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October 2017

22 Oct – A fresh start

Imagine if you had a blank sheet of white paper. It is completely free of spots, marks or wrinkles, and then imagine if that blank piece of paper represented your life.

The bible says that we’ve been given such a blank piece of paper; that we receive a clean slate when we ask Jesus to be part of our life. We acknowledge where we have messed up and fallen short, and ask for His forgiveness. Then a clean slate is gifted to us, and it’s then our choice what we do with it.

God says He is faithful and just to forgive all our mistakes; where we haven’t acted, said or thought the right things. (1 John 1:9) He cleanses us and gives us His righteousness, His being right, His holiness, His cleansing, His strength and His purity.

A clean slate is a blank page, free from disappointment, sin, and mistakes. It’s an opportunity to take hold of new life, to live out our new creation reality, and embrace a brand new way of living.

The bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19)

No matter what we’ve done when we come to Him, God always gives us a fresh start because He loves us and wants us to live free and without the weights of the past.  It’s like if we wrote down all the wrong, messed up things weare guilty of and then God takes that list and tears it up. He promises that if we come to Him “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”. (Psalm 103:12)

Today draw near to God and give Him your mess in exchange for the gift of a fresh start and a clean slate.

Prayer: Lord thank you that you offer me a blank page to write with you the next chapter of my story on. I choose to give you my life and I receive the gift of a new life and a fresh start with you. Help me to choose wisely what I write on my page and to make the most of every opportunity and blessing. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

21 Oct -Heading in the right direction

There is a question that most people ask themselves at one time or another. It’s, “How do I know I’m heading in the right direction?”

This question could be in reference to many things that involve a risk or change of some sort such as starting a business, changing employment or career paths, beginning a new relationship, getting married, starting a family, choosing a school or university, even taking a holiday or travelling overseas. Every time we begin something new or venture out we have the same question, “Am I heading in the right direction, and how will I know?”

“How will I know?” The fact is we often don’t know 100%. We don’t know for sure everything we try or embark upon is going to work out exactly as planned, or always be a resounding success. There will probably always be some questions, anxiety and lingering doubts and fears. But courage is not an absence of these feelings; courage is acting even when we do have these fears.

The “How do I know I’m heading in the right direction”  question is in fact a perfect opportunity for our faith and trust in God goodness to be activated, and for us to put ourselves out there and to grow. The unfortunate alternative is to continually vacillate over which direction to take so that in the end we do nothing, experience little, go nowhere, and miss out.

A reporter once asked Mother Teresa what it was like to have absolute, total clarity in life, to which she responded:

I have never had clarity. What I have always had is trust.”

When we don’t know or are unsure of which direction to take we are forced if we are smart to look beyond ourselves. To look to God for wisdom and clarity, and to allow others that He draws around us to help and speak into our lives. As we launch out in a particular direction we often in fact access courage, skills and abilities we didn’t realise we had, and amazingly with God’s help and hand upon our lives it usually works out. Perhaps at times a little different from what we first envisaged, but nevertheless it works out.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”. (Romans 8:28)

Today don’t just sit there. If you don’t know what to do, and which direction to take seek God, and then do something.

As you begin to move in a particular direction keep asking questions, keep praying, keep listening and being willing to adjust and shift tact and direction where needed. Look for the open doors and opportunities, and the “red flashing warning lights” to not go there. Pay attention to the answers that present themselves along the way and keep trusting God to lead you step by step. Then sooner or later you’ll realise you’ve figured it out and will reach your destination.

But remember there is only one thing that gets us heading in a direction at all and that’s taking that first step, whilst we trust God to lead.

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:29)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left”. (Isaiah 30:21)

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight”. (Proverbs 3:6)
Prayer: Lord please help me to trust you to set me in the right direction. I trust you to guide me today and to take care of me as you guide my steps. In Jesus name Amen

20th Oct – Calm your farm

Our kids have a saying when they want to tell each other to calm down or “chillout” a bit. They say, “just calm your farm”. I have no idea where they came up with such a saying but it is a good reminder when someone needs to settle and calm down a bit. Especially when the world and many people around us can be anything but calm and settled.

As a child I grew up on a farm and I know that if you get frazzled, loud or erratic in your emotions and expressions that nothing good is going to happen. The seasons, weather, crops and definitely other people and the livestock do not respond to such behaviour.

In fact when we lose our calm and peace we can start to fail. We fail to keep perspective; we fail to think clearly and find solutions; we fail to hear clearly from God and to therefore exercise the appropriate leadership and authority we have been given by God to bring things into proper line. Plus we fail to keep safe and secure those we have an impact on or are responsible for; both our family, livestock, property and the wider community.

There are always going to be some pressure cooker moments in life wherever we are regardless of our vocation or life situation. My Dad was a sheep farmer on a large property in the rolling green hills of New Zealand. It is a beautiful part of the world, and many might presume  such a life would always be tranquil and peaceful, which it was to a large degree. However even in this beautifulsetting I also have vivid childhood memories of my Dad losing his cool as he threw his hands in the air, grabbed his hat off his head and started yelling until red in the face at Flo the sheep dog who was half deaf and therefore totally non-plussed at my Dad’s obvious frustration at her and the silly flock of sheep he was trying to move. No doubt Dad could have done with ”calming his farm”.

“Calm your farm” is keeping our internal world, and therefore our external life together. It’s finding that place of rest and peace so that regardless of what is happening we keep our composure and calm.

A close, healthy, growing relationship and connection with God is the best way I know of keeping “my farm calm”. Time spent daily resting in His presence; off loading any worries and stress, and reading His Word and then doing what it says throughout the day are great ways to keep calm. Coupled with proper care of our bodies through regular exercise, good nutrition, realistic expectations of what we can do in a day and adequate rest and relaxation will safe guard us from the pressures life may try to throw at us. Plus everyone and everything in our world will definitely thank us for keeping “calm our farm.”

Trust in the Lord, and do good;

Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,

And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him

And He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:3-5)

Prayer: Lord please help me to find peace and rest in you today. I give you all my concerns and needs today and I choose to keep my inner peace and calm as I trust you with all the things I need and want to do today. In Jesus name Amen

 

19 Oct – the power of dreaming

I love the TV show Grand designs. The show is based around filming the journey people embark on as they put everything on the line to build their dream homes. It is fascinating and remarkable to watch how much people’s enthusiasm, energy and belief in accomplishing their dream can achieve. It’s inspiring and challenging all at the same time, because so often we have the mindset that the dreams and desires in our hearts are not possible, or crazy or won’t work. All of those things may be true, but what if they weren’t? What if through God directing us, and some well planned research, preparation, commitment, and willingness to give it our best, we did live out our dream?

I’ve discovered that God loves for us to dream; He’s often the one who has placed those dreams in our heart in the first place. He loves for us to pursue our dreams, and to believe for the seemingly impossible. Yes we may stumble in the process, experience disappointments and setbacks, but if we are continually learning and developing into the person God has called us to be, then He will ensure nothing is ever wasted. In fact God says that He will bring all things together that we experience, so as to produce good things in our lives.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

I believe God has wired all of us to have a dream and purpose for our life. He wants us to go from faith to faith, never reaching the point where we stop dreaming. When we achieve one dream, to have the attitude of “what’s next God?” Yes we may need to make sacrifices, or adjustments to our life, but isn’t that better than having a mountain of regret that we never tried or bothered to pursue our dreams?

The people on the show “Grand Designs,” whose dream it is to build their own homes have something inside of them that I think all of us need a dose of. Often the only things going for them are their ability to work hard, be energetic, believe in themselves and those around them, and be willing to use the skills they’ve learnt along the way. But the results never cease to astound me.

Today, take some time to examine your own heart. What dream has God placed within you that He wants you to pursue and fulfil? Write it down, and spend some time praying over it; research how to begin, and start to equip yourself to fulfil your dream. Life is precious and God wants us to live our lives, and not just sit by watching the years go by. He says He will lead us, equip us, and bring other people into our lives to help us achieve the dreams in our heart. So dream big, and start the journey of living your dream today.

 Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us”. (Ephesians 3:20)

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit (benefit), Who leads you in the way that you should go.”(Isaiah 48:17)

“And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.“ (Habakkuk 2:2)

Prayer: Lord help me to know the dream in my heart, and to see that in you all things are possible. Show me how to begin pursuing my dream, and please guide me in the way I should go. In Jesus Name Amen.

18 Oct -God doesn’t forget

Today we are going to Disney World. My husband says he has been wanting to go to Disney world or Disneyland since he was eight years old. He is just a little bit excited today.

When my Dad turned sixty years we all wanted to get him something special to commemorate his special birthday. We talked, thought and prayed for an idea for a great present until we remembered and God reminded us about a gift Dad had always wanted since he was a little boy, which was a Hornby toy train. The look of pure joy and excitement on my Dad’s face as he unwrapped his train is something I”ll never forget. It was priceless. He actually danced a little jig as He held the train in his hands.

Most of us know what it is like to really desire or long for something. Often it means working, saving and being focused on our goal or desire until it happens. But sometimes things happen; we can suffer disappointment, delays or just let go of what we had been hoping, dreaming and praying for. These things can slip somewhere away beneath the surface where we barely think of them anymore. However as I discovered with my Dad’s train, and I’m reminded today as I look at the excited face of my husband, God does not forget. Even if fifty or more years have passed by, He still remembers and sees the secret dreams, desires and even long forgotten things within our hearts. And He wants many, if not all of these things to come to pass. Contrary to the world’s opinion of God, He is not trying to take from us, but to give to us, and to make seemingly improbable and impossible things happen to and for us.

Today whether its something you’ve always wanted, dreamed or longed to experience know that God sees and remembers, and in some way, shape or form He will be planning, strategizing, and holding those things in His heart until He can make them come to pass in our lives. He is no respecter of persons. What He’ll do for one, He’ll do for another, because He loves us all.

Now to Him who is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [ infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams ], according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him”. (1 John 3:1)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that you see me, and know even the secret thoughts and desires of my heart. Help me to rest in the knowledge that you love to bless and fulfill the dreams in my heart. Where I or others may even forget, you do not. In Jesus name Amen

17 Oct – God knows your story

I think we all like to know what is going to happen next. Some of us even want to know the end of the story before we’ve even read the introduction. However life is usually not like that. We do at times have to take a step of faith, and if need be a leap! We may not always know how everything is going to turn out.

But, God does. He knows exactly how everything is going to turn out; the end from the beginning and everything else in between. Which is why He asks us to put our trust in Him. To rely on the fact that He sees and knows all and promises He will lead and guide the way if we let Him. That means we may not know about every bump or turn in the road before we begin moving in a certain direction, but that’s okay because we can be sure that if we’ve made Jesus a part of life our final destination is a great one. Plus as we learn to trust Holy Spirit to be our guide and instructor we are in for one amazing ride along the way. (John 16:13)

Today as you set out in your day, or choose a course or direction for your life, first stop and pray. Inquire of the one who sees and knows all. Check in His Word to see that the road you are on, or are looking at is in line with the written instructions in His Word, and then follow the opportunities, open doors and promptings He brings your way. Sometimes that may mean taking just one step and instruction at a time (like baby steps), and other times it may mean we have to take a giant leap of faith. But we can be sure either way that God will be there to catch us if we look like falling and that He will steady our feet and always guide us safely home.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him”. (James 1:5)

The Lord says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be like the horse and mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near you”. (Psalm 32:8-9)

Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path”. (Psalm 119:105)

Prayer: Lord help me to trust that you know the end from the beginning and all of my story in between. I choose to trust you to lead me step by step, and if I need to at any time take a leap of faith that you’ll be there to strengthen and help me to not fall. I choose to trust in your love and goodness to write from start to finish a great story for my life. In Jesus name Amen

16 Oct – If you can see it

If you see it in God’s Word you can have it! It’s that simple. God’s Word is His will and His promise to us. He won’t depart from it, change it, or neglect it. God doesn’t lie, and even when things are happening to us or around us if we hold onto the promises in God’s Word He will walk us, or if need be pick us up and carry us through every circumstance because that’s what He says He will do. (Numbers 23:19)

The choice is up to us whether we will bother to find out what is written in His will and testament to us. Whether we will take the time to study and dig into the richness of His Word and discover all the treasures there, or whether we will just settle for whatever comes our way in life and then just hope for the best.

God’s love, care, protection,forgiveness, provision and purpose for our lives are a gift – they are given freely to each one of us if we want to receive them. However we do need to make the effort to open these gifts up and receive what has been given. We have to say Yes I’ll have that thankyou.

When we choose to make Jesus part of our lives and then find out what He’s promised to us it’s important to take time to write it down; then begin to speak out and declare what is rightfully yours as a member of God’s family.  All of heaven listens up when we start speaking God’s word and what is ours. The angels will actually spring into action to bring whatever He has promised into our hands. So if you can see it in God’s Word today, don’t settle or let anyone or anything negotiate you out of having less than what God desires for your life.

Today I encourage you to open up the treasury of God’s Word. You’ll find when you do the gift and promise of healing for every ailment and disease, provision for your needs, confirmation of God’s love, forgiveness, cleansing, deliverance and His dedication to protect you from every evil. Plus His Word will act as a GPS helping to navigate and guide you throughout your day.

The Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.” (Jeremiah 1:12)

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

Prayer: Lord thank you for your Word and that I can depend upon, and trust what it says for your Word and you are one. Help me to discover in a fresh way today the treasures hidden in it for me, and to take hold and receive everything that has been given. n Jesus name Amen

15 Oct – It’s going to be okay

Those words, “its all going to be okay” are what many of us need to hear on a regular if not daily basis. Because sometimes lets face it, we all feel like things are not in any way, shape or form okay!

The night we heard that my younger brother Shaun’s plane had not arrived at its destination and was missing was probably one of the worst nights of our families lives. We sat waiting and waiting, answering phone calls and praying and hoping that we would hear some good news. In the midst of this time I heard God’s quiet still voice say something to me. He said “its going to be okay. It’ll be really hard for a while, but you’re going to be okay.” Shortly afterwards we got the call to hear that Shauns plane had crashed and there were no survivors.

It was really hard. Incredibly painful, difficult and all the other things that come with someone dying, let alone dying far too young, just as God had said it would be. But I was also okay, and as time passed I realised I’d gotten stronger, more compassionate and understanding, and I also knew myself and God in ways I hadn’t before.

I discovered that even in the midst of really hard times God is there. We may not understand why or what is going on at the time but that’s not really what we need focus on – sometimes there is no easy answer to why things happen . What’s important in the middle of things is that we understand we are not alone and that regardless of how we feel or what it looks like God does care about us, and we are going to be okay.

Today whatever sort of day you are facing, know you are never alone because God is with you, and He cares. Keep looking at, and walking with Him and you will be okay. You may have a few bumps and bruises, and faith muscles you didn’t have before, but you will be okay.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you care about me and that you will never leave me to handle life’s circumstances alone. Help me to remember that today. In Jesus name Amen

 

14 Oct -Little niggles

If there is one thing I have learnt as a mum of six children it is not to get too fazed by all the “little niggles”. You know those grizzly moments that kids and people everywhere can have. The complaining, grumpy attitudes, and the “I’m not feeling happy today so I’m going to let everyone else know about it” episodes.

I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s not my responsibility to make everyone happy 100% of the time and sometimes the best course of action is to leave people, and whatever is bothering them alone so that they can get over it, or themselves, rather than me trying to fix everything all the time. If I got involved with every little niggly thing my kids and other people in general experienced around me I would be an exhausted mess. I know because in the past, and even now if I’m not careful, I can get drawn into it and run from one person to the next sorting out what is usually just little niggles that are of little consequence in the big scheme of things.

As I started writing this we’d been delayed on route to Florida and were waiting for several hours for our flight. It’s one of those moments with niggly potential and is an opportunity for us to either relax and believe God will work things out for our best or to get impatient and upset. Life can be full of  “little niggly” moments if we let it be, but when we learn to “not sweat the small stuff” so much, and to trust and listen to God’s wisdom and guidance in situations and relationships life becomes so much lighter and brighter.

God wants us to enjoy every day, and even the hard ones He promises He will help and guide us in. He’s always there to give us strength, wisdom and patience and offers to lighten the load for us (1 Peter 5:7). He warns to watch out for the little things that attempt to sneak in and spoil our lives, and to not get into worry or striving and stress. Instead He asks for us to simply trust Him, to seek His way of doing things and to keep everything in perspective, because often those niggles are just a big distraction designed to stop us hearing and being focused on what God has planned for our day.

Today don’t allow those “little niggles” or other peoples issues and attitudes to spoil your day, steal your peace or get you off track. Ask for God’s help and wisdom to know what to do, and how much to be or not to be involved so that you can avoid being over burdened by those “little niggles” and can instead focus on what is really important in your day.

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

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”. (Matthew 6:33)

Prayer: Lord thank you for this day. Please help me to not get drawn into problems or dramas that I really don’t need to, and to keep my joy and peace in you today. In Jesus name Amen

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