How open or deep are you? 

Cup and a Flagon

Does it seem that opportunity comes only just to leap out of your cup? While a little of it remains and you are able to enjoy that, it seems that the bulk of it just seems to disappear. This thought came to me just now as I started to deal with my dreaded domestic duties. 

I was starting to wash dishes and decided to presoak pots and dishes. The stream of water was fairly forceful as I was filling the pots with water. The pots filled rapidly but when I started filling the coffee cups most of the water just spurted out of the cups into the sink because it was not deep or wide enough to handle the flow of water that was coming out. I was immediately struck with the imagery because we often say ‘fill my cup Lord” when we should have a pot or large bowl necessary to handle the flow of opportunity, resources, grace etc that the Lord desires to give to us or flow through us to others around us. Cups are shallow – Flagons (vessels used to pour and store wine) are larger – wide at the bottom and narrower at the top to contain splash and control the flow of liquid to the cups. 

I know that God’s Word often talks about cups with sayings like “my cup runneth over”, or a “cup of salvation” or “take this cup away from me”. But many times when God desires to get something to us for others, He deals in vessels and flagons.  

 But to whom much is given, much is required. Are we afraid of offering a larger vessel to God because of what we think will be required of us? Or is it because we are afraid that we will only get a fraction of what we need. Both mindsets are wrong because fear is the motivation behind each and fear is the opposite of faith. Faith is creative and opportunity driven, while fear is repressive and hinders advancement.   

We so often put a cup out because we only believe God deals in cupfuls, and because we are often so focused on our needs or feel this is what we deserve. But in His word, God deals bountifully with us, so that not only are our needs met but those around us are blessed too. God blessed Egypt in times of famine because of Joseph. God spared Sodom and Gomorrah because Lot was still there. The fishermen’s nets could not hold the bounty that Jesus had had wrought and needed larger nets. The widow was told to borrow many vessels (as many as she could) because once the oil started flowing it would only stop until the last vessel was filled. Another widow’s flour and oil lasted for 3 years when she surrendered it to God.  

Sometime the flow bypasses us because something is broken or not working properly in our lives. Just recently, I was confronted with an astronomical water bill. I had been paying it for months but it when it became too burdensome, I actually looked at the history of usage and realized for about 6 months the usage was double what it should be. I called to complain and the attendant told me that whatever caused it stopped abruptly on Feb 9 because water usage dropped down dramatically. While I was out of town, a chain broke in one of our bathrooms and it had not yet been repaired. That one bathroom was running/leaking water in copious amounts that we were paying for but had no benefit. It was just leaking down the drain. We did remember hearing what sounded like running water but just brushed it off. The inconvenience of it breaking was a blessing in disquise because it was also the cause of a major drain of resources in our pocket and the environment. WE must live more consciously and see how to keep and optimize the flow of what God is bringing into our lives.

God is motivated by His great love for us and richly gives us all things to enjoy. But how are we receiving it? Have you examined your vessels and nets recently? Check them to see if they are adequate for the tasks at hand. Are the large enough or are they damaged in some way? Even if they appear okay to us, sometimes it’s just yielding ourselves to God –He often sees things we can’t, and perfects us. As the psalmist says, “Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps 139:22-24. Ps 19: 12 says “. . . cleanse me now from secret faults.” 

God will water proof your life, repairing the leaks and also guide you on what to you need to do. The Lord’s hand is open to us, as our hearts are open to Him and to others. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, not just a cupful of obedience. Sometimes He wants to use you as a flagon, to pour your life into others. 

Fervent Love 

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8 

Fervent Love 

Last year on Valentine’s Day, I read this scripture and was captivated with the phrase “fervent charity” or fervent love! The scripture exhorts us to, “Above all things” over everything, HAVE fervent love, that is, display passionate intensity of love, among ourselves! FOR that love SHALL – not maybe or perhaps- cover or overlook a multitude of sin. 

When you are busy displaying love to your family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, neighbors, you don’t sweat the small stuff. By this shall all men know we are His disciples, the LOVE we have for one another. We love God and others because He FIRST loved us! His love never ever fails. 

That is why Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:17-19 that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which surpasseth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” We can forgive easily when we have the Love of God flowing in our hearts. It covers, indeed, overcomes, flushes out any ill-will, discontent, anger, regret and SIN in our hearts. 

Let’s us remember with deep gratitude, the “greater love” Christ displayed for us and let us be that conduit of grace and fervent Love  to one another!  Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Free yourself

Forgiveness: Free yourself- free others! 
11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Prov. 19:11 

Offenses are rooted in the past. When you fail to forgive you are anchored to somebody else’s transgression or personal issue. It is impossible or quite fatiguing to move forward in your future being anchored “think handcuffed” in the past. Faith looks forward. When you overlook an offense, you are jumping over a hurdle meant to slow you down. Indeed, Heb 12:1 says “let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Be free! 

Don’t give “haters” or “frenemies” a second thought, accept to bless them as flawed vessels in need of grace. Perhaps by overlooking the offense you are freeing them too. In fact, virtue and grace abound in your own life – you are strengthened, amplified in this process (to your glory).  So overlook that offense!  Be free and be blessed today! 

As we walk in the liberating power of forgiveness, we empower others to do the same. Forgetting the past, looking ahead to embrace the high purpose and call on our lives with excellence.