August

I love a good before and after story
From overweight to lean, from strung out on drugs to clean
I’ve often wondered what it looks like for God to redeem
A soul
I think there’s plenty of “before” but I’m not so sure we get to see the “after” until we’re standing beneath split skies but
Some believe that the Spirit’s power is best displayed in the life of one in T-Total control
The power to live in righteousness by eliminating all temptation
There is power in abstinence of course
But there is also power in moderation
Letting your yes be yes and your no be no according to the will of the Most High is nothing shy of the power of God at work though it may look exceptionally ordinary
But you can’t carry fire close to your chest and not get burned so the Ghost will always tell you to turn around again and again and again
Repentance
You may feel like you’re going in circles when you don’t feel the hands of the Potter applying pressure to press and shape you
Rigid rules can be handy tools but alone they lead to labour
But whom the Son sets free is free indeed but lives dependent on the Saviour
Stays attached to the Father’s favour
Abides in the will to love neighbour and changes behaviour not through sheer strife but drinking from the life that bubbles up from the fountain within
But the heart that’s dead to sin is still wrapped in skin and we’re locked in with it
Temptations still come to try to revive it but we can survive it because of the new Resident who has taken up residence and is the evidence of the time of death
But if I become the instigator the defibrillator shocks artificial life into that piece of flesh and as much as I shout “clear!” nothing will be until I see the crucified Son hanging from that tree not just for me but as me
And turning my head I can look to my old heart and say “I see the dead” as I come to my Six Senses
Number one, Touch
Praying for paper cuts of conviction as I turn every page of His Holy inscription so I can gladly bleed repentance
Number two, Taste
The flavour of His favour towards me draws me ever nearer to seek and find that which my soul hungers for
Number three, Smell
The fragrance of life and death comes alive when I choose death to my flesh, when I breathe in His breath
Number four, Hearing
And that’s how faith comes to extinguish flaming arrows and open blinded eyes
Number five, Sight
Seeing Him who is invisible and longing to be an imitation so that He can be seen
Number six, the awareness that I am a sinner in need of God’s grace, the awareness that Christ came and died in my place, the awareness that blood has washed the frown from God’s face, the awareness that this sinner is now a saint covered by grace! The awareness that my old life is dead and buried without trace, the awareness that Judge has banged gavel and closed case, the awareness that King Sin has been dethroned and replaced, the awareness that this sinner is now a saint covered by grace!
The awareness that I won’t faint as I run race, the awareness that though I fall the devil can’t keep pace, the awareness that Good Shepherd will always give chase, the awareness that this sinner is now a saint covered by grace.
Though our hearts may condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things
He is here, He is near and He is coming soon and this new heart will harmonise with the tune in His having been tuned down to the last string
Through highs and lows and patient suffering
Yielding to the hammer blows of refining fire in the presence or absence of active desire
So when I’m more conscious of His closeness than I am of the toll
This is what it looks like for God to redeem a soul.
There’s no cookie cutter or mass-produced mould because the Voice that spoke in the beginning is still bespoke with the middles as He already knows the end.
If you’re complaining that you’re broke and being rich is your intent let the Master work and make you content with the content of your life
If you want to be a masterpiece let the Master work and use whatever pieces and apparatus He sees fit
You can’t do His job but yours is simple, don’t quit
Just as Christ fell and on the third He rose before the count to ten
The sign of a soul that has been redeemed is that when you fall,  you get back up again.
Old habits may linger and dark clouds of doubt may pull the sun out of sight
But the armour of light is made for the dark to fight the good fight of faith
And hope, in the return of the One we need, the One who freed, the One who chose to bleed and was crowned with thorns so that those who are born again could be reformed and receive the crown of life.
Get up.
You may have fallen but look at your heart’s response to what you’re hearing
There is a great cloud of witnesses but Someone in you seems to be among them cheering
Get up!
You may have felt like you’ve gone too far or been too long disconnected
But if His conviction can still catch your heart then His holy wrath can still be deflected
So get up!!
Tear down the idols you’ve set up in His stead or brought into your bed or kept locked in your head
His blood was shed because He doesn’t want to spill yours!
A flash of emotion and willpower won’t hold you fast!
Your strength has already failed so that you’d learn to cast your cares on Him because He cares for you, you know it’s true and you know what you need to do now go a do whatever He leads you to and trust that the Healer will make you whole.
This is what it looks like for God to redeem a soul.

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