Angel of the sword

Miyamoto Musashi, ancient sword master of Japan, so adept he was dubbed the “angel of the sword” said…

“a true master does not draw his sword lightly because it is heavy, less on the enemy and more on the sword’s master.”

So who is the master? The hand or the sword…sure it is the sword.

Some would say “bu’ ‘ang on…if I don’ swing va sord the sord i’ won move i’nit?” ( english – “but hang on, if don’t swing the sword it won’t move isn’t it?” that was my attempt at a cockney bri’ish accent…work with me people…man! everybody’s a critic)

But here’s what I say to those who say the hand…

Because of the shape and type of sword, you cant just swing the thing anyhow left or right. A katana has only one edge. And is stronger along the blade than across it. You could snap it across your thigh if you bend it across the blade but along the blade, the katana can cut through most other swords made worldwide. Also the size and weight of the sword determine how fast you can swing it and for how long. No man can swing a sword indefinitely. Therefore again its the sword that pushes you’re endurance. Right?

What am I trying to say.

The most masterful swordsman in the history of japan recognised after many years of study that it is the sword, the blade that rules the man in how he (his body) moves with it. The only part he plays is the decision to pick up the sword. And the choice of what reasons make him pick it up.

Human beings are used to control. But God says the His word is alive. You and I are a hand holding the word, the sword of God. But if we truly are Christian. If we truly are believers, then it is the word that’s shaping moulding and directing us.

It is words like “if now then you are heirs of the kingdom then you are co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17Romans 8:17
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) or “It is the Lord, who will pull me up out of my pit and restore (Micah 7:9Micah 7:9
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)” or the God of the universe saying “come lets reason together..state your case that you may acquitted (Isaiah 43:26Isaiah 43:26
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)” or “ there is no condemnation (Romans 8 –the beginning)” or “nothing can separate me from the love of God, in heaven or on earth or under the earth (Romans 8: the end)”….

Theres so much stuff! In the Bible that should blow our minds and blow our weaknesses away and blow our struggles into perspective… I struggle with this as well. That I read and my mental blocks remain. I propose that both me and you are actually afraid to let go. Common struggle. We’re afraid of what might happen if we let God have His way. We don’t trust God with the most precious things or closest things in our hearts. Instead we trust Him with what we still can do without. Sacrifice. Collateral prayer damage. If God messes somethings up we can handle it. Others not so much.

I ask you (me)

…… Are you reading your Bible….and if you are…are you reading it with magic miracle and possibility in your heart….”and if he loves me My Father and I will come and dwell in his heart”. That you and I are the throneroom of God’s glory? That when you get saved that your heart becomes the mercy seat and your body His ark of the covenant?

Which Bible are you reading?

Which Spirit am I listening to when I read it?

Why is there no change we ask? Or why have Bible studies become merely the stuff of legends…where is my mannah (my job) my fire from heaven (my vindication)…..

Maybe, from what God’s been saying to me…maybe I need more help than I’m willing to admit.
Do I really want answers to my prayers or do I want proof that God really cares?
Do I want success? On some great (not small level) yes, but do I want God to show me favour which translates into success, more than yes!? For the believer. Who honestly loves God, is always struggling with their weaknesses, but acknowledges more than ever that they need the Holy Spirit, all the prayers you and I sweat kneel and cry over are just our love language to God crying out for a concrete provable show-and-tellable response from Him. That’s what we want. Yes we wanna be happy. Yes we wanna be fulfilled. Yes we want “things” “love” “nice lives” but at the end of the day…what we really want is to be a favourite son. A child amoung many that catches Christ’s eye. We wanna know that when WE pray, for some reason, God answers wholehearttedly. Not with half-baked ideas of “Ok I’ll give you this thing but only after you struggle and go through the fire and I can trust you and… And….”

In actual blunt fact…what we really want is God to spoil us and make us feel special. Close. We want to trust Him with our happiness. And we don’t too many times life has battered beaten and bruised us. Taught us the opposite. We hear sermons about Job and see people in our lives who if successful are dodgy in some way :-). We wanna find an Abraham in our day. Who worships and serves God amazingly but is still only human and yet God can’t stop blessing Him. We wanna be that david, that can make such monumental mistakes but be the hero of our nation and be boasted over by God to the world.  In fact, we want that stupid crazy over-the-moon love from God. We arent really too keen to wait for that heavenly love of crowns and thrones. Yes we read in the bible that behold …to be called sons and daughters. But it isn’t daily practical. We’ve got real life sturggles and questions and to be honest we actually thing God can’t really be trusted with the keys to our house. Our hearts. Our lives and our minds. We’re stuck in a marriage where as the wife and God is the husband we don’t know if today God wont just dump us and let calamity and suffeering find us. Biblicaly in our human understanding God seems to have a habit of letting His people go through really serious stuff. He’s not that nice. Seems to be tempermental and has a bit of a temper.

Then we read more. We pray a little more. At some point we hear a moving sermon. And something in our heart pricks. We remember that God died on a cross for us. And remorse and sorrow over our thoughts hits home. Then after that we feel guilty for feeling that way and wonder if He really would bless us if that was our attitude even if it was a lapse. So we resolve or resign ourselves to accepting handouts or drips and drabs of blessing. Hoping that over time God’s attidue will change or He’ll forgive us. We remember our sins and fear to ask to be blessed or rescued when we’re in trouble. These things. These thoughts haunt and hound us. In other words. We don’t really know our husband as much as we think we do. It’s like we’ve walked into our bedroom wardrobe only to find a hidden safe we’ve never seen before and in it is a gun (un-forseen hurt or the threat or fear that Job might happen to you and out of nowhere something does happen). Or when our lives are turning around then BAM it shifts again. Its like people are walking around thinking, even if I’m happy now, tomorrow I might not be.

Its hard I know

We seem to treat God like He’s got multiple personality disorder. We tend to forget theres another player in this great contreversy. We also tend to forget there’s only ONE job in the whole Bible. ONE Hosea. And that for the most part, suffering isn’t really common except under persecution. Then its EVERY believer. Not individuals singled out.

We also tend to forget that for God’s character in redemption general the ending of a thing is better than its beginning. That’s a direct quote from a really smart guy in the Bible. However you look at it. There’s so much stuff. Noise in our heads. Distractions of the personal and external kind that we’re frantically trying to swing the sword instead of the sword guiding our swing. We tend to forget that with years of swinging a specific weapon it builds specific muscles.

I think God is looking for people in this generation to look at the Cross. And believe its message. That no matter what through all the chaos, that God loves us so much, it would to paraphrase an author – if the sky were a canvas and the ocean were ink, all the ocean would dry up with what we could write about the love of God. And as vast a canvas as the sky is, it still wouldn’t be big enough to write out the love of God – and do it justice. God is just looking for children. Who believe. We’ve never seen Him. We don’t know what Christ’s face looks like. We don’t know what His personal likes and dislikes are the way we do our friends. But through the word of God, Jesus is just looking for people to jump over the edge of doubt into the freefall of faith and believe, that gravity doesn’t apply to us as Pastor Mente preached to us last week.

In all of the above. I’m saying, reading the Bible, is the only only only hope we have. Prayer is the only love language we can speak with God. There are no shortcuts. Anything else we do, preach, teach, welfare, charity, education, health all flow from the vault of our hearts. And what’s hidden in there depends on what we put in it. And the next level beyond that is God is looking for people to obey His word.
So when God writes those verses I quoted earlier, He’s looking for people with the mentality of reading it and living by it (obeying it). If it is written “He restoreth my soul” or “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” God is looking for someone out there that lives in the their minds and their daily practical lives who thinks goodness and mercy are like their shadow. You can’t escape it as long as there is light (Jesus) shining on them. That kind of person is “controlled” “surrendered to” “inspired by” “lives by” what they read. That’s the sword master who after decades of many fights and many years of training, he looks down at his hands and recognises that the calluses he can see there are because of the sword not him. He made a decision to swing. And over time, the sword put calluses on his hands. God is looking for swordmasters who even when they aren’t wearing the sword they stand like they do. Or when in trouble they immediately reach for their sword even if its not strapped on. God is looking for Christians who even when they don’t have a Bible on them, its written in their hearts. Who’s instinctive reaction is to “draw their sword” when they’re in trouble – “it is written”.

A little bit of scifi? God is looking for people who will actively ask God to RE-programme their minds as they read the Bible. God is looking to RE-wire your brain as you read. God is looking to take over your thoughts and mingle your will (not impose) with His. He wants a merger. Like a stream joining a river. He wants you to be lost IN HIM. Only to find out later that that was the only way you could find you. Cause that’s how you’re built.

We’re vessels and jars of clay shaped, painted and fired in the kiln into exquisite works of art
We’re self-loading luggage flown on plane with a Pilot.
We’re empty cups filled by someone else with water.
We’re eagle whose wings are held up by the sky and air it soars through.

We’re sword masters, being controlled by the sword we decided to swing.

We’re little children, who when told that there heaven is a place with streets paved with gold, we can actually see it in our mindseye. And for that moment. We’re excited and happy. It affects our mood our thinking our dreams before we go to bed.

We’re believers who read what we believe and believe what we read, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, live what we hope for.

Lord…I pray, that You can give us a spirit of reading. And that when we read we also hear. And that when we hear we also understand and when we do so that we trust and obey. Without You Holy Spirit we’re just hands swinging aimlessly unable to cut through the challenges and obstacles and strongholds of our lives. But if we hold You, then we can watch You cut through anything. Have mercy on our struggles and show kindness to your children. Help us be ruled by You. Humble our hearts. Subdue our spirits. Give us your faith Lord. Share your wisdom with us. Its not an easy prayer. We wont lie that we’re nto afraid of how you’re gonna interpret this prayer and what you might do with us. But somewhere inside if you look hard you’ll see that we love you. Take that piece. Focus on that. And then when we struggle to trust, give us strength along the way to obey. We want to need You more than we need things. We want to be controlled by You more than we’re controlled by things. We struggle to let go of control. We struggle to accept you’ve paid it and done it all. But we want to see You live in and through us. We want spiritual evidence. We want living fruits. We want proof that even in this day, God can take time out to bless us care for us strengthen us heal us transform us. We want you to be happy that you gave us the titles of princes and princesses. Be pleased with our priesthood. Hold not our sins against us Father. If You redeem us, then we will teach the world about the love and character of God. In Jesus name Amen.

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