Report Card

Today I found and read thoroughly through my grade 8 final report card, line-by-line. “Natashia” it begins, in one of the few commentary sections of the three-page document. There it was, my name, my grades (for every single course taken that year), my class average, and of course, the number of days I was late or absent from school.

Nearly 20 years ago and it now intrigued me more than ever before. Reading through teacher comments and advice to me and, (consequently my mom), of what I needed to focus on more to understand, develop and refine growth in the education of such intelligence, such as, the sciences and mathematics, reading and writing, and so forth.

As I looked at my overall student average, I could see clearly it was average indeed, that is, to the class average. Most of us did fine, okay. Satisfactory, is what they named it. I have since changed, thankfully. But as a looked at my grade 8 marks, I smiled at some, stared wide-eyed at others, while glancing over most – the more abundant average ones.

What is it about average? It’s not failing, though it’s certainly not excelling. Most the class was average in their grades that year – our graduating year. Cleary the marks I smiled at were above average. I excelled. I went over and beyond satisfactory! I did well. Very well.

The wide-eyed grades, well, they were below the class average. Way below. Yet still I spent much more time thinking on the one or two, than the satisfactory ones.

Later on having tucked away my report card so I can ‘discover’ it another 20 years from now, Christ willing, I picked up my bible and began reading in Matthew chapter 5.

Jesus teaching…

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Soon after, I began thinking about that report card and then of the fruits of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, kindness, self-control, meekness, and faith. Finally, I spoke softly, “Holy Spirit, I wonder what grade you would give me in these “subjects” – areas of your teachings.” I sat, stayed quiet. Then, I began to write this note – blog.

LUKEWARM

Could the ails of being satisfactory be likened to that of lukewarm? In the book of Revelation, Jesus commands John to write to the seven churches. Through the letters to the churches, we read passages where the Lord is pleased and not pleased with attitudes and lifestyles and practices that are either right before God or evil before God. He warns and beckons “repent.” And, He encourages, “I know your works, and charity, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last to be more than the first…”

Why would God say in Revelation 3:15, that He would prefer that they (the people of the church in Laodicea) were cold OR hot? With the understanding that, to be hot is to be as we say – on fire for God – meaning of course, being spiritually fervent and filled with His Spirit, walking after His ways willingly and devotedly by His sufficient grace and everlasting mercies. To be hot is obviously the mark, but why then does Christ also makes mention of being cold rather than lukewarm…if you’re not hot?

Well, to be cold is to know that you are at opposite ends of hot. Not even close, and far from it – which is good, evidently. You see, the soul that is turned from God and knows it, might turn to God, but the soul that is turned from God and does not know it, or believe it, cannot ever turn to God. The lukewarm soul – the person who is turned at some angle(s) away from Almighty God, is not fully surrendered to God. That person or perhaps you, continue living this life believing that you “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength,” yet all actually means all and not some. Hot is hot – fully. Cold is cold – fully. But, and this is the BIG BUT, lukewarm isn’t hot and, it isn’t cold.


Beloved, if you, like me, need to and will to pray, pray.

Search me Lord. Evaluate me. Judge me and tell me what You find. For You only are able to judge righteously and You only can see my heart and know its thoughts entirely. And then Lord reveal to me what in me and of me pleases You, what I must continue doing in Your grace and truth and also Lord, reveal to me what I must turn away from. I pray this in Your name that is above every name ever named, Jesus. Amen.

And now may the Good Shepherd give to you and I, ears to hear what the Spirit will say.

POUR OUT

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Lead Me Home

Jesus, “Your heart is my desire”, Jesus.

Jesus, Your journey tests my faith, Jesus.

Jesus, You are my Shepherd, Jesus.

Jesus, I am your sheep, Jesus.

Jesus, You are my day, Jesus. You are my night.

Jesus, You’ve done this, Jesus. You’ve made my heart live. You’ve put in me Your own Spirit, Jesus.

Jesus.

Jesus, You love me.

You love me, Jesus.

Jesus, Oh Jesus. Jesus.

Lead me home.

Jesus, lead us home.

 

 

A Just God and a Saviour

The God of all creation is a just and righteous God. This means His verdict is a true and right verdict. His ruling stands and whatever He decides as a sentence is indeed justice. Likewise, this same God is a Saviour. Even saving His creation made in His likeness (like parents and children look-a-like) from His true and right judgement, which is a sentence of death for any sin committed against Him. Not death in the body alone but agonizingly death of our spirits. I can imagine the death of a body, we see it often but, that of your spirit, how horrifically sorrowful.

Here and Now:
His saving hand He reaches out long before His hand of justice. And it’s reaching out to you. Now. Grab hold of His offer of salvation from death of your spirit to life of your spirit by believing and coming to the understanding that Jesus is God and that He came into this world to do just that, taken your sentencing of death for your sins. Yet through His rising from the grave you rise too.

Saviour:
God is saving those who receive His Son Jesus Christ. Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that He is God. Ultimately He is saving us from His own wrath, from the appointed day when He will deliver His verdict and then the sentence of that verdict, death death death. But now and first He offers a way to escape death and instead life life and life forever!

Choose:
“Look to Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”

– Isaiah 45:22-23

One day He is coming. Don’t wait for that day when you will believe because then it will be too late.

I pray you choose life. And choose now.

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What Shall We Do?

The whole harvest doesn’t make it to the market – not every fruit that bears are good

During the time when John, being used of God, went baptizing many with water, he preached saying, “…bring forth fruits worthy of repentance…” The message was clear. If in fact those who were being baptized were doing so out of a true heart’s change and desire to now follow the Word of God in their hearts, their lives should in turn mirror that reflection.

Ever heard of the numerous accounts of kids behaving rudely while defending their behaviour by referencing whom their parent is. You know, the kid whose parent is the principle of the school, the judge of the courtroom, the driver of the school bus, and the leader of the cookie club and the coach of the team. Well I know it all too well. In fact, I was that kid.

Years ago when my mom drove for Charterways school bus company, she would at times, park the 45-foot yellow bus in our neighbourhood. Despite her tireless efforts and warnings to keep us (my sister, our friends and I) out of the bus, we’d gladly find our way in. It was an imagination of fun. We spent hours playing all sorts of pirate and captain, sinking ship, lost island games and, on occasion someone would muster up enough courage to honk the horn! Many times after declaring, “THIS IS MY MOM’S BUS” I’d kick other kids off for whatever reason I it thought necessary. If she knew what I was up to she would have kicked me off too.

It’s old news. And John addressed it when he went baptizing. When he told the people to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, he also right after said “…And begin not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as to our Father.’”

Understand this, the fruits of your life, as the scriptures say, will testify of yourself. They’re either good fruit or not good fruit and, “…every tree therefore which brings forth not good fruit is hewn (cut) down, and cast into the fire.”

WHAT SHALL WE DO?

Three groups of people who heard and saw and believed all that he ministered asked this question of John, WHAT SHALL WE DO?

The People: “What shall we do then?” John: “He that has two coats, let him impart to him that has none; and he that has meat, let him do likewise.”

The Publicans: “Master, what shall we do? John: “Exact no more than that which is appointed you.”

The Soldiers: “And what shall we do?” John: “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”

This question, What shall we do, is good for us now even as it was for generation to generation since then because we must bear fruit worthy of our new life in Christ.

Just ask, Lord, what shall I do?

Ask Christ with your whole heart knowing and believing that He, just as John did give an answer, will surly revel to you what you shall now do.

Amen.


Heavenly Father, King of kings, Most High, bless you Lord. Bless you name and be you lifted up above all in our lives. You have called us Lord and by your Spirit you have taken us unto you. And now great One, Rock of our salvation, I pray you Lord, reveal to those who will ask of you ‘What shall I do?’ Lord apart from you we can do nothing – not a thing. Nothing God. You and you alone have created all things for you and to you and through you. So now Christ I pray let your people know what now they must do. And by your goodness and truth cause us to do just that with joyful hearts because we rejoice in the delight of our God.

Glory be to you my King and my God.

In Christ Jesus I ask all this O’ Lord my refuge.

 

Read Luke chapter 3 and may the Lord Jesus direct you of what you shall do.