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January 2019

10 Jan – Believe and dream big!

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Eleanor Roosevelt said, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” She said these words when she was the wife and first lady of President Franklin D Roosevelt.

The full quote is as follows: “Believe in yourself. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face..You must do that which you think you cannot do…The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Some say that it is easy to dream when everything is going well, but it’s often when we are faced with hardship, failure, defeat and when hopelessness threatens to overwhelm us that the real power of our dreams are released and able to bring the biggest change. It’s in these hard seasons that we make the choice to either live in defeat and under our circumstances or to look to God and discover the dream that He has deposited within each one of us. It’s often in the place of desperation we discover what we are made for, and are lifted above our past and circumstances to begin to dream for something that will give us a goal, a future, and a reason to get up in the morning.

I believe God loves it when we dream like that. He wants us to connect to Him and His power that works within us, so that He can lead and guide us to make these dreams a reality.

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

The world would like us to think that God wants to squash our dreams and that He is out to spoil our fun, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve discovered that God is already ahead of us when it comes to the dream department and when one dream has been fulfilled He’s releasing and encouraging us to focus on a new one.

Today what are you dreaming about? What are you believing your future to look like? Because God is looking to fulfil that for which He’s hidden in your heart.

A point to remember when dreaming is that God never gives us a dream that matches our budget. He’s not checking our bank account; he’s checking our faith. Any dream orchestrated and planted in our hearts by God will always take a measure of faith for it to come to pass. That’s what makes our dreams a place where we grow from faith to faith, and why the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.” (C.S. Lewis)

Prayer: Lord please stir up the dreams within my heart, and give me a fresh vision for the future. I want to begin today to be a person who believes in the future and the beauty of my dreams. In Jesus name Amen.

9 Jan – Look at the victory, not the loss

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Don’t look at the loss, look at the victory”. It’s the words that God spoke into my heart today. Primarily because when we’re feeling afraid, disappointed or uncertain about change and the future it is very easy to focus upon loss and areas of defeat, rather than upon what God has and is doing in our midst.

There is an account in 2 Kings 13 about a King who went to see the prophet Elisha. The kingdom was in a mess and the King’s enemies were decimating the land to such an extent that all the King and His people could see was defeat. Elisha, hearing from God tells the King to fire an arrow as far a he can out of a particular window and to watch where it lands. As the arrow flies Elisha says , “This is the Lord’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram” (a previous place of defeat). (2 Kings 13:17)

God was wanting to refocus the King so that he would see that with Him involved, the nation would experience victory again. If they would only look past the loss and previous defeats in battle and look forward with a new vision for the future they could begin to see again from a place of success and victory.

God wanted the King to see – to see himself overcoming, winning and to look beyond the past to the future God had for them. He wanted them to see themselves winning rather than looking down and thinking of themselves as broken and defeated. For once they could “see” correctly that could then move forward in faith and actions. 

Today I encourage you just as Elisha encouraged the King, to not see your future through the eyes of the battle and any disappointments or defeat you may have experienced. Look beyond the losses to God’s vision for your life. Look to where you are going and not where you have come from. Just as Elisha instructed the King on which window to fire the arrow, so too will God guide you in which direction to look and expect to win as you start to “see” yourself overcoming and living out the victory that God says is yours.

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory”. (Duet 20:4)s

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that with you by my side I win. Please help me to look beyond any past disappointments, fear and defeat and to see my future through your eyes. Today I look to the victory. In Jesus name amen

8 Jan – Don’t give up

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Many people know what it is to have a dream and many also know what it feels like when they “don’t do what they set out to do”. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned and we can wonder where we went wrong, whether we heard from God correctly and what we should do now?

I’ve discovered that it’s really important to look at what we do have going for us at these times. It’s helpful to stop, reflect, pinpoint and write down where and why we feel like we’ve failed or are disappointed, and then also where we have experienced success.

Then we can build on our successes and seek God over whether we can do anything about those things that didn’t go according to plan.

Today at a time when new years resolutions are perhaps starting to be forgotten, take a few moments to assess how your vision and dreams are progressing. If you feel like you are beginning to drift or come to a “stand still” and nothing is happening, or you are suffering from discouragement, take a moment to step back, seek God and reassess.

Is the reality of pursuing your vision and dream what you thought? Is the passion still there? Do you need to take some time for God to heal and restore you?

What little step can you make today towards fulfilling the bigger picture?You may not feel like you can do everything right now, but what can you do?

Keep building on your successes, and do what you can do to work towards achieving your dream.

You may not be the best at whatever you are working towards yet, but you can practice, train and start to build an image inside you of success and blessing today.

To help you keep your focus:

1.  Encourage yourself with God’s word – it’s “the manual for success” and holds the wisdom of Heaven in it.

2. Let go, and give over any past disappointments or failures to God, and let Him restore your self-worth and self-esteem with what He says about you. Allow Him to renew the image inside of you to one of success and not failure, being blessed instead of feeling cursed, healthy instead of sick, abundantly supplied instead of living in lack, bold instead of fearful, and loved instead of rejected.

3. Write down God’s promises and carry them around with you. Then every time you have a negative or fearful thought you can remind yourself of God’s love and promises, and renew your mind with what God says about your future.

4. Surround yourself with those people who will believe with you, pray for you, and encourage you in your dreams and vision.

God says, “Roll your works upon the Lord. (Commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and) so shall your plans be established and succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass.”(Psalm 37:5)

Decide what you can you do today and then do it!

Prayer: Lord help to know where I am succeeding and where I need encouraging in your Word. Please show me what I can do right now to keep walking towards my dream and the vision you have put inside of me. In Jesus name Amen.

 

7 Jan – I have a dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Jan – Run fast

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A few years ago I had a vision of 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 and its accompanying message to Run! Perhaps because we often do anything but run when it comes to our lives. We plod! We plod along through the challenges, constant little dramas, difficulties and other people’s stuff and we far too often get bogged down.

But I don’t think being “bogged down” was ever God’s 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 to? Are we pursuing Jesusnand 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 of other things which 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 by those things that are around you. 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. In Jesus name Amen.

5 Jan – Don’t you settle!

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If there is one thing I don’t want to do in life it is to settle. To settle in that I don’t become all that God made me to be. To settle for less than I should; to come under things instead of rising above them. To accept, be intimidated, compromise and think, talk and feel about my life and future circumstances contrary to what God says about me in His Word.

The pressure however to settle in life is intense. We can settle under things and grow to believe that what we really desire is unattainable or simply doesn’t happen to people like us. Often when we settle it is because we struggle to believe we are of value and worth. We believe the lie that we and our life won’t amount to much and that our financial, physical and emotional state “is what it is, and that’s it”. We can settle for relationships that pull us down rather than lift us up, and we never really attempt challenging or difficult things which push us out of our comfort zone.

However Jesus’ example when He walked the earth reveals that we were never created to settle. Many religious people and leaders in the community said that if you were sick and an outcast then that’s what you were. You were even given special areas to live and a beggars garment to wear. Yet Jesus cleansed those same lepers, restored dignity to the outcast and gave hope and a future to the lost and broken. He provided food for the hungry and accepted all who came to Him. His first 12 friends or disciples were uneducated fishermen and scorned tax collectors, but not once did Jesus ask or expect people to settle in their poverty, sickness, lack, loss or brokenness, and so neither should we!

There is a fine line and often confusion about being content with what we have, and settling for less than we ought. Fortunately God’s Word gives us wisdom and direction on how to live a life of contentment whilst not settling. Every time it looks too hard, you are tempted to give up, you are questioning whether you should try something new;  believe for better for your life and future or you need encouragement to not settle take time to read how God feels about you and what He says about you and your future. He says you are an overcomer, that you are able to do all things through His strength; that He has good things planned for your life, people for you to meet and love. He promises to heal, restore and provide for every need and to help you fulfill that for which you were made.

In all these things we are triumphantly victorious due to the one who loved us”.(Romans 8:37)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. (Philippians 4 :13)

He who did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things”. (Romans 8:32)

When we live knowing we are loved and accepted by God who wants and plans the very best for us we gain a contentment within us, but also a strength which motivates us to make the most of every day we have been blessed with. It motivates us to not settle because as we live fully and joyfully our lives bring honour to God.

Draw near to Jesus and His Word today and let Him restore your hope and ignite your faith. Don’t settle for less than what Jesus died to give you, or believe that what you hope for is impossible, for God says “nothing is impossible for Him!” (Matthew 19:26)

Prayer: Jesus I take hold of everything you died and rose again to give me. I refuse to settle any longer and I choose to believe and trust you to help me achieve, become and experience everything I was born for. In Jesus name Amen.

 

4 Jan – Focus on the good

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We essentially get to choose everyday whether we will cease dwelling and being dictated to by the bad experiences, emotions and circumstances of our lives and whether we will choose instead to make room in our hearts for God’s goodness and favour. We choose if we will let go of the bad, so we can let the good in.

To make room for the good I’ve discovered that I must choose to cast or roll over onto Jesus all the hurts, worry, disappointment and negativity of my day, rather than choosing to hold onto it all. Otherwise I’ll spend my days and nights re-examining and reliving every negative aspect of my life which only magnifies the “bad” and diminishes and overshadows anything “good” in my life.

God says, “cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5: 7), meaning we cast aside like an unwanted garment those experiences, thoughts and emotions that try to crowd into our lives, seeking to steal our joy and to cloud our view of God’s love, care, provision and protection of us.

Today I encourage you to take some time and ask God to help you examine your heart and thoughts. That will mean being honest about what you are carrying around on the inside of you, and where you’re holding onto hurts, disappointments, unforgiveness and burdens. Ask God for His forgiveness if you need to, and for Him to fill you with His peace and love.

What God has for you is never in your past, it’s for now and your future. He has something better for you and He is greater than your worries, mistakes or fears. Choose today to let go of the “bad” and make room for the “good,” because when you do God promises He will flood your life with overflowing life and health. (John 7:38)

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! (Isaiah 43:18)

“You keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you”. (Isaiah 26:3)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope“. (Romans 15:13)

Prayer: Lord help me to let go of the “bad” things that I am holding inside myself so that your goodness can flood through every area of my life. I let go and let you and your goodness in. In Jesus name Amen

3 Jan – Building momentum

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The “force” of our purpose and knowing what we are made to do and be will always causes a momentum within us that protects us from the things or people who may drag us back or down. Plus the more momentum we have the  less “stuff” is able to attach itself to our lives.

Life’s drama’s, negativity and the cares and concerns of the world are much less likely to attach or drag us down when we are focused and recognise what really matters in life.

However if we are constantly listening to and looking at all the problems, other people’s issues or just the noise around us these things become like weights in our life. They serve as distractions and we can easily run the risk of losing our strength and focus if we start listening and looking at them instead of at Jesus, His promises and our purpose and destiny.

The bible talks about the importance of keeping momentum in what God has called us to do and be. Hebrews 12:1-2 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, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” 

“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12-13)

Today make a decision to focus on your God given purpose and what you are motivated and passionate about, and on your relationship with Jesus and those things that bring joy, fulfilment and are God’s plan for your life. Be encouraged that when you focus and begin to take action, momentum will build and things will start to happen for you. Plus the issues which used to bother you will become insignificant in comparison to the greatness of experiencing God’s plan unfolding in and through your life.

Prayer: Lord please help me to remain focused and free from the weights that so easily try to entangle and drag me down. Give me strength and endurance to gain the momentum I need and then wisdom to keep moving forward. In Jesus Name Amen.

2 Jan – New things coming

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God created the world with newness of life built into it’s design and every year we see that in the seasons. It’s also how He created us. We are designed to grow and have new challenges, dreams, goals and vision. It constantly amazes me how we can always do far more than what we might have first thought if we put our hearts and minds to it.

One of our daughters is always doing new things; it’s exciting to hear what she has been up to or planning next. I think it’s a great habit to cultivate, in looking and wanting to experience all that life has for us.

Doing new things can actually help to make new pathways in our brains. It also opens us up to new possibilities for God to move in our lives. For if we keep doing everything the same then over time we can close ourselves off to life and having a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Instead we can get as I say “musty, crusty and rusty”.

What we do everyday in our lives affects our hearts, minds, attitudes, and spirits.

 Isaiah 35 in the Bible always encourages me. It is a proclamation of new life from God, to strengthen us where we may feel weak or fearful.

A desert symbolizes our life without God or areas of our life that have become barren and a wasteland. Yet God says that the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose, like rivers in the desert will He pour out His spirit on those who are thirsty.

The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing… Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! (Isaiah 35:1-7)

Be encouraged today to allow God to bring new things into your life. Allow Him to bring “New beginnings”.

How does He do that? By showering us in His presence; softening the barren, dry thirsty places in our lives and planting seeds of hope and vision.

Then it is up to us whether we hold onto those NEW things and run with them or whether we push them aside. We get to choose to “water” those seeds of hope and life with prayer, God’s word and believing or to kill them off with negativity and neglect.

The Bible is full of accounts where God is crying out to His people to listen to him and to turn to Him so that He can restore, renew and give hope. I encourage you to listen up and to come to God today as you ask Him to shower you in His presence and bring life to the desert places of your life.

He is the God of new beginnings!  “Behold I will do a new thing, now it springs forth; shall you not know it.” (Isaiah 43:19)

Prayer: Thank you God that you love me. I ask for your life to flood through me and that you would make something amazing out of my life. Restore, renew and begin something new in me today. In Jesus Name. Amen

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