from the Book of Life! I’m now in His bad books.” — these thoughts would go on forever in my young mind, and so I’d “hide” from God, and not talk to Him. In my head, I needed to give God some space to cool off. See, saying ”I’m sorry” every now and then was starting to sound like a routine, and I began to feel as though God was rolling His eyes, saying “Here we go again” every time I came to confess my sins and seek His forgiveness.

Thinking about this 12 years later, it’s tragic, but still slightly funny. What’s even more saddening is that this same thing still happens today, in the lives of several believers. It may not be happening in the exact same way as it did to me, but it happens nonetheless. Have you ever found yourself second-guessing prayer because of that “thing” you’d done? Have you found it hard to connect to God because of something you’ve been holding over your head that’s got you feeling “unworthy”? Have you fallen victim to your own righteous indignation... holding yourself up to an unattainable ideal of what you think a “good Christian” ought to be? Or are you of the impression that God loves you the most when you’re at your best? Well, think again!

See, He is not the Lord of Condemnation. He is a God who loves us to a degree that would literally blow our minds if we tried to imagine it. He is patient, kind… and keeps no record of our wrong doing. There is no “bad book”. God is not petty. And that’s why when we were yet sinners, and didn’t know (or care!) about Him, He still didn’t give up on us. On the contrary, He played what’s arguably the riskiest game ever played — He sent Jesus His only Son, to die for us, a gargantuan display of unbridled Love that changed the world forever.

When it comes to God, we come first. When God sees you, (and trust me, He sees you!) He first sees someone who He loves and wants unconditionally, before He is remotely concerned with your little sin. 

Romans does an amazing job at explaining this;


“The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture… I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

Romans 8:31-39 MSG


God’s love is perfect! Therefore, not us, or our myriad sins, can taint it. Nothing you can say, do, or even think, can ever separate you from His love. Most Christians have no trouble believing that God loves them, but still fall short of the second, equally important, aspect of this equation — Self-Love! 

God, our Father, is Love, which inherently, makes Us, His Children, love as well. 

And so, as little loves, we should keep no record of wrong doing, particularly OURS. So please, get rid of that book in your head where you record all the “bad things” that you’ve done. Tear it up into tiny cute little pieces, and burn it! There’s a thin line between Religion and Relationship. Jesus gave His life for us to have a chance at Heavenly Relationship, and no relationship will ever thrive if there’s a ledger of documented wrong-doing piling up against either party.

Here’s what the bible says;


“My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. ”

1 John 3:18-24 MSG


We see here that God instructs us to love ourselves. Self-love is so important. It’s one thing for God to love us, but if we are too busy doubting the totality of His love, doubting our worthiness, keeping files on all the things we’ve done wrong, it becomes difficult (no, impossible!) to actually bask in this amazing love. 

God’s love makes us whole, and enables us to live in peace and freedom. As a result, His Grace (a by-product of His Love), carries us above the things that make us stumble.

So smile, because it’s okay. He knows you and your imperfections, and He still loves you. He knows about your shortcomings, and He still loves you. He knows about that thing you haven’t been able to forgive yourself for, and He still loves you. In the passage above, John says that God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. He just wants you to come to Him… to leave it all behind, receive His Love, rest in it, and let it transform you.

You don’t have to “try”, because you’d more than likely fail if you do it on your own. Forgiveness, profound Peace, a second chance, and a relationship with our Father, have all been bought and paid for by the Blood of Jesus. So you don't have to work for it, only RECEIVE it. We have to learn to shed our fears, and embrace a true and honest relationship with God, talking to Him about our “challenges” and receiving the Grace to overcome them. 

Next time you feel unworthy, scared, or thoughts of condemnation come creeping in… Just take a moment to remember this — God loves YOU, flaws and all. Even when we stumble, His Love is readily available to always pick us up… And by loving ourselves, we allow Him do exactly that.