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March 2018

31 March – Little by little

little by little 2

The world we live in seldom wants to wait for anything, and many of us don’t prepare or think too far ahead. We often want things to be different in our lives, for our dreams to come to pass, but we don’t or won’t walk the process that brings the needed transformational change. When it comes to our spiritual lives we may hear about people who are doing amazing exploits for God, or have great faith and boldness. and we wish our lives could be more like theirs.

But what we don’t often realise or acknowledge is that when it comes to transformational change it doesn’t all happen overnight, especially when we are doing things God’s way. If we are going to grow, reach our goals and do great things in our life it will usually be accomplished a little bit at a time. God’s been writing our story within His story since the beginning of time, and even if we are in a hurry, He doesn’t ever seem to be.

This is where God’s principle of “little by little” applies. It can be both a comfort and helpful instruction to help us stick to doing something a little everyday.

God revealed his little-by-little principle to His people when they came to the land He had promised them. They had just been delivered from slavery in Egypt and were now in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 7:22 says, “And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you” (NKJV).

The nations mentioned in this passage were the “ites” of the Promised Land: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, etc.  There were seven “ites” nations – described as mightier than the children of Israel – who were occupying the land, which God had promised to give to His people.

God advised the people that they would be unable to possess the land all at once. But why not? Hadn’t God just miraculously delivered them all from slavery in Egypt, parting the Red Sea for them to escape? Couldn’t God simply cause the Israelites to take their Promised Land in a similar miraculous event?

At times God’s work in our lives is sudden and instantaneous, and it’s great when He moves in our lives like that. But more often than not, there is a process – and it’s in the process that God works on our character, our strength, our patience, our faith, and on who we are, and how we see ourselves.

When we look back we can often see that process over time; just not usually when we are in the middle of it. That’s where we have to trust God and that He is faithful to complete what He has started in us, and that He knows best.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6)

Real strength and growth come in our lives as we consistently do the things that make us grow and reach our goals. If it’s fitness, we exercise regularly, preferably every day. If it’s to eat better, we choose to eat well everyday. If we want to excel at playing an instrument or become proficient at some other skill, it is in the daily practice that we find success and accomplishment. It we want to draw closer to God, knowing Him more and building our faith, then we read God’s word everyday, we keep it before our eyes, ears and heart everyday.

We just don’t do those things when we want to or feel like it, but constantly, following the “little by little” principle.

Try doing things every day, on a regular basis that you want to become part of your everyday life. Write every day, pack a lunch every day, go for a walk or exercise in some way every day, read every day. Spend time with God everyday, read and listen to His word everyday. Pray everyday. A little bit everyday and it get’s easier, until suddenly one day you find yourself seeing results.

Today begin practicing the “little by little” principle in the pursuits that help you to become the person you were made to be.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to begin the daily process of doing something everyday toward growing and being who you made me to be. Help me to be consistent as I keep increasing my faith, skills and knowledge of you and what you have planned for my life. In Jesus name Amen.

30 March – Some of your best is yet to come!

best days

The basic law of photography is that you let light pass through a negative to get a positive, and life is much the same way. Especially when we let Jesus’ light pass through every negative so that He can bring the positive out.

It’s our attitude towards situations that determine who we are, and who we will become. Even if we have had something horrendous happen in our lives, we make to a large extent the decision on how we will allow those events to affect and shape our futures. Many of the world’s greatest discoveries, artistic masterpieces and inventions were made in times of deepest trouble. Tough times can bring out the best in us. Disappointments and heartbreak can become opportunities.

In 1880 a little girl named Helen Keller was born. At 19 months of age she was struck down with an acute illness which left her both blind and deaf. As a result of these disabilities she was also unable to learn how to speak. Society didn’t specialise in the care she needed.

But a women name Anne Sullivan trained her not only to speak but to read. Helen Keller became a recognised author and lecturer, and received the presidential medal of freedom. Her lecturing tours were highly sought after. After World War 2 she visited wounded soldiers in hospitals, and spoke all over the world. She is known for her success, bravery , dignity and resolve to rise above life’s difficulties.

Sometimes life deals us lemons, but it is wisdom that says, “Don’t sit there sucking on those lemons, go and make some lemonade”.

 

We can’t change the past, and we definitely can’t live there, but we can shape the future. To make our future our best years, which means today has the potential to be the best day ever!

Raphael a famous Italian painter was asked which of his paintings was his greatest work? He thought for a moment and then said. “My next one“.

When it seems impossible Jesus says to look to Him. Look to Him when it is appears too difficult and you’re disappointed. Look to Him when you are tempted to settle for second best in your life. Allow Jesus to speak to you and to put vision and dreams in your heart. He is the restorer of broken dreams and infuses life into our hearts where we felt we were dead inside.

The bible says, “He gives life to the dead and call things that are not as though they were,”  and to, “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and to run with endurance the race that is set before usfixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith“. ((Romans 4:17; Hebrews 12:2)

Jesus came and gave His best – Himself.  He came so that we could have a life free from guilt, pain, shame and death. He is the ultimate positive thinker. He challenged traditions, and mindsets, stood up to hypocrisy and reached out to the lost, the hurting and the unaccepted. He gave His life to free mankind from the evil plans of the devil. He is our example, our guidepost and our benchmark.

Winston Churchill another person who “shone” in adversity once said, “Things don’t happen to me, I happen to things“. So I say, “Let’s go happen to things today, and make this one of our best days ever!”

Prayer: Jesus I choose to fix my eyes upon you; to not settle for second best and to set you as my example. I want to live a life “happening” to things, rather than waiting for things to happen to me. Please lead, guide and strengthen me to live my best life.  In Jesus name Amen.

 

29 March – No longer slaves!

no longer a slave

Today my husband and I took our two youngest children to the zoo. While there we looked at the Sun Bear’s exhibit and read about why two particular bears at our zoo paced back and forward across their enclosure as though they were chained up rather than behaving and moving in a more free and unlimited manner. However we soon learnt that as young cubs these bears had been harshly treated and before being rescued from their captors had been chained permanently to a post, which only allowed them limited movement. As a result they had been conditioned even though now no longer chained, to only pace back and forward in a small space.

As I watched the sun bears pacing I realised that we can do the very same thing. When we know Jesus and have asked Him to be part of our lives He comes and offers us freedom. The bible says, “who the son (Jesus) sets free is free indeed.” (John 8:36) Yet so often we live anything but free lives because we still think and act like we are in chains; chained to our past, our sin, our disappointments, our mistakes, our fears and every other thing that the devil came against us with. We pace back and forward stuck in narrow pathways and mindsets, when we have actually been given open access to all that heaven and earth has to offer. We have been given freedom, joy, and an amazing future where God is with us and for us.

Unfortunately instead of living out that freedom and exercising our dominion and authority over our circumstances because Jesus said we have that right, we often still live under our circumstances, and allow our past to dictate to our futures.

Thankfully Jesus declared that we have been set free, and that our past has been washed away. In relationship with Him we have been given a clean slate – He calls us new creations; born again with a new life and absolute freedom from the things that previously held us in chains. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 10:9)

The choice everyday therefore  is ours – will we live in slavery or embrace the freedom for which Jesus set us free?

Today consider carefully whether you are behaving and thinking like a slave; pacing back and forward hampered by limitations from your past or the lies the enemy is still telling you? Or are you choosing to live free, as a son or daughter of God with all the blessing and authority of heaven behind you? Jesus has broken every chain, which means we are longer slaves, so isn’t’ it about time we started truely living out our freedom?

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

You haven’t received the spirit of slaves that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the spirit of God’s adopted children by which we call out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)

Have a listen to this song “No longer slaves to fear” to encourage you today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxkNj5hcy5E

Prayer: Jesus thank you that when I ask you to be part of my life you set me free, and broke the bondage of slavery off my life.  Please help me to grasp hold of what you have done for me and that I would choose everyday to live out the freedom that is mine. In Jesus name Amen.

28 March -Seeing Jesus changes everything!

seein jesus

There is an account in the bible about the some friends of Jesus who met Him as they walked along the road after Jesus had risen from the dead. The strange thing is they didn’t recognise him. They didn’t expect to see Him walking along the road with them, and even when Jesus  shared a meal with them for the most part they couldn’t see Him for looking!

Luke 24:28-30 says,  “When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”

Jesus’s identity was hidden from them, and they could not see for looking even though their hearts burned within them. It was only when Jesus took the bread and broke it in the same manner as when he had at the last supper that His identity was revealed.(Mark 14:22)

Their eyes were suddenly opened!

But how often are we the same as those disciples? We fail to recognise Jesus?  We fail to see Him or His plans and purposes even when they are right in front of us?

Is it because He often works differently from what we expect? Or is it because when we pray we tell Him  how we want Him to answer? We like to dictate to God and when the answer comes in a different way we don’t at first recognise His hand.

The bible says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.…(Isaiah 54:8).

How often don’t we see Jesus when He is right in front of us because our hearts have become so cluttered and dull towards Him? When He speaks do we hear, and if we do hear, how often do we push Him and what He says aside and go our own way?

Yet if we hunger after God our eyes will be opened. The bible promises that if we draw near to God he’ll draw near to us. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him in truth“. (Psalm 145:18). He is ever ready, always calling and longing to reveal Himself and His kingdom to us.

Today why not take the time to seek after Jesus. Draw near to Him and He’ll draw near to you. He’s speaking and if you listen you will hear Him. Seek to know him and for the eyes of your heart to be opened. He promises He will answer and that you may see and feel and understand who He is and how much He loves you.

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart“. (Jeremiah 29:13)

My Prayer for you today is that,” God may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19). May you know Him and His awesome plan and love for you today. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

27 March – Think of five things

what god says

What we think of ourselves is what we often become. As the bible says, “as a man thinks in his heart so is he”. (Proverbs 23:7)

Which is why when we want to transform our life and begin to live the life for which we were created to live we have to challenge our thinking and any negative mindsets – to essentially get rid of our “stinking thinking”.

One of the ways we can be transformed is to make a list of five things that Jesus says about us and to memorize them. The point of this exercise is to develop new positive ways of thinking about ourselves, which will help us to live the abundant life that Jesus says are ours as we follow Him and His way of living. (John 10:10)

When we proactively spend time thinking on the things that Jesus says about us we actually create new neural pathways in our brains. These pathways become mindsets that direct our thoughts and help us to visualise our life easier.

Most of us desire to be transformed in some area of our lives and to grow and develop to be all that we were made to be. However the truth is we cannot always change our life, but if we change our thoughts God says He will transform our life as we begin to think and speak in line with what He says. He does the work in us as we open up our lives for him to work within our hearts.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his mighty power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Today don’t be “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) Spend time thinking about and memorising what Jesus says about you…that you are loved, forgiven, a new creation, able to do all things through Christ who strengthens you, have the wisdom of God, and all the power and strength of heaven behind you. (Romans 5:8; 1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 4:12)

Prayer: Jesus please help me to think about what you say about me rather than the negative thoughts that can so often fill my head. Thank you that as I think upon what you say about my life that you promise that you will transform my life. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

26 March – Spread some love around

spread love

Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Hatred paralyses life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonises it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it.

Love it would be fair to say “makes the world go around”. Love makes us flourish; it gives us a future. Love gives our lives meaning. Love makes us healthier.

The greatest science in the world, in heaven and on earth is love. And the most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved” (Mother Teresa)

How often does our attention and thoughts get caught up in thinking about the opposite of love – on negativity and the people who irritate us? Our minds and hearts can easily focus on the negative, annoying and even strange behaviour of others, and within a short space of time we are filled with negativity and unlovely thoughts and emotions.

But what if we spent a moment, every day thinking of someone to love? If first thing in the morning we asked ourselves and God the question “Who can I love today? Who can I send some love to today?”

God said His love in us never fails. That’s because His love is so powerful. The world and everything in it is framed by that love, and we are also made with an immense capacity to love if we will open up our hearts.

God says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,is not easily angered, it keeps no accountof wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things,believes all things, hopes all things,endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

When we wake up asking “Who can I love”, and keep on thinking that throughout the day, our attention is directed towards the positive as we consciously think and pray of people to love. Our minds are geared towards love and the good in people and the world. Instead of judging and getting annoyed we are redirecting our thoughts and hearts to love them.

Mother Teresa also said, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

Today “Don’t waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbour,  act as if you do”  For love is not something you just feel, it is something you do. (C.S. Lewis)

Ask everyday,  “who can I love today, and then go and do just that!

“If we have got the true love of God abroad in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do.” (Dwight Moody)

Prayer: Lord would you please fill my heart up with your love today and then show me who and where I can spread love around on today. In Jesus name Amen

25 March – Fear Not

fear not 2

Many people live in fear. Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain, whether the threat is real or imagined”. Fear carries the feelings of foreboding, apprehension, dismay, dread, terror, fright, and panic”. In other words fear is not good, and the devil uses it to keep people in a state of worry and anxiety, thus preventing many people from enjoying life.

We all need to check what fears we have in our life. What are we afraid of and where we  are limited because of our fears?

Some common fears are: fear of lack, death, loneliness, other people, commitment, heights, germs, closed-in spaces, airplanes, dogs, cats, failure, rejection, or being laughed at.

When we don’t deal with fear it leads to anxiety and worry, limiting our potential, and God’s purposes for our life. Which is exactly what the author of fear – the devil wants.

Therefore all of us must learn to deal with fear if we want to live free and the best way to combat fear, is to get strong in it’s opposite; which is faith. And where does faith come from? From being in relationship with God, and from knowing His word and hearing it.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

When we take an inventory of what we are feeling worried and fearful about, God will show us what the root cause of any worry and fear is. When we have that revelation, we can then build our faith in that area by applying the truth of God’s word and His promises.

We apply His Word by:

  1. Finding every promise in God’s word on the subject of our particular worry and fear. 
  2. Writing God’s word down. Put it on your phone, white board, the bathroom mirror, wherever you will see it.
  3. Speaking God’s word out – faith comes from hearing. Every time the fear rises up or thoughts cause you to worry, get the promises of God’s word and speak them over your fear, and “stick it” to the fear.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”(Psalm 56:3) 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Our faith in God, and what He says will remove and replace any fear with faith and peace, setting us free.

Today face your fears, and ask God to bring revelation of the root of your anxiety and fear. Once you have that revelation, apply the word of God, build your faith and break the bondage of fear.

Prayer: Lord I thank you that I don’t need to live in fear, for you are faithful to your promises and their ability to work in my life. Help me to face my fears, and to trust in you so that I can live in freedom. In Jesus name Amen.

24 March – “But you said!”

god said it

Our kids have a “come back” line that they often use on my husband and I, which if we are not careful can leave us in a predicament. I’ve learnt that our children do actually listen to what we say, and they will waste no time in reminding us of what we have said if we don’t follow through. Their favourite line in case we get busy or forget something is “But you said!” And indeed we usually have said; and if we want them to believe our word we have no option but to back up our words by actions.

Today I opened up a book I have beside my bed and a little piece of paper slipped out. It had been put there by one of our children, and on it were a drawing and two little words. This time it wasn’t, “Mum, you said!” It was instead a prayer request and the words, “God said!”

It made me stop and ponder, “what indeed has God said?”

From the very beginning God has said some things! He said when He created the universe out of a dark void, and He said it was good.

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.(Genesis 1:3)

He “said” when He created mankind, and He “said” when He blessed them and “said” “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

He “said” when He declared that, “he knows the plans He has for us, that, “they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)

 He “said”, “He gives power to the weak
 and strength to the powerless. 
Even youths will become weak and tired, 
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
 They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

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

 He “said”. “That He will supply all our needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:19)

And He “said”, “that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from His love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

He “said”,  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

God has said many things, and His great and precious promises He has declared so that we can know He is dependable. He is not a man that He should lie, or go back on His word. What He has said He means 100%. (2 Peter 1:4)

Today no matter what you may be facing, know that God has said some things to you. He has promised and declared some truths over your life and your future. If you take hold of His invitation to walk with Him, and trust and listen intently to what He has said in His Word, He will guide you through your life both now and forever. What He has said, and promised you, He has the power to accomplish, otherwise He wouldn’t have said it in the first place. 

Just as our kids remind us of what we have said, I encourage you to remind yourself of what God has said.God is listening when we remind Him of them, and the angels are ready to act when they hear these promises, so it’s more than okay to remind God as  one of His children of what, He has “said.”

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;It will not return to Me empty, Withoutaccomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sentit. (Isaiah 55:11)

“Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!” (Psalm 103:20)

Prayer: Lord I’m reminding you today of what you have said. Thank you for your  promises that I can depend on, and please help me to relax and rest in what you have said today.  In Jesus name Amen.

23 March – Devil in the details.

devil in the details

I’m a details type person. When faced with a task, project or challenge of some kind I take the big picture and then nut out the finer details to make it all happen, or to fix the problem. Details type people see the intricacies of what needs to be done and often are the one’s who make things look, smell and taste more special. They are the one’s who see the significance of the little things and remember random facts, people’s names, faces, places and conversations.

However the down side of being a details person is that you can very easily get “bogged down” in the details. Instead of finding a solution, getting on with a task or letting go and trusting God to work through and in circumstances, details people can go round and round in circles, going over and over the same conversations, arguments and problems and quickly feel overwhelmed and powerless to move forward. They can begin to only see the problem rather than a solution, and God’s promises and power to move.

Sometimes we need to look beyond the details because when it comes to believing God for something or we are required to stand in faith because God has spoken a promise or directive to us, it is faith sapping to constantly look at the details. That’s when the “devil is in the details”, because often all we can see or say  is “how on earth is this going to be okay – haven’t you seen what is going on in my world?”

Fortunately God never expects us to figure out the “how’s” of getting what is promised to us. All He asks is that we stand on what He has revealed to us and upon His Word – it’s His business to take care of the details not ours. I’m reminded of Mary’s response when the angel informed her that she was to become pregnant with Jesus the Saviour of the World. Instead of getting stuck in the details that she was a virgin, she chose to believe what had been spoken to her and replied” Be it unto me as you have said”. (Luke 1:38)

When Moses stood on the banks of the Red Sea with the Egyptian Army bearing down on him he chose to stand with only a word from God and His staff in His hand and believe that somehow God was going to deliver them. (Exodus 14:21)

When David a young shepherd boy ran into battle against the giant Goliath with only a sling and a stone he chose to believe that the same God who had helped him slay the lion and the bear while he cared for his father’s sheep would be with him to slay this giant warrior also. (1 Samuel 17:48-49)

They all chose to forgo looking at the details, and instead to believe that when God is for them, who can be against them. They chose to stand and act upon the word of God revealed to them, and because they did they received the promise and the victory.

 “If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.” (Romans 8:31-32)

Today I encourage you, even if you are a details person, that when it comes to believing and standing on a word and promise from God and trusting Him to take care of your every need and heart’s desire, not to get stuck in the details!

The details are where the devil likes to try and undermine our faith and trust by throwing up problems, and whispering to us, “how can that be possible, haven’t you seen the situation?” But today push back at the “devil in the details” and let you response be, “all things are possible for those who believe, and I’m letting God take care of the details.” 

“He knows us far better than we know ourselves…that’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:27-28)

“God can do anything you know – far more than you can imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams. He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Ephesians 3:20 Message Bible)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that you know every detail of my life and yet you still promise that you have it all in your capable hands. I choose to believe what you say regardless of the problems or challenges I’m facing and to trust you to work out all the details today. In Jesus name Amen.

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