Series: Other Speakers
Sun am 18 September 2011 – Hazel Swart
Isa. 55:3; Ps. 103 & Ps. 104 (Message); Eph. 5:1-3; Matt. 6:24; Matt. 7:7; Rom. 12:1-3, 9-10;
The Word says, “Listen that you may live” (Isa. 55:3). We think that we hear, but we don’t always hear. Who is God to you experientially? How do you experience God? Does your God have a sense of humour? God is a very festive God; an abundant God; He loves to party! We think that the more serious we are, the more God will speak to us; but we become so tense that we will not hear a thing.
When you do anything creative, you have a hotline to God. He is the great Creator. We are co-creators. We don’t have to do anything, we just have to surrender and allow God to flow through us. He is not far away; He wants to be found by us.
Use your imagination when reading Psalm 103 and 104. O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out keeps in mind that we’re made of mud. Men and women don’t live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here. God’s love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, Making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said. God has set his throne in heaven; he rules over us all. He’s the King! So bless God, you angels, ready and able to fly at his bidding, quick to hear and do what he says. Bless God, all you armies of angels, alert to respond to whatever he wills. Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are— everything and everyone made by God. And you, O my soul, bless God!
Isn’t it amazing that we are part of this creation; isn’t it amazing that this God is God to us. The challenge for me and you is to take this God out to the world. We say we know Him – is this the God that we know? Is this the God that we experience, or do we complain and say that God doesn’t care when we pray. Are we saying that God is a poor God, a stingy God, a racist God who sees colour? What are we saying about God? Watch what God does, and then do it like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you (Eph. 5:1). 90% of what God is doing every single day is — loving you! It’s as simple as that. Don’t complicate it. The gospel of the Kingdom that is being preached will not come without love.
It will not come with good terminology. It will not come without the love of God. The basic commandments are: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all of your soul, with all of your strength; and love your neighbor and love yourself. If you do not know who you are and you do not know yourself, you cannot love anybody else. We cannot take that love out if we are not aware of the greatness of God’s love for us. It’s not a soppy love; it’s a true love.
God made you amazingly, as unique as you are. Whatever it is that you don’t like about yourself, He made you and He loves you. The world is looking for love. They are not looking for an explanation about love, they are not looking for an explanation about God; they will know when you love them. Let’s be real and be honest.
Some people’s art is so perfect, but it is saying absolutely nothing. Then you come to another artist who scribbled something, and something on the page is saying something. It is the same as you and I. We are a work of art, we are God’s canvas. It’s about expression; it’s about allowing that love to flow. Express what you feel. Why do you worry about what people think of you? Enjoy life and enjoy the love of God. Feel His extravagance.
To be extravagant is not about money. We make our success in life equivalent to how much money we have. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:24). You are either serving God or serving money. Don’t be anxious for anything. Look at the birds and lilies, they do not toil or spin. He knows what you need, He knows you inside out. Yet you stress about money. God is not in a recession, His abundance is still abundant. The odds are not against anybody, we all have equal access to God and to His abundance. Ask and you will receive, knock and it will be given to you, seek and you will find (Matt. 7:7). We either believe God when He says that, or we believe in money. We think about money all the time and we say, “The more money I have, the better I am going to be; the less money I have, then that determines my mood and my success in life. My money determines who I am. Therefore I am making my money my God.” Money becomes your God, it’s what you’re thinking about, money is what you are working for; money is determining who you are. Think about it carefully. It may not mean that what we will have is the same, but we have equal access to God. You can choose how much you want to believe God, and how much you want to open yourself up to be a channel. Money is not given to us to keep. The key to getting money is to give it away. The more you give it away, the more you get. You just become a channel for that money. You can actually see the people who are givers, they live happy lives, and God knows He can use them to give His money away to bless others.
He is a God who is interested in every detail of your and my life. If you ask Him for something, He is going to give it to you. And He’s going to give it to you the way He wants to give it to you, because He is God. When you can hear God and listen carefully, you can become a channel for God. You can speak and help somebody else, and encourage somebody else. You can speak and create by your words.
Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. We’re cautious with one another, we’re afraid of one another, we’re afraid of letting someone come into our space. See how amazing God is; we know when somebody is scary and we don’t want them in our space. There’s a little voice inside of you that said, “Up to here and no further.” Why don’t you listen to that voice a bit more? That little voice in you is God saying, “Be careful.” We’re so busy stressing that we don’t hear the little voice. We need to be alert to what God is saying to us.
He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that (Eph. 5:2). Don’t love to get something back.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. ……. Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle (Rom. 12:1-2, 9-10).
Who is God to you? How are you experiencing God in your life? Can you speak of God guiding you step by step by His Holy Spirit? Do you listen when He speaks to you? He’s not outside of you, He’s within you. He’s given us everything pertaining to life and godliness. God is working with us because we are a message to the world. He wants to heal us. There are issues in our lives that some of us have not even dealt with. We cover them up and we think nobody can see it. God will keep working on you until God lets His light shine deep, deep within. God’s whole attitude towards you is to heal you, to make you whole and to love you. Everything about you is important to Him. Not one of us is better than the other and we cannot look down on anybody else. Let us rather be humble citizens of His Kingdom, humble and surrendered to His Word. To read the Scripture is great, allow your imagination to go – see a God who loves you, see an extravagant God who wants you to live a rich life, a full life, and He wants that to go out into the world. Jesus Christ, an expression of love to the world; and that’s us, an expression of love to the world. The message to you today is: God loves you.