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Posts Tagged ‘doubly blessed’

Today it’s my absolute privilege and honour to have Rob Gray – Pastor, Preacher, Prophet and Poet as my guest sharing his thoughts and poetry.

Rob is Pastor at Hillcrest Chapel in Hamilton, New Zealand. He loves lakes, oceans, rivers, waterfalls and hot showers. In his spare time Rob likes to get out on the golf course and explore as much of it as he can! Rob also loves his sport, a good spy novel, the music of Bruce Springsteen, U2 and many others. Rob is focussed on learning to live for Jesus out of his new heart.

Rob and I are co-founders of Brand New Heart Ministries where we write, run retreats, and share what it means to rediscover our heart for God.

Hi everyone, Rob here. I turned 43 last week. At the start of the day it’s fair to say that my kids were more excited about my birthday than I was. I mean we did let them have cake at breakfast time after all! Their joy and excitement at giving me cards and gifts was

rainbow-114707_640infectious and I had a growing sense of gratitude rising up in me. At work I had planned to visit a few of our older folk but lingering tummy discomfort persuaded me to take it easy and lie low in the office. As I read, planned and prayed I knew peace. I then heard from David that we had got into the Wild at Heart Boot Camp in Colorado in August. Peace became joy. I headed out for a walk and was overwhelmed at the sense of God’s favour that was upon me. He had given me so much this year. He had gone ahead of me in so many ways. He had strengthened me to deal with some tricky situations. Then it started to rain! I took shelter under a tree, looked out and saw a stunning rainbow, full and bright, and above it a second one much dimmer. Doubly blessed. That’s how I felt. Favoured, honoured, loved.

I used to be uncomfortable with that kind of talk. Didn’t the Bible say to take up our cross and follow Jesus? Isn’t it suffering that leads to perseverance? Isn’t it the persecuted who are blessed? Couple those verses with the notion that we are just worthless sinners saved by grace and it’s no wonder that many of us struggle to get our heads around any idea that we are blessed by a loving Father! But biblically speaking, suffering is contrasted with and stands in opposition to misuse of power and resources. It does not stand against joy and our identity as beloved sons and daughters of the Father and intimate allies of the King. I can rejoice in the blessings poured out on me by God because I am his son, sin is no longer who I am and coming alive to God through Jesus is the point!

Blessing does not nullify suffering. We all pass through trials. We live in a fallen and broken world. Satan is angry and full of hatred for us. Selfishness is rampant. We follow a crucified Saviour. But Jesus passed through death into life. The dramatic reversal that the resurrection represents is our destiny too. What I experienced on my birthday was an echo of eternity. I caught a glimpse of the fullness of life that will be ours. Beyond feeling middle-aged, slightly unwell and it raining on my walk was a future of joy, peace, love and double blessings. Tomorrow persecution and suffering may come but I will still be a friend of Jesus and a son to the Father. I will still have the Spirit dwelling in me with the life of Christ. I will have hope. I will still be loved. I will still be Christ’s and he will still be mine. That’s the joy. That’s the fullness of life. That’s the double blessing.

Since Easter I have been part of an amazing Facebook group that has been reflecting on Lazarus. What would it mean for us to live as if we have been raised from the dead? In Christ, we have been! This exercise even provoked me to poetry. Below are a couple of poetic reflections that may help you as you reflect on being alive in Christ this week.

Standing up
Stepping out
Breathing
Sun on my back
Seeing the colours
Feeling the breeze
Thankful
Hopeful
I am loved
I am enough
Christ in me
I in Christ
Alive

Song in the heart
Smile on the face
Spring in the step
Strength in the Spirit
Faith fills my being
Hope invades my soul
Grace enters my mind
Life comes alive in me

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