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24 June – Hear and Do

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How often do we hear, read, dream or discern something and know that we should listen and take it to heart but we fail to act. Instead we allow ourselves to be distracted and hesitate to take the time to listen carefully and then act accordingly. We fail to be what the bible describes as, “a person who is both a doer of the word, and not just one who hears.”

 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the world and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”(James 1:22-25)

Perhaps it is our maturity level, wilfulness and if we are honest our tendency to not want to listen but simply continue on the path we are on. We don’t want to be interrupted or have to change. Even when God clearly speaks to us through His word or some other means we persist in what we want to do and don’t realise or acknowledge that when God speaks and directs it’s for a very good reason! He desires to lead us away from danger, life’s pitfalls and the things that are going to damage us. He instead seeks to direct us towards the path of blessing, meaning and purpose.

God says in His word, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.” (Psalm 82:8-9)

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea. (Isaiah 48:17-18)

Today, I encourage you to both listen and act! When God speaks or you know that He is trying to catch your attention, don’t brush what He is saying aside. Stop and listen and then act straight away on what He is saying. If you aren’t sure, take the time to pray and seek clarification, and perhaps talk to someone who is more mature in the things of God than you are. Let’s both listen and act!

Prayer: Lord I desire for my ears to hear you speaking, my eyes to see what you are revealing to me and a heart to understand what you are saying. Help me to not be stubborn, forgetful or difficult, but someone who is quick to listen and even quicker to act. In Jesus name Amen.

23 June – Perseverance

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This is a repost from a while ago…fyi an update on Isaac and his perseverance is that he has now begun jumping with his pony.😊

Today Isaac our youngest child reaped the benefits of perseverance. Several months ago he had a bit of a scare when attempting to canter on the pony he rides. It didn’t go at all well and ended up with him screaming on the back of a startled pony, who eventually stopped as she realised her rider was not happy with her cantering.

To his credit Isaac has persevered even though he has at times been quite scared. Each week he has spent time thinking about, praying and focusing on being able to canter again. Some days it just wasn’t going to happen as he struggled with his fears, but gradually he was able to venture to take one step of cantering, then two, four and then a whole circle in the arena. As the weeks have passed by he has set himself a new goal of going a little further each ride, and today he blitzed his goal and completed 5 full circles of cantering, with a huge smile on his face.

Perseverance means not giving up. It is persistence and tenacity and the effort required to do something and keep doing it till the end, even if it’s hard.

The bible talks about perseverance and that persevering in our faith produces steadfastness. When this “steadfastness has its full effect…you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James 1:2-4, 12 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Learning to persevere in life and in our faith is an important part of living the life God has planned for us. When we fail to persevere through difficulties, setbacks or things we may be afraid of or find challenging we will keep giving up, which is not something God wants for us. He doesn’t give up but remains faithful and He always says for us to keep going, keep running your race, keep believing and moving forward with me. We also have a great cloud of witnesses in heavenly places who cheer us on and encourage us to keep persevering.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Whatever you are facing today, I encourage you to seek God for His wisdom. Clarify if what you are believing for and are focusing on are things that He desires for your life. If they are then keep going, even if it’s hard because you will surely get there. And if Isaac’s win today is any measure of how much joy we can have in persevering, (even though it may be difficult or scary at times), then it’s well worth it.

Prayer: Lord thank you for your strength and help today. Help me to persevere in the things you have directed me in, until I reach my goal and have run my race. In Jesus name Amen.

22 June – Get off my boat

Do you ever get weary of all the fuss and bother around you or how you may feel internally at times?

I’ve discovered and unfortunately often have to be reminded to take my eyes off the problems and drama’s happening around me and instead look firmly ahead to what God’s purpose and plan for my life is.

The “force” of our purpose and knowing what we are made to do and be creates momentum within us that protects us from the things or people who may drag us back or down. We’ll leave them in our wake like a speedboat in motion leaves a wake in the water. A speed boat’s “wake” causes turbulence that is difficult to get over or through. The more momentum we have the bigger our wake and the less “stuff” is able to attach itself or get on board the boat.

I think God wants us to be like that speedboat. Then life’s drama’s, negativity and the cares and concerns of the world are far less likely to get near us or drag us down. We are focused and will recognise what really matters in life and leave the rest in our wake.

However if we are constantly listening and looking at all the problems, other people’s issues or just the noise around us, these become like weights climbing aboard our vessel. They serve as distractions and we can easily run the risk of entertaining these “weights” if we lose focus and start listening and looking at them.

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. Focus on those things that bring joy, fulfilment, and are God’s plan for you. Think on, “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” and leave the rest in your wake.(Philippians 4:8),

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

21 June – Get Ready!

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There is something humming in my spirit today that there is a shift and a change occurring. And God is saying, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back, strengthen your stakes”. For you will spread out to the right and to the left.” (Isaiah 54:2-3)

Whenever a shift or change is on the way, if we are listening to God’s promptings He will begin to encourage us to stretch and expand our expectations, our horizons and our vision. He’ll encourage us to deal with issues and to shed any unnecessary weights or distractions. He will start revealing to us to look up and ahead, instead of behind at our past or down in the dust at our failures or disappointments. God guides us to position ourselves for new things so that we don’t miss any of what He is releasing.

Shifts and change mean we have the opportunity to push past  limiting “stakes” in our life so we can spread out and increase our capacities to hold and inhabit all God wants to release in our lives. We position ourselves for what we are believing for in every area of our so that we are ready for God to move. 

The bible says that even when we feel barren and think we have nothing, that is the perfect time for us to lift up our eyes to the future and heavens blueprint for our life and what He is releasing from heaven. That’s the time to declare what God is saying because He has a way through. God has the victory, the answer, the solution and He is on our side.

I’ve learnt over the years to sing out His promises even when I can’t see in the natural how anything is going to change. I’ve learnt not to look with my natural eyes, but with eyes of faith and trust believing that better things are ahead, that angels are right now working on my behalf, that solutions, provision, healing and breakthrough are mine. I’ve learnt that when I sense shifting and change coming to get ready and position myself fast because God is on the move.

Today I encourage you to agree with what’s coming out of heaven and choose to “declare and decree” God’s goodness and plan over your life and over your family, workplace, relationships, neighbourhood, city and nation. No longer see yourself or your circumstances as barren, dried up, beaten up, anxious, sick, old, or poor.

Today look and see with eyes of faith because God has a plan and strategy; a breaking through for every situation you are facing in your personal life and in the world today. Then stir yourself up in the promises of God, open your mouth and start declaring breakthrough, release and change for the better….and then get ready in whatever way you need to. Deal with your stuff, get rid of excess baggage, any sin or old habits and make room for God, because He is on the move!

See, I am doing a new thing.  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

The God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.” (Roman’s 4:17)

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1‭, ‬3 NLT)

Prayer: Lord thank you that breakthrough, expansion, release and change is coming straight out of heaven today. I believe for things to shift and change for the better in every circumstance of my life today.  In Jesus name Amen.

 

20 June – What was that God?

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Bring up the word obedience and people usually react or try telling people that they need to eat better, exercise more, keep good company or read the Bible diligently. Or that it’s important to take every word from God seriously; that there are no optional commands and that we cannot add or subtract from Scripture. Say any of those things and you will soon hear the accusation of legalism and, “don’t pressure me or tell me what to do!”

Yet the Bible makes it clear that to really know and love God we are to cultivate a willing and obedient heart and lifestyle. Jesus even said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

Unfortunately being as we are we can have some obstacles to obedience and willingness.. Here are a few to watch out for and hopefully remove from our lives:

1.“What’s that, Lord?” – when it comes to obeying God we can suddenly have a case of “spiritual deafness”.
Ever notice that children cannot seem to hear you tell them to do something they really need to do when they don’t want to. Yet they can instantly hear even the smallest whisper from Mum and Dad when something is said about “ice cream”. We can be like that when it comes to obeying God. We say we are willing and obedient, but then we ask God to define and clarify over and over or we try to negotiate with Him.
We say, “Did God really mean “all” of my old way of life or just the stuff that I don’t really enjoy anymore? Can I have a timeline on this? “Let’s just wait and talk to someone else again or read another book on the subject.”

2. “I am confused”
There are times when we may need some clarification and help to understand what the bible is saying, but for the most part the bible is easy to understand. The thing is once we read it and do understand, it’s up to us whether we choose to act accordingly or not…there is no grey area when it comes to God.

3. “I have another question?”
There is nothing wrong with asking questions, but sometimes asking another question is nothing more than a delay tactic:
In Matthew 19 the rich young ruler had asked Jesus the question, “What good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life”(19:16). Jesus then told him – keep God’s commandments. Then he asked another question, “Which ones”. So Jesus told him which ones. Yet the rich young ruler still continued to ask more questions because he actually knew what to do and instead was trying to find some “wiggle room” out of his convictions.

Keep on posing problems and questioning and you will escape the necessity of obedience and your initial conviction of the right course of action to take. Eventually, if we keep going “around and around” with more questions and delaying tactics we will end up confused, feel far from God and simply do nothing!

Today check how willing and obedient you are being, because it takes an ongoing daily inventory of our heart attitude and actions to remain and grow in willingness and obedience, and to be honest its not always easy. However knowing Jesus loves and wants the very best for our life helps make it easier, and His promise is that as we are willing and obedient we will have the best of the land. ( Isaiah 1:19-20)

Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (John 14:23).

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him’, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4).

Prayer: Lord please help me to be more open to direction and to take seriously what you say and how you lead me. Please forgive me when I have chosen to ignore or do my own thing and grieved you Lord. I know you’re only trying to get my best life to me. I’m listening today so you lead me.  In Jesus name Amen

19 June – Just say Yes!

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God is always going to have something for us to move forward to. With Him leading we go from “faith to faith”, ever increasing in our capacity, experience and abilities. However that only happens if we keep saying Yes and are both willing and obedient to follow His lead.

Being willing is the first step in following and we keep that attitude of willingness when we understand that Jesus only wants good things for us. That He loves us far beyond what we could ever possibly fathom and He primarily just wants us to know His love and to learn to trust Him.

We come to understand this when we:

1. Value time with Jesus – it’s about a relationship not a religion. We can’t know His heart and experience His love unless we spend time in His presence and around the things of heaven. Value Him!

Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, because the servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends” (John 15:15)

2. Read the Bible – It’s His words describing His character, plan, directives and how He thinks and does things.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Without valuing Him above all else and knowing His words we can too easily start to lean on our own understanding and begin to doubt that He is enough for us. We look around and wonder if other people, pastimes and pursuits will bring more enjoyment than knowing Him and doing things His way and with Him. Sadly it can take some of us going “around the mountain” countless times before we realise, “Why don’t I just say Yes to Jesus and do life His way allowing Him to lead. He is enough; more than enough for me and nothing else will satisfy.”

Today if you are looking for peace, meaning and fulfilment in your life; If you want a real living vibrant relationship with Jesus and want to keep growing and going from faith to faith then simply say YES!

Say Yes to Him and then get out of the way and get willing to do whatever He leads you to. If you do you’ll be amazed at the joy He will bring into your life. Just do it and Say Yes!

 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6))

Prayer: Jesus, help me to get out of the way, and to say Yes to you. You lead, and I will follow your lead. Whatever and wherever you go, I will go. Whatever you ask, I will do. I’m with you! In Jesus Name. Amen.

18 June – A little niggle

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This is a repost from a few years ago, but it’s in listening to those little niggles that can save us from a whole world of trouble.

I visited one of my “NOT” so favourite places today. The dentist! I’ve been having an occasional “niggle” in one of my teeth and decided I had better get it checked out. Unfortunately my dentist didn’t have good news for me. Upon all the examinations and x-rays he discovered one of my teeth was not in good shape, as that “niggle” was being caused by decay which has reached down almost to the nerve. I am now lamenting that I haven’t been more vigilant about going to my check up’s and wondering how that “little niggle” which I thought hadn’t been causing much of an issue, is in fact far more serious than I thought.

It got me thinking this afternoon as I commiserated about my  trip to the dentist, that life can be full of those “little niggles” which we often ignore until it causes enough pain and discomfort for us to do something about them. On thinking about it I realised I have been bothered by that tooth niggle a lot more than I would at first acknowledge; I’d just been adjusting what and how I did things to cope with the pain.

How often do we do the same thing with the issues that niggle at us in our everyday lives? Sadly we too often can leave those things which start out as not too serious a problem until they flare up and cause obvious damage. We adjust, push aside and try to ignore what is actually glaringly obvious if we would be honest and listen to the warning signs and God’s gentle directives.

God exhorts us to deal with our issues; those underlying often hidden things in our lives. He knows that it’s usually not the obvious things in our lives that will cause us the biggest problems and threaten to “take us down”. It’s the little offenses, unforgiveness, negative and harmful habits,  attitudes, or even complacency when it comes to our relationships with Jesus and our loved ones which niggle at us, but which we mostly ignore and leave to fester and spread.

The bible cautions us to “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards”. (Song of Solomon 2:15). It’s the little things that dig under our defenses and eat away and undermine who we are that we need to watch out for. It’s those things that can catch us out. It’s those very issues that are capable of doing an incredible amount of damage that we need to be watchful about.

My word of advice as I make myself go to the dentist tomorrow to deal with that “not so little niggle”, is for us to face our issues, those “little foxes” in our lives head on. Don’t delay, postpone, or procrastinate anymore. One by one excavate them out of your life.

Because if we don’t, as I’m sadly discovering that decay will spread and eventually hit a painful nerve. Then it won’t just be a little niggle anymore, but more like a root canal and it could end up costing you far more than you think!

 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23)

Prayer: Lord search my heart and reveal and confront me with those seemingly “little” things in my life, which are in actual fact eating away at who I am. Show me where they are causing damage to my relationship with you, and those around me. Can you please rid my life of those destructive “niggles”, so that I can live healthy and free. In Jesus name Amen.

17 June -The gift

I read this fantastic news recently, which once again reminded me of just how great a gift we have been given in Jesus. The news is found in Hebrews 7:25 in the bible and it says this:

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

At first glance you may be tempted to overlook the significance of what this says, but I encourage you to look again. This scripture is saying that Jesus is and does save to the ‘uttermost” everyone who comes to Him. He is able to save in all times, in all cases, to the uttermost –meaning that he has the power, and that our salvation is complete. He does not abandon us halfway; he does not begin a work, which He is then unable to finish. He aids us as long as we need anything done for our salvation; He saves completely, and absolutely, so that nothing should be wanting afterwards, forever for all who choose to trust Him.

The question is what does Jesus save us from? What does the words “saved to the uttermost mean?” If you have been around church at all you would have heard that saved means that you will go to heaven if you have accepted Jesus as your Saviour. This is true. But it also means much, much more, which you will discover if you study the Hebrew and Greek words from which the bible was translated.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for save is “yasha” and is used for example in Isaiah 35:4, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you”. Yasha means ‘to be open, wide or free; to be safe; to free, avenge, defend, deliver, help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring salvation, save and get victory. It is present tense, and not something we look for only in the future when we finish this life on earth. It promises deliverance, rescue and victory for us now!

The word saved in the New Testament is the Greek word “sozo” which again means to “save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, do well, and be made whole. “Sozo” and “Yasha” overlay each other. They proclaim the same message, of victory and protection, as well as healing and being made whole, of doing well, walking in favour, prosperity and abundance.

Unlike the priests of old who were mere men, “Jesus is possessor of supernatural Divine power, which is able to save us to perfection, to the full, to all ends, from sin, it’s guilt, it’s stain and power; from it’s consequences, the curse, and wrath, and eternal death. What neither others nor ourselves could do for us, He is able to do. He is not only able, but willing to set us in a safe, happy, blessed, and glorious state for ever”. (Romans 5:9-11,17) (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

When we think of what Jesus has done for us, and now offers to all mankind, it isn’t just the assurance of where and how we will spend eternity, as absolutely awesome as that is. It is also to understand the completeness of what He has done for us, because otherwise we will only ever partially unwrap the gift of salvation, which would be such a loss.

Today think again about what saved means, and how you can grasp hold of all that has been achieved by Jesus’ work on the cross. If you have not received this freely offered gift, I encourage you to consider what He is offering you. “For if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be “saved” – delivered, protected, healed, preserved, made to do well and made whole. (Romans 10:9)

 Prayer: Jesus please help me to understand how complete my salvation is, and that it is absolute, with nothing wanting. I pray today that every area of my life would come into line with what you freely offer and have gifted me with. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

16 June – Who Has Access?

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What are you giving a place in your life? Because what we give place to has a huge bearing on how we live out our lives, our beliefs, values, and relationships. The dictionary definition of “to give place to” is to make room; to yield, to give way; to give advantage.

In Ephesians 4:27 we are warned about what we do and don’t give place to. It says, “Don’t give place to the devil.” To “give place to” carries the idea in the original Greek text of a specific, marked-off, geographical location, like a territory, region or zone. Essentially God wants us to know and be on our guard because the devil is after every region and territory of our lives. He is after our relationships, money, health, marriage, employment, business, and ministry. He is territorial in that he wants to conquer every area of our lives so that he can be in control and ultimately destroy us.

Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

To gain territory any attacker must gain an entry point to begin their campaign of take over and destruction. The devil is no different as he also looks for an access point in our lives and we can unwittingly throw open the doors and welcome him in. We make this possible through unforgiveness, un-dealt with old hurts, refusing to admit and deal with sin, judging and criticising others, poor choices, and neglecting to walk in love. Through these things the devil secretly begins penetrating people’s minds and emotions so as to weave a web of lies, negatives, strongholds and fear. We suddenly find we are nit-picky, impatient, anxious, and prone to finding fault with everyone and everything, because we have allowed our thoughts and emotions to be influenced by the devil’s lies and schemes against us.

But we can choose to close the door against His evil tactics, and instead ask Jesus into every area of our lives so that he might cleanse, support and secure every place in our lives.

We can daily choose to only give place to Holy Spirit, and to become His resting place; the place from which the exploits of Heaven are accomplished. Instead of being someone who is governed by emotions, fears and weakness, we become people who are led and guided by the Holy Spirit, as we make room for and yield to His presence in and upon our lives. He abides in us, and we in Him. As a result we know completeness in our relationship with God and there is no place for the devil to get a foothold in our life.

Jesus said it this way, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.” (John 15:4;7-8)

“For in Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form. And in Him you have been made complete.” (Colossians 2:10)

What have you been making room for and giving place to in your life?

Today give God first and only place in you life, and kick out and firmly shut the door against the devil so that your life will be filled with peace, joy, and completeness.

Prayer: Lord thank you that I am complete in you. I give you first place in my life today and kick out and shut the door on the devil and his schemes. I forgive any one who has hurt or wronged me and ask for your forgiveness for any wrongdoing. Would you please heal and cleanse my heart so that there is no entry point for evil and fill my life with your love. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

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