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August 2018

22 Aug – Grace changes everything

grace

“Its not fair!’ It’s something our kids often vehemently declare upon deciding they have been at the receiving end of an injustice or what they perceive as unfair. It’s perhaps something most of us either say, think or feel regularly if we were completely honest.

But Jesus actually messes with our thoughts on fairness because in His economy life and His gift of grace has nothing to do with being fair or giving to us what we deserve.

When we read the bible and get to know God and His heart for all mankind we learn something both amazing and confusing. We read of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance, broke his Father’s heart, and then eventually came back home destitute and  asking for a job. Instead of punishing his son the Father rejoiced, threw a big party and proclaimed, “my son was lost, but now he is found”. (Luke 15:11-32) His brother however is heard saying the words, which perhaps have rung out in our own hearts…”but that’s not fair, I’ve been doing the right thing, working and being a good son and you have never thrown a big party for me.”

“But that’s not fair!” would undoubtedly have been muttered amongst the those listening as Jesus told the parable of the workers who were hired to labour in a farmer’s field. Some started early in the morning and worked all day in the hot sun, others started a few hours later and then finally there were those who had been idly standing around in the marketplace doing nothing until they were called to work for the last hour of the day. At payment time as work ended for the day all were given the same amount of wages regardless of the hours they had worked. What employer does that, paying the same amount for an hour’s work as for twelve? (Matthew 20:1-16)

Or the astounding act of grace extended to the hardened criminal who hung on a cross beside Jesus as He died. This man who had undoubtedly lived a godless existence chose in his final moments on earth to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God and in doing so received forgiveness and an eternity in heaven. (Luke 23:39-43)

It doesn’t really make sense to a world where we are taught that nothing is free, no pain, no gain, you must work for everything you have and people get what they deserve. Yet, “if I care to listen, I hear a loud whisper from the gospel that I did not get what I deserved. I deserved punishment and got forgiveness. I deserved wrath and got love. I deserved debtor’s prison and got instead a clean credit history. I deserved stern lectures and crawl on you knees repentance; I got a banquet spread out for me.”(Philip Yancey)

God’s motive and heart towards us are always so full of grace. This grace can’t be earned and is nothing to do with finishing last or first or reliant on our self worth, works or anything we do or don’t do, but instead is a free gift from God, already bought and paid for. And His grace is definitely not fair in the world’s way of thinking, otherwise only “good” people would be loved and forgiven by God, the hard working would be the only one’s rewarded and if you only squeezed into heaven on your dying breath you would be viewed as insignificant in the company of the great men and woman of faith and good works.

But thank God for His grace that actually isn’t anything to do with “fairness” and which even though He always plainly sees us at our very best and worst, still extends His grace to us anyway.  It’s a grace that never gives up on us; which is faithful to perfect that which it starts in us and promises we can never drift so far away from God’s love and grace that He won’t come looking for us and bring us home.

 For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 TPT)

“Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?”

Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” (Luke 5:29-32 Message translation)

Have a listen to this song by Bethel music and Jeremy Riddle called, “This is Amazing Grace to encourage you to receive His Grace today.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn5zk3yCRr0

Prayer: Lord please help me to comprehend that your face is not about anything I can do or what is even fair, but all about you and your love for me. I thank you for your great grace today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

21 Aug – Frequencies of heaven

sound-of-heaven

Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) That’s because God knows how counterproductive and faith sapping it is to allow our hearts to be troubled and afraid. Cares, worries or simply being too busy can pull us out of connection and trust in God, and dull our senses to His presence and the heavenly realms.

We live surrounded by frequencies – of both heaven and earth. I call the world’s frequency a low level life in comparison to heavens reality and the life we were made to live and be aware of in God. Essentially the world offers a lower version of existence where the devil puts out His own frequencies which carry stress, constant striving, depression, fear, sickness, anger, wickedness and the lusts of the flesh to name a few. If we aren’t living “above” these things and being continually connected to God then these frequencies can adversely affect us. 

But we were created to walk in the light and frequency of heavens sounds and light, and to live from “above”, from God’s perspective and understanding. All God’s love, goodness, kindness, wisdom, and revelation surrounds us and it is from this place with, and in Him that we discover a realm that overrides the natural and releases God’s plan and purposes for us individually and for all creation.

Unfortunately when we allow the things of the world; the cares, busyness and concerns of life to clutter up hearts and focus it’s much more difficult to engage and fix our eyes and hearts upon heaven and what God is doing. That clutter, in a sense pull us down and out of the awareness of heaven and even of God’s presence.

However when we untether our hearts and minds from the things of the world; “set our minds upon things above, not on the things of the earth” and cast our cares upon Jesus and rely on His promises that He will meet all our needs and the desires of our hearts, then the distractions of the world won’t so easily crowd out our awareness of heavenly realms. God has given us an invitation to live in His realms because He really doesn’t want us to be dragged down by our circumstances and the devils’ tactics against us. He wants us to soar on wings like eagles, live from above and not beneath, and prosper in all we do.

And many people shall come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” (Isaiah 2:3 AMP)

Today I encourage you to accept His invitation to cast all your cares upon Him and to “come up,” and discover for yourself just how much God loves you and the things He especially wants to reveal to you.

Have a listen to this song by Jen Johnson called “Gravity” to encourage you today to come up above it all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHlRSZkz5vU

Prayer: Lord I ask that you help me to untether from the cares and troubles of the world, and that I would “come up”  and to become more aware of you and the frequencies of heaven. In Jesus name Amen.

 

20 Aug – Time to be quiet

quiet

Quiet means the absence of noise or bustle; it is silence, or to be calm and still.

The beauty of being quiet is that we have time and space to calm our minds and hearts, and can reconnect with both God and ourselves. Without that time of quiet it becomes very hard to hear God’s leading, and to be in tune with our own thoughts and emotions.

Jesus who the world and history agrees is one of the greatest leaders and influencers of all time set an example of giving time to be quiet. At the peak of His earthly ministry when crowds surrounded him at every turn and people were coming from everywhere to hear him speak and be prayed for, Jesus would withdraw by Himself to a solidary place so that he could be quiet and pray. He knew the value of quietness, of focusing on the important rather than urgent and the vital necessity to commune with heaven.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you”(Mark 1:35-37)

If Jesus, the Son of God felt the need to have times of quiet so as to be effective and centred, why on earth do we think we can live victorious, fruitful, joyful lives without doing the same? Yet so often instead of quietness we surround ourselves with constant noise from technology, people, and our need for activity. We then wonder why we feel directionless, unsure, powerless to effect change and stressed out.

Today I encourage you to follow the example of Jesus and to regularly take time to be quiet. To turn off the noise, to draw away to a solidary place, even if only for a few moments, and to, “be still and know that He is God.” (Psalm 46:10) For God promises that as we seek Him and wait upon Him in the quietness that,“He will renew our strength; we shall mount up with wings as eagles; we shall run, and not be weary; and we shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)

Prayer: Lord please help me to wait on you in the quiet. That you would still my racing mind and heart and help me to be still so that you can restore and renew my strength, and so that  I might hear from heaven today. In Jesus name Amen.

19 Aug – Don’t give up!

perseverance

When you read the story of the Wright Brothers – the two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful airplane you can’t help but be inspired

On reading their story you might wonder why they bothered. Their bicycle shop was very successful so they didn’t need the money or prestige, but why would you want to fly? “Do you really think man can fly? Man wasn’t meant to fly! Leave flying to the birds and get a grip on reality, man will never fly.”

Or so went the traditional wisdom of the day. But a small band of determined inventors dreamt of the day that man would fly and were determined to make that dream a reality. Amongst these dreamers were the brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright.

In many ways their quest was ridiculous as little was understood about aerodynamics. Birds flew and kites flew, but precisely what made either possible was still largely a mystery. However this lack of knowledge didn’t deter the Wrights. They had a dream. And somehow, although they didn’t at first know how, they believed it could be done and were determined to learn whatever was necessary to make their dream of controlled sustained flight a reality.

Their quest began in earnest in the winter of 1900, but it was not until December 17, 1903 that the first successful controlled flight was made. It lasted 12 seconds.

From that first 36.5 meter, 12 second flight, we have progressed a long way. Not in their wildest dreams could Wilbur and Orville Wright have foreseen the progress that would be made in powered flight.

But as amazing as the invention of the aeroplane was, these two men and the many others who have also dreamt big dreams, goes far beyond the process and technique of a new invention or the ingenuity of flight.What their success can teach us is the lessons and benefits of perseverance.

Through mishaps, discomfort, accidents, and the countless hours spent studying and perfecting their flying machine these two brothers are both astounding examples of the power of belief and perseverance. Quite frankly they just refused to give up.

Today if you have a dream, know that just because everyone may think it’s impossible and even laugh at you, does not mean you are crazy or have a problem. Know that with God all things are possible and that He gives us strength to keep going and to keep persevering.

Two bicycle mechanics with a dream changed our concept of travel and consequently our view of the world simply because they refused give up or to listen to those who said it couldn’t be done.

The Inscription on the Wright memorial reads, “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Conceived by genius. Achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.”

There will always be two groups of people in the world: those who point out and talk about what may be possible and those who set out to achieve it. Today I encourage you to be the latter and determine to be someone who has dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith!

Know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

“You created earth and sky by your great power – by merely stretching out your arm! There is nothing you can’t do.” (Jeremiah 32:17 NIV)

Prayer: Lord thank you for the amazing ability you have placed within us to persevere. Help me to strengthen this resolve in me to keep going, to persevere and to not give up. In Jesus Name Amen.

18 Aug – The root of rejection

identity-in-christ

Rejection – the act of refusing to accept an idea, suggestion, proposal or person.

It seems that almost everyone has or will experience rejection to some level in their lifetime. But why does rejection cut us so deeply and seem to attack the very core and essence of who we are?

Perhaps it is because rejection by design is a way to destroy our life and confidence in who God has created us to be. Jesus said, “I have come to give you abundant life”, but he also said that the devil only seeks to rob, kill and destroy. So the source of rejection is a no brainer. It’s from what I call the “pit” itself.  (John 10:10)

Rejection can cause deep emotional wounds if not properly dealt with, which can then grow into spiritual wounds such as un-forgiveness, stubbornness, jealousy, poor self-esteem and envy. These wounds leave an open door in our hearts and warp our identity. Through the cut of rejection we can struggle with issues such as acceptance, not being real with others, self-pity, blaming God for our problems or that we don’t like ourselves, insecurities, worthlessness, fear of confrontation and constantly worrying about what others might think of us. We can even become someone who likes to fix everyone else’s problems because it makes us feel better about ourselves and to feel important and needed.

However, “The root of rejection is actually incredibly simple: damage from rejection is the result of misplaced identity. Whenever we base our identity on somebody or something other than what God says about us we make ourselves vulnerable to the damage of rejection.” (S.Bitcon)

God never created us to ever feel the pain of rejection. He wants us to know who we are, how much He loves us, that He accepts and appreciates us, and that no matter where we go we can never go too far for Him to find us. Where the devil wants to undermine and destroy our identity, self-esteem and life, God wants to build us up, to help us achieve our dreams and for us to understand how deep, wide, long and high His love is for us so that we can then find wholeness and identity in that love. (Ephesians 3:18)

Today I encourage you to think carefully about who defines you and what you base your identity on. Take some time to seek God out and to read His words about what and how He feels about you. For when we base our identity on what He says about us we can become virtually rejection prove because our identity rests in the one who created and thought of us in the first place. He says we are accepted and worthy not because of  our performance, popularity, approval or any worth bestowed on us from others, but because we are His children and He loves us.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”(1 John 3:1-2 NIV)

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.“(Psalm 34:18)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”(Romans 8:31 ESV)

Prayer:Lord thankyou that you love and accept me and only ever want the very best for my life. Please heal any wounds of rejection I may have and fill my heart up with your love. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

17 Aug – All we need

god has you

Often we get trapped in our wrong thinking about what God can do, whether we can trust Him, what is possible and whether we are worthy and because of that we can go off doing our own thing instead of trusting God and His timing. We can also start to believe the lies whispered to us that God is a “Kill joy”, or that He doesn’t love and care about us enough.

However if we take some time to read God’s words in the bible we will soon find out that lie couldn’t be further from the truth. God is love and He wants to share His joy, fun and exuberance for life with us. He wants us to be free from toil, worry and strife. But how often have we read in His Word or hear him whisper “Don’t worry, don’t be afraid”, and yet we still do?

Yet God knows everything we need, every bill that needs paid, every family drama, every demand on our time and energy, every concern, hope and dream. He knows it all, and He wants to be right in the center of it all, because He loves us and cares for each one of us.

Today I encourage you to begin to get rid of any wrong thinking you have about who God is, who He says you are and what it means to have Him in your life. He is waiting, He is calling and what He has planned for you is all good. Today allow Him to really take a hold of your life and all of your concerns, hopes and dreams and find out what a difference He will make in every area of your life when you do.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” (Matthew 11:28-30 TPT)

Prayer: Lord I thank you for your love that surpasses anything the world has to offer. Forgive me where I have thought of you as something you are not, and have fallen into toiling and stressing, instead of living life as you made me to live it. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

16 Aug – You can change!

you can change

It was only a few years ago that neuroscientists believed that the brain was like a hardwired machine. Any damage or trauma experienced to a persons brain was seen to be incurable and function rather than restoration was the aim of health practitioners.

In the last few decades however science has made the discovery that our brains are in fact changeable and malleable. Instead of us having brains that are “stuck” in certain thought patterns, mindsets, negativity, damage, trauma or even predispositions, our brains are in fact changing moment by moment every day. This change and adaptability is called nueroplasticity.

This nueroplasticity is exciting as it means regardless of what has happened to us, or how we may currently think we can change. We can actually change the physical makeup of our brains through our thinking and choices. Every night while we are sleeping baby nerve cells are being created so that when we wakeup each morning they are at our disposal to replace any negative toxic thinking, to learn, and to rebuild healthy thoughts. The birth of these new baby nerve cells is called neurogenesis.

We may not be able to control everything about our day, but we can definitely control our thoughts and consequently our reactions.  Each morning those new nerve cells can be shaped and used to replace any thoughts we don’t care to have. Science is agreeing with what God says; we can be transformed, healed, set free, and given the ability to start each new day afresh.

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Today be encouraged by how God has created us, for we aren’t stuck with the way we think or the habits we may have struggled with; even if we have thought or reacted in certain ways for years. God has wired and created us to grow, develop and change! Reach forward towards the person and way of thinking and living Jesus has called you to. Read the Bible today and put to good use those new baby nerve cells to think thoughts of love, hope, victory and faith.

With God’s help, “If you wired those toxic thoughts in, you can wire them out.” (Dr Caroline Leaf) 

But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” ( Philippians 3:13)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that you have created me with the ability to constantly change and develop. Help me to observe and change any unproductive unhealthy thoughts and habits I have so that I can be all that you made me to be. In Jesus name Amen.

 

15 Aug – Swampy ground

living water

On my run today I passed a section along the roadside where I noticed a large stretch of land which resembled a swamp with stagnant water, rubbish everywhere from passing traffic and a putrid smell arising from it.

This mess has occurred because there is insufficient drainage, boggy ground and a lot of collected rubbish blocking the drains. As I ran past I realised that this is also how our internal world can be if we are not careful. We can all get bogged down with negativity, resentments and undealt with issues which inhibit any healthy life giving things flowing in or out of our lives. Instead we collect rubbish, our hearts turn sour and “smelly” and blockages form in our lives.

There is however an answer to this dilemma in that we clean out our internal world’s and invite God’s presence to flow through every part of our being.

John 14:14 in the bible says that Jesus’ presence in our lives is like living water. His living water of life bring His love, peace, power, and joy as it flows like rivers within and through us. He wants us to keep our hearts free from those things that cause us to get “bogged” down and cause blockages in our hearts, minds and spirit’s so that He can instead continually flow His living waters through every part of our lives.

I encourage you today to allow Jesus to wash away any swampy ground of hurt, unforgiveness, tiredness and toil, so that His life and love can flow through every part of your being, bringing freedom and abundant life.

“Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. By this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; “(John 7:38)

Jesus came to set us free, He said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full“. (John 10:10)

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ” So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32,36)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ( Isaiah 40:31)

Prayer: Lord Jesus let your healing restoring life flow bringing life in every part of my spirit and soul. I want to live free of the weights and toil that so easily entangle me and to really live. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

14 Aug – Don’t be cheated

god's promise 2

Holding onto what God has said whilst living in a world that struggles to believe in anything that they can’t touch, see, or taste is a daily battle. Even when God shows up with signs and wonders from heaven people can brush these things aside or forget because their hearts and minds are so consumed with other things. I’ve been in gatherings where the power of God has been so evident that myself and others have witnessed limbs growing, miraculous healings, gold dust appearing and numerous other signs and wonders that should have impacted everyone’s lives forever, and yet a few months or years later many have gone back to how they were before these God encounters.

Jesus said to watch the condition of our hearts because when He speaks and reveals it’s like a seed being sown and it can either fall on ground which will cause it to grow and bear fruit in our lives, or fall on cluttered ground of hearts where it will struggle to thrive and inevitably die away.  (Matthew 13). To protect ourselves from being someone who goes backwards or fails to hold onto what God has revealed and “sown” into our lives we can choose to:

Be a person who values and honours above all else God’s presence and power. Make a decision to stand on what He has said in His word more than anybody else’s opinion. To keep our eyes focused on what He says rather than be moved by circumstances or the pressure and temptations of the world.

Keep short accounts and our heart uncluttered – Deal with issues when they arise and forgive and let go of offense quickly. It only hurts us if we don’t.

Prioritise time with Jesus – Spend time with Jesus, In His word and just being with Him. It’s a relationship and if we don’t spend time building into relationships they just don’t work and our love and sensitivity to one another grows cold. The same is true for our relationship with Jesus.

Spent time with others who know Him – there’s a reason God’s Word says to “not neglect meeting together”. No matter how on fire we may feel, if you take a hot coal out of the fire it will eventually grow cold all by itself.

“Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25)

Write down what God has said and revealed and keep it before your eyes, in your mouth and in the forefront of your heart and mind. What we think about is what we head towards, so be mindful of what you are looking at and thinking about. God is faithful to His promises so don’t let go of them.

Keep your emotions under control. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit working in our lives is self-control. The more time we spend with Jesus and being open to His presence in our lives the less we are governed by our emotions, and the easier it is for God to lead us. If our emotions are getting the better of us it pays to examine why? Do we have undealt with hurts or issues? Are we stressed, overtired, or need to readjust some things in our life? Unchecked emotions will cause our lives to run amok if we are not careful, so do what you need to do to keep yourself in balance.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Today don’t allow the cares of the world, pressures, concerns and the desire for the temporary cheat you out of God’s best and the life you were created to live. Keep short accounts, your heart uncluttered, your emotions in check and determine to value and hold onto what God says about you more than anything else. 

Prayer: Lord thankyou that you speak and reveal things to me. I value and honour my relationship with you. Please help me to firmly hold onto what you say more than anything else today.  In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

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