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April 2018

21 April – No more settling

no more settling

Don’t settle for less! There is so much more that God wants to reveal to us, to bless us with and to share with us. He says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. (Jeremiah 29:13) He is not far from each one of us, no matter who we are, what we’ve done, or what we are going through.

We can often wonder why we feel disquieted on the inside, why we struggle to be at peace, and why we feel like there must be more, but we don’t know where to find it. That’s because there is more! There is a feast on offer, but it’s not found in our jobs, in more activity, in our programs and entertainment. The feast is found in seeking after and spending time in the presence of God and getting to know His plans for our life. There is more substance in one encounter with Him than anything or anyone can come close to equalling. And the thing is, we have this everyday! God wants us to desire His presence, to want Him to show up in our room, in our house, in our car, our workplace, everywhere more than anything or anyone else, more than any pursuit, job, program, meeting, holiday, or relationship.

But far too often we are happy to settle! To settle for so much less than what God has on offer. We go for the “fast food lane”, when there is a banquet on offer. We go for the “snack” here, snack there” quick fix, rather than the full on, overwhelming, awe inspiring, jaw dropping, presence of God Himself. 

Every single person has this invitation to know Him, to experience Him, to understand the mysteries of the Universe, to become aware of His plan and purposes, and to her a friend of God Himself.

But what do many of us do? We snack; going from one week to the next nibbling on snippets of whatever or whoever makes us feel good. Or settling for a glimpse of who God is, and being content in our thinking that is all there is. Our lives are filled with so much activity; so many meetings, coffees and programs. And because we snack on so many other things we are no longer hungry for more of God. We can forget there is more, and we settle!

But God says there is more and to, “Come up, lift your vision, lift your expectation of me. Your picture of me, and who I am is too small. I love you and I am greater and more powerful than you thought even possible.”

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)

“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.”(Jeremiah 29:11)

Today don’t be content to settle for “snacking” your way through life. Don’t settle any longer for a quick fix Jesus.” Let’s value and honour Him more than that just  programs and meetings. Draw near to Him; shake off the distractions, and the low expectations of God; shake off the systems that so easily dictate, and choose to love and value Him for who He is, for all He has done, for the life He gives, and for the the plan He has. Today make a decision to settle for nothing less than all that He has for you.

You have an open invitation. If you don’t know Him, call out to Him, for “He is not far from each one of us”, and He promises, “that those who diligently seek me will find Me.” (Acts 17:27; Proverbs 8:17)

Prayer: Lord I’m sorry for settling and where I have desired other things; other pursuits, other relationships more than knowing you and what you want to share with me.  I’ve let myself be content with snacking when I could have been having a feast and today I choose to change what I’m feeding on. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

20 April – Look to the light

look to the light

What we behold we reflect, so what are we beholding? Far too often we are looking at the darkness instead of at Jesus who is the ultimate light source.We get caught up looking at all the darkness and the things that the devil is saying and doing and it draws us down, often diminishing our awareness of Jesus and His goodness.

But God wants us to come up and look at Him; at His goodness, love and the light of His glory so that we reflect and radiate those things. The darkness cannot extinguish His light, but we do need to be mindful of what we are looking and thinking upon. The bible encourages us to think upon those things that are pure, good, lovely and worth giving a shout about. (Philippians 4:8)

To help us God has given us His Word as a great source of light that illuminates our path, and helps us to know what to look at and think upon. “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,” and (Psalm 119;105)

However we can often fall into the trap of thinking that we need to know all about what is going on in the world around us, and even surmise and spiritualise that unless we know the news, what’s on face book or the latest conversation happening that we won’t know what to pray for. But if we are walking in the Spirit we’ll be directed to the things that we need to be aware of and given heaven’s revelation and knowledge about what we are to pray for? If God wants us to know something and we live open to His leading and guidance He will direct our paths, and reveal things to us. Then we don’t need to live inundated with current world events that can often overwhelm us and cause our hearts to be troubled, rather than activate us to pray in faith.

When we live in that realm of looking upon His glory and light we are lifted above the darkness and are able to hear from heaven, receive all the revelation and insights we need, and are able to pray prayers that are powerful and effective, rather than full of worry and fear.

Today look to Jesus who is the word who “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. (John 1:14) No darkness can dispel His light, and as we look at Him we reflect His love and goodness, as we become lights to the world just as Jesus said we were.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket.Instead, they set it on a lamp stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (John 5:14-16)

Prayer: Lord help me to not get distracted or dragged down by any of the darkness of the world, but to look to you and your light and glory which lifts me up, so that I reflect your goodness and hope to all those around me. In Jesus Name Amen

19 April – He always has a plan!

god's plan for you

One of the things you soon learn about God once in relationship with Him is that He always has a plan and it’s inevitably far better than anything we could ever think up. The question we however have to regularly ask ourselves is, “are we willing to trust God’s plan, and will we choose to walk in His plan rather than ours?” I guess that’s the “Lord” part of having a relationship with Him. We like the “Saviour” part of being set free from sin and death and spending eternity in heaven but can often struggle with the “Lord” part of choosing daily to follow His plan for our lives rather than doing what we want to do, and how we want to do it.

Unfortunately it doesn’t usually work very well when we try to live life with feet on either sides of the fence, with our way on one side, and God’s way on the other. We ultimately have to choose, and inevitably if we have not surrendered all our hearts to following God’s way of doing things we will usually, under pressure choose our way. That’s because we feel in control and there is no need to trust anyone other than ourselves. We may cancel out the supernatural power of God being released in our circumstances by choosing to do things our way, but “hey at least we’re in control right?”

God however longs to bless and give into our lives and when we do choose to place our lives in His capable, loving hands we soon discover that His plans and strategies to fulfil them are always far, far better than we could have ever imagined. He actually promises that through His mighty power at work in us that He will do superabundantly more than we can ever ask, think, pray, dream or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). His plans are in contrast to ours, perfect. Their outcome always exceeds expectations and more often than not also encompasses those around us. We see ourselves, whilst God sees the big picture.

Today I encourage you to place your life in the hands of God who loves, cares and has the best in mind for you. It may at times seem like it is taking longer to do it God’s way, but He sees the beginning from the end and everything in between and there is always purpose and growth in the process of walking out His plan for our lives.  Trust God and that even if you don’t fully understand how it’s all going to work that He is faithful to complete that which he has started in us, and will perfect that which concerns us.

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

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 1:6)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you love me and that even though I can make my plans, yours are always so much better for you promise that, “you know the plans you have for me, and that they are plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). I place my life in your capable hands today and trust you to direct my steps. In Jesus name Amen.

18 April – What is true

what is truth

In a world where we are often told truth is relative and fluid, we are faced with the question, “what is true?”

This is especially relevant if we are in the midst of change, transition or things just don’t seem to be going well in our lives. Life is full of moments when we can feel like everything we thought we knew, the people we thought we had relationships with, or the path we envisaged we were on, suddenly shifts and changes.

When we face these times in our life, it’s so important to know in our hearts what is true. What hasn’t changed, who is in our corner with us, who and what will not change?

God promises that He does not change. He does not change who He is, or His plan for mankind at a whim. He is unchanging, and steady, and someone in whom we can depend. Our love and commitment can change, but His love and faithful for us does not!

As we grow to know God more, we will discover some truths about Him. Those truths are what will hold us steady in the midst of change, comfort us in hardship, and strengthen us so we can keep walking. The truth about God is that:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)

God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)

“The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail”. (Lamentations 3:22)

 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” .(Isaiah 40:8)

Today be encouraged that God does not change. When you are seeking for what is true, and something and someone you can depend on, look to Him, and look to His Word. God and His word are one, and therefore His word is true. If you want to know what to do, say and how to act in your life; in your work, study and relationships, then the ultimate guide is God and His Word. He is our road map, compass, and light, and God and His words will see us through every decision and comfort and strengthen us in every adversity and challenge.

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

If we base our decisions and life on it; don’t act without consulting it, think of what it says before we answer or say anything, and search in it for the answers and way to move forward, then we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. It’s in that freedom that we are enabled and empowered to live our best life.

Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. (John 8:31-32)

Prayer: Lord please help me to know and stand on the truth of your word. Thank you that your word is unchanging, and that in it I can find the truth I need to live freely. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

17 April – New things

new things

Before God does anything He always speaks through people who are listening out for what He is saying. All through the bible and history you see this happening. God speaks, people hear and then declare what He is saying, and it then happens.

Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets”. (Amos 3:7NKJV)

To take hold of and start to declare what God is releasing from heaven we however  need to let go of all the stuff that can so easily hold us down and back from being what God has purposed. To let go of some of our mindsets and thinking about God, our methods, and some of the ways we may have always related to Him and instead allow God to reveal to us what He is doing, and planning to release from heaven onto earth. 

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

When God speaks it can be confronting because it often challenges our belief systems, our comfortability, our mindsets, and the state of our surrender and commitment to God. It challenges us to step up into new places with Him, and to face those things that we may have been keeping hidden from others view.

To be honest some don’t want to hear such a message from God, or from those who have been given the mandate to share it. They don’t want to listen, or change, or shift their point of view. They are happy where they are at, and you know what – God loves those people too. He loves everyone even if they are struggling to love him back, or hesitant to make changes in their lives, or to believe the new things He is sharing from heaven. He still loves us all.

But I encourage you today to hear what is coming forth out of heaven. That there are winds of change blowing, and a shifting in the way things are done. God is speaking, He’s revealing, He is showing up in people’s world’s so that those who are prepared to listen will hear and be in the very midst of God moving mightily upon the earth.

Seek Him and you will find Him. Listen and you will hear Him; have a heart that is humble and just wants to know and love Him, and you will sense and feel the winds of change blowing and the new things being released from heaven.

“The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8-9)

Prayer: Lord please make us uncomfortable where we need to be uncomfortable; shake us where we need to be shaken. Where we have been complacent or half-hearted in our commitment and love for you, would you reveal to us our own hearts and lead us into a deeper relationship with you. We don’t want to miss what you are doing and releasing from heaven, so make us ready and openhearted to you Lord. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

16 April – Change

change

Today I want to talk about Change. I’ve realised something about myself, and that is that I actually like change. I might not think I do in the middle of transition, when life is messy and I’m being stretched. But I do like change, and I like being around people who embrace that philosophy of life too.

To change should mean to grow.

We all have the capacity for massive growth and development in every area of our lives.

It really is fear and pride that causes a person to have the attitude: “This is who I am, either like it or lump it”

I read an article this week about marriage, but it really covers an attitude for all or our lives and relationships: It said, “We may fall in love with any kind of person, but the person we choose to marry must embody one particular quality: they must be committed to constant change and transformation. We should not choose someone who is perfect. We should choose someone who is perfectly aware they aren’t perfect, and who wants to get better with every day. We marry people because we like who they are. But people change. Plan on it. Don’t marry someone because of who they are, or who you want them to become. Marry them because of who they are determined to become. And then spend a lifetime joining them in their becoming, as they join you in yours.”

There is something powerful about a commitment to change and transformation, and about a person who has vision and purpose and desires to change for the better.

That type of person has a special quality about them, they know who they want to become, and are committed to growth and transformation.

God has an invitation into our lives when we have that sort of attitude. He loves us just the way we are. He accepts us just how we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us like that.

The change we need most is not in our circumstances, but in ourselves.

Today determine to become a person who makes a commitment to growth and transformation. Invite God into every area of your life to grow and develop you to be all that you can be.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”. (Romans 12:2)

Prayer: Lord I invite you to bring growth and change to every area of my life. Help me to remember that you love and accept me just as I am, but you also love me too much to leave me with some of my attitudes and hurts. Help me to continually grow to be all that you created me to be. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

15 April – Keep your hopes alive

hope

One thing I have learnt is the importance of keeping our hopes alive. The definition of hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. It entails a desire, expectation ambition, aim and dream.

However when we know God hope is even better because it’s not just having a wish or a desire, but a settled confidence in God and His promises. Instead of just hoping for something, our hope is in someone, and God is that someone who loves, cares and always wants the very best for us.

This hope is not based on our own abilities or the good will of the universe, but in God who has the power to accomplish all things, including the seemingly impossible.

This type of hope the bible says will never allow us to be put to shame. Even when we may feel that all hope is lost, or the world around us is saying,“give up”, God declares that He is faithful to His Word and to remain steadfast in our believing knowing that all things are possible for those who believe.

The bible says, “No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced…Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you”. (Psalm 25: 3-5)

However as we all know our hope can often be put under pressure and even attacked. One of hopes biggest enemies is having to wait for things to happen, which is why waiting  can erode away at our confidence as the days, weeks, months and sometimes years pass by.  It’s especially in waiting that our hope has to be strengthened, nourished and energised for it to remain and work at it’s best. It doesn’t just happen and we do need to make an effort to cultivate and maintain our hope.

In the midst of waiting I’ve discovered that God doesn’t  view time the way we do and as much as we hate to hear it,“God is quite often simply not in a hurry.”

The bible says, “do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9)

That is why it is so important to continually stir up and fuel our hope; that we draw close to God and check that what we are believing for is in agreement with His Word and will for our lives; that we continue to meditate on His promises and to regularly connect with others who know God and His ways, and who will encourage us to keep hoping and believing.

Today take the time to strengthen your hope in God and what you are believing and hoping for. “Don’t give up, and “don’t become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9). Keep your eyes upon Jesus who is the author and finisher of your faith and upon your goals and dreams, remembering everyday that God is good and He always has your best interests in mind. Focus your eyes upon Him and keep your hopes alive.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)

The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”(Psalm 147:11)

Prayer: Lord help me to keep my hopes alive and to remain hopeful even when I have to wait, or when others say it is impossible. Today I choose to keep believing for good things because you are the one I put my hope and trust in. In Jesus name Amen.

 

14 April – The art of Schole’

whatever is good

Being a home schooling mum I know what it is to have days where I am faced with my  inadequacies, fears and doubts on a continual basis.

Questions like, “Who am I, what on earth do I have to offer, what are my strengths, how and where do I operate best, and how do I want my children to imitate me are regularly asked. That may sound exhausting, but in actual fact I have come to understand that these questions and the need for reflection as to who I am, how I am living and what I am spending my life doing are in l fact very healthy for continual growth as a person.

In these reflections I have discovered a Greek word Schole, which is where we get the English word school from. It means restful learning or leisure, which is in sharp contrast to our modern education system and the mindset of productive work category, which leads us to predominantly emphasize results, production, and checklists.

Unfortunately it seems that production, results and a constant “work” mentality doesn’t end with school as how often do we as adults fail to see the value in leisure, rest, in doing something for the joy of it, of taking to find what interest us and what we are good at and enjoy doing?

Instead we can become driven, have no idea what we like doing for fun, and leisure and personal discovery are for other people who aren’t as busy or financially limited as we are.

Which is why I am discovering the significance of bringing Schole into my world. It’s actually something I feel God regularly whisper to me during my day. “Look for the beauty, the true and the good”. Therefore it makes sense that the first step to bringing restful learning or Schole into our lives is to actively seek and begin to surround ourselves with the true, the good and the beautiful. To seek to find Jesus all around us, and to give time and space to discover Him in our day.

Schole encourages us to have beautiful things around our home that give us something to think about and contemplate. It could just mean planting some flowers that you can see from the window or placed inside, cooking and eating something really yummy, music, art, inspiring books, or decorating for the season. It’s in doing something you love like playing sport, exercising or just stopping to breathe. For it’s in finding the beauty, the good and the true that we find rest and much needed leisure from “work”, and interestingly this environment is far more conductive to learning and discovery.

Today I encourage you to take the time to nourish your soul; to fuel your spirit and replenish your body. Practice the art of Schole – the art of restful, deep and meaningful learning and discovery, and of surrounding yourself with the true, the good and the beautiful. God is all around us and He has so much to share and it’s especially easy to receive all He has to impart to us when we already, “fixing our thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable; and thinking about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8). It’s in restful learning that we discover Him.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Prayer: Lord please help me to surround myself with things that help me to remember that life is not all about production and results, but also about what is true, good and beautiful, because in them I also discover and learn from you. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 April – I will not come down there!

I am doing a great work

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” (Nehemiah 6:3)

Whenever we are in the process of pushing through for something to happen in our life it is so important to keep looking ahead and moving forward even if it feels like we are progressing very, very slowly. There are seasons in all our lives when we may feel like we are making no or little progress in our journey, but it’s at these times that it is so important to not allow ourselves to get discouraged or distracted.

God has a plan for our lives and when we can’t see any progress we can rest assured that God has not stopped working behind the scenes to fulfil that which He has begun, because He promises that He will finish what He has started in us.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ developing that good work and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you”. (Philippians 1:6 AMP)

The most important thing for us to do is keep our heads up and look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; to look up and set our minds and heart towards heaven where we gain God’s perspective – where the air is clear and we can see; to look up and refuse to allow our hearts to become downcast.

And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 43:5)

King David and Nehemiah are some of my favourite men of faith in the bible. Nehemiah is a great example of keeping focused on a task. He was given the job of rebuilding the broken down walls of Jerusalem. The people were discouraged, their enemies were constantly taunting them and progress was at a standstill. Nehemiah through wisdom, faith, patience and planning gathered the people and got the job done even though they were under constant enemy attack. He refused to be distracted from his destiny and the call of God on his life and overcame incredible odds.  (Nehemiah 1- 7)

Likewise King David’s life serves both as an encouragement and example to us on how to just keep walking even when all our circumstances are screaming defeat and disappointment. Anointed to be the next King, victorious in his battle over the giant Goliath, and taken to live in the royal palace, David soon found himself fleeing for his life from the jealous rages of King Saul. Forced to leave everything and everyone behind in order to preserve his own life, David more than anyone would have had good reason to give up and let go of what God had spoken to him of his future as the next King. He had every excuse to come down to the level of his enemies and fight “dirty”. Yet David did not. He remained faithful, steadfast and chose to hold onto the promise and Word of God and because of that God brought Him into victory and His “promised land”. (2 Samuel)

Both David and Nehemiah’s lives are a great reminder and testimony that whenever God speaks to us of our future and of His plans and dreams for us, that we must also remember that it’s going to take something great to bring it to pass. Vision and fulfilling our destiny in God always requires patience, prayer, and planning to possess our “promised land”.

We all have divine potential to do all that God has put in our heart to be and do. Whatever it is today that God has spoken to you, I encourage you to stay focused and continue to give the Word of God revealed to you and your circumstances your consistent and daily attention.

Refuse to get down into the trenches where fear, worry and the concerns and distractions of this world can cloud your view. Keep your mind on heaven and refuse to be moved by anything other than what God has revealed and spoken to you. As Nehemiah wisely said to his distractors who tried to call him away from his task, “ I am doing a great work and I cannot come down”. Learn from him and stay up where you belong, with a heavenly perspective and mindset so that you can keep pursuing all that Jesus has for your life.

Prayer: Lord help me to stay up where I belong seated in heavenly places with you. For there I can keep perspective and remain consistent in the great work that you have planned and purposed for my life. I cannot and will not “come down” today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

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