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February 2018

19 Feb – Are you ready for a change?

change ahead

Do you ever feel like there is a shift and change happening? You may not physically be able to see it, but you can sense it.

But when we are looking for change to happen in our lives, we need to position and ready ourselves for it to happen, and prepare for whatever that means. It’s a bit like being pregnant with a baby, and preparing yourself for the new arrival. If you don’t get ready, it’ll be a mad dash when that baby arrives, and you and all those around you, will more than likely miss some of the wonder of it all.

Whenever a shift or change occurs if we are listening to Gods promptings, He will begin to encourage us to stretch and expand our expectations, our horizons, our vision. He’ll encourage us to deal with issues, and shed any unnecessary weights or distractions. He will start revealing to us to look up and ahead, instead of behind us at our past, or down at the dust of our failures or disappointments. God encourages us to position ourselves so that we don’t miss any of what He is releasing in and over our lives.

Shifts and changes mean we must push against constraints, against limiting mindsets, against unbelief, disappointments, fears and failure. We push past these limiting “stakes” in our life and shift the marker pegs (the tent pegs), so that we can spread out and increase our capacities to hold and inhabit all God wants to release in our lives. We ready ourselves for what we are believing for.

The bible says that even when we feel barren, when we have nothing, when we are desolate and desperate, that then is the perfect time for us to lift up our eyes, to lift up our voices and to sing and shout because God has a way through. God has the victory, God has the answer, He has the solution, and He is on our side.

I’ve learnt over the years to speak out His promises, even when I can’t see in the natural how anything is going to change; how the barrenness and difficulties are ever going to be replaced with abundance and blessing. I’ve learnt to not look with my natural eyes, but with eyes of trust and believing that better things are ahead, that angels are right now working on my behalf, that solutions, provision, healing and breakthrough are mine.

Today agree with what’s coming out of heaven, and choose to “declare and decree” God’s goodness over your life and over your family, workplace, relationships, neighbourhood, city and nation. No longer see yourself or your circumstances as barren, dried up, beaten up, anxious, sick, old, or poor.

Today look and see with eyes of faith and believing, for God has a plan, a strategy and a breaking through for every situation we are facing in our personal lives, and in the world today. Then stir yourself up in the promises of God, open your mouth and sing out and start decreeing and declaring breakthrough, release and change for the better.

Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy” (Isaiah 54:1)

Prayer: Lord thank you that breakthrough, expansion, release and change is coming straight out of heaven today. I believe for things to shift and change for the better in every circumstance of my life today.  In Jesus name Amen.

18 Feb – Run your own race

run your own race

Have you ever watched or been on the sidelines of a race as the runners passed by. There is  excitement and the sound of cheering as the runners race by, each one intent on reaching the finish line and winning the prize. Judging by the popularity of the Olympics and other competitions these races obviously capture many people’s attention and imagination, as we marvel at the competitors athleticism, dedication and hours of training.

Yesterday I saw such a running race, except it was in the form of a vision I received whilst I waiting in Gods presence. I saw this large green hillside and Jesus was loudly cheering me on as I ran up the hill. He was yelling “Run, run really fast and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing around you; just run into all that I have for you”. He was really excited, and was jumping up and down as he ran alongside me on the hillside, much like spectators do alongside the track of a road race or cross country.

This vision has stuck in my mind, plus its accompanying message to Run! Perhaps because we often do anything but run when it comes to our lives. We can just plod! We plod along through the challenges, constant little dramas, difficulties and other people’s stuff; and we far too often get bogged down in it all.

But I don’t think being “bogged down” was ever Gods plan for us. He actually says the exact opposite in His word, and encourages us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12: 1-2). Plus when you feel like you might be growing weary and going to lose heart don’t give up, but look at Jesus and His example of persevering even through opposition and difficulties.

God wants and created us to run through this life. He promises assistance when we choose to draw our strength from spending regular time with Him, and as we learn to wait and found renewal in His presence. The bible says, “Do you not know that in a race the runners run but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize”. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”.(Isaiah 40:31)

The question perhaps that we need to ask ourselves everyday is what are we pursuing and running after and towards? Are we pursuing primarily our own desires, needs and wants, or are we pursuing Jesus, and all that He has for us in this time and hour?  We can easily become distracted and even get led off track by the noise and glamour of other things. This can cause us to miss the true prize and the ability to see the value in what Jesus is trying to lead us to.

Today, choose carefully what and whom you are running to and into. Jesus and all of heaven is cheering us on to run, and to not get bothered or distracted by those things that are around us. Determine to run your race well, and to make it one in which you seek after and pursue that which is of true and of lasting value! Run today, and run fast!

Prayer: Lord please give me wisdom and strength to run my race well in this life, and to pursue you, and all that you have to reveal to me. Help me not to get “bogged down” in the inconsequential things of this world, when you want to show me all the mysteries of heaven and the universe. In Jesus name Amen.

17 Feb – Get Wisdom

wisdom

Wisdom, it’s something all of us could do with more of. A simple definition of wisdom is the “application of knowledge, and the capacity to correctly apply knowledge acquired through life’s experiences”.

Often people assume that the older you get the wiser you are. But that is not necessarily so. We are only wise to the degree that we have learned to rightly apply our knowledge in life.

God has a high regard for wisdom. Proverbs 4:3-9 says, “Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding! Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch! Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life; love her—she keeps her eye on you.

Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!

Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it; never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious.

She’ll garland your life with grace, she’ll festoon your days with beauty.” Dear friend, take my advice; it will add years to your life”

God instructs us to put effort into becoming wiser tomorrow than we are today. That means it is an ongoing continual process, and is not only found in the gaining of a formal education, but also the daily, lifelong process of growth.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about finances. We discussed it’s not that we should be trying to figure out how to earn more money,  instead we are to ask God for wisdom everyday. Through wisdom we will gain knowledge and understanding, resulting in knowing what and when to act, and how to prosper. That principle applies to every area of our life. Imagine if we sought after wisdom as the “principle thing” everyday? The very wisdom of heaven would be downloaded to us.

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

God wants us to live fulfilled joyful lives, and for most of us that is what we desire. He knows it will take walking in wisdom to attain this and He even says, Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favour; keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.(Proverbs 19:8)

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gets understanding.” (Proverbs 3:13)

The gaining of wisdom is the way into a hope filled future, and the key to lasting happiness is found in wisdom.

As Proverbs 16:16 puts it, “To get wisdom is better than gold; to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

So how do we get wisdom? Firstly desire wisdom with all your might.

“If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you” (Proverbs 4:8). To prize, means it must be valuable to us.

Not everyone wants wisdom; they don’t prize or value being wise at all, mostly because they want to follow their emotions, or plead ignorance when their foolish behaviour catches up to them.

Other people can be motivated by their circumstances rather than logic and wisdom. Many times we can be act foolishly when actually we know better. We can choose to ignore wisdom. Often people are not lacking information, but they are lacking motivation and determination to follow wisdom.

Value wisdom and ask God for it, that all your ways will be filled with hope, and the years of your life will be many. 

Prayer: Lord help me to prize wisdom and the understanding that comes from you. That I may gain a heart of wisdom, and discover the key to both long life and lasting happiness. In Jesus Name. Amen.

16 Feb – They’re only shadows

shadows

Shadows – those dark areas or shapes that as a child or even as an adult in a dark alleyway or car park we tend to be afraid or wary of.

Inherently most people avoid the shadows because they are usually likened to ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom. Perhaps the only time we want to be in the shadows is if we are trying to keep something hidden or secret and we choose to keep to the shadows and out of the light.

Unfortunately in life there are circumstances that do cast a shadow over our lives. Some we walk into through our own choices, and some are cast upon us. However as I was reading Psalm 23 in the bible today I realised that a shadow does not have to be permanent. It is a shadow and it will pass, and/or I can walk through and past it. This is especially true in light of how powerful God is and that a little shadow is no match for His light and goodness, because no shadow has the power to remain when God is walking alongside us.

David wrote Psalm 23 and drew on his experiences as a young man shepherding His father’s sheep alone in the countryside. He describes that even “when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death” we do not need to be afraid for God, our good Shepherd is close beside us to protect and comfort us. (Psalm 23:4) The things we might fear; such as death, sickness, lack, loss and pain are no doubt real; they are shadows, which try to come between the light of God’s goodness and us. But even through they may seem dark and ominous they are still only shadows, which God promises He will lead us through. Those shadows will fade away, because Jesus has already taken the pain and weight of sin, death, and pain and all that remains are their shadows which soon lose their power to permanently hamper or harm us when we choose to keep our eyes firmly on Jesus and walk with Him and in His ways.

Today if you feel like you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, or you know you have been hiding out in the shadows on purpose, know that they are only shadows and you can make a decision to step through or out of them when you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and journey with Him. Whenever you sense or see a shadow don’t be afraid, just keep walking for He is with you and will bring you out of the shadows and into the light of His love and goodness again.

“Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me
” (Psalm 23:4 Amp)

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that you are with me even in the darkest valley and the deepest shadows. Please help me to remember that I don’t need to be afraid and to keep keep my eyes fixed firmly on you, for you promise that you are close beside me to protect and comfort me wherever and whatever I am going through today. In Jesus name Amen

 

 

 

 

 

15 Feb – He is with you

god is with you

Emmanuel – God with us. Everyday He is with us! We are never alone, and He promises He will lead and guide us into all truth, and teach and remind us all about Jesus.

God is with us! If you have invited Jesus into your life then He lives within you by His spirit. He promises He will lead you; He will lead you away from danger, He will protect you, He will direct you to the right people, at the right time. He will teach you to profit, to do well in what you do. He will make life more exciting than you could ever possibly dream, ask, or imagine.

(Check out these scriptures in the bible: Matthew 28:20; James 1:5; Isaiah 48:17; Psalm 121:7;Ephesians 3:20; Galatians 5:25)

Holy Spirit wants to lead us into some really cool stuff, but unfortunately we can spend a lot of time and effort fighting about who is in charge – Him or us. Because of that there can be times when He can’t get us to where He needs us to be.

We can be like a horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to get it to where it needs to be.

 God says it this way, “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 as the horse or as the mulewhich have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to holdthem in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you”.(Psalm 32:9)

We all need practice being obedient to Holy Spirit’s promptings. Without that surrender and choice to live lives that just want to do, and be wherever and whatever Jesus is doing, we are going to fall short of all that is possible for our lives.

He’ll still love us, His blessing will still be on us; but there is so much more for each one of us if we will determine everyday to wait on Him and let Him lead us through the day. Sometimes we may get it wrong, but that’s okay, we’ll know for next time that wasn’t Him speaking an directing. All Holy Spirit asks is that we keep seeking to listen, to know God’s word and to let Him lead. We’ll soon learn when it’s just us, and when it is Holy Spirit leading.

Some good keys to remember are:

  1. Holy Spirit will never speak contrary to what the bible says.
  2. Follow peace. If you feel Holy Spirit speaking, do you feel a peace within you or a check or “scratchiness” in your spirit?
  3. Does what you feel prompted to say or do bring blessing?
  4. Make yourself available. The bible says the harvest – (those who need to hear and see God’s love) is ripe, but the workers are few.

Then Jesus saw the multitudes, and He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest”. (Matthew 9:36-38)

Today ask yourself; am I in charge of my life, or am I letting God lead and be in charge? He won’t push or barge His way into our lives. He is a gentleman, and will stand at the door of our hearts and knock. If we invite Him in, He will come in and sit down with us, and life will never be boring or mundane ever again. He will be there for us, to lead us, to give wisdom in which way to go, and what to do. He will give His peace, His love, His comfort and His strength.

The only question is will we invite Him into our lives, and then listen and follow His lead. It’s a choice we make everyday. What do you choose today?

Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Prayer: Lord I thank you that you see me, and desire for me to know you. Help me to be honest about where I am at, and to know my own heart. To know where I am still in charge, and instead need to allow you to lead. I open the door of my heart and life and let you in. Please lead me today. In Jesus Name Amen.

14 Feb – Self Talk – (moving forward pt 3)

 

self talk

Mindsets change behaviours and it is possible to create new thought patterns in our brains and for habits and certain ways of thinking to become unstuck, and for us to change.

The bible says, “For as He thinks in His heart so is He” (Proverbs 23:7) so it is therefore very important what we believe and how we think for us to be able to keep moving forward in life.

Daily affirmations or self talk based on what God says about us are a helpful tool in achieving freedom from the ruts we can find ourselves in. When we think and speak truth about our lives and future instead of any negative, limiting beliefs and mindsets we can be transformed. The things we think upon and speak have  transforming power as we affirm what God says about us, tell ourselves a different story and renew our minds into the person we desire to be and all that God says is possible.

The bible says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

A helpful key is to take time each day to close our eyes and imagine our self as God says we are and what we want to be. By allowing our self to imagine and “seeing” our self attaining the goals we set and what God says about us, it becomes easier to overcome the hurdles that can often attempt to block our way. For example if you’re a smoker, visualize yourself as a non-smoker daily. If you desire to be fit and healthy, an overcomer, peaceful, loving etc then begin to visualise yourself that way and you will begin to see this image of yourself slowly replacing the current one. This is one way we = we can begin to tell a different story about who we are, and begin to actually believe and act upon who God says we are.

Find a quiet place without distractions and think about what you desire to happen today or if in the evening what has happened throughout the day. Think on what you did right instead of what you did wrong and any positives of your day. Then think upon and speak out God’s promises and what He says in his word about you as you visualise what you want the future to look like.

Here are some positive affirmations God says about our life to help as you move forward into all that you are created to be:

I am a new creature in Christ: old things have passed away, behold, all things are new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

No weapon that is formed against me shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17)

I prosper in everything I put my hand to. I have prosperity in all areas of my life–spiritually, financially, mentally, and socially. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I take every thought captive unto the obedience of Jesus Christ, casting down every imagination, and every high and lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he; therefore, all of my thoughts are positive. (Proverbs 23:7)

I cast all my care on the Lord for He cares for me. (1 Peter 5:7)

I don’t have a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

I am creative because the Holy Spirit lives in me. (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 6:19)

I can do all things trough Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)

Jesus took up all my infirmities and carried all my diseases. I am healed. (Isaiah 54:3; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that with your help and wisdom I can get out of any ruts and negative mindsets and behaviours I find myself in and be instead transformed into the person you have created me to be. Help me to think upon and speak only the things you say about me today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

12 Feb – Tell a different story! (moving forward – pt 2)

a different story

The way that we see ourselves is what shapes our behavior, beliefs, and thoughts. If for example we think we are an athlete or fit healthy person then we tend to choose behaviors and a life style that is athletic and healthy. If we see our self as unworthy, flawed in some way or someone who is shy and reticent then we will be likely avoid people, parties and uncomfortable conversations. We subconsciously choose behaviors that fit in with who we believe ourselves to be and negate those that don’t match who we think we are.

If someone asked you to define yourself for him or her, what would you say? Would you like the things you believe yourself to be? Because from time to time it is important to step back and ask our self who we are and to check what story we are telling ourself and those around us.

If we feel stuck perhaps a great place to start finding out why is to assess the story we are telling.  A key to real change and moving forward in life is firstly to recognize the beliefs and stories that we hold about ourselves, and to then listen to God. Then if necessary we choose to start telling ourselves a different story which matches what God says about us.

God knows truly who we are and He will tell us if we listen and take heed of what is written about us in His Word. He says that we are an overcomer, loved, forgiven, a new creation; that the old is past away, and we have a hope and a future. If we listen to God and his Word it will encourage us to tell a different story from perhaps the limiting or negative one we have been telling about ourselves, and He will also equip and empower us to then walk in it.

God wants us to tell a story that actually leaves room for possibilities and potential. To tell who we want to be, who God says we are and not who others may have told us we are, or what lies we may have believed and told ourselves. If we listen to the voices of negativity around us and take them to heart we can often limit ourselves, and end up being impacted and controlled by circumstances and other external forces rather than believing God and who He has made us to be.

Today choose to start telling yourself a different story filled with hope and limitless boundaries where you are the victor who can do whatever God has planned and enabled you to do.

“ For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Prayer: Lord please help me to tell the story that you have written for me rather than one that is limiting or less than what you say I am. Thank you that you love me and have a plan for my life. In Jesus name Amen.

11 Feb – Moving forward (Pt 1)

keep moving forward

Getting stuck is often caused by one common thing — fear, and we are likely to often choose to ‘stay safe’ or remain where we are instead of risking failure or facing things we are afraid of.

However to move forward we must recognize the fears, habits, beliefs and mindsets that are keeping us from taking action. It might be fear of being judged, fear of hurt, loss, or  disappointment, but once we acknowledge and recognise these fears, we can then actively seek to deal with them.

A few of the things that can contribute to us remaining stuck and not moving forward are:

1. Limiting Beliefs

A limiting belief is a conscious or even unconscious belief that keeps you stuck. When we find our self believing we cannot do something; when we doubt that what God has said about us or believe less of ourselves than what God’s word says about us we need to take time to look into why we think that, and what is really stopping us. 

2. Our patterns and behaviors

God says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. In other words we don’t have to be stuck in the way we think. We can change and don’t have to stay limited in negative, limiting patterns and behaviours that are contrary to what God says and has planned for our lives. He says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Not making decisions about our life is actually making the decision to allow other people,  circumstances, and exterior forces to decide our future and the course of our life. Instead of choosing to fight against being stuck, we can end up saying, “I can’t do anything about it, I am just stuck here, poor me” which is not what God wants for our lives.

The past holding us back

Making decisions that are based on our past experiences, on what has happened in our family, what others have said to us, and believing the lies the devil says about our lives will hold us back and stop us from moving forward.

Far too often we remain stuck because we continue to accept the status quo, and unconsciously make assumptions about our situation based on past experiences that determine what we can and cannot do, and dwelling on negatives things in our lives other than on our successes. Instead God wants us, with His help to identify what is keeping us stuck and to question and challenge our thoughts and what we believe. To ask ourselves, “What is keeping me stuck?” “What‘s actually keeping me from doing what I want.” Deep down, is it a belief, fear, uncertainty or judgment from others rather than what God has spoken in His word?

Choices and habits

The best way to counteract the ways that we get stuck is to create new habits. When you do something new for the first time, it always seems out of place and strange. The second time that you do it, it feels a little less so. However when we are focusing on making new habits we must focus on the new rather than the old habits so that they will eventually unstick the old way of thinking to create new thought patterns, and subsequently new choices and ways of doing things.

The way we think, our subsequent actions, our beliefs and the way we process our past all contribute to how we live our lives and how we are, or are not able to move forward to into all that God has created us to be.

Today, take the time to challenge your thought patterns, what you believe about yourself, and what is really stopping you from moving forward and know that with God we can do all things.

Prayer: Lord please help me to face my past and the things I believe about myself so that I can move forward. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

10 Feb -The pain!

pain

Pain – a highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness, injury, and/or mental and emotional suffering and distress. Such words as sorrow, grief, heartache, sadness, misery, despair and trauma come to mind when we think of pain and most people exert huge amounts of effort to avoid pain and its effect at all costs.

Unfortunately many times when we feel pain rather than seeking to find the root of the pain and seek a solution we instead look for a sedative or numbing agent. These can be different things for different people. Some seek drugs, alcohol, relationships, keeping busy and any other distraction they can think of to escape facing the pain.

But whether we like it or not pain serves an important purpose and role in our lives by alerting us to injuries such as a sprained ankle or an emotional, mental or spiritual hurt. That’s because the correcting purpose of pain tells us that something is wrong. If we didn’t feel pain, we wouldn’t know we were sick or suffering, and therefore wouldn’t seek an answer and cure for our pain.

The thing I continually discover about experiencing pain is that God can work in and through our lives in the midst of suffering if we allow Him into that space. Our painful experiences He can and will use in us to heighten our senses and to give us a greater awareness of the more important things in life: of our need for God, for love, family, hope and what our purpose is. It can increase our strength, resolve, resilience, endurance, maturity, and empathy for others. In God’s hands He is able to make all things work together for good, and to turn our scars into stars.

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 be encouraged that no matter what you may be facing or have been through not to be afraid of facing the pain. You are never alone in that space for God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us and that He will perfect all that concerns us. Jesus knows what it is to suffer even unto death, to be beaten, misunderstood and rejected and He will help you work through your pain and lift the burden off your shoulders to bring you peace.

Rather than trying to numb or medicate our suffering lets choose to face the pain and any of its scars. Jesus is right there ready and waiting to help us through, and if we allow Him He will work gently within us and make us whole again.

He (Jesus) was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. As we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised and we did not esteem him. Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows. Yet we esteemed him stricken smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him and by his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5)

Prayer: Lord please help me to face any pain I feel in life so that with you I can work through the cause and be made whole and healed inside and out. In Jesus name Amen.

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