You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.
-Psalm 68:9 (NIV)
The rain is coming. But are we ready for it? What can we do to get ready?
I would describe what we need to do is to have:
- Open hearts
- Outstretched arms
- Eyes that are open
- Shoes on our feet
- Clean hands
Be reconciled. Get reconciled with God, with yourself and with others. Do not have anything against anyone.
Forgive everyone, starting with God. Make sure you forgive yourself. Get rid of, cleansed of all bitterness.
This heart work may require set aside portions of time now to become aware of your heart problems and get free, get reconciled and purge yourself of spiritual toxins, waste and obstructions.
You may have need of heart warming or palliative care from other people right now. Your heart disease may be killing you or immobilizing you. Find out how to reverse the disease and get well and be well and receive from God.
Some hearts are damaged and not functioning properly. People with these hearts are barely living and walking slow, with chest pain at times. If this is you, seek open heart surgery immediately, from the great physician.
Be honest about your heart. Take time off of work and check yourself in for surgery. Sign all the papers and give Jesus everything and then let him heal your heart.
There may be people you need to talk to or see for reconciliation. You may need to write a letter to them. Your being reconciled to them does not mean that things will suddenly be like they were in the past. Do not insist on that or think you have failed when it does not.
The key is for you to be reconciled to all the people that you have had anything against. Release them from charges you have held against them. Cancel their debt to you.
Now you are free and they are free. If they did want to be close to you again, but they are unsafe for you or are just on a whole different path in life, you can lovingly decline the offer, without there being anything negative about it.
The matter of the heart is to be loving: love God, love yourself and then love others as you love yourself, based on God’s love for you. In that picture, there are many people that we can not be close to, but we can be reconciled to and hold nothing against them.
We can not be close to some people, even many people. But we can be reconciled to them and be willing at any time to be closer to them, if they become safer to be around, based on God’s love in their life.
The rain is going to fall on us, if we avail ourselves to being under it. And the main place that the rain goes into is our hearts. Our hearts are living reservoirs or aquifers for the rainfall.
A person who has a closed heart or a calcified, dry heart; may stand in the rain and even dance in the rain. But they will have little lasting effect from the rain and will not be able to carry the rain to others for any distance.
The main place where the rain has lasting impact and can be held to give to others is in the heart. Our hearts must be ready. Building a man made container to catch, hold and dispense the rain of God sounds like a good idea, but that is not what God wants and is wrong headed.
Get your heart ready. Get your heart right. Get your heart healed.
The rain of God comes upon the whole body of each person. But it only changes lives when it comes upon and into a person’s heart. And it is through our hearts that we live out Christ’s life and share life with others.
Get your hearts ready. Set aside the time now to get your heart right. Stop being distracted and get real about your heart today.
There is a time when it is too late. And you can miss it. An opportunity for you is imminent and you can choose to miss it if you don’t get yourself ready.
Begin today, if you are not already doing so, to be a person who reaches out. Reach out to give and reach out to receive. Be less independent and more communal.
Reverse your style of estrangement and isolation from others. Sharing is a key component to the Christian life. Share your needs and meet the needs of others.
Stop being needless. If you are ‘the minister’ in your family or community, start letting others minister to you. You may be the most gifted one, but realize your need for others, for the life in them, for you to be cared for.
Humble yourself by asking for assistance. Delegate things to others where you have been controlling.
The impact of the coming rain will be spread and multiplied through the web or matrix of our relationships. This is God’s design. Today, we can be prepared for being missionaries by just being connected to those around us, right under our noses.
Stretching out our arms to touch and be touched by others is preparing a network that God can build upon. Many of us are like the little boy, who only had a small lunch in a basket; but he offered it to Jesus. The Lord takes our small things and multiplies them.
It is a grave error to not honor the small things we have and participate in them, offering them to the Lord. The person who does nothing and offers nothing is a person who has a heart problem and can not be used by God, transformed by God and blessed by God.
We must do business in our very small circles, with our very small provisions or influence now and bless people in tiny ways, if that’s all we have got. All you might have is a smile. Then give that smile.
We need to extend out arms now to others, so that they will be extended and in service, as bridges and aqueducts; when the rain of God falls. When the downpour happens, we don’t want to then lower our bridges and open our aqueducts and figure out how they work.
Now is the time to stretch out your arms. Now is the time to reach out to others. Now is the time to become available.
Now is the time to figure out how your open door policy is going to work or function. Now is the time to make a path to your door that people can walk on. Now is the time to venture out of your hiding place.
Eyes That Are Open
After we have got our hearts right and are stretching ourselves to reach out and be available to be touched by others, we need to learn to see. I grew up in a revival church, where we learned to close our eyes when we worshipped, to focus on God, undistracted. I also learned to pray for people, hands on, with my eyes open. I also learned to see with my spirit.
We need to live with God and others, with our eyes open. Jesus is an eyes open person. He saw people.
Jesus heart is always wide open to his Father and his eyes are always open to people. We need to cultivate Jesus style in this. Some of us do not see people.
Some of us are always struggling to see God and miss all the people. Some of us are mostly preoccupied with seeing ourselves and with how others see us. Many of us pass through life with our eyes closed, blocking out the people in the world.
To get ready for the rain, we need to cultivate and learn to live with our eyes open to other people. We need to learn to be seeing God with our hearts and to be seeing people with our eyes. We need to not just look at people, but see them with our hearts.
Meet people’s eyes. Look into the windows to their soul. Learn to do this.
Jesus can look people in the eyes and ask them, ‘What do you want?’, or, ‘What would you like me to do for you?’, and we can learn to do that too, as we walk with him in the world.
We so often see people as being in our way. We so often see and look to see people who we want to get something from. Instead of this, we need to cultivate Jesus style of seeing people and coming as servants and not to be served.
This is why Jesus said, “Open your eyes and see the harvest around you”. That is what we all need to do right now.
Shoes On Our Feet
Many of us have the wrong shoes on our feet. We each need to have our feet fitted with gospel shoes. Many of us are walking through life in an angry rampage and completely misrepresenting Jesus and the gospel of peace.
Take an inventory of your shoes. Are you wearing the shoes of Jesus or something else you have fashioned? Do your shoes stomp and kick, allure and purr or are they functional for the bringing of good news to people?
Your shoes can be high fashion, open toed or closed, sandals or boots, athletic or dress up. What matters is where are your feet taking you? Your shoes are about where are you prepared to go and what are you prepared for.
One person carries the good news, wearing stilettos; while another person carries the message wearing flip flops. God fits two people differently, but they have in common that they are prepared to share the good news. We all need to take care to be ready to share the gospel every day in many different ways, just as we put shoes on when we leave the door of our homes.
Many of us need to wash our hands. We have lived lives where we have been doing all sorts of unholy, undignified and unchristian things with our hands. Two big ones are what you type or text and your pointing your finger in judgement at others.
Christians also take part in many sinful activities that are participated in through using their hands. The, ‘Cleanse your hands you sinner’, message of James 4:8, is a message to Christians. It is not meant to condemn, but is a loving admonition to ‘Knock it off’.
Many Christians, from the first century to today, have lived double lives. We have lived as Christians but not as Christians, in the same lives. The word of the Lord to us is, the rebuke of, ‘Stop it!’
We must stop living on two paths and only cultivate the path of Christ in our lives. Churches should stop having recovery groups and become recovery groups.
Many people disqualify themselves from being Jesus’ hand, because of their hands. Some have shame and guilt and see no way out of double lives. But there is grace for escape, deliverance and emancipation.
Many people who name Christ also need deliverance. Nothing to be ashamed of, but something to be glad of that is a blessing. We shouldn’t be embarrassed about deliverance, but humbly receive freedom.
If our hearts get made right, if our hearts become cleansed, we will live a different way, exemplified by what we do with our hands and fingers. Many people do not need deliverance, but need to just begin to learn to walk in Christ, and the naughty stuff, even addictive behaviors will change and just fall off their lives.
Jesus and critters can’t live in the same house. Our job is to open up every room in the houses of our lives to God and welcome him to live there. Even in the basements and the belfry.