Building: Walls, Boundaries

So, I’ve already said that I believe when Building: Foundations First  is important (or restoring). Walls and boundaries for protection are also very important, and perhaps necessary before the building is complete.

There is always a need for a relatively safe place, especially if rebuilding after a trauma (earthquake, emotional upheaval) or battle (war, personal attack). A rebuilder needs clearly defined boundaries to keep threats at bay or from which to see a potential threat coming and prepare to defend. Clear boundaries also give direction as to where one’s responsibility for building lies and , consequently, what it might be that one will be responsible for.

We each are responsible for building and rebuilding what is our own, but it’s healthy, resourceful, and community-minded to seek out those who can be trusted to assist with establishment and ‘border protection.’ If we are starting from scratch, we’re possibly in unfamiliar territory; there may be others who have built with similar intentions as ours in the past. Making use of successful methods and standards is better than ‘reinventing the wheel.’ If, on the other hand, we are rebuilding after battle or trauma we may be in need of a ‘kindred spirit’ to help define where the boundaries need to be and of the stuff they could/should be made of.

It’d be nice to think that everyone was supportive of our building efforts and goals, and that everyone understood or had the same goals and commitment that we do. But that is rarely, if ever, the case. This is fine, because the world is a much more colourful and beautiful place for its diversity. When looking for someone to help stand guard or instruct us as we build, we want to look for someone who can see into what we’re about or is at least desirous of supporting us in our building goals even if their’s differ. As we begin to build we must also be on guard ourselves, so that when our enlisted scouts give the call we battle/defend together.

Sadly, some will actually attempt to compromise our building, or even prevent its ever beginning, or destroy what has begun. Sometimes this occurs with open defiance, other times with deceit and false offers of assistance. The fruit usually tells what sort of tree you are dealing with. Look for the fruit, it’s not usually difficult to spot and recognise true support amidst covert opposition. ‘Kindred spirits’ are good at helping to recognise the kind of fruit you’re dealing with as well.

A friend recently informed a group of us that ancient Roman shields could be ‘locked’ together during attack so that the group could be better protected beneath the rows of shields. Gather a group of kindred spirits, supporters and experienced builders to ‘lock shields’ with you as you build, especially if you’re re-building! Set your boundaries, understand you goals and values, and start to build.

One day soon you can sit back and look at the beautiful fruit of all your imaginings, creativity, effort, and community – in fact, take moments along the way to recognise the early fruit as you build…rewarding.

Thanks again to Ezra and Nehemiah for re-building guidelines.

 

Refining Fire

Lying dead and lifeless
That which has fallen from above
When touched by heat and spark
Will a firestorm, behove

Though dead to life of tree
Now feed to living flame
Producing heat, destruction
None will ever be the same

The flame takes all alive
Toward the point of death
All living, true and permanent
Will shoot with a new breath

Refine me, prove what’s true
Remove all not of Thee
Breathe Your life into me
Life that with, You’re fully pleased

 

29/12/2013

From ‘John Plowman’s Talk and Pictures’

No man’s lot is fully known till he is dead: change of fortune is the lot of life. He who rides in the carriage may yet have to clean it…and he who is up aloft may have to take his turn in the pit…The thought that we may ourselves be one day under the window should make us careful when we are throwing out our dirty water…and therefore let us look well to dealings with the unfortunate.

Nothing makes me more sick of human nature than to see the way in which men treat others when they fall down the ladder of fortune…they cry, “He was always good for nothing.” Dog won’t eat dog, but men will eat each other up like cannibals, and boast of it too…The dog is drowning, and therefore all his friends empty their buckets over him…The house is on fire, and all the neighbours warm themselves. The man…has tumbled into the road…he is down and selfishness cries, “Let him be kept down, then there will be more room for those who are up.”

How aggravating it is when those who knocked you down kick you for not standing up. “What a pity he went so far on the ice!” That’s very true, but that won’t save the poor fellow from drowning…Good advice is poor food for a hungry family.

A man of words and not of deeds,                                                                                                            Is like a garden full of weeds.

…Help my old horse to a few oats, and then tell him to mend his pace. Feel for me, and I shall be much obliged to you, but mind you feel in your pocket or else a fig for your feelings.

…A noble spirit always takes the side of the weak but noble spirits do not often ride along our roads; they are as scarce as eagles…Most people will help those who do not need it…all the cooks baste the fat pig, and the lean one gets burned.

In times of prosperity friends will be plenty:                                                                                        In times of adversity not one in twenty.

While the wind serves, all aid…All the neighbours are cousins to the rich man…but Widow Needy is not heard across the park railings, let her call as she may. Men willingly pour water into a full tub and give feasts to those who are not hungry, because they look to have as good or better in return…unless it be some antiquated old soul who believes…loves his Lord, and therefore gives, ‘hoping for nothing again’? …When…folks are very polite and considerate, poor men had need beware. It was not a good sign when the fox walked into the hen-roost and said, ‘Good mooring to you all, my very dear friends.’

Down men, however, must not despair, for God is yet alive, and he is the Friend of the friendless…A good man…His hope may be drenched but not drowned. He plucks up courage and sets a stout heart to a stiff hill, and gets over rough ground where others lie down and die. While there’s life, there’s hope. Therefore, my friend, if you’ve tumbled off the back of prosperity, John Ploughman bids you not to lie in the ditch but up with you and try again. Jonah went to the bottom of the sea, but he got to shore again all the better for his watery journey.

A false faith can only float in smooth water, but true faith, like a life boat, is at home in storms. If our religion does not bear us up in time of trial, what is the use of it? If we cannot believe God when our circumstances appear to be against us, we do not believe him at all.

Charles Spurgeon – 1869

I know what it is to be kicked for not getting up by those who knocked me down. I know what it is to be financially, productively, relationally, emotionally, physically, spiritually down…and up. Because we have been made in the likeness of our Creator, we can care about the lot of others. We must choose. I know what it is to face, be within, and sail out of storms that looked as though they were intended to be life-taking. Life-taking can be life-giving; if what is taken was preventing life, and what is given fills the void with life.

Today, I choose life!

Healing and Restoration

So, subsequent to Community or Conformity, my questions would be:

  • what constitutes healing?
  • is healing the same for everyone?
  • do my limited knowledge and view of life inhibit what I understand healing to be?
  • I could probably go on!

Jim Stallard in “You Owe Me Dinner” said,

What is most beneficial to me is not so much a building that meets all the legal requirements, but rather an attitude that meets all the attributes of Jesus. And whilst Jesus certainly healed people, he didn’t heal everyone. I wasn’t healed, but I still needed all of my faith to help sustain me.

The Designer, Creator, Restorer and Sovereign God (as, to me, He has proved Himself to be) made us for relationship with Himself and each other. When we rebelled against His design and order, spoiling both types of relationship, He made the restoration of them possible by acting  in accordance with His own design. He made whatever sacrifice, and performed whatever action, was necessary to make available these restored relationships – if we desire to return to living according to design.

This God has declared that, for those who have chosen to return to this love-relationship, He will be using everything as part of the process of completing the restoration/healing He has provided for. Even the brokenness in individuals, and families, and communities as a result of their rebellion against design and order.

My response? This God, Father, has also declared that what He wants is for no one to perish as a result of their rebellion. He stated that He will use every choice, consequence, person and power; even rebellion itself, to draw those who will come, to His healing restoration. Sometimes we want to be ‘healed’ from the thing/s which are bringing us or someone else to restoration of relationship. And I see restoration of relationship as the ultimate in healing. I choose not to pursue the temporary, thereby sacrificing the permanent; the eternal. I would prefer the temporary at present, because this is the tangible which I have known. But I have had glimpses and tastes of  eternal healing and restoration. Therefore, I will trust the One who has proven Himself faithful and a promise-keeper; I trust that He is healing me and those around me from everything that hinders my intimacy with Him and those He has given me; I trust that He is healing others from everything that hinders their intimacy with Him and those He has given them.

I have witnessed and/or experienced healing after specific prayer; with and without the anointing of oil; with and without the presence of the one being prayed for; as a result of general living in surrender to the design and power of the Creator. I have also witnessed in one healed miraculously on a number of occasions, the healing of leaving the temporary and tangible for the eternal and permanent in death – because that free but expensive ticket had been taken hold of. 

I want for myself and for you, life according to design. Purpose, fulfilment, peace, unity, love, intimacy with the Creator and the created. May the process continue until its completion, may you desire to join me in this process. This is a journey with a certain destination. This journey is already paid for. Take hold of your free but expensive ticket and join me for healing, restoration and life according to design.

 

What would healing mean for you?