I had thought this would be a quiet Bank Holiday Monday where I would do what I please and relax …. as it happens the Lord used the day to speak to me on a number of accounts and as i busied myself and sought to get my physical house in order. This then is the first word.
I had moved into my new home in January this year. It has taken a while to settle and to put things in position and bed things down , as it were. I cant grumble as the previous owner had left the house in a good condition and all I needed to do was a repaint to freshen it up. I love my home it has been a gift and blessing of the Lord and a promise given. I have been systemically giving stuff away and working on reducing my outgoing and spending. I had thought my affairs were getting in some order at long last…
It is the Easter Bank holiday. The sun has only just started to shine and because of ministry events and being away, this weekend was perhaps the first weekend that I have been able to sit in the front garden and relax. I felt like I had earned the rest. As I sat in my new deck chair, I looked up at the windows to see that they were in need of a clean. I thought (with my Caribbean singy songy thought pattern….) I cant let these neighbors think I am going to keep a ramshackled house and bring the neighborhood down …. it wont take me long to just nip in and get a cloth and do them.
I did the outside window first and then went in to do the inside.
As I was doing the inside, the Lord began to speak to me about spiritual things. He pointed to the challenge that was facing me right in front of my eyes. I had thought the outside of the windows were brilliantly done but as I went inside, I could see not only was the inside in desperate need, but that the outside also needed another going over again….. In fact , the more I cleaned the inside and the sun shone through, the more I could see the outside needing attention here and there. Lord help…!!!
I then heard the word in my spirt outside of the platter and then the word of the Lord came to me.
The scripture is from Matthew 23:25 . Here the Lord made the rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees. He said
‘Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for you make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess’
In Luke the rebuke is extended with ‘the inward parts of many are full of ravening and wickedness’
Ouch…!!! I would be arrogant to think that the word is for others and not for me. I am examining myself. I know that the Holy Spirit ministers to us so we can also minister to others and he has instructed me to write what he gives me and so i write.
In Peter 3:3- 4 (and I paraphrase) Father speaks to the women, ‘let not your adorning be of plaiting of the hair and of wearing of gold, or putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, which is incorruptible.
Father knows the desires of my heart. He knows the things i love and those which move me. But I am not above the word and have to examine myself.
We can’t put effort into our physical homes, appearances and our spiritual homes state, lies wanting. We are all striving to perfection. but we are not perfected yet. This is not a get out clause either. I believe he would have me say : we have to grow up too. We can’t just work on the outside or make excuses for why we stay in the same state, year in, year out. Our inner man must be renewed day by day. Don’t wait for the sun to shine before we fix up as it will be too late and our sorry state will be seen by all. We need to start now. We need to first clean that which is within the cup and platter, so that the outside may be clean also. We do this through honest reflection, prayer and fasting . We do this through looking through the lense of his Word; we do this by seeking forgiveness for ourselves and for others. May Father help us.
Father, thank you for your illuminated word to me this day. Your intention is not to destroy us, control us, or condemn us. You are not like man. Your desire is to see us use free will to take up our cross and come up to the mark of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus.
Father, you set an example for us through the life and death of your son. Your son, Jesus, who made himself of no reputation but took upon himself the form of a servant and humbled himself, even to the death of the cross. Even on the cross you forgave those who had hurt and wronged you. You did it for us. Your desire is to see us leave those things behind which so easily beset us. The things that weigh us down keeping us busy and distracted away from you, our real prize. The self protection, self rule and pride which keeps us from genuine Christian love and from ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth – ie the platter needs cleaning on the inside.
Father, bring us back to the simplicity of seeking and serving you. Empty us of our own stuff and selves to the point of just wanting to reflect you and fellowship in your suffering.
Lord, you said in your word that those who cling to the world will lose it, but if we surrender and cling to you , we will find and inherit eternal life.
Father we would be clean and have eternal life. Help us?
We were baptized into your body and our house is your temple. Help us to consider our ways. If there is any hatred or wickedness in our heart, Lord root it out. If there is extortion excess, or ego continue to show us. Take away anything that is obscuring our sight , vision or walk with you. Anything that is getting in the way of serving you or marring your glory, remove it.
Father, we have become so comfortable in our own skin, our own abilities and strength and even in that which we own. We have put things in front of you. We have learned to play the pious religious game – to put on a front to fit in with the Jones. We continue to stock pile, build houses, warehouses, own horses and chariots, not realizing all is vanity and vexation of spirit. The things which are physical will be destroyed but the spiritual things are eternal.
Lord, without you in the order of things, education, children, houses and possessions means nothing. You give and you take away. Bring balance to our lives and our affairs in all that we do. Take away greed, gluttony, lust and the pride. Help us not to chase after the wind, fame or profession.
Thank you for nudging us. Help us not just to be a hearer, but a doer of your word. Help us to discharge your message as you instruct and for the saving of some with the spirit of grace and meekness.
Keep us trusting in you, ever looking to you.
You are the author and finisher of our faith.
Linda J – WRITING PAST MIDNIGHT..