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February 2020

20 Feb – No longer Naked

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Often when we have something negative or traumatic happen to us or our choices have taken us down certain paths, it can leave us feeling stripped down, unworthy and naked. We often are left feeling exposed and vulnerable which causes us to want to constantly protect ourselves, to cover up and to hide.

It’s I think similar to what happened to Adam and Eve in the Bible. When they were created they were not completely naked as we might suppose but clothed with a beautiful light. But when Satan deceived them and sin entered the world, darkness suddenly came into their lives and the “lights went out”. With sin and darkness came the loss of this “clothing of light”. (Genesis 3)

Not much has changed when it comes to darknesses’ tactics. Satan is still always trying to steal the light and power we have or should have. We wants to keep the lights out.

Things can happen to us which can cause us to feel diminished in who God created us to be. We can feel stripped naked and laid bare as a result. But that’s the enemy’s plan; because nakedness, brokeness and feeling fearful and worthless are designed to leave us believing less of ourselves than who God created us to be. The plan of darkness is to rob us of our light, brilliance and ability to make an impact in the world.

This week however I had a revelation that when we know Jesus we have that clothing of light restored to us. There is no darkness or vulnerable, fear-filled nakedness anymore.  Instead we are clothed in God’s light, goodness, love and righteousness. He says we’ve been given garments to wear – garments of light, praise, righteousness, worthiness, beauty, salvation, honour, majesty and power. 

Whatever may have happened in our past we don’t have to feel naked and exposed anymore. Jesus covers us. He protects, restores and gives us dignity and honour where it may have been stolen and stripped from us. We don’t have to be ashamed or look away when we see ourselves, or fear others seeing us either. We are fully clothed with heavenly garments, that fuse to the skin we are in. And as long as we daily remember who we are and to whom we belong no-one can touch, strip off or tear us down ever again.

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.” (Revelation 3:5)

And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:29)

“… You have clothed me with joy. ” (Psalm 30:11)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that in you I never need to feel exposed, degraded or “naked” again, because you clothe me with light, honour  and power. I choose to walk in that knowledge and confidence today. In Jesus name Amen

 

 

19 Feb – Help!

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Being a Mum of six kids, pastoring churches, running my own business, managing people, family, relationships and just the everyday pressures of life and I know what it is to need help from time to time.

The thing is most of us aren’t very good at asking for help. We either leave asking for assistance until everything is at a chaotic level, don’t ask at all, or just start feeling sorry for ourselves. Then we either soldier on, sometimes to our own detriment, or give up on some of our dreams and aspirations because it’s become too difficult to do things alone.

I’ve discovered however that there is often a reason why we don’t want to ask for help.  Perhaps we have a fear of being vulnerable because we have been abused or let down in some way in the past. Or we don’t trust others to be there for us, or we’ve allowed pride to get in the way of asking because we want to do everything ourselves.

Personally I like to get on with things and not ask for help, primarily for some of the above mentioned reasons. God however reminds me that firstly He is always right alongside me to help and loves to answer my prayers and requests. It grows my relationship and trust in Him, develops my ability to work with others that He sends and increases my strength, communication skills and overall impact in life.

God’s help gives wisdom when we don’t know what to do, peace when we are filled with fear. His help provides, loves on us, heals and is behind the reinforcements and backup we so often need and benefit from.

Having to do everything ourselves limits our capacity and the impact we could make in life. Whereas God wants us to ask him for help and then for us to be ready for His answer in the way He provides (which is often different from what we may have expected) so that we can live our best life. We don’t want to end up like the man who was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help but failed to receive.

He prayed for help and soon a man in a rowboat came by and shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded man shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on.

Then some people in a motorboat came by. “They shouted from the motorboat, “Jump in, we can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

If you are struggling or you recognise you always have to do everything by yourself I encourage you to ask for help and then be open to God’s answer.

Because the reasons we don’t ask and receive help are the exact reasons that have and will continue to keep us stuck in our problems, hurts, habits and struggles while all along God has better for us and help available.

Ask for God’s help like His word says we can today?  He hears our cries, and when we ask according to what He says and with faith He assures us He will send help. It’s then our job to look out for it and to recognise and be thankful when it arrives. 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1-3)s

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you hear my cries for help and that you promise that you will send aid. I’m asking for help today and thank you for it in advance. In Jesus name Amen.

 

18 Feb – Why It’s Worth The Bother

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I’ve just finished a phone conversation with someone who is feeling discouraged. They’ve been working so hard and wondering what the point is when they’re seeing so few results.

Actually I’ve had a day of being with people who have been through more trauma and heartache than any one person ever should. Yet they are still seeking to breakthrough, to deal with things, to make their lives better. To overcome. To bother to keep moving forward even when it’s painful, scary and there is the constant risk of disappointment again.

But we can all have days when we think, “Why bother? Why bother to try again when there have been so many disappointments?
Why bother launching out into the deep again when it felt like you failed last time?
Why bother writing down and declaring our dreams out loud?
Why bother expressing thankfulness when today you just can’t think what to be thankful for?
Why bother making goals and new year resolutions?
Why bother changing up our routine so we might continue to grow and develop?
Why bother practicing and practicing so a gift and talent you have been given develops into a skill?
Why bother eating healthier and exercising?
Why bother spending time with God and then doing what He says?

Why bother when lot of what we do; the adjustments, changes and steps in a positive direction often seem very, very insignificant and we can feel like we are so far from fulfilling our dreams?

But the fact is the most successful, happiest, healthiest people in the world; the ones who see their dreams become a reality, they bother with those things that other people can’t be bothered with. They choose to face their fears, issues and obstacles. They choose to discover their “why” and as a result they keep bothering.

The biggest difference in dreamers and dream-achievers is that those who achieve their aspirations are willing to do what others are not willing to do.” (Terri Savelle-Foy)

Why bother today? Because every step you take, every move you make in the right direction, every day you choose to do what you know to do – to be faithful and diligent in the small things, in the everyday routine and decision to develop as a person. To deal with the hurts and face issues, means progress and even a little progress is still progress.

Make the decision to bother and to just keep on moving forward.  To draw on God’s strength and wisdom. To determine to be consistent and faithful in your daily routine as you seek to continually grow and be transformed into the best version of yourself – because ultimately you’re worth the bother, and so is the dream Gods placed in your heart!

Do not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

People are rewarded in public for what they practice in private”. (T. Robbins)

Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows”. (Galatians 6:7)

Prayer: Lord please strengthen me to keep going and that I will be encouraged to bother with those daily positive routines; with the consistency to keep growing and developing; with the time spent with you and studying your Word, in bothering to make wise, healthy decisions so that I will reach my goals and fulfill that for which I was made. Please help me to keep bothering today. In Jesus name Amen.

17 Feb – Faith Muscles

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We have all been given a measure of faith that is given by God with the expectation that we would do something with it. To step into our destiny and to grow our faith so that we would then call those things that are not as though they are. That’s the process that God uses to bring the revelation or vision He gives us to come to pass.

Yet when we look at some of the mighty exploits that others have done throughout history or we read of those who’ve believed God in more recent times, we can sometimes feel inadequate. But we shouldn’t. They have simply grown their measure of faith and confidence in God to believe for what they “saw” was possible in him. They held onto God’s promises, fed their faith and built what I call “faith muscles”.

It’s not just for the select few to do out of the ordinary things; we can all do and be something with the measure of faith we have been given. We can choose to use it and grow it!  God says He is not a respecter of persons and does not show partiality, but He does reward those who diligently seek Him. (Romans 2:12)  

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”. (Hebrews 11:6)

Today God wants each one of us to wait upon and seek Him for the vision, dream and destiny He has for each one of us. It will no doubt be bigger than your faith and confidence right now, but don’t be discouraged or let go of the vision and revelation He reveals to you because it seems impossible or too hard. Build your faith muscles by going to God’s Word and finding out what He says about your vision and what you imagine. Spend time talking to God and with people who believe and have developed their faith muscles too. When you do it will start to grow your measure of faith and cause those things you “see” to come to pass.

But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.(Daniel 11:32)

“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.” (Ephesians 3:20 TPT)

Prayer: Lord please reveal to me the dreams and vision in my heart and the destiny you have for me. I take my measure of faith and choose to grow it, so that I too can carry out exploits and fulfil all that you have planned for me. In Jesus Name Amen.

16 Feb – The Truest Thing About You

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How do you see yourself and your life? Where are you going and why are you here?  These are pretty important questions which we often don’t ask ourselves enough, or if we do we struggle to find the answers.

When you read the bible you discover that what we see and think about ourselves is really significant to how we live our lives and how effectively our faith works.

An example of the importance of how we see ourselves is the account of the Israelites as they stood on the edge of the land God had promised them. They hesitated, became afraid and then completely stopped in their journey. Why? Because when faced with the question of how they saw themselves they were confronted with the reality of their poor self image, weaknesses and fears.

Before them was a land “flowing with milk and honey”; a good land as far as the eye could see. God had spoken and had promised He was with them,  but all of that didn’t matter because apart from a few men, they felt incapable of taking the next step to possess the future before them. The inhabitants of the land terrified them and they were paralysed with self doubt and fear. They said, “we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in theirs.” (Numbers 13:33)

The reason the Israelites were so terrified to step into their future was because they saw themselves as small and powerless. It was what they were in their own sight that defeated them long before any enemy army.

The same can be true for each one of us. It’s what we are in our own sight that will make all the difference. If, in our own sight we see ourselves as weak, powerless and a failure then the devil will take delight in running all over us. We will remain stuck in our past and end up living out of and believing every negative word and thought spoken about us. If we keep seeing ourselves in this way we will never step into all that we are capable of and called to be.

Today if you recognise you are not strong in who you are in your own sight and see yourself as a “grasshopper”; someone who fails or is stuck in the past then I encourage you to begin to change that by:

  • Choosing to give your life into God’s hands and spending time everyday getting to know Him and reading what He has to say about who you truly are.
  • Asking God what His plan and purpose for your life is. He created you and thinks good thoughts towards you everyday.
  • Reject anything that doesn’t agree with what God says about you in His word. Start visualising, thinking and speaking about yourself succeeding, being loved, accepted, having great relationships, being healthy and whole and a person who has their prayers answered.

Through consistently thinking and speaking the thoughts that God has about us we will begin to see ourselves like God does. Our identity will start to be found in His truth rather than self doubt, fear and lies. We will see ourselves as we really are in Jesus; loved, joyful, free, victorious, healed and a whole person with all the love and power of heaven behind us. (Roman’s 12:2)

Begin today because, “the truest thing about you is what God says is true”

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

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

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

 

Prayer:  Lord help me to see myself as you see me. Thank you that I am forgiven, healed, and whole with a amazing future ahead of me. I refuse to see myself as a “grasshopper” any longer and today I’m taking the steps necessary to become all you made me to be. In Jesus name Amen.

15 Feb – Soul Happy

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I frequently have a conversation with people about the importance of prospering their souls. It’s really important to understand how our soul, body and spirit operate together.

The bible says we are a living soul, however we must be careful not to confuse that which is spiritual and that which is only soulish or physical. Our spirit is the central place of activity where God operates in restoring and renewing. This then flows over into our souls and bodies.

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).

However we often don’t understand that what we allow into our lives will actually affect every part of our being – our soul, physical body and our spirit. We can be physically fit, eat healthy, do fun things and yet be spiritually lacking and dead. Or we can be spiritually fit and healthy and be lacking emotionally or be physically unwell.

The bible says, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2)

Our spirit’s are regenerated and renewed by God’s presence and life in us; our bodies by eating and exercising well and putting in the truth of God’s word which it responds to. But what about our souls?

But I’ve discovered that we often don’t really know what makes our soul happy, often because we allow ourselves to get too busy. And if we do know, we don’t do those things enough.

A relationship with God will prosper your soul, but He will also lead and remind us of the people and pursuits that make our souls sing too. He actually wants us to then go out and enjoy our life with Him.

Today make a list of those things that prosper your soul. If you can’t think of anything, why not try something new. It doesn’t have to be big things; it could be simple like a cup of coffee at your favourite cafe, enjoying some great scenery, good food and company, a sport, hobby, music, art, shopping, etc.  The key is to explore, discover and surround yourself with all the goodness, beauty and things that trigger joy in your life.

Prayer: Lord please help me to understand myself better and how to prosper my soul. Reveal to me anything that is not right in my heart, and help me to deal with it so that I can enjoy my life more. In Jesus name Amen.

14 Feb – Disconnect From Routine

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I was chatting with some other homeschooling mums today and the topic of self-care came up. One of the things that all of us can struggle with regardless of our path in life is failing to make time for ourselves amongst the busyness of life.

We are always far more than just our job title; more than a parent, grandparent, spouse, partner, student or whatever phase of life we are in. But unless we regularly choose to reconnect with the core of who we are and what makes us unique, we can begin to feel depleted, stressed and frustrated. 

A helpful key to safeguard against not losing ourselves, our unique purpose and the things that bring us joy amidst our daily responsibilities, is to regularly take time to disconnect from our routine – even if it’s only for an hour or two. To find a cafe to sit and read or listen to music, to go for a run, to spend time on a hobby, to find some quiet space or to share dinner with friends.

The practice and discipline of changing pace, shifting our focus, exploring a new place or idea, or simply taking a break will not only refresh us but recharge our minds, attitudes and hearts. When we choose to disconnect from routine it lowers our stress levels, reconnects us with God and what He is saying, replenishes our souls and restores our energy, creativity levels and positive outlook on life. 

John one of Jesus disciple who was known to have gone through both amazing and very stretching times said, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” [3 John 1: 2] John obviously knew the importance of looking after every part of  our life and the benefits of taking time to restore and refresh our souls.

God wants us to do and be around those things that lift us up, that fill our thoughts with positivity and make us feel alive. That remind us of who He has made us and what we love. That generate peace and bring us joy.

Today I encourage you to build into your schedule a time where you cease from and disconnect from your routine. Book an appointment with yourself and focus upon those things that lift you up and bring you joy – that prosper your soul and rekindle in you a love for your life.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:1)

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)

Prayer: Lord help me to look after myself and my internal world better. That I’d schedule in time to purposely disconnect from my routine so that I can connect again with who I am apart from the daily busyness, take time to refresh my soul and continue to walk in my purpose. In Jesus name Amen.

13 Feb – Out Of The Ashes

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Recently we had a fire close to our home that razed through the bushland in the middle of suburban streets. Firefighters arrived on mass and firefighting planes dropped retardant and water to douse the flames as smoke, ash and flames billowed meters into the sky. The area was left blackened, bare and quite desolate.

However today as we drove past the area one of my sons exclaimed that things were already growing back. It’s only been a few weeks, but already new, bright green shoots are springing  up everywhere highlighted against their blackened surroundings.

This regrowth after a fire is actually a very visual reminder of how life often works. We can experience loss, disappointment and even suffer from the impact of death; either of a loved one, a dream lost or a relationship breakdown. But in amongst all of the hardship, new life suddenly appears. It might only be a few green shoots at first; a tiny symbol and reminder that our heart is in fact beating and we’re still breathing, but those green shoots represent life nonetheless.

Whether we wish to recognize it or not, everything that God creates is incredibly resilient. It’s made to grow; to recover, to survive and to thrive. Given the right conditions it will not only grow, (even if that means growing back from a destructive force), but will also flourish.

We also are God’s creation, and just as the bushland and natural surroundings do recover, we too are created and designed to survive, recover and bring forth and experience life.

And if we’ll determine to face and process even the most difficult circumstances and experiences in our lives, we will, even if we find ourselves down and covered by ash and dirt, recover.

Why? Because seeds grow in the dark and the dirt. Ideas, creativity, resilience and new life germinates in the ashes. Incredibly it’s often in these very difficult, desolate places that we learn and discover things we might never have expected or seen about ourselves, our surroundings or our futures. We rise from the ashes! 

Today, if you feel like you’ve been razed by bushfires either literally or within yourself, be encouraged to keep going because we are created to recover. If you’re still breathing you have life in you yet to not only recover but to grow and flourish. The very thing that looked like it might destroy you may in fact end up being the source of and  awakening of new beginnings, fresh opportunities and life in you.

The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14)

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:18-19)

 

“…God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.” (Roman’s 4:17)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Prayer: Lord please help me to see that even when I am faced with things not going to plan, disappointments or loss that your hand is still on my life and that you promise that you will bring forth new life in me again. Thank you for new beginnings, new opportunities and joy today. In Jesus name Amen

12 Feb – Bearing Burdens

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Sometimes you can hear other people’s stories and history and it can be very confronting. If you’re like me you can literally feel yourself being hit by what they are saying and find yourself wanting to do or say something to relief and ease the pain and disappointment of what they’ve been through.

Interestingly the bible says to bear one anothers burdens, yet also for each one to carry our own load. (Galatians 6:2-5) Some things in life are our responsibility to carry and we shouldn’t expect others to take that weight, nor either should we assume that we must take responsibility for someone else’s behavior and life either.

However we can come alongside someone who may be struggling and help shoulder the weight of a trial or temptation that’s threatening to pull them down. We can be supportive. But bearing each others burdens doesn’t mean assuming the whole load. It’s simply to offer help so that the person struggling can be supported for a set time so that they are then able to carry on in their journey. 

God is so gracious and if our burden is too heavy He says to ask Him for help. Then He will either strengthen and equip us to be able to handle our own load, or send some aid to encourage us.  (Psalm 121:1-8; 1 John 5:14-15)

Today as I thought over a meeting I’d recently been in I had to choose to hand over burdens that weren’t mine to carry. I can pray and ask that God would work in the lives of the people I’ve met, (that in fact is the most productive and powerful thing we can offer), and I can encourage and support where God directs, but it’s not my job to fix everything.

Many issues are our individual responsibility to work through and triumph over. Because victory and renewed confidence and strength is found in realizing just how amazing, creative, intelligent, strong and versatile God has made us and what we can do with Him. 

Today as you look at your relationships, your own circumstances and the people in your world, ask God for the wisdom to know how and when to best carry your own load, when He wants you to help bear others burdens, and how He is working in every circumstance. He is always working behind the scenes for the best outcome, so trust Him to guide you as you keep walking your journey and seeking to be a blessing to others.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” (Galatians 6:2-5 NKJV) 

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” k1John 5:14-15)

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.” (Psalm 121:1-8)

Prayer: Lord thank you that I  can always come to you for help and that you will both strengthen and send me whatever help I need. Help me to have the wisdom to ask for help when I need it, to give aid where I can and to know where and how you are working in peoples lives so that the best outcome happens. Please lead me today. In Jesus name Amen

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