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January 2020

31 Jan – Don’t just survive, thrive

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Jesus is pretty loud and clear in what He says. He doesn’t expect that we will pick and choose what we like in His word and then leave the rest. He wants us to take him at his word, do what it says and reap the benefits, so that we”ll not just survive in life, but actually thrive.

He says…These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” (Matthew 7:24-27 The Message)

If you want to build a life that will not only ‘survive but thrive” then I recommend building your life on Jesus, His Word and His way of living. Then even if everyone else’s life is falling apart, you will remain standing on solid ground because you’ve built your life and who you are, how you see yourself, your family and your future on the rock solid foundation of Jesus. Don’t be content to just survive in life but determine to thrive.

Take the opportunity to put into practice Jesus’ words and to:

  1. Read God’s word – start a bible reading plan, find a translation that you like, which makes the Word “pop” inside of you when you read it.
  2. Spend time with and get in a community with others who are excited about their walk with Jesus.
  3. Make time to grow in your relationship with Jesus, seek Him, just hang out with Him, put Him in the center of your life and listen and do what He says.
  4. Be consistent about these things, “for in consistency lies the power”.

I’m believing that you’re going to start thriving today.

Prayer: Lord I ask that you help me to remain consistent in my walk with you. I determine in my heart and mind to be like the wise builder who built his life on you and what you say. (Matthew 7:27) Help me to begin afresh to do that today. In Jesus name Amen

31 Jan – In The Quiet (Pt 2)

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The bible talks a lot about quietness. We are encouraged to aspire to lead a quiet life and for it to be our ambition to lead peaceful lives, free from conflict and hostility toward others.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need”. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

When we study to be quiet, it actually does quiet everything down on the inside of us. Conversations, pursuits, discussions, arguments, even social media comments and conversations we begin to by-pass in our daily life.

Quietness helps us let go of a life of noise and agitation and to replace it with purpose and clarity.

The purpose underlying Paul’s encouragement in Thessalonians 4:11-12 was to love others and to live quietly, in the hope that it would help us to behave appropriately toward others. One of the keys to sharing about Jesus and being a light in the world is when we demonstrate peace to a confused and agitated world through our diligent work ethics, attitudes, honesty and habits.

Study to be quiet – “make it your ambition to be quiet and to do your own business.” It’s in direct contrast to the world’s ambition, which is, “to make a “great stir” and “to be busy-bodies” (2 Th 3:11, 12).

Today consider how much more peace and tranquility you and your household would experience if you chose to make it your ambition to live quietly. God wants us to be able to live peacefully in our own families and also to give no disturbance to others by our tale bearing, whispering, and backbiting. If something is going on around us that that needs addressing, we can pray and seek God”s wisdom as to how to handle it with efficiency and the least fuss. 

Make a decision today to no longer be involved in creating and encouraging factions, divisions, animosities, and contentions – even if you are right in your opinions and beliefs! The best way to get your point across is often demonstrated with fewer words and more action! A quiet and gentle spirit pleases God, and others will notice your freedom from the agitation and stress they themselves struggle with.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)

Study and practice quietness and discover how stress, fear and worry diminishes from your life. Quietness is powerful for, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

Prayer: Lord please help me to get quiet and wisely navigate those things that would try to steal my joy, peace and quiet today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

30 Jan – In The Quiet (Pt 1)

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Since it’s the last week of summer holidays I am enjoying the last few days of not having such a busy schedule. I’m reminded however that even as the busyness of everyday life kicks into gear that I always benefit most in my day from finding time to be quiet.

Quiet means the absence of noise or bustle; it is silence and 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 whom 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 centered, why on earth do we think we can live 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 and habit of continual 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 renew my strength, that I would hear from heaven today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

28 Jan – Why I’m Still Standing

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The other day I woke up thinking, I’m going to focus more on being joyful and positive; on leaning into Jesus and finding my peace and rest in Him more. The thing about joy and peace is that in its truest sense they aren’t dependent on our circumstances. Otherwise how could Jesus be described as, “for the joy set before him he endured the cross”. Or Paul and Silas after been thrown into the depths of a dungeon were to be found singing at the top of their lungs in praise to God? ( Heb 12:2; Acts 16:16-40)

No, true joy and peace are not based on our circumstances being without hardship, disappointment or heartache. It’s coming from something, and from my experience someone deeper. That deeper one is Jesus, and it’s often in the battle when things have looked most awful that I’ve found him there sustaining and giving me hope. And it’s that hope which then leads to joy.

And without that hope and joy I really wouldn’t be still standing. I wouldn’t still be excited and sharing about God’s goodness and continuing to trust Him… and I definitely wouldn’t be still dreaming and smiling. But I am, because regardless of the hurts, abuse, disappointments, struggles, sickness, loss and pain, I’ve got this buzzing, bubbling, ridiculous joy happening on the inside of me, and if I focus in on that joy and its source it gets bigger and tends to overflow. It overflows in creativity, in moving forward, in faith, in positive words, in believing, in love, in laughter and in dreaming.

However if I take my focus and my heart and mind off Jesus and choose to look only at the brokeness, lack, struggles and general stuff of the world, I can feel the joy getting stifled and the stress and toil of life begins to crowd in.

So it’s simple – to keep my joy, I keep my focus and choose not to be moved by whether my circumstances at present are looking great or not so great. They are all momentary things, yet God is eternal. He promises He will perfect everything that concerns us, has a plan and purpose which far exceeds our wildest dreams and knows and watches over every step of our lives. Plus nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from His love. (2 Cor 417; Psalm 138:8; Eph 3:20; Psalm 1:6)

Today whatever day or week you’re having I encourage you to focus and lean into Jesus. Let go of your troubles and give them to him to carry, and receive instead the strength, encouragement, hope and joy you need and desire. His Joy will be your strength and in Him you win and overcome. (Nehemiah 8:10)

Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! (Romans 8:37-39 TPT)

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 8:32)

Prayer: Lord I receive your hope and joy today. Thank you that nothing I face or have faced can separate me from your love or the plans you have for my life. I’m leaning in on you today Jesus and know you have everything in your capable hands. In Jesus name Amen

27 Jan – Soaking

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There are some days when it seems everywhere you look there is some awful things happening or being spoken about. The headlines, papers, t.v and social media is often full of news which can kinda stick to your heart and soul.

I’ve rediscovered that when I feel like I’ve picked up, being affected by or seen something which is triggering a negative reaction or memory in me, that one of the best things I can do is to soak.

Soaking, as in when we take the time to sit, lie, stand or whatever in God’s presence and let Him have His way so that whatever needs to be dealt with, released, restored and renewed God can do in us. I’ve learnt that soaking in Gods presence is a far quicker and easier way for God to work things out in us. Just as a pot or frypan can get food stuck to it that no amount of scrubbing will move without damaging the pan, so too we can have “stuff” stuck to and in our lives that God knows will be better removed by us choosing to soak in His loving power and presence, rather than having a whole lot of scratching, poking and prodding to try and deal with an issue.

I’ve found that God’s Word is also helpful to soak in as its a bit like washing ourselves from the inside out. (Ephesians 5:26)  It washes away the stuff of the world and reminds us of heaven and God’s higher power for good. (Ephesians 5:26)

I find it helpful to use the “soap” acronym to remember to apply what I’m reading. SOAP means:

S – Scripture – Read the Word and ask Holy Spirit to speak to you.
O – Observation – think about the passage.  What is the message speaking to you? What did it mean to the original hearers?
A – Application – How can you apply what you have read to your day, and are there any changes or adjustments you need to make to your attitudes and actions?
P – Prayer– Pray and declare God’s word over your life and any situation you are facing,  and put the word to work in your circumstances today.

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work”, (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Soaking allows us to quietly sit, think and pray. It works in that much like a dish in warm soapy water is left to soak to help remove anything stuck, soaking in Gods Word and presence helps move things that don’t belong in our lives so that they just lift off and float away. As we soak we also can receive anything God wants to bless and impart to us. 

Today whatever sort of day or week you’ve been having, take some time to soak and to sit and read God’s Word. Ask Holy spirit to come and wash over and through your life as He gently soaks away any sin, residue, tiredness, or pain and replaces it with strength, freedom and an infilling of His presence. Soak and let God be God.

Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

Jesus taught his disciples, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Prayer: Lord thank you for your hand of blessing on my life. Today I ask Holy spirit for you to come and wash over and through me. I’m just going to soak in your presence, think upon your promises and let you to do whatever you want to do in and through me today. In Jesus name Amen

 

 

26 Jan – What’s Your Status?

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Because of what Jesus has done for us we are no longer slaves, consigned to a life of being downtrodden, stolen from or unworthy. Jesus when he died and rose again restored our inheritance, our identity and our rights. He says we are a “royal priesthood, a chosen people, belonging to God and made to reign. Now we are called to display the goodness of God by how we walk in this new identity.

Unfortunately many of us don’t fully comprehend what that means and too often believe the lie that we are not anyone special. We habitually get stuck in negative mindsets, beliefs and behaviours which lessen our light and the display of God’s glory in us. We sadly don’t reign like we should or could.

But what if we started to change our thinking and understanding about who and what we are? What if you starting thinking of yourself how God does…as Royalty! That’s as a King or Queen; as chosen by and belonging to God; as highly gifted, respected and favoured; as someone who’s life is made to display and point others to God’s goodness?

How differently would you behave? How would you conduct yourself in public and when you walk into a room? Or in private when no-one is looking? In your speech, or where you choose to live, in your  educational pursuits, dreams and goals?

If you recognized you are royalty and walked that out everyday what would you expect in life and how differently from how you’re living, thinking and behaving right now would you be?

Because if God says we are a King (or Queen), and chosen to display His splendour, He means it! It doesn’t change the facts of who we truly are in God simply because we might not understand or even believe that about ourselves.

You are who and what God says you are. The choice however is whether we are content to live below our royal status or we choose to get rid of our slave mentality and make a demand on our royal lineage. That we start to really live expecting favour, blessing, honour and respect and that everything we do, say and believe points to us knowing who we are and to whom we belong. 

Today I encourage you to drop off any of your old slave clothes which are not befitting of you anymore. Instead, determine to fully take hold of and find out all about your new life, status and the privileges that come with being a son or daughter of the King of Kings.

Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir”. (Galatians 4:7)

All who sees them will acknowledge that they are the people the Lord has blessed.” (Isaiah 61:9)

You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1Peter 2:9)

Prayer. Lord I’m dropping off the slave clothes and choosing to receive everything you say I am and have bestowed upon me. Thank you for your favour, blessing and inheritance as a member of your royal household. In Jesus name Amen

25 Jan – Joy

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It is very easy to fall into the trap of just doing what we need to do for the day, as we become busier and busier, yet never pausing to consider if we are actually enjoying any of it. We can find ourselves not even bothering to stop and enjoy the scenery, the sunshine, the refreshing rain, the people around us, the tasks we are doing and all that God has blessed us with.

But that’s not really living, and it’s not the life that Jesus talked about when He said, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows](John 10:10)

God purposely created us with a massive capacity for joy. He knows how important it is and the creative and energising power joy releases in our spirit’s and souls. That’s why when we take the time to sit in His presence and begin to know and understand His Word and His heart we will soon discover God is the one who releases and leads us to joy. He is the ultimate source of joy and He’s placed desires, dreams, and abilities within us to pursue, because He knows they will bring us pleasure. When we are enjoying our life, and what we are “wired” to do and be it naturally, without struggle or striving, opens our hearts and lives to Him so that we then also discover more fully the joy of knowing and being loved by Him.

Today take some time to breathe and to recognise within yourself those things and relationships that God has specifically orchestrated, designed and created to bring you joy.

Take some time to give thanks and to write down three to five things you are grateful for today. Doing this works as a great reminder of the blessings and sources of joy in your day. God has blessed you with it all as an expression of His love and as an on-ramp into His presence and more joy.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Prayer: Lord please fill me with your joy today, and help me to see that when I walk in step with you there is no need to toil and strive to make things happen. Instead I can breathe and enjoy life, and all that you have given me. Thankyou for fullness of joy today. In Jesus name Amen

24 Jan – Laws of Attraction

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We are surrounded, whether we are aware of it or not by a spiritual realm which exists just as much as the physical. This spiritual atmosphere is also constantly affected by us; by our thoughts and the subsequent words we speak, our actions, and mindsets. Just as humans have an incredible capacity to affect and change the physical landscape and atmosphere, we also have the same capacity to affect the spiritual environment by our thoughts, words, actions and attitudes.

If we fill the atmosphere with anger and strive we have created an environment which attracts the spirit of division and strive. Likewise if we fill it with peace and praise, we attract and invite Gods prescence and heavenly things. (Psalm 22:3 )

Whatever we choose to surround ourselves with; what we think upon, speak and release from our hearts is what will be attracted to us.

The demonic, evil realm (where Satan orchestrates his schemes), is attracted by our distress, fear, negative mindsets and words. Demons will seek to try an “push our buttons” and trip us up in any weaknesseses: they’re always looking for opportune moments to strike.

They are annoying, slimy dudes who attempt to make us – who are created in the image of God, believe we are powerless, weak, worthless and unable to change. We don’t have to even be doing anything “wrong” so to speak, because they often simply want to throw lies and accusations so that we start to believe them, causing us to then settle for less than who God says we are. A well aimed accusation or whispered comment in our ear can be just as damaging and meddlesome as an outright blatant temptation and obvious attack.

In contrast is God, the angelic and heavenly things. When we know who we are, who we belong to and what God says about us the lies of any demon are revealed to be ridiculous. Jesus came to set the captives free, to destroy the works of the devil and to give us an abundant life where our joy overflows. (Luke 4:18; John 10:10; 1 John 3:8)

“Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that my joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing”. (John 15: 11 Amp )

To attract and engage more of Him in our lives and give the devil and his cohorts a swift kick we can surround ourselves with and listen to God’s words about us. We, “fix our focus on what is true, and honorable, and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise….then the peace of God will be with you”. (Philippians 4:8-9 NLT)

Feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm“. (Colossians 3:1 TPT)

Today attract heaven into and around your life. Saturate and flood the atmosphere with praise, worship and what God’s Word says about your life and circumstances. Pray about everything and know that as God gets involved things will shift and change.

We attract and become what we think and believe most, so attract heaven as you fix your focus on Jesus today.

Prayer: Lord thank you for your goodness and love for me. I’m choosing to flood the atmosphere with praise and what you say about me. I resist the devil with praise and your word knowing he must flee. (James 4:7) In Jesus name

23 Jan – Declutter For The Life You Want- Pt 2

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Our clutter can actually block success!  It drains and steals our energy, focus and peace and creates a disagreement between what we desire and how we’re actually living.

Which is why if we’re serious about becoming everything we desire to be and to start walking in our God given destiny we must learn to value and choose to live free of mess and clutter.

When we physically de-clutter we first assess the room or space we are in and think about what we want it to look like. What are the most essential pieces of furniture? What doesn’t belong in the room or space and has just gravitated there? What is our vision and desire for this room?

The same is true for the rest of our lives. We benefit and are motivated by having clarity about what we want. Which is why it’s great to spend some time thinking and praying about what dreams, goals and desires are in our heart. Just as we would look at a room and have a vision of how we want it to look, we do the same with our internal world and future.

I ask Holy Spirit to release God’s heart and vision for my life and to stir up what he has already placed in my heart. I’ve rediscovered that what I love, am gifted at, deep down dream about and find fulfillment and joy in are predominately what He desires for me anyway. Once I can visualise how my life looks uncluttered and fruitful I am far more likely to invite and trust God to have free reign in my life and to let go of and sort out any mess, so I can begin living the life I really want.

What “stuff” is crowding and cluttering your life? What needs to be acted upon and cleaned out so there is room for deeper relationships, opportunities and growth? What is your vision and goals? What has God spoken to you about that you now need to plan and act upon?

Today start with taking twenty minutes to sit with God and dream, plan and imagine.

Then write it all down; make a list of anything or anyone you need to let go of, people to forgive, things you want and need to act upon, and the plan and strategy of what and how God wants you to move forward. What possible clutter and mess is blocking your path to success and happiness, and where can you begin to declutter today?  (Habakkuk 2:2) 

Then tomorrow take another 20 mins and act on the plan again as you continue to make room for the life you really want. You’ll soon grow to love the clutter, mess free feeling and the freedom it brings.

Let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:24)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you want me to live a life that is full of life and freedom. Please help me to de-clutter my life, whether that is physically in my home or work, my inner world, relationships or any other area of my life. Give me wisdom and clarity to know what to hold onto to, what to let go of, and what to throw in the rubbish. In Jesus Name Amen.

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