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August 2017

31 Aug – Pulling weeds and sowing seeds!

pulling weeds, planting seeds

I was discussing how to kill off weeds in the lawn and garden with our eldest daughter Anna today. We both thought bringing in a goat for the day to demolish the weeds was a good idea, but it seems they’d also eat everything else.

Weeds are by definition: a valueless plant that grows on cultivated ground to the injury of a desired crop. They are troublesome plants that usually grow profusely where they are not wanted.

Pulling weeds and sowing seeds is part of life, and not just in the garden. Jesus taught that our hearts are like soil and we need to be mindful of what we are planting and allowing to grow in that “soil”. Both weeds and seeds have immense ability to multiply, and unless we are diligent and mindful of what attitudes, beliefs, values, and desires we are cultivating in our hearts we can easily allow and/or encourage the multiplication of “weeds” – those valueless, troublesome, rapidly growing hindrances, which quickly become detrimental to the good “seeds” we do want to flourish and produce in our lives. (Mark 4:3-8; 13-20)

One good way to spot weeds in our lives is to check our conversations and reactions to people and situations. What are we most excited about? What annoys us? What do we talk with others about? What preoccupies our daily thoughts? Are they good, pure, honourable and worth thinking and talking about, or are they negative, easily offended, grumpy, and ungrateful?

Do a weed and seed inventory today and check up on what is growing in the “soil” of your heart. Just as in the garden it is wisest to catch the weeds before they start to multiply, it’s also wise to catch any “weeds” in our hearts and minds before they run rampant through our lives. Ask God the Master gardener to come and reveal and weed out anything that is or will be troublesome. Act sooner rather than later, because a heart and life left unattended will easily produce a crop of weeds which will kill off and diminish any healthy desirable crop in our life.

The bible says, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9)

I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest. Then your poverty will come as a robber, and your want like an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:30-34)

Let’s tend to the condition of our hearts today and sow seeds of love, kindness, gratefulness and quality time with God so we produce a mighty harvest of what we actually want, rather than a whole lot of ugly weeds!

Prayer: Lord please help me to get rid of any “weeds” in my life, and to be sowing and growing those things that are beneficial. Where necessary would you please come and weed out the troublesome things in my life, and help me to feed the desirable seeds of your Kingdom. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

30 Aug – Overcoming!

ab lincoln

Many say that more words have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other person in history except Jesus Christ. For no one person is more associated with the end of slavery in the United States than Lincoln.

Interestingly Abraham Lincoln was almost totally a self-educated man. He was born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky, and his family struggled with hardship and poverty for most of his childhood. It is reported that he attended formal schooling for less than twelve months of his life. However Lincoln continued to learn on his own from life experiences, reading and reciting what he had read or heard from others. As a young man he was often seen walking to and from work with an open book, barely looking where he was going. Increasingly, law books filled his reading list and by 1836, entirely through self-study, Lincoln passed the bar exam, allowing him to practice law in Illinois.

In 1832 at 23 years of age Lincoln began his career in politics, which culminated in him being elected president of the United States in1860.

However as a man and politician, Abraham Lincoln had his fair share of flaws. He held political beliefs, which perhaps many  would struggle with today; he battled with depression, and never felt comfortable in the company of woman. “Yet most historians recognise that Lincoln, as a man did not fail because of his flaws. Lincoln as a man raised himself from a dirt-floor cabin to the White House, and was responsible for guiding his country through one of its most difficult periods in it’s history, as he led the country and its citizens to the abolition of slavery.” (David P Press)

When life looks difficult, and the road ahead seems unclear it’s people like Abraham Lincoln that can encourage and inspire us to keep going. He was born into disadvantage, suffered loss and tragedy, and did not have the benefit of an education that many today take for granted. Yet regardless of these difficulties he chose to always be learning, exploring, discovering, listening and asking questions to better himself, and to change his lot in life.

Too often it seems we can make excuses for failing to rise above our circumstances, shortcomings, flaws and failings. Therefore perhaps the questions we must ask ourselves are, “are these things an excuse for not being all that God has created us to be? Are these flaws and struggles a reason to give up, and to settle for less than we should in life? Or should we not take what we have already, honour and thank God for it, and then push onwards and upwards?

God is no respecter of persons; what He helps and encourages one man or woman to do, He will do for another. For what God takes notice of is faith and belief, because He knows when we activate these things in our lives, our limits come off and all things become possible. (Acts 10:34)

Let’s take a leaf out of Abraham Lincoln’s book and make a decision to get up and move forward; to determine to continue to learn and discover about those things we don’t know; to be curious, to ask questions, and continually be listening and growing. If others can rise and succeed in the face of adversity, then why can’t we? Especially when we know that God is with us, and desires for us to prosper in all that we do. (Deuteronomy 30:9)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Prayer: Lord please help me to recognise that I am far more capable than I often realise. That with your help I can do all things, and what once may have been a barrier for me, with you by my side I can overcome. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

29 Aug – What’s your story?

life story

Today our youngest son Isaac has been writing a story or narrative. He wrote about being in a rodeo and researched what that looked like so that he could get a picture in his mind to then express in words. The writing of his narrative involved him running around the lounge with a rope made into a lasso, acting out calf roping as he lived out the excitement of being a competitor in a rodeo. His narrative writing admittedly took most of the afternoon, but he was living and breathing the rodeo by the end of his story.

If only we were all as excited about our own narratives as Isaac was about his today. What adventures we would embark on, and what stories we would have to tell.

Yet many times we can either underestimate the value or worth of our life, expect little to happen, or believe we have nothing to tell, or offer. As a result the depth and richness of our story is diminished as our life becomes smaller and smaller rather than growing to become the wonderful colourful adventure it was meant to be.

Which is not how God ever created us to live. He sees us and has specifically planted seeds of an amazing narrative within all of our hearts. He ignites our imaginations, dreams and desires, and if we would only listen we would hear Him encouraging us everyday to live, and I mean really live!

The key however is that when God triggers things in our hearts, minds, spirits and imaginations that we don’t shut these things down. Instead God wants us to choose to water those “seeds” of our story so that they sprout, grow and blossom into everything we were made to be. That we live the life for which Jesus came and sacrificed his life to give us –“ I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows] (John 10:10 Amp)

Today consider what “seeds of your story” God has planted within you. If you have shut off and closed the lid on many of those things, then ask God to help your open back up the lid so that He can revitalise those things that He always desired and planned for you to walk in.

Choose everyday to care, protect and water those “seeds” so that they will grow to create the amazing, extraordinary and inspiring life story that you were born to live and be able to tell everyone else about.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

“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)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. “(Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Prayer: Lord please help me to listen to my heart, and to lift the lid on those things that you have placed within me. I want to have a story to tell, and one that I can live and breathe and enjoy today and everyday. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

28 Aug – Walking on water!

Walk-on-water

It’s so easy to focus on the problems and negative things happening around us. We hear about the state of the economy, education, health, and the world’s moral compass and we can be tempted to focus on these things until we get to the point of shaking our heads in discouragement, or making every effort to try to ignore it all.  I don’t believe it’s necessarily helpful to stick our heads in the sand and pretend everything’s rosy, but there is also a definite danger in allowing the negatives and concerns around us to become our focus, rather than putting our hope and trust in God’s goodness and ability.

Jesus highlighted the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on Him in the account of Peter walking on the water. It had been a busy day and Jesus had sent his friends before him in a boat while He dispersed the crowd, and spent some time alone praying.

Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased”. (Matthew 14:22-31)

Peter recognised Jesus and took the courageous step of climbing out of his boat in the middle of a stormy sea. He even walked on water just like Jesus, until he made a mistake that many of us still make – he chose to take his eyes off Jesus and consider his surroundings, rather than recognising who was with Him. Because of that He started to sink as he lost faith. He forgot about Jesus’ ability to care and override natural forces to do something supernatural like walking on water and calming the wind and waves. He forgot just how powerful Jesus is, and instead looked at a few waves, which he happened to have been previously walking on!

Faith is trust. It doesn’t necessarily make sense, but it does mean keeping our eyes on Jesus and choosing to focus on what He says and does, rather than the noise, other’s experiences, and the circumstances around us.

We won’t ever live the life that God says we can live in Him if we focus on anything but Him. It just doesn’t work. We can’t live healed and whole if we look at other people and what they have experienced, rather than what Jesus says in His word. We can’t live at peace when we read and listen to the noise of the world, instead of resting in His love. Nor will we know overflowing abundant life if we follow the crowd rather than fixing our eyes on Jesus and following Him and His ways.

However just as Jesus didn’t force Peter or any of the other disciples to step out of the boat, he won’t force us. It’s our choice whether we fix our gaze on Him or whether we do our own thing. As for me, I’d rather be walking on water with Jesus any day, because really how cool is that!

Prayer: Lord please help me today to keep my eyes fixed on you rather than on people, circumstances or the noise around me. For with you I can “walk on the water”, and conqueror any storm in my life. In Jesus name Amen!

27 Aug – Are you using your passport?

passport to heaven

We all with perhaps a few exceptions have the ability to get a passport to travel, yet many people never bother applying for one because they estimate it is impossible for them to ever travel, or they are quite happy to never venture into the unknown. Personally I believe travel is amazing, and as my Dad taught me it causes us to “become bigger on the inside”. It stretches our horizons, enables us to see places and people we possibly would never meet otherwise, and causes our hearts and minds to be inspired and enlarged. Even just travelling to another city or region helps us to see and discover possibilities, different perspectives and ways of living. It’s good for us.

There is a saying that, “being educated in something is not the same as having the substance of it, and I think that applies to many things but especially to knowing and being familiar with heaven.

Knowing God is much the same as been given a passport and permission to travel. We get an invitation to experience things that are mind blowing and quite simply supernatural. God doesn’t just want us to read and hear about heaven, but to experience the substance of it now. All limits are off, and the possibilities in knowing God and where and what we can explore with Him are endless.

Jesus has given us an invitation to belong to His family, and welcomes us into His space and Kingdom. We are given an a mandate to explore His “country,” that we all belong to when we accept Jesus Christ to be the centre of our lives.

Yet just as all have the ability to apply or may already have a passport, many people are choosing to not venture forth or ever use their “passport.” They choose never to experience the weird and the wonderful; the unearthly and supernatural things of God. Instead we can all become content to simply sit back in our comfort zones and therefore miss the heavenly places Jesus has invited us to experience with Him.

Ephesians 2:6 and Colossians 3:1 say that we were, “made alive together in Christ and He raised us up and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That if we are raised with Christ, we are to seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. So Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” 

But just reading and being educated about a foreign country is not the same as living and experiencing the substance of that place.

God wants us to experience the reality, splendour and awe of heaven. We belong there. We are “called out” to be part of heavens reality and function. It is not a place we just go to when we die, but a place we are invited to experience, and asked to take our place in NOW, as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.

It’s time those of us who know Jesus use our invitation – our passport into the heavenlies, and to then share it’s wonder and reality with those who don’t know yet. Because it‘s not just important for us in this time, but for all those who are crying out for truth. Plus if it’s our job is to bring heaven to earth shouldn’t we know and expereince all about heaven now?

Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find mature.” (John 10:9)

Lets not settle for the familiar, but be courageous and step out in faith into heavenly adventures, knowing He is there!

Prayer: Lord I want to know all about you, and the things of heaven. Help me to see and experience heaven now and to lay aside the thinking that I have to wait until I die before I can explore heaven when you say you are the door.  In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

26 Aug – Heaven’s eyes – (Frame it up pt 2)

heaven's eyes

Yesterday I blogged about framing up our prayers and the things we can see heaven wants to release on earth. I shared about God releasing gold dust onto several people in a gathering I was in a few weeks up. (See blog https://daylekinney.com/2017/08/25/25-aug-frame-it-up

Then later yesterday afternoon whilst I was sharing about what I had blogged to one of my daughters she suddenly exclaimed, “look at my arm, it’s all sparkly”. Sure enough her arm looked like it had been dusted with what looked like gold and silver sparkles. As we remarked about what they were and how I had just blogged about gold dust the sparkly dust increased up the length of her arm.

I’ve been asking the Lord why gold dust appeared again and if felt Him reply, “you’ve been honouring and framing up heavenly things, so they came. “ I wanted to show you how easy it is, and how when my people see with heavens eyes what the world can look like, it will be released and come to pass”.

 It’s very easy to see what the devil would like the world to look like, and I won’t do his work for him by repeating all the despicable things he has, and is trying to release upon the earth. But we who believe have the answer to stem the tide and turn things around. We are to look with heaven’s eyes; to see from heaven what God – creator of the universe desires, and then take the initiative to work with Him to frame it up; to see, believe and to release that “picture” or blueprint from heaven to earth, rather than merely commentating on how dreadful everything is.

Today, what sort of world does our loving Heavenly Father want us to live in? What is His plan and blueprint for our families, streets, communities and nations? We are far more powerful than we think. Jesus said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18), and He’s expecting that in is name we will carry on what He’s begun.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

Jesus also said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)

Today seek what God is saying from above. Come up out of the world’s view and way of thinking and see with heaven’s eyes as you take your place in releasing heaven on earth.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

Prayer: Lord please help me to see from heaven what you desire for my family, community and nation. Shift my focus from the troubles around me to look to you, the promises in your word, and my part in releasing answers and blessings from heaven. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

25 Aug – Frame it up

frame it

I’ve discovered something about answered prayer over the years. It’s that we need to ‘frame up” what we are asking for. Meaning we need to be able to see it just like we can see a picture within it’s frame.

I spent a few weeks working in a picture framers as a teenager and I learnt that framing up something is not as simple as it looks. There is a fine art behind framing; the measurements, colours, mount boards and the frame itself. It actually takes time, effort, skill, thought and imagination to frame up a piece of artwork well.

Likewise it takes time, effort and allowing ourselves to see what God sees, and to “frame up” what we believe for in prayer. Many times we rush the process and then wonder why we don’t see the spectacular and complete answers to our prayer requests. However I’m discovering that when we properly “frame up” our requests, and take time to seek what God is saying our future looks like, and what the blueprint He is releasing from heaven is then amazing things happen. These revelations are what we will actually “frame up” in our thought life, in our spirits, in our words and in our prayers.

I was recently in a gathering where I had been sharing about God doing above and beyond our hopes, dreams, prayers and imaginations. That He is bigger and more powerful than we can possibly fathom, and that nothing is impossible for Him. He can do whatever He likes, from regrowing body parts to making gemstones and gold dust suddenly appear. I felt that God wanted to do something special in the meeting, and to just have some fun loving on people, so I began to “frame up” that He would release gold dust. I was honouring God for who He was, and that I loved Him. Shortly afterwards I was enjoying the sunshine and chatting to some other woman at morning tea when I noticed one lady had gold coloured sparkles on her cheek. I asked her if she was wearing any makeup and she replied she’d only ever worn makeup on her wedding day. I laughed because as I studied her face a little closer I could see gold like dust all over her cheek. Several other people came and testified to this gold dust on her face. The lovely lady was quite astounded and “blown away” by God doing such a thing but I believe it was God simply loving on her. Later I noticed the same dust and sparkles on my mother’s face as I chatted to her.

God can do whatever He wants, but I know He had also replied to my “framing up” and my request for Him to specifically come and bless us with heavenly things that day.

God is a good God and He loves us more than we can imagine. He wants to make Himself known to us, but often people simply don’t give him the “time of day”, and disregard or ridicule those things they don’t understand. However when we honour God for who He is, and choose to “frame up” – to see and dare to ask and believe in the power and magnificence of God and heaven then we will begin to draw these things into our lives.

What are you “framing up” today? Are you believing, speaking and “seeing” the miraculous, the good, the lovely and heaven opening up on earth, or are you “framing up” disaster, strife, depression, lack and loss?

Jesus said some fairly astounding things and one such statement he made was, “I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.” (Mark 11:22) In other words “frame it up”. Seek God, see it, believe, ask, and you shall have it.

Take some time and “frame up” something amazing today.

Prayer: Lord help me to see how you see, and to begin to frame up the world how you want it to be, so that I can then begin to believe for that to be realised. I’m choosing to “frame up” something good today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

24 Aug – Carrying the load

JesusCarryourBurdens

Our eldest son is much taller than I am, and when we go out shopping he now offers to carry the heavy bags for me. His Dad has modelled to him to bear the weight and burden for me, and to respond quickly to any need he sees.

The bible teaches us do likewise and to “bear one another’s burdens”. (Galatians 6:2) Meaning to be there for one another; to help when others are weighed down, and to be alert to needs so that we are quickly able to offer help. Bearing burdens alludes to the custom of travellers, who, when too heavily laden with their baggage, relieve one another by bearing the burdens of the weak or fatigued.

It’s being available to respond so that people are not crushed or destroyed under the weight of their burdens, and it’s a practical outworking of Jesus’ command to love one another.

The key however to assisting one another is not to absorb pain. We are to assist, but we are not to make it our entire responsibility to fix things. When we start to do this we will soon find ourselves struggling under the weight of everyone else’s burdens, which can rapidly erode our own strength. Instead our role of helping carry people’s burdens is that we direct attention onto Jesus, and ultimately encourage all involved to give Him their burdens to carry. We offer our help so that people can rest, gather strength and get a fresh perspective that Jesus is able to help them, rather than continuing to struggle or others having to come to their rescue all the time.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. (Matthew 11:28-29)

Jesus is the ultimate burden bearer, and He asks that we come to Him so that we will all know rest from our labours. When He carries the load we can then learn from Him how to travel light and burden free.

Today, if you are carrying burdens, cast them upon Jesus for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Your shoulders were never meant to carry the responsibility of making everything work. All we are asked to do is seek Jesus and His way of doing things, and He will work out the rest. (Matthew 6:33)

If you know you have been carrying others burdens in an effort to assist them, make sure you are not taking responsibility and absorbing pain that God never intended you to. Regularly take time to cast all burdens upon Jesus, and then do only exactly what He asks you to do, rather than falling into the trap of feeling like you have to fix everything yourself.

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall”. (Psalm 55:22)

What is the price of two sparrows – one copper coin. But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows”. (Matthew 10:29-31)

Prayer: Lord I give you all my burdens today, and ask that you carry the load. Help me to trust in you, and to remember that you have promised you will take care of me. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

23 Aug – Spend time with me!

quality time

I am a quality timer. I like to spend time with those who are important in my world and when I do my “love tank” fills up, and quickly becomes depleted when I don’t.

Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. It’s togetherness, and time spent in quality conversation; no phones, television, or distractions. In today’s world quality time is actually a lot harder to give and receive than many people realise because many of us have become accustomed to constant background noise, distractions and interruptions.

One of the most important factors of quality time is quality conversation. When two people are sharing their experiences, their thoughts, their feelings, and their desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. It’s to sit down, ask questions, and to actively listen to one another.

Some tips for engaging in quality time and conversation are:

  1. Maintain eye contact when the other person is talking.
  2. Don’t listen and do something else at the same time.
  3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, “What emotion is the other person experiencing?”
  4. Refuse to interrupt. It’s says what we are thinking and saying is more important than the other person.

Such active listening will fill the love tank of the person whose primary love language is quality time. (Gary Chapman – The 5 love languages)

A well-known saying is that, “children don’t need more things. The best toys a child can have is a parent who gets down on the floor and plays with them.” I would say the same for everyone whatever age we are. It’s not more possessions that we need, but in fact quality time with one another.

God teaches us through His word to measure our days and to not waste the opportunities we have each day to love others, to make a difference in people’s lives and to fulfil the dreams and plans He has deposited in our hearts. He wants us to have quality in everything we say and do, and that means focusing on how we relate to those around us. Do we give people quality time or do we take them for granted? Are we making heart to heart connections, and are we walking in love?

Today, consider when was the last time you put aside your daily distractions and gave uninterrupted quality time to those in your world. If it’s been awhile or you’ve fallen into the habit of doing others things while spending time with people, then choose to set aside some undivided attention with your spouse, partner, kids, and friends and family, because the greatest gift we can give someone is our time.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 15:15-16)

Prayer: Lord please help me to lay aside those things which distract and intrude on my time with others. Help me to make time to be focused on the people you have placed in my world, and to realise the greatest gift I can give someone is my undivided attention. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

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