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September 2016

21 Sept -The power of joy

 

shopping-trolley

One of the things I love about my husband is his sense of fun. He has been known to do a strange high kicking dance down the super market aisles with the trolley, laugh until he is rolling on the floor with tears pouring down his face, and to liven up a prayer meeting by grabbing people and dancing around the room with them.

He has an innate ability to bounce back from knock backs and disappointments while always coming out smiling. He says we can all get too serious, and that God is far more fun than we give Him credit for.

In the bible, joy, dancing, singing, music, celebrating, and eating, are referred to many times. Jesus was in fact criticised by the religious leaders for being a drunkard and a glutton for the amount of time he spent celebrating with others. Jesus was neither a drunk or a glutton, but the religious people of the day didn’t like how much fun and joy surrounded Jesus, or how popular he was.

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Matthew 11:29)

Sometimes life gets a little rough, and we all need a bit of joy in our lives. People often focus on all the warnings that come from the Bible, on how to live or not live our lives. However, we can forget that the Bible also tells us to enjoy life and to open our hearts to joy. God did not mean for us to be sad or serious all the time. He tells us to have fun and embrace joy.

The thing to remember is that joy sometimes comes from the really big things, and sometimes just a small thing like a kind word or a helping hand. It can be experienced in  having our favourite things to eat, having people over, watching a movie, enjoying the scenery, having an adventure, or simply turning up the stereo really loud and dancing around the room. Sometimes we just need to do something that makes us know we are alive, and that our heart is actually beating, instead of just going through the “hum drum” of everyday life.

Joy is powerful. It lifts our spirits and brings healing to our hearts, minds and bodies. It’s worth opening our hearts to, and honouring and seeking out. Counsellors advise one of the steps to help to alleviate the symptoms of depression is to ensure people do something everyday that they enjoy – just because!

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

God made us wired for joy, and gave each of us an immense capacity for love and joyfulness. He is a happy God, who overflows our “cup” if we will allow Him to. Often what steals our lightheartedness, and sense of fun and joy is that we are trying to live independent from God, and do things in our own strength and wisdom. We allow the world and it’s cares and concerns to crowd out the promises of God, believing the negative voices instead of what God says. Even when really difficult times of loss and heartache may happen, God promises He will be there for us, and pour His strength, joy and a peace that goes beyond human understanding into our lives.

 “The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Today, don’t take the gift that God’s joy is for granted. It is in both the great moments of our lives, and the hard ones, that joy has it’s vital role. It adds to every good moment, and helps us through the toughest times.

Lighten your load, and the joy stealers in your life, and give your cares and concerns to Jesus. He cares for you, and promises that He will turn your mourning into dancing and your sorrow into joy.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy”. (Psalm 30:11)

“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared…Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

 

20 Sept – Like a child

like-a-child

Our little two-year-old granddaughter Isabella came to visit today. She has been learning about seeds, and we spent some time planting flower seeds in the garden with her.

My husband who Isabella calls Poppa, was busy weeding nearby and noticed Bella sitting and staring intently at the seed raising trays in which we had planted the flower seeds only five minutes before. “Poppa, she said, “Yes Bella” he replied, “Poppa I’m waiting for my pretty flowers”.

At two she has yet to learn the process of a seed becoming a flower. But it did make us laugh, and also think how like Bella we can all be.

We “plant a seed” so to speak, believing for things to happen; praying, asking and waiting…. usually impatiently. “Pappa, we say to God, where is what I have asked for? Where are the answers to my prayers? Where are my miracles, my breakthrough, and the results of my giving, of my planting?”

Today Isabella behaved a lot better than most of us do. She continued to chat to her Poppa as he gardened, and then happily went off to play in the sunshine. She didn’t throw a tantrum, have a hissy fit, or start poking around in the ground looking for her flowers. She was content to keep talking to her Poppa who loves her, and enjoy the rest of her day.

Jesus once called a little child to him and placed him in the midst of the crowd he was speaking to. And he said; “truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-4)

Jesus recognised a little child is a good example for us all to emulate. A little child is free of ambition, pride and haughtiness, and therefore is characteristically usually humble and teachable. Jesus didn’t say we are to have a childlike faith, but he did say we are to have a humble, honest faith in God, believing in Him and in what He says.

When we seek to emulate the faith of little children we believe and take God at His word. Bella was happy to keep chatting to her Poppa today, trusting that her flowers were going to eventually appear. She just believes and expects her garden will grow because that is what she has been told.

Through her gardening Bella is learning trust, patience, and process. Likewise when we “plant a seed”, believing God to move or do something in our lives, there is also is often a process. A season of waiting and establishing ourselves in who we are in God, of learning to trust and believe that what God says is what He will do. And most importantly for us to simply sit and chat to our loving Pappa God, who we can trust will be faithful to complete that which He has started in us, answering our prayers, and giving good gifts to those who ask Him. (Matthew 7:11).

Today, practice having the humble, trusting attitude of a little child. Sit and chat with Pappa God, just as little Bella sat in the sunshine talking to her Poppa. Be content and confident that God loves you immensely, and hears your prayers and the desires and dreams of your heart. He has perfect timing, and He promises He will bring it to pass if you trust and keep close to Him.

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust also in Him and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5-6 NIV)

Consider this: The Father has given us His love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are.” (1 John 3:1 – God’s Word Translation)

Prayer: Pappa God, thank you that you love me, and see and hear all the things I am praying and believing for. Help me to be like a little child, and come and sit in the sunshine to talk with you. That I will learn to trust and believe that everything is going to be all right because you love me, and what you say is true. In Jesus Name. Amen.

19 Sept -A good listener

good-listener

The ability to simply sit and listen is something worth cultivating in our lives. How many arguments, family breakups, misunderstandings and lack of wisdom and learning have eventuated because people weren’t listening to one another?

As parents we are consistently trying to reinforce to our children the importance of listening. To not interrupt others speaking, or only be intent on having “their say” or expressing personal opinions at the cost of listening to what is being communicated to them.

Being a good listener is so important in every area of our lives; in our relationships, educational pursuits, our spiritual life and in our workplaces. But sadly in our fast paced, often-short attention spanned world we can neglect to cultivate this character in our lives to our own detriment.

Not listening, or feeling like we are not being listened to, leads to many of the communication breakdowns experienced by people the world over.

But how often does a lack of listening stem from selfishness, and people putting their needs, agenda’s and opinions before others? Is it because we can all get so caught up in our own little space and schedule that we forget to stop and be in the moment, in the conversation? That we don’t pause, look, listen and seek to understand what people are trying desperately to communicate to us.

Is it that we often fail to listen not only with our ears, but also with our eyes? We miss seeing communication through face expressions and body language. And more importantly we fail in the simple act of listening with our hearts.

Listening is so easily overlooked in our daily lives. We get used to the constant noise of our technology, the world outside our home or workplace, and quite often we simply switch off. We stop listening, looking and sometimes even caring.

However, God is the ultimate listener, and we can learn from Him. He knows what we are about to say before we even say it, and yet He still invites us to talk and communicate with Him. (Psalm 139:4) He listens to our hearts, and wants us to share what is on our minds; all our concerns, our joys, our dreams. Plus He wants us to listen to Him.

When we take the time to learn from Him, and to cultivate quietness in our hearts and minds, we will not only hear and start to be able to share things with God, we will also learn to communicate and really listen to those around us. We discover how to listen not only with our ears, and eyes, but also with our hearts.

Today if you are struggling to be heard by others, or you know you haven’t been a good listener; take a few moments to tell God. Then stop, and listen with your heart. Wait and listen, not to the sounds of the outer world, but to the silence that is within you. That silence is where God speaks in the quiet, and the stillness. It is where He loves on us, and shares His secrets. Take the time to listen and you will not only discover more of God, but also about yourself and those around you. Take the time and you will learn to be a listener! 

“Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do]; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And you are intimately acquainted with all my ways.Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken], Behold, O Lord, You know it all.” (Psalm 139:1-4 NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19 NIV)

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV)

Prayer: Lord please help me to have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that seeks to listen and understand both you and those around me. In Jesus Name. Amen.

18 Sept -Brand new being!

new-creation

There is some amazing things recorded in the bible, some of which will no doubt blow apart our concept of who we are, and what God has planned for us. One of those amazing truths is what happens when we acknowledge our need of God, and ask for His forgiveness. When we invite Him into our life He says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new”. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

That means that when we respond to God, and align ourselves with Him we become brand new. We are transformed into a new being. Essentially we are no longer just human, we go beyond that, and have divine DNA implanted within us.

However if we don’t recognise this, if we don’t understand who we are and what God says about us; what He has made us, and the power that is in work in us, then we will still go around living as before. Feeling and thinking we are something we are not.

We won’t identify with who we are because we are still looking and living within the context of our past life.

It’s like people who have been struggling financially and then they suddenly win lotto, or come into a lot of money. If they identified with being in lack and poverty, that is what they will still be, even with millions in the bank. Studies show that a large proportion of these people will end up wastefully spending all the money within 5 years of receiving it, often ending up in a worst state than what they were before.

Why? Because they still identified with being in poverty, with being poor. For what we think is what we become.

 For as a man thinks in his heart, so shall he be”. (Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)

When we ask God into our lives, He makes us a brand new being; but we must learn to walk in our new identity. We are different, never seen before beings. We are no longer confined by human earthly limitations or weaknesses, for we have all the resources of heaven within us, and at our disposal. We have within us the power that opens blind eyes, unstops deaf ears; raises people from the dead, and declares “that nothing is impossible”. We are able to see and experience the supernatural realms, and heavenly places.

But if we are lazy or lackadaisical about who we are in Christ, we will always live far below what God has destined and created us for. He wants us to take the limits off our thinking; off our souls, and embrace our new creation identity. If we don’t we are heading for an identity crisis. We will constantly be asking “Who am I? What can I do? And as a result we will live far below our abilities in Christ.

We must renew our minds about whom we now are. What does being a new creation mean? God says we are no longer a weakling, or sickly, a sinner, or broke, or downtrodden. We are no longer the person we were. We are beyond human!

The bible says “As Jesus Christ is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17) That we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10). We are in Jesus and His nature abides in us. That means we take on the very nature and essence of who God is. There is no brokenness, weakness, sickness, poverty, fear or bad habits in him. He is complete, whole and perfect, and that is what we have imparted to us when we connect and abide in Him. As He is, so are we.

Astounding isn’t’ it?

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him” (Colossians 2:9-10)

Today take hold of all that is offered to you in Jesus. Nothing the world has compares with what God has planned for you. Find out what God’s word says about who you are in Jesus. You are more than you think, and all you have seen or achieved so far is nothing compared to what God wants to reveal and perfect in you. Don’t live in an identity crisis any longer. Take the time to find out who you are in Him, and then go live out the crazy, wild adventure that life in Jesus brings.

Prayer: Jesus I want to be made new, and then to live out the reality of what it means to be a new creation. Please help me to understand more fully who I am in you. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

17 Sept -Holding nothing back

holding-nothing-back

“No one enjoys feeling weak whether it is emotionally, spiritually or physically. There is something within the human spirit that wants to resist the thought of weakness. Many times this is nothing more than our human pride at work. Just as weakness carries a great potential for strength, pride carries an equally great potential for defeat” (Charles Stanley)

We’ll only walk fully in the plans God has for us effectively if we learn to depend on Him for everything, every minute of the day. Then all the resources He is and has become available to us. Without that we will always be limited by our human capabilities.

But first, each of us must acknowledge our need of God. Not just a mental ascent, but also a cry from within us saying, “I need you! Please save me from myself, and the mess I have made. I need your forgiveness.”

Without acknowledging our need for God to come and make things right we will never “lay it all on the line.” There will always be a portion of ourselves that we hold back; and that portion is what will distance us from the provision and ability of God in our life.

It will take us away from living free, and being fully immersed in what God has for each one of us. Because to live how we were created to live we have to get to the point of absolute surrender, holding nothing back, giving it all to Jesus 100%. We have to get to the point of acknowledging our absolute, depraved, weakened, enslaved state without God, and do everything and anything to run to Him.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”(Psalm 18:6)

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:13)

To put it bluntly we have to get desperate. To have a compelling within us that He Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life for us. Jesus actually said exactly that, when He declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Paul wrote in the bible, “I have lost everything, and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)

It’s a hunger and a seeking after Him; a “I want more”!

Only then are we ready for what God has planned for us, because then we will happily and joyfully give up our old life to embrace our new one. He has for us a new state of being; in actual fact for us to be made completely brand new, never before seen, beyond human, with divine imparted to us. The bible says it this way, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new”. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The term “new creation” in the Greek is a word Kainos, and it doesn’t just mean new as in a replacement, or putting on something over the old. “Jesus did not come to create a new replacement for the old fallen man. He came to destroy and end the old man and begin a brand new species of “Kainos” design, living in divine union with a limitless capacity to grow. (Justin Abraham)

Limits and impossibilities are off in this new creation identity. The old is gone, and the new has come. This is the good news that Jesus came to bring. We don’t have to identify with weaknesses, genetics, our past, any failings, our sin, our inadequacies, our hurts and disappointments any longer. God says, “Let it all go, and be transformed, be set free, be made new.”

 Today if you have got to the point of acknowledging your absolute need of God, I have good news. You are in the right place to receive new life in Jesus. Acknowledge your need of Him, ask for forgiveness and take hold of all He has to give you.

If you know you have been living independently of God, holding back portions of your life from Him, I encourage you to seek after God. He has so much more for you. He is a good, good Father, and He loves each one of us. Choose Him today over everything and everyone else and He will open heaven up over you, He will shower His love upon you, and bless you with a joy and peace that the world with all it’s noise and enticements simply can’t match.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to you and acknowledge my absolute need of you. Please forgive me of my independence, my pride, and the things I have done that are not pleasing to you. I want to know you, and the life you bring. I let go, and ask that you take hold of my life. Make me brand new. In Jesus Name .Amen.

16 Sept -“Fixers”

fixers

I am a fixer. I like to get things done, and when faced with an obstacle or injustice my mind is often sifting through all the possible solutions and avenues available to fix the problem. That’s what “fixers” do.

To be honest I think the world needs fixers. History is full of brave, courageous, energetic people who on seeing an injustice, an issue, a need, or a problem that needs fixing spent their time and effort on fixing the problem. Therefore we can surmise that being a fixer is okay.

However, as I discovered once again this week, it is wisdom for fixers to combine their fixing capabilities with a dependency on God. I was faced with a problem that needed fixing and I was annoyed about it, and had been busy formatting a list of what needed to be done, and how it was to be done. Fortunately my husband took one look at me and said, “Let’s wait and pray, I don’t think you should do anything about this today at all!” The fixer in me resisted, and wanted to rebel. But as we prayed together I heard the Holy Spirit say “Wait”, and so I did.

Fixers need to learn to wait. Otherwise when we are faced with a problem “the fixer” in us can rush ahead of God because we think we know how to handle everything. We probably can get the job done, but I’ve learnt,(often the hard way), that God’s ways are always with far less toil, stress and worry. Often if we stop and actually pray over the situation, or for the person needing “fixing”, we won’t have to fix anything at all. God will in fact take care of it Himself, send some help, or tell us what to do next.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart.  And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

One of the greatest struggles as a fixer is to learn to depend on God. It is okay, and actually beneficial to need Him. But our tendency for independence rises up at the very thought of needing anyone. We like to be in charge. We don’t want to be a bother. We don’t want to “need” anybody; especially if we struggle with trust issues.

But depending on God is vital for us being able to live the life we were created for. We were not designed to be independent from God. We’ll only walk in the plans He has for us effectively if we learn to depend on Him for everything every minute of the day. He wants a partnership; a friendship, because we are better together with Him. Then all the resources He has become available to us, including His wisdom, strength and timing on how to “fix” problems.

Today consider what areas of your life are you trying to fix without depending on God? Where have you rushed in and not waited for direction, or for God to move?

If you are facing a need to “fix” a problem right now, I encourage you to stop, wait and pray. Tell God you need Him to direct and give you the wisdom and help you need in what to do. He uses “fixers”, but to do that He needs us to depend on Him to bring the needed healing, deliverance, breakthrough and victory.

“For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you have a plan, and that you do want to use me. Help me to not rush ahead and try to do it all by myself, instead of depending on you. I need your help and guidance today. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

15 Sept – In the quiet

quiet-placces

Recently my husband and I went out to dinner.  The restaurant was easy to find, the wait staff were cheerful, and the food was tasty. It was obviously a popular spot to come to as people were crowding in, with some people even lining up outside waiting for a table.

But there was one thing that proved to be a problem. My husband and I couldn’t talk to one another. The noise was just too loud! So we decided to forego dessert and found a quieter place to spend the rest of our evening.

It made me wonder if we have overlooked the importance of being in the quiet? “A quiet place affords sanctuary for the soul, where the difference between right and wrong becomes more readily apparent. It is a place to feel the love that connects all things, large and small, human and not; a place where the presence of a tree can be heard. A quiet place is a place to open up all your senses and come alive” (Psychology today)

 Albert Einstein, a man with a brilliant mind said, “the monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

We live in a world that explodes with noise. Are there in fact any quiet places left free from the noise of mankind. We are surrounded by so many unnatural noises with our beeping, buzzing, ringing, nudging, devices. We have appliances, such as our refrigerators that hum so constantly that we don’t even notice. Many of us live within earshot of traffic, or other noise generating technology. Many of us have become unaware of how noisy our world actually is until we try to find some quiet space, or attempt to talk and be heard by someone? We’ve grown accustomed to the din.

The same can be said for when we try to sit and spend time quietly with Jesus.  Even when we dull down the sounds around us, there is the noise of our busy minds and hearts that can often override the quiet voice of God speaking to us.

Times spent quietly with God can fail because even if we want to, the noise around and within us shouts for attention, and we quickly become distracted. We’ve learnt to hear the voice of the world in the constant chatter and noise; but we learn to hear God’s voice in the quiet.

In the quiet is where God restores our soul. It is in the quietness that we are made strong. He is the one that calls us to be quiet, so that He can bring rest and peace to our busy minds and hearts.

Psalm 23 encourages us to be led to quiet places.

 “The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want. He lets me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.

He refreshes and restores my soul (my life);

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-2 Amplified version)

Think about the past 24 hours of your life. How much quiet have you had? What noise in your life keeps you from hearing God’s voice?

Try this challenge – for one week. Spend five minutes each day sitting with Jesus in quiet.  Don’t read, petition or recite off your list of thoughts and requests to him. Just sit and absorb the quiet and the time with Him.  What might He say when we stop long enough in the quiet to listen?

Let Him restore your soul and bring you strength. For “In quietness and confident trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

To help, have a listen to, “In the quiet” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzuHsX4YecY

Prayer: Lord please help me to find you in the quiet. To take the time to still my heart and mind each day, and to just sit with you. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

14 Sept – The Hidden Things!

 

secret

Hidden things; perhaps everyone has them in their life. The things that people think nobody else can see. They are the secrets that quietly reside within our hearts and minds.

Hidden because nobody will talk about them, maybe for fear of opening Pandora’s box; or of not being believed, taken seriously, or judged and condemned by others. So they remain hidden.

However hidden things have a way of working themselves into other places, sometimes touching the surface, sometimes going into the depths of our soul; like the tentacles of an octopus, or the roots of a giant tree. Searching, stretching, reaching into other parts of life, trying to squeeze the love and joy out of anything and everything. The hidden things strive to strangle freedom, like the cutting of one’s oxygen supply, so as to deny us ever-knowing deep abiding peace.

But there is hope. Because Jesus promises that in our weakness He will make us strong. He literally  promises to pour strength into us; a strength that overrides our weakness, our failings, any strongholds, or  poor self image. His strength washes away our sins, and causes His mercy and grace to flow through our hidden things, the secret places, and the parts of our life we keep from others.

There is an old song that goes:

“Let the weak say I a strong

Let the poor say I am rich

Let the blind say I can see

Because of what the Lord has done in me

Today allow the Holy Spirit to unravel the entanglement and bondage that the hidden things have caused within you. I encourage you to allow God into every nook and cranny of your life, and then to hold onto Him like He is your oxygen supply. He will cause your weakness to be strength, your poverty into riches, and your blindness to be replaced with vision and purpose.

God says, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! “(Ephesians 5:8)

“The Light (who is Jesus) shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. “(John 1:5)

God loves you, and He wants you free and to be able to “breath”; to know peace. He doesn’t want you to be always looking over your shoulder, or feeling unworthy and second rate. He draws all of us into the light, not to expose or condemn us,  but because of His compassion. He knows and sees our weaknesses, our wounds and our shortcomings. We have no secret He doesn’t know  about already, for “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13) And yet He loves us with an unfailing never ending love.

Let him deliver you from the hidden things today, and breath again.

“It is He who reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” (Daniel 2:22)

Prayer: Lord thank you for your great love for me, and that you see me. You see all the hidden things, the secret places of my life where I struggle. Yet you neither reject or despise me, but love and call me home to you. Help me Lord to respond to your voice, and to allow you into every area of my life. In Jesus Name Amen.

13 Sept -Hope!

 

hope

Today most of our family went for a picnic lunch up in the hills close to our home. At this time of the year one of the popular places to go is a very large botanic park. The setting is quite spectacular nestled high up in hills, surrounded by native bush, natural streams and 59 hectares of developed gardens, which feature a diverse range of exotic and native species of plants.

The botanic park is internationally recognised for its Camellias, roses and in springtime up to 125,0000 of various coloured tulips in bloom.

The man behind all this vision and forethought was John Joseph Simons who formed the Young Australian League. He helped organise the purchase of land in 1929, with the purpose of providing a place dedicated for young people to adventure and experience the outdoor way of life. Camping, swimming, bushwalking, and band performances all had their role within the park.

John Simons had a vision, an image on the inside of him of what he desired to come to pass. He had a picture on the inside that he no doubt had meditated on over and over again. This image was the one he talked about and shared with others. He had a hope and vision, and it was a grand one, which came to pass. Even after his death when the gardens fell into disrepair his vision for the property was remembered, and the gardens were restored, preserved and developed to the amazing place it is today.

Why? Because of hope; because one man got an image on the inside of Him. It was an image bigger than him, that caused him to hope and believe! Bigger than even his lifespan, and one which still blesses and benefits thousands of people both young and old today.

According to the bible, hope is actually looking at something you can’t see, and believing it will be yours.

The bible says, “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:24-25)

God wants us all to have a hope. To get an image of what He is saying to us. He has a plan and a hope for each of us individually. He wants us to see, and dream and imagine. Getting the image God wants us to have of for our life usually isn’t something that happens overnight, it often takes time.

That’s because far too often we have a faulty picture of ourselves, where we see our weaknesses, inadequacies and our past failures. We have a negative inner image, and hope is often squashed out. When our inner image is faulty then our outer image is going to match it. We don’t expect much, and find it difficult to feel loved by God or anyone else fully. But that’s not God’s plan for our lives. He wants us to begin to hope, and to change what we see.

That’s where going to God’s word is our help. His words start to shape the image, the picture we see on the inside of us. The more we mediate and think upon what God says about us, the more we set a healthy inner image. It becomes an image filled with hope, and love, which is what activates our faith to believe for good and amazing things to go to work. Without that hope and positive inner image faith cannot work properly.

Today if the inner image you have of yourself; of your life, your relationships, your job is not great and it feels hopeless I encourage you to turn to Jesus. He is the great comforter, the one who helps us in our time of need. He is the one who releases fresh hope and vision, and gives us a plan to move forward with.

Stick with Jesus and He will begin to change your inner image, the picture you see of your life to be filled with all hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

“I pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love.” (Ephesians 3:17-18)

 “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

Prayer: Lord I need your hope. Please help me to see my life an my future as you have it planned. Renew my inner person, so that I have strength to hope. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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