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June 2017

30 June – Spread some good news today

spread good news

Happiness is contagious and we can literally create a domino effect of happiness and joy by simply spreading good news.

For example, studies reveal that reading other people’s positive social media posts triggered happiness in 64% of people. Communicating good news with another person also heightens the impact on us of our positive experience because we get to relive and feel the effects of our good news again as we share it.

Good news can also cause concrete, positive changes in our lives by the thoughts we think. Our thoughts change our biochemistry as our hormones, cells, brain circuitry, and even our genetics and are all affected by our thoughts. Scientists are discovering that we can positively ‘rewire our brains’ by resolving to focus on things we appreciate, instead of things we fear or dislike.

On the flip side are the effects that bad news can have on us, such as the reports of people feeling depressed or worried after watching the news when it is dominated with a 24-hour cycle of stories about violence, disaster, corruption and war.

The bible teaches, ”For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7), and that “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (17:22). That’s because God knows the importance of focusing and filling our hearts and minds with good news, and things that encourage and give us hope. He wants us to pay attention to those things that are good news, for where there is good news there is joy; where there is joy there is hope, and where there is hope, faith is activated and then all things become possible.

With all the positive and beneficial effects of good news let’s make a decision to focus on and look for good news and those things that generate joy. When we listen to and read the news feeds or paper let’s look for the good news stories; when in conversation listen out for the good not the bad, and when we hear or experience something good, then share it. The world is an amazing wonderful place and God is all around us in the very air we breathe. He is working, healing, restoring and releasing the miraculous every single day, but if all we look for and focus upon is the bad news we quite possibly will miss Him working, or not believe or recognise His hand at work right in front of us.

Today look for and spread some good news, because God is good, happiness is contagious, and the world is waiting for us to spread some faith generating joy around.

Prayer: Lord help me to be good news focused instead of bad, and that I would attract and be like a magnet for good news, positivity and the miraculous, so that I can share it with others and increase the joy today.  In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

29 June – Choose freedom

choose freedom

Freedom – “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved”. But how many people are physically, spiritually, emotionally mentally or otherwise not living in freedom? They are a slave to their circumstances, emotions, and fears.

But God wants us free, and faith in Him is designed to set us free. It frees us from bondage to our past, our guilt, and our mistakes; from sickness, lack, fear and anything else that limits and holds us back. When we ask Jesus to be a part of our lives He sets us free from bondages so that we don’t have to struggle – we just have to choose. To choose to take what Jesus has done for us, what He says about us, and the future He has laid out for us. We get to choose whether to trust and have faith, and to use our faith to change the way we live our life.

Everyday I get to choose whether I will fill my mind and heart with negativity and fear, or whether I build my faith by reading and hearing what God says in His Word, and in making time to spent in His presence. I get to choose what I allow to take root in my heart, and whether I will allow my circumstances to dictate to me or whether I will dictate to my circumstances.

I’ve learnt that to walk in freedom, I have to choose. My first step to real daily freedom is spending time in God’s presence, asking Him what He has planned for my day, and filling my heart and mind with His word. When I’m struggling with an area or need a breakthrough I seek to get “fat” on God’s promises in the particular area that I need freedom in. If it’s my health I need to go to the word about what God says about my health and freedom from sickness; if it’s finances I need to seek what God says about money and the blessing; if it’s our relationships, our children, our future, anything, God wants us to know His will and to get hold of His promises, renew our minds with what He says and then start declaring them. When we do this we allow God’s power to flow though us.

Jesus said even faith as small as a mustard seed has the power within it to move mountains. (Matthew 17:20) It’s the Word that does the work, not the one holding on to it. God’s word and He are one (John 1:1), and faith in what He has promised will work for anyone who’ll put it to work.

Jesus wants us to walk out our freedom in every area of our lives. He paid the price to purchase it for us, so let’s aim our faith in the area that we need to experience freedom in, and put the promises of God to work in our circumstances and life today.

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word. Obeying the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him doing His will.” (Psalm 103:10-21)

Prayer: Lord Jesus I thank you that you have done everything already for me. I only need to choose everyday to fill my heart and mind with what you say, rather than listen to the lies and deceitfulness of the devil or my circumstances. You are bigger than my circumstances and I choose to put the promises in your Word to work for me today. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

28 June – Rest

rest

Rest – the ceasing of work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength.

In our busy schedules and the usual fast paced type of life that many of us tend to lead rest is probably the last thing on most of our minds. We multi task and think ourselves efficient and clever when we are able to do ten things at once, as we juggle our schedules to fit more in.

Yet rest is imperative to our health.  Through rest we rebuild, rewire and are renewed. For example studies have discover that the inner subcellular of our heart cells are functionally replaced in three days; a process that takes place during rest. The process is fast. The skin on your face is replaced in two weeks, and our gut lining cells take two days.

Unfortunately in many cultures rest is seen as laziness and we can even feel guilty that we aren’t’ doing anything when we do try to slow down and rest.

In sleeping there is amazing things happening within us that are adversely affected when we don’t rest. In deep sleep, we redo the acts and motions of the day, replaying our brain circuitry, and we grow new brain cellsIn REM sleep, we lose temperature control, while our brains soar with the creativity and power of dreams.

So with these things in mind we may need to rethink our viewpoint on rest. Especially when the bible refers to rest and it’s importance. We don’t really get the picture of God being lazy or unproductive, and God’s word tells us clearly that God rested. In Genesis, the story of creation tells us that,

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)

A lifestyle of ceaseless labour, day after day, no matter how noble or worthy our cause is not good for us, nor pleasing to the God. God chose to rest setting an example for us that we are designed to follow.

Jesus also set an example for us, in that He often withdrew from people in order rest and commune with the Father.

The news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16)

Interestingly Jesus withdrew to rest from the demands of the day at the height of his popularity. There were literally thousands and thousands of people crying out for Jesus to heal them, to teach them, and to bless them. The need and opportunities were great and yet Jesus chose to rest and take time off because He understood if He was to accomplish His purpose he had to remain spiritually, mentally strong. And that required regular times of prayer, rest and recuperation.

Rest is the invisible part of our time, the part that rebuilds and remakes us every day.  Without adequate rest we will suffer and struggle to fulfil those things that God has placed in our hearts to enjoy, experience and accomplish.

Today follow God’s example and take time to rest. Schedule rest in your diary and day, and honour that time as just important as the other more visible productive parts of your life. Let’s be wise and cease from all our activity when we need to and come away and rest.

Prayer: Lord help me to understand the importance of rest and to set aside a regular time to cease form all my activity and labour so that I can recuperate, reflect, relax, and fully rest. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

27 June – Come fly with me

come fly with me

I had a dream a while ago that I was flying. I’ve always liked flying and as a child we would spend many an afternoon at the local aero club where my dad, who had his pilot’s license used to fly. As I was dreaming I saw two friends flying alongside me telling me not to worry about all the earthy stuff that I was so concerned about and feeling under pressure over, for those things were of little consequence in the big scheme of things. God is bigger than all the things we so often stress and get preoccupied about, and they represent the low level life that we can so easily get stuck in. They often carry a low frequency of life, when God has such a higher and better life for us.

The whole “seek first my kingdom and my righteousness” statement that God asks us to walk in is all about coming up and away with Him. It’s about flying high above all the “stuff” that the world tries to weigh us down with, and soaring victoriously with Jesus. It’s not hard when we come up and away with Him because we rest in the currents and frequencies of His love and power, much like a eagle soars through the sky as it catches the updrafts and currents all around it. An eagle doesn’t flap and squawk about but extends it’s wings and simply catches the wind.

We too can be like the eagle and catch the updrafts of the Holy Spirit, rather than getting ourselves in a flap and fluster. It’s easier to live like that when we disentangle ourselves from, and choose not to focus on our problems and fears, but set our eyes on heaven above. For when we look at Jesus and His Word all limits start to come off, impossibilities are obliterated, and God shows up in our life and circumstances. God simply asks that we look to Him and trust His love for us.

Today, come up, up and away with Jesus. It’s not hard for He has done all the work already to enable us to connect with Him and to soar on wings like eagles in heavenly places. He simply wants us to accept HIs invitation to come away with Him, trusting that He will take care of all our earthly concerns and worries. Lay down your way of doing life today, and choose instead to take hold of the abundant life that God has for you, because just like in my dream if we do, we will literally soar above it all and wonder why we didn’t learn how to “fly” years ago.

 Jesus said,What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:33 Message Bible)

Jesus said to them, “Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.” (Mark 6:31-33)

Prayer: Jesus I want to come up and away with you, so I’m choosing to lay down my way of doing life so that I can take hold of your way. Would you please take my hand; my life, my worries and distractions, and teach me how fly with you today. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

26 June – I promise!

god's promises

Some people say that promises are made to be broken and for this reason many people take people’s word and their promise with scepticism. Yet when it comes to having a relationship with God we are called to do exactly that – to rest and trust in the promises of God.

As we grow to know God more we realise that trusting His promises is less and less difficult because we understand that God’s promises are grounded in His character and who He is. He is absolutely trustworthy and uncompromisingly faithful to fulfil the promises in His word for anyone who dares to believe them. He’s so serious in fact that Jesus gave His life to make sure that every one of them could be fulfilled.

Over and over again in my life I have seen God’s promises fulfilled and come to pass. But I have also discovered that there are times when I have had to really take hold of what God has spoken in His word and revealed to me, for it to come to pass. It is by faith and patience that we receive the promise, and that at times takes getting feisty about what has been given to us and refusing to give in to doubt or fear. I choose to doubt my doubts. We must be prepared to stand on God’s promises, to believe and declare them out loud, and to undergird our faith with patience and perseverance until we see them manifest.

When things come against us and life is throwing some curve balls, that is the time to resist the temptation to give in or to get into fear, and instead find the answer that lies in the word of God. That is the moment we choose to believe and trust that what God says will and can override every other force in the universe.

Many times in God’s word we can read of accounts to encourage our faith that God will even supernaturally override natural forces so as to get to someone who believes on His promises what they need. From making a borrowed axe head float on water to ensure a man stayed out of debt; turning water into wine to save embarrassment at a wedding, or opening blind eyes and raising the dead to life, God fulfils his promises. They are yes and Amen for all who choose to believe.

Don’t settle for less than all that Jesus came to give you. Lift your expectation and trust in what God will do for you. He is not a man that He should lie, nor does He change like shifting shadows. What He promised He will do for all those who are willing to take hold of what He freely gives. Today go to the promises of God in His word and find the promises for what you need as you bring it to God in prayer. 

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” (Jeremiah 1:12)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that I can rest on your promises, knowing that you are completely and fully faithful to fulfil all that you have promised. I choose to get into agreement with what you say rather than anything or anyone else today as I believe in you. In Jesus name Amen.

25 June – Leading the way – (steps to trusting pt 2)

god leading the way

Today our youngest son Isaac got something in his eye which needed to be rinsed out. We were outside at the time visiting friends and I had to lead him up a flight of stairs to the house to attend to his eye. Leading him by the hand Isaac said, “Mum I’m trusting you to lead me as I’ve got both eyes closed and I can’t see where I am going.”

Isaac trusted me to get him safely to where we were going, believing that because I cared for and loved him I wouldn’t allow him to fall or hurt himself.

Throughout the bible we are encouraged repeatedly to trust in God, and warned against putting our trust in princes, riches or ourselves, for in comparison these things are like the blind leading the blind, when we have a God who is all seeing and all knowing to guide us instead.

Trust in God does not mean being blind to the facts and what is before us, but rather trust recognises and assesses the dangers, threats, and challenges and looks beyond and sees God. Trust in God discerns, much like Isaac trusting me to lead him as he climbed the stairs with his eyes closed, that God loves us and He is trustworthy and faithful enough to lead us wherever we may need to go.

There is no fear in trust, for the two are opposites. When we fear, we are not fully trusting. When we trust, fear gives way to assurance, peace and confidence.

Just as Isaac had a complete confidence in my love for him to lead him safely, trust in God gives us a consciousness and new confidence of our safety and wellbeing, and a hope for the future. It’s also in this trust we find rest for our souls.

Today take God’s hand, and be confident in His power, love and ability to protect and care for you. Choose to trust Him to lead you in every step you take, just like a little child trusts their Mum or Dad to care for, and direct them in where to go. All we need do is take hold of God’s hand, knowing that because He loves us we can trust Him.

“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:7-8)

For the Lord will be at your side and keep your foot from being snared.” (Proverbs 3:26)

Prayer: Lord I choose to take your hand just like a little child would, so that you can lead me wherever I need to go. Even when I can’t see the road ahead I know you do, so I choose to follow where you lead and trust in your love for me today. In Jesus name Amen.

24 June – You can depend on me!

trust me

I woke up this morning with a busy few days ahead of me and some things weighing on my mind. As I opened my eyes a list of things popped into my head which I started to worry about until I heard God speak to my heart and say, “Trust me”.

The definition of trust is a confidence, reliance and resting of the mind on the integrity, justice, and friendship of another person.

Most of us know we should trust others, and perhaps that we should trust God, but how many of us actually do? Because even if we say we trust, perhaps a lot of the time we aren’t trusting and depending upon God as much as He wants us to, otherwise we wouldn’t be worrying, or spending so many of our days in anxiety and fear.

To trust actually takes courage and belief, and for us to have the wisdom and discernment to know who to put our trust in. To know whether they are faithful, honest, and that their words can be relied upon. Which is why God can be trusted, because He has been constant, faithful, consistent to His word and reliable since before time began, and as we get to know Him better we discover more and more that He is completely trust worthy.

We can follow some daily steps to help our trust grow in God.

1.Don’t depend on just you.

The bible says to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

There are some things we need to unlearn when it comes to having a relationship with God, and that is the mentality the world has that we can only depend upon ourselves. For when Jesus is part of our lives we are no longer just reliant upon our own resources, power or strength. God wants us to depend on Him, and learn to lean upon his unlimited resources, wisdom and understanding, so He can direct and guide us through every situation and challenge. That takes practice and is a daily choice to learn how to depend on someone other than just ourselves, and choosing to believe based on what God says in His word.

Today take the load off your shoulders and allow God to show you that He is trustworthy and ready to help, strengthen and guide you as you choose to trust Him today.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8)

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:5)

Prayer: Lord please help me to trust you more and to not fall into the habit of just depending upon myself when I have you right there to help me. I want to learn to trust you more today. In Jesus name Amen.

23 June – Catalyst for change – (secrets of contentment pt 5)

catylst for change

“For I have learned in whatever situation to be content…in any and every circumstance.’ (Philippians 4:11)

When Paul wrote those words he was not sitting on a beach sipping a cocktail somewhere, but in prison; yet he was still able to say, “I’ve learnt how to be content.” The world’s way of thinking teaches that the way to achieve peace in our life is to get out of difficult situations as quickly as possible, and that the more possessions and status we have the better; or on the flip side is the mentality of “simplicity living” which states that satisfaction comes from getting rid of stuff and living with less. Yet Paul said he had learnt to be content in both plenty and hunger, in abundance and need. While the bible does say not to make the pursuit of earthy goods our aim in life, a simpler lifestyle alone does not guarantee a contented life.

Perhaps instead we should be seeking balance and to give ourselves time and space to reflect and pray more about what is really important to us, and the life that God is calling us to live. Discontentment is our heart being dissatisfied – so what is it dissatisfied about? Are we focusing on the things God want us to focus on; living the lifestyle that He talks about in His word? Are we being who He called us to be? Are we following in His ways, giving and looking for ways to bless and help others, or are we only paying attention to ourselves?

I’ve discovered that God will actually allow us to become uncomfortable and discontented as a catalyst for change, so it pays to listen and take notice of what is stirring in our hearts so we don’t miss God talking to us.

For when we fail to get quiet and to listen to God speaking to our hearts what usually happens is we keep doing the same things day in and day out, yet failing to see that the reasons we are feeling so frustrated and discontented with our life are the exact issues God wants to deal within us and to possibly change.

God is the one Paul said had brought him contentment, and it was in discovering and being the man that God had made him to be that brought him peace. Paul found contentment in God’s presence and in knowing Him; He found contentment in fulfilling the purpose God had for him in the season he was in – being where he was meant to be, doing what he was made to do. Paul discovered Jesus, the one who made him who he was, and that even when it was a struggle he could live at peace because he knew God loved Him and had a plan, and that nothing could separate Him from His love. This enabled Paul to be fully content preaching to multitudes, or sitting in chains in a prison cell writing letters of encouragement.

Wherever Paul was and whatever he was doing he had learnt to make Jesus his number one priority and he’d chosen to focus on what God had for Him to do and be in that time frame. That is why he could say I have learnt to be content in all circumstances, for Jesus is the one who gives me strength, and makes me who I am. (Philippians 4:10-13)

Today take a moment to schedule in some time with God to reflect and pray so that you can hear Him speaking to your heart. Remember at times God does allow us to be discontented and uncomfortable as a catalyst for change. Is your discontentment actually God orchestrated, and is He trying to catch your attention so that He can speak and lead you to make some needed changes in your life?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-6)

“I will listen to what God the Lord says: he promises peace to his people.” (Psalm 85:8)

Prayer: Lord help me to hear you speaking to me, and that if I am feeling discontentment that I will not just brush these feelings aside, but will stop, reflect and listen to what you are saying to me. Help me to find contentment in knowing you, and being and doing what you have called me to. In Jesus Name Amen.

22 June – Don’t miss the season – (secrets of contentment pt 4)

seasons

Yesterday was winter solstice in the hemisphere I live in. It’s wet and cold, but all the lovers of sunshine had something to smile about yesterday as they peered out at the grey skies and the shortest day of the year. Why? Because with the arrival and passing of winter solstice they know that the earth is marching steadily towards summer once again. We may not be experiencing those summery days yet, but we’ve reached the turning point in in our journey around the sun, reminding us that the seasons will change.

Farmer’s watch the seasons, sowing or reaping according to the time of year because each season has a time frame that has been set aside for something to happen. So too we have seasons in our life for certain things to happen, but it’s up to us to discern the season we are in and to observe and understand what God has orchestrated for us in that allotted time frame.

The book of Ecclesiastes says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up (harvest) that which is planted.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

Many times when we are struggling with discontentment it is because we are not gauging what season we are in, and fighting the natural ebb and flow of the Holy Spirit as He moves in and through our lives. Instead of embracing where we are and making the most of each day, we waste time wondering why we can’t be somewhere else. We can also fail to transition from one season in our life to the next, or we get ahead of ourselves wanting to be elsewhere before it’s time. 

However God wants us to be content in the season we are in, and to take advantage of the benefits that each season has for us. Much like when you have a baby and everyone tells you “make the most of this season in your life because it doesn’t last long”. We all smile and nod our heads, but often quietly think to ourselves, “ahh but I can’t wait for the sleepless nights, dirty nappies and no time for myself to be over.” Little realising that it soon will be, and if we are not careful we will miss all the blessings right in front of us.

I often talk to the young people I know who want to be in relationships and married with a family, which is all very understandable. But perhaps once again they are not seeing the benefits or  potential in the season they are presently in. So I tell them, along with my own single children, “enjoy this time, explore, grow, and develop who you are and all that God has for you to do and be, because this is possibly one of the only times in your life that you will be able to do whatever God leads you to do, without having to think of a whole lot of other people first. Try things, go places and enjoy and be content in this season as you believe for good things in the next, and trust God’s plans for your life.”

 We all need to ask God to show us the right things to do during each season of our life, and to then do them. He doesn’t want us to miss out on anything, to get stuck and fail to transition, or to get ahead of ourselves so we run the risk of not being able to fully capture all the things that we were meant to discover and experience. We’ve go to be listening and obedient to God’s directions so that He can guide us through the times we are in.

Today, be content and trust God with the season you are in. Just as winter doesn’t last, this season you are in won’t last forever either. If your’e in harvest time then  enjoy every minute of it, and be content in the space you are in. If it’s a season where you are being pruned, stretched or just waiting patiently– hang in there, learn, grow, and keep trusting God’s faithfulness to perfect that which He has started in you. Just as winter passes to give way to spring and then summer, this too will pass.

 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; your mercy, O Lord endures forever.” (Psalm 138:8)

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, old and heat, summer an winter, day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

Prayer: Lord please help me to have grace for the season I am in, and to continue to trust you. Help me to learn, grow and appreciate all that each season has to bring to my life. In Jesus name Amen

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