He is making a way

Jordan and Elizabeth with the 3 little Mackley’s

When I first moved over to Africa I spent a good portion of my time in the country of Malawi. As this was a new and developing training centre for discipleship there was plenty of practical work to be done to get it established. The training centre is located right on the shores of Lake Malawi and at the base of Livingstonia mountains. As the houses and student dormitories were still being built I had a little one man tent pitched right on the beach of Lake Malawi which gave me amazing views of the sunrise every day. It also meant once the sun had risen fully above the mountains of Tanzania on the other side of the lake, you could no long lay in your tent, as the sun would bake you to a crisp. But those first few hours of daylight as the sun rose there was a slight coolness in the air. This was a wonderful time of day to sit and read through His word, listen and pray. This was a precious time for me and really built in solid foundation into my relationship with the Lord.

I was recently listening to a sermon by Charles Stanley called “Our Number One priority”. He listed nine points which would be results in our life if we made Christ our Number One priority. These were the nine points:

  1. A quietened Spirit
  2. Renewed energy
  3. Strengthening of one’s Faith
  4. Refreshed emotions
  5. An Enlarged view of God
  6. Purification of the heart
  7. Receive insight and instruction
  8. Preparation for conflict
  9. Source of Joy

A quiet view over Lake Malawi.

As I listened to Charles Stanley list these points and expand on each one I realised that during my time in Malawi I started to gasp hold of these nine truths in my own life. As I continued to listen to Stanley I began to reflect further on my own life and my own heart. It was great to be once again reminded of where I have come from and where I am heading on my journey with the Lord.

When I heard Charles Stanley expand on point number seven “Receive insight and Instruction” the great importance of this stood out for me. He said the following:
“You can sit and listen to a sermon and take notes, but you know when it becomes real to you? It’s when you go home and the next time you spend time with the Lord you pull out those notes and say Lord, I want you to get this truth on the inside of me. I don’t just want to hear it but I want it to be part of my thinking and I want to be able to work this in my life so that I can share it with somebody else and that they too will profit from this truth that I have come to know.”

I believe this is a very important point that he makes. We often hear a message, we might even write down some notes or at least some mental notes or remember things that stood out or something that was new for you or really touch because of the current situation you are in. Then Monday comes along life gets busy and we have forgotten all about what we heard on Sunday. Now if any one is guilty of this its me. I did a little test on myself and you can also try this test. For the last three months write down the main subject of the messages that were shared on Sundays. I’m not going to tell you my score, I’ll just say there was plenty of room for improvement. But the ones I do remember clearly are the ones that I went back over the scriptures and chewed over them a few times till it become my own. I think this is the point Stanley is making, its one thing to hear the truth but another to make it your own. That’s why we find these scriptures below in the Bible.

James 1:22-25 NIV
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Romans 2:13 NIV
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Luke 6:46 NIV
Jesus said “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

As I read these scripture I realised there is a great warning for us. If we come and hear the truth, we need to make sure we also make the truth our own and be doers of the Word as well. The wonderful part is we have the Word and the life of Jesus as the perfect example of not only hearing the word but most of all being doers of the Word. Secondly we have the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, convict and instruct us in all decisions we make in life. Then thirdly we have the Body of Christ around us to support, encourage and to build up each other along the journey of life which we walk together.