WHAT SUSTAINS YOU? WHAT SUSTAINS ME?
In this season there has been much I haven’t been able to do. I have found great joy and release in simply doing what I can do. Mother Teresa said “Do small things with great love”… I intend to! Lavish love on the people in your world – sustain others with what sustains you!❤️
I received a God challenge to read Isaiah 58 every day for a month. I’m currently celebrating one week today and the words contained there have been breaking, changing and rearranging my heart. I throw out the same challenge to your heart too!
Here we see God rejecting mechanical religion, people trying to look pious and good before others when in reality their hearts were far from Him! God hates hypocrisy – one of the simple meanings of hypocrisy is acting. He wants us real and raw. God doesn’t desire lip service but heart service! Out of the abundance of my heart may I speak. Out of the overflow of my heart may I serve others as I serve my King, for as I love and serve others I love and serve Him!
“And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday. And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.”
Isaiah 58:10-11 AMP
This has been resounding over and over, continually doing somersaults in my mind. What sustains me? What sustains you? Think about it and out of what sustains us God asks us to sustain others.
Before, during and after the birth of my gorgeous son Judah 8 weeks ago now, I have been sustained by so much love and practical care. The meals on wheels from friends, the gifts lavished on our new baby have touched me more than words could ever say! I have been humbled and overwhelmed sometimes to the point of not knowing how to respond to the kindness and generosity poured out on me and my family. My thankful heart runs deep and I guess the greatest gratitude I can return to the wonderful people who have brightened my darkest hours and shared my greatest joys is to go and do likewise! At every opportunity may I lavish my life on others – may we collectively lavish love on our world!
What sustains me? Right now a Costa coffee, quality time with my family and close friends, a lovely meal….
Last week that very question, coupled with Isaiah 58 came back to challenge me, in the simplest but most life changing way. Whilst not focusing on what I can’t do and focusing on what I can do, as well as doing what I was told to do by my 8 year old daughter who advised me as she left for school that morning that she needed new navy blue school tights, the pram and I made our way into Marks and Spencer’s. There sitting outside with his rug and world wrapped around him was a homeless guy who didn’t look too much older than my eldest 16 year old son. My heart was arrested as I made my way to buy my daughter’s tights in a daze! He was some mother’s son. I couldn’t do nothing – I had to do something…
The combination of hormones, sleep deprivation and now Isaiah 58 has been quite a combination for my darling hubby to contend with as this time I suggested bringing this dear homeless guy back with me – after all we have a spare bedroom! He soon turned my caring idea into a horror movie as he reiterated to me what I probably already knew – the reasons why I would not just bring someone I didn’t know back with a baby in the car and 4 other children at home. This guy is on my heart and in my prayers daily and I know this story isn’t over…. In that moment though I realised he’s worthy of more than a few thoughtless coins I could chuck his way. What sustains me right now? As I said before, a costa coffee, quality time, and a good meal…. I heard God’s gentle voice of love – go and do likewise…
What sustains me? I also appreciated afresh the power of partnership – alone we can do less and are more vulnerable. I love the power of Church – God’s awesome hands, feet and heart that He placed on this planet made up of believers. I thanked God afresh this week for what I get to be a part of – my Church in this city – Soul Church that feeds the hungry, works with the homeless and floods people’s lives with the love, hope and relevance of Jesus. Over a thousand people gather now throughout a Sunday and call Soul Church home! A place where people find family and can belong before they believe! Too good to keep to myself – as I go and do likewise I invite everyone who brightens my world to experience the power of a Christ centred, life-giving, relevant Church in their lives for themselves. There’s bound to be one near you and if you’re living in Norwich – coffee is on me at Soul Cafe!
In the midst of the rat race, many give little time and attention to their spirituality. In fact even our media focuses more on sexuality than spirituality, the external rather than the internal. Out of a strong spirit comes a strong heart, mind, emotions, and body. If only more of us knew this secret our world would be a much better place!
What sustains me? At the lowest points in my life, when God’s Word was all I had, I found God’s word to be more than enough for me. This blog came out of a fleeting moment of feeling useless. With a baby in one hand and notepad and journal in the other I noted down the things I could do, whether on maternity or not. Once a Preacher, always a preacher! I could write! I could raise the voice God had given me to all who would turn their hearts and ears to listen. As God pours into me I simply pour out to you! Out of what God speaks to sustain me I simply speak to sustain you too! I have proved His word in my life to be all powerful, the highest authority, trustworthy and true! With my last breath on earth whilst transitioning to heaven, I will be proclaiming God’s Word, prophetic purpose for people’s Iives, and of course God’s praise.
The next time you’re tempted to feel overwhelmed and look at what you can’t do, look beyond that to all you can do:
1) Do small acts of kindness with big love.
2) Sustain others out of what sustains you.
3) Apply right partnerships to your life – together we are stronger and can change the world one life at a time. What and who are you aligning your life to?
As my Jewish boss and second father, General Zvi Givati, once taught me:
“Save a life and you save the world”! Jewish Proverb.
At the start of every day and beginning of every week, with all the needs that you will undoubtedly meet, determine to ‘not do nothing’ but with God’s help ‘do something’. It is then Isaiah 58 promises that your light will rise in darkness and your supply will never run dry! The ‘gloom’ the Bible also speaks of bringing people out of as a result of heeding His word here in Isaiah 58, I believe, refers to depression that is so rife in people’s lives today! Infact it plagues our society like an untreatable cancer but there is an answer. The darkness and depression in peoples lives can be lifted as we transition from inward to outward looking, from purposeless to purposeful existence, from weeping and depression that endures for a night to joy that rises in the morning – joy that will be your strength as you simply take God at His Word and place your fragile heart in his healing hands!
When we spend ourselves on behalf of others, God will look after us and our lives will be truly happy and rich! You see, what God can get through you – He will get to you, so your life can be poured out in order to sustain many too!
My hubby, David asked me this morning if I ever run out of things to write and say in my journal, and now blog. I smiled and explained “no, because the more I pour out the more God seems to pour in”. Whether pouring water from a jug or a nice hot cuppa from a china tea pot, both need to be emptied before they can be refreshed and filled up. As you empty yourself and pour your life out on God and others you will not stagnate but your life will be fresh and flourishing – it’s God’s promise to us – just read Isaiah 58!
Father God, I offer my life to be poured out for you and for others. Help me to live selflessly and to sustain others out of what sustains me. All I have is from you, for you and I surrender to you – multiply what I may see as little and bless many I pray. From this day on let nothing be wasted but may my life be spent wisely and miraculously for you. I will not live for the temporary but for what will count for eternity. In Jesus precious name. Amen.