Where Do You Live?

When you are looking for somewhere to live you often have some sort of criteria. Maybe location is important to you. Is it close to transport, schools or colleges, the bush or ocean, shops etc? It maybe the material that it is built from. Straw, sticks or wood!!!!!

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Sorry!!Couldn’t resist!!

The type of house. One storey (or story if you are from the USA) or two or more, flat or town house etc. Maybe it’s what is inside the house. How many rooms, bathrooms, living rooms, how big the kitchen is etc. I think you get the picture. The next step is a visit to the Estate Agent. You have been saving for years and you give him your list of requirements. He looks at you earnestly for a while then he says those amazing words…”How much money do you have?” You tell him excitedly and then you see the earnestness disappear in his face only  to be replaced by sadness and disappointment as he sees his commission becoming smaller. You then have to start to cut back on what you really want. You may end up living in a three person tent but “Ho!Hum!” It’s all you can afford. d9fb648108b638e2349ca01fe5677ac1Then the estate agent says hang on a minute what about the mortgage? You are shocked! “What is this mortgage that you speak of?” (I am not sure why Yoda has arrived but just go with it….!) He explains the wonders of the mortgage. You understand that you go into debt and that the bank will hold the deeds of the house until you have paid them back. You say thank you bank for getting us out of trouble. Thank you that we can have a bigger and better house. Thank you that our lives will be much easier now. We will keep paying you back for all you have given us.

 

There is a point to all this. I am not a Real Estate agent in disguise and I don’t work for a bank so don’t worry. My point is simple, we as Christians have a choice as to where we live . We can choose to live in a tent. Using our own means to get through life.Of course we soon find out that there is no life living in a tent but that’s all we have so we will make do. We know Jesus died on a cross for us but we don’t know Him! Going to church, singing hymns, praying (but not knowing who we are praying to), hearing the bible stories read to us. We might even go to church at Easter and Christmas as a bonus but there is no life to it because we don’t know that there is someone outside ourselves to help us. This is called in the Bible living in the realm of the Flesh. Doing everything in our own strength. Satan loves this because he doesn’t have to do anything. He just sits back and laughs because those people do his job for him.

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires;” (Romans 8:5)

Then we come to the next group of Christians. The enemy spends a lot of time with these people. These are the Christians who know Jesus died for them and have heard that there is someone who can show us who Jesus really is. The Holy Spirit. Jesus had to die not only as a sacrifice for our sin but also so that the Holy Spirit can come and live inside us. Joined as one to our spirits.

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)

An advocate is a champion, upholder, supporter, backer, protector. So the second group have realised that the Holy Spirit is there to help. He has given them Gifts to use for God in their lives.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (1Corinthians 12:7-11)

He enables God’s fruit to grow in their lives,

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.(Galatians 5:22-23)

These Christians have learnt that without the Holy Spirit they are powerless. They are forever thanking God for His gift. They thank God for Jesus. They know why the Holy Spirit came and for what. They are living now in the comfort of their home enjoying the full amenities that they have been given. They are always aware of the debt that is owed. Life for Life. They see miracles happening, not Jesus miracles but still miracles. They are seeing God work. Not a huge amount but enough. They have seen the Holy Spirit work. The worship is amazing, there is such anointing. They feel heaven falling down on them.  The prayer is often fall on us Holy Spirit. They ask for the Holy Spirit to bring the Kingdom of God down on them. The devil works incredibly hard on these Christians, messing with their minds. “Am I doing enough to pay back the price? What’s my gift? Why do I sin still? Why can’t I see the fruit  in my life?” These Christians have learnt the power in the word of God. If they are sick they are professing

“and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

often with little result but sometimes there is healing. These people are living in the realm of the…….Soul. They are ‘Soulish Christians’ (Watchman Nee – Spiritual Man)

You see there is another group of people. These went to the Estate Agent with absolutely nothing but they read the small print. They realised that they could have any house they wanted, in any location. As big as they wanted. What’s more they actually didn’t have to pay for it all. It was all paid for. Signed, sealed and delivered! Whatever they wanted was available to them at any time. If they wanted something new in the house they could have it. All they had to do was sit in it. They didn’t have to do anything. It was theirs for the taking. No solicitors fees! No cost at all. If anything breaks, it will be fixed at no cost. All that was needed for their lives was theirs for the asking.

Who doesn’t want this life? Well obviously the first two groups of people don’t. Chris Blackeby, a full time Australian Itinerant Pastor, who has travelled the world preaching, calls the first two life styles “Living with the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. Do you remember that tree. It is the one that Adam ate from. The tree that showed him his nakedness. Before he ate the fruit he didn’t know he was naked and had no shame. But then he was given the knowledge of shame.S o many of us live by knowledge. We know so much Scripture. We can tell you chapter and verse. We know how a church should be run. We know what works because we have seen it work in the past, so it is bound to keep working in the future. Is it? Remember that God’s blessings don’t just fall on the people who belong to Jesus.

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matt 5:45)

Good things still will happen to people who are not in the fullness of all God wants. We need to be where God wants us. It is not about formulas or what your church wants. We are seeking knowledge of what is good. We don’t need knowledge we need Life. We need to be living with the Tree of Life. That was the other tree. Satan didn’t tempt Adam with that tree because the Tree of Life doesn’t bring sin and shame.We live by the “A little learning is a dangerous thing;”Rule! By the way that quote comes from An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope, written in 1709. (Just in case you were seeking more knowledge!!)saber We realise that knowing little is dangerous, so we learn more. We look deeper to see what each nuance means. As far as I can see the Apostles were just ordinary men who were living in the power of the Holy Spirit. They ‘knew’ all about Jesus. They ‘knew’ that He died on the cross. They ‘knew’ that He had risen from the dead. They had seen Him. They had talked to Him. He taught them about the Scriptures and everything in them that related to Him.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.(Luke 24:44-45)

They could have gone out at any time as they had the knowledge of who Jesus was. Yet they still were told to go and wait for the Holy Spirit to come. The Tree of Life! We can quote scripture until we are blue in the face but until the Holy Spirit brings Life to it for us individually we will see nothing happen.

As followers of Jesus we need to understand where our house is.

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2)

So we are waiting for that place that Jesus has prepared for us. When we die we have the hope of the prepared place. If only we got hold of the truth and saw that we are living in Heaven ! That is where we live NOW. We are Spiritual beings having an earthly experience.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (Romans 8:9 NASB)

We don’t wait to die to go to Heaven, Heaven is our home now. We live in Christ and He in us.

But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)

Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Saviour], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. (2 Corinthians 5:17 Amp)

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.(2 Corinthians 5:21)

 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20)

and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.(Colossians 2:10)

 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.(Colossians 3:3)

Where is Jesus? Sitting, on the throne next to His Father. So where are we? Sitting on the throne next to our Father. Where is the throne room? Heaven! So we are in Heaven now. We are sitting. We are at rest! Sitting next to God.

“even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:5-7 NASB)

It is nothing we have done but it is what God has done for us to show how incredible His Grace is to us. “That’s too simple”, I hear you say. Following Jesus is simple. It has to be. Not everyone has a person available to them to explain the doctrinal implications on things. No one has come to Jesus having to know the Doctrinal implication of anything. If you look at the different cultures that the Gospel has to go to, and is relevant to, then you see why it has to be simple. Someone living in the Amazon Rainforest does not have to know the implications of predestination and they never will. Or what about someone who is intellectually impaired.  All we need to know is that Jesus died for us, rose again from the dead and through His blood we now live with Him in the Heavenly Realms with the Archangels, Angels and other Spiritual beings by the power of the Holy Spirit. Everything in Heaven is available to us now. I mentioned in a previous post that God gave me a picture of a shop front which was covered in posters as if there was a sale on. Each poster had ‘Available in Store Now!’ on it. So I went in and the shop was full of everything you could think of but they all had my name on it and God said “Come and get what ever you need at any time” So I do. Sometimes I have to put the item on and sometimes I just use it. Once it’s mine it’s mine. I don’t need to go and get it again.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 1:3)

We now live next to the Tree of Life. When we live like this our whole perception changes. We no longer pray that Heaven comes down because we live in Heavenly Realms so we bring people up to where we are. When we are asking for the anointing of God to fall, we bring it with us. We are in Jesus in Heavenly Places so we bring Jesus and Heaven to people. I do believe this is the Year of God’s favour. It is a time of new things. It is the time for the Next!! Not the same as before, next  but in a totally different format, next. It is a new Next! The Tree of Life Next! A time of TURNAROUND!

Prayer starter: Dear Father let me see today who I am in Jesus. Let me see what you have done for me. Let me be at rest in Jesus. I am sorry that I have tried to do things in my own strength Holy Spirit make my place in Jesus real to me.

 

If you have time please listen to Chris Blackeby’s testimony it is well worth it. Also have a look at Living from Heaven | 14th August 2016 | Chris Blackeby | WOWLife Church on YouTube.

 

 

Wait!!

I do wonder how many of us actually enjoy waiting for something? It doesn’t seem to be part of our make up does it? You go to the local supermarket and you hear a parent say to their child who is trying to open a chocolate bar , ‘You can’t open that yet as we have to wait until we pay for it!” Then the child sits back in the trolley and waits patiently for the checkout. NOT!!! There is suddenly an explosion of noise in aisle 3!! You then see an employee scanning an empty chocolate wrapper at the checkout, with an apologetic Mum looking at her child’s chocolate covered face.’I want it now, and if not now then sooner!’ Yet, the bible is full of passages where we are told to wait, be patient, hope, have faith, trust, etc., etc.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV)

When I hear the word wait I shudder. I want God to use me…. now. I want to see people released from bondage…. now. People healed. People saved. I get so frustrated. Surely God you want me out there doing, what about the great commission?

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

I want to make disciples of the nations…..now, I want to preach….now, I want to lead…..now. But the doors don’t open. The doors are clear but they don’t move, no matter how hard I push at them. So what is it you want me to do God? “Wait” I want to serve you! “Wait” Why aren’t people healed when I pray? “Wait” What about  victory in my life?“Wait” Why can’t I get free from sin? “Wait” What was that? “Wait” Sorry, did you say wait? “Wait” Wait! Really? But there is no time, it is urgent? “Wait. Time belongs to me. I am time. I stop time. My timing is perfect”

It has taken a while but at last I am beginning to see it. I am to wait!!!! I  realise now why I need wait and why it is so important.

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To start with I needed to see that there are different kinds of waiting and they are not all bad. First we have the “Wait until your father gets home, he will deal with you!” That’s a horrible ‘wait’. Then we have the boring wait. Just hanging around with nothing to do. Then there is the waiting for the bus to work wait. That’s the one where you are waiting for something to turn up, that will move  you onto something unpleasant. e.g., the dentist waiting room!!! Then we have the best wait….. the child’s Christmas Eve wait. This is full of excited anticipation, wonderment, awe, expectancy!!!!

I say that the word wait causes me to shudder but I still love that expectant wait. Let me give you an example. I love going to the theatre, especially to see musicals. Even though I have purchased my ticket long before and it has my seat number on it, I still have to get to the theatre early. It has nothing to do with making sure I don’t miss the start but because I enjoy the wait! I love the anticipation. Watching the people, feeling their expectancy. I love experiencing the amazing atmosphere of the place. Buying my program. Not looking at it because I don’t want to ruin any surprises!! I know that part is just plain weird so let’s move on quickly. I will go into the auditorium to see the orchestra getting ready, tuning up. Then minutes before the show starts I will take my seat and I am ready to enjoy the show fully. Without the preparation I would not be ready to enjoy the show at its best. Are you seeing the importance of waiting? (By the way that  is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, otherwise known as a…. parable. Not a good one, I admit, but a parable none the less.) The waiting with expectancy is the Godly wait. Let’s look at God’s wait in more detail.

When God asks us to wait on Him it has to be for a reason. It is not a pointless exercise. The reason is always to bring more glory to Jesus. This is our purpose here. We bring glory to the Son. In the process we receive blessing after blessing. You see we cannot do anything without God. Jesus only did what he saw His Father doing.

“Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:9)

Therefore we need to wait and see what the Father is doing. When you wait on God you are not just sitting around in a meditative state,  emptying your mind and humming. You are waiting expectantly! When I go early to the theatre I don’t just go into the foyer and wait. I am watching, listening, smelling, touching and tasting (especially if I have bought an ice-cream!! I am present, aware, in the moment. It is not about past shows or even the show itself it is about the moment. Our wait on God is not about what has happened in the past or what will be in our future but the moment. Moment by moment with God. We can’t change the past and we don’t know what the future holds but we can wait on God expectantly in the moment.

Waiting on God is about faith and trust. We know that we can manipulate events to make things happen. My mother was a master manipulator. She was the Stephen Hawkins of manipulation and she taught me well. It is a horrible, nasty personality trait. Instead of trust or faith it brings the opposite and the results don’t last. It doesn’t last because its foundation is deceit which is the opposite of God, He is light with no darkness. When we let go and wait, we are in total reliance on Him. This is how God wants us to be.

“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;” (Psalm 37:7)

There’s that other shudder making word… patiently. Not only do we wait but we wait patiently. Not worrying, caring, fretting, resistant, restless, uneasy but  steadfast, steady, unwavering, unmoved, calm, peaceful, tolerant. A friend of mine calls it that “P” word because he dislikes it so much. When we are patient we again allow faith and trust to grow. We wait in hope.

“Hope in the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land;” (Psalm 37:34)

So many times the verses that speak about waiting have a promise attached, like the one above.  I love the promise in the verse I first quoted from Isaiah Chapter 40.

“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, ESV)

Surely it is worth waiting on God for the renewing of strength, to be able to have your Spirit soar like an eagle, to not grow weary or faint.

What about this for another promise. Receiving the goodness of God.

“The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” (Lamentations 3:25 ESV)

If we wait on Him God will listen to us and will act.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” (Psalm 40:1-3)

This is what I want in my life. I want God to take me out of the mud and slime and I want to be on a firm foundation, so that I am not tossed about by every whim that comes into my head. Oh to be steadfast!!! More than anything I want that new song in my mouth. Away with the old and onto the new. A new song in my mouth, please God!! “Wait” So I am learning to wait. That s all I to do, wait. I cannot get those things by doing only waiting. We are not raised up in the Heavenly realms and doing amazing things. We are seated in the Heavenly realms.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6)

There is a reason for us being seated. We are not just sitting down, we are seated in Jesus. Our starting point when we wait on God is there. Seated within, part of, inside, encompassed by, Jesus. We cannot do anything without knowing that we are seated in Jesus in the Heavenly realms. He is our starting place and our finishing place.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)

We cannot do anything without Jesus. It’s not just about knowing in our mind but knowing in our Spirit. Knowing in our mind is taking the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Knowing in our Spirit is taking fruit from the Tree of Life. That is why we wait. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to show us who the power comes from. We can do nothing without Jesus. It is through Jesus that we have faith. Faith just doesn’t happen. We can quote scripture until we are blue in the face but until the Holy Spirit brings life into it we will see no results. Remember it’s not about knowing in our mind because that is taking the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil but it is knowing in our Spirit, which is taking fruit from the Tree of Life.

“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. (Psam130:5-7)

I spoke in an earlier post about noticing when certain phrases are repeated in passages of scripture. Take a closer look! “More than watchmen wait for the morning” It was the watchman’s job to wait for the break of day to signal the start of the first worship in the temple. It also meant that his job was done so he could go home for a sleep. You can imagine how eager he was to see the dawn. The Psalmist waits more eagerly and expectantly than the man who can’t wait to get off work!! That is real expectancy. His whole being waits. Every part of him is waiting. I want to be like that. All of me waiting for God because in Him is unfailing love and full redemption.

I hope this is a helpful introduction to waiting on God. I want to finish with two quotes from Charles Spurgeon, who was a great man of God,

“If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.”

“We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.” (Charles Spurgeon)

 

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Wait Expectantly

Sufficient

Are you always seeking something more? Is your life not enough? Are you never satisfied? Do the people around you let you down? Are people not there when you want them? How about Fame? Do you crave that 15 minutes of fame? What about your finances, your house, your work or even your family? Do you want something more out of life? Well I have the answer for you!!! God! That’s right G. O. D. God. He has everything you need. He has the answers to all your cravings. If people are not there when you want them to be, I can tell you that God will be. When you need to feel special and loved, God is the answer for you. I repeat, “He has everything you need.”

I could be in advertising! As a Christian that should be my declaration for everyone! God is enough. He is SUFFICIENT! You don’t need anyone else. As a Christian do we actually believe it? Can we agree with King David,

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62 v 5 – 8)

David didn’t have it easy. He certainly had to learn the hard way that God would be his provider, that God was enough. To be truthful with you I find this difficult myself. Whether it was because I was an only child or whether because my parents didn’t invest much time in me or a combination of both,  I learned very early on to be self-sufficient. I learnt very early on how to get myself out of difficulties. You have to because when you have little guidance from adults, you find your self in self-created difficulties all the time. That word self-sufficient tells its own tale. My mother used to proudly tell me of my exploits as a young child. Doing things on my own. She used to tell me how at three and a half I would go down to my local school and watch the children play. This apparently showed my eagerness to go to school. It wasn’t till later on that it occurred to me, surely a three and a half year old shouldn’t be allowed to go off on his own, crossing roads without an adult in sight! Anyway, this self-sufficiency has been ingrained in me. “You need to do it yourself, find the answers, solve the problems, fight the battles!” God has been shouting “Stop!” to me for a very long time! Eventually I had to stop. I had nothing left. I found myself in a Psychiatric Unit of a local hospital. Literally nothing left. Friends gone, family gone because they couldn’t cope. Nothing except God.

depressionGod literally started from scratch. Before going into hospital I had been systematically reading the book of Psalms, so when I was in hospital I found a Gideon New Testament with the Psalms in the back. (I want us to recognise the work of the Gideons and pray that God continues to provide financial support and open doors for their work.) I was up to Psalm 12 and so I started reading. I got to verse 5 and this is what it said:

Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”” (Psalm 12 v 5 ESV)

It was God who was going to rise and it was God who was going to place me in safety. It wasn’t going to be me.He was going to do the rescuing and not me. You have to understand that I had been a Christian for many years but still not grasped that God would help. Even though I knew that the statement ‘God helps those who help themselves’ wasn’t from the Bible and I argued with people who thought that it was, somehow I felt that it was up to me to rescue myself from the messes I got myself into. After all it was me who got me into the mess in the first place. I was trying to help myself when all the while it was God who wanted to help. He couldn’t wait to help!!

A few months later I was in a new church with new friends. Part of a group of people who supported and loved me. It is important to find the correct church for you.forgive1 Be connected and not isolated! I used to find myself isolated all the time and that is a place our enemy wants us to be. The reason I say that, is that God wanted me to be to be with people who would encourage me and allow Him to do the work necessary. He really did begin to work in me and quickly too. It was if He was making up for lost time. The support I had enabled me to go deeper into God. I was  not a lone wolf. I belonged. God began to show me how He provides. Nothing I lacked was not found in Him. One day God showed me that I had been carrying my own cross around with me for years. What a weight it was. He literally lifted it off my shoulders. I think if we are feeling a heaviness in our Christian journey it is more than likely that we are doing this in our own strength.

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt ch 11 v 30)

We make our life harder. God wants us to rely on Him.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55 v 22)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Pet ch 5 v 7)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt ch 11 v 28)

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah ch 41 v 13)

Do you realise that one of God’s names in the Bible is El-Shaddai which means ‘The All Sufficient One’ or ‘The All Bountiful One’. He abundantly nourishes, satisfies, protects and supplies. He knows what you need even before you ask and He provides.

“…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matt ch 6 v 8)

You have to ask though! Then you have to be ready for the answer! It is not in our strength or we then will have the glory but it is in His. Why do we struggle when the God of all the Universe has all we need and is ready to give it to us. He wants to fight for us but we have to let Him.

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus ch 14 v 14)

One of the most startling things I learnt was that anything we rely on to get us through life other than God is an idol. Anything that sets itself up against God needs to be torn down. What do you rely on to get you through life! It could be friends. Now it is vital to have the right people around you but if you put them before God it is a problem. I had to learn the hard way, but that is not everyone’s journey! I was a slow learner!!!! What is the first thing you run to when you are stressed? Chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, tea, ice-cream!!! Mine used to be my bed!! If I couldn’t cope I would take to my bed, where I was safe. I had learned this from childhood. Is there something that is your automatic go to place or thing. God wants us to run to Him when we are in difficulty. He wants to be first.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt ch 6 v 33)

Do you see this. Say the verse out loud. Declare it for yourself,

“I will seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all that I need  will be given to me

Or be more specific,

“I will seek God first when I am stressed, and He will give me the peace that passes all understanding (or whatever the need may be).

You don’t have to go through struggles to learn every lesson from God but you do have to learn it. Remember He has everything you need. I can tell you that if you put anything before God He will eventually tear it down because He wants the best for you. There is no need to use your own resources when God has bountiful stores of them which are better in quality and longer lasting!!! Why would you want to do things in your power when He wants you to use Christ’s power? Come on let it sink in. Jesus’ power in you or your own? There can be no battle surely? I want to finish with this verse. Meditate on it and let the Holy Spirit speak to you through it,

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Cor 12 v 9)

Prayer – Heavenly Father you have everything that I need. Help me look to you when life becomes too hard. Let me  see those things which I put before you and help me to tear them down. Please let me rest in you and receive all you want for me. Thank You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen

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Seek First The Kingdom of God and His Righteousness

I Am The Vine

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John ch 15 v 5 – 8)

I love this passage of scripture. For me it seems to some up what a Christian is all about. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. So why do we try? We put in a lot of effort to be all that God wants us to be, without, at times, actually being attached to the vine. We have this attachment in our heads through knowledge but our hearts are crying out for a real relationship with Jesus. It’s as if we flip in and out of  a real connection with Him. Can you imagine a vine branch suddenly deciding to have a few hours off and go and join an orange tree or a rose bush, just for a change. I know it’s a silly analogy but often we are like that, we take time off to be attached to another tree.

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This is such an old vine! Nothing weak about this vine!!

When a branch starts to grow from a vine it starts as a shoot. It is part of the branch. The tiny shoot is not separate from the branch. The same DNA is in the shoot as in the branch. The structural support tissues of the vine provide the nutrients, water and everything that comes from photosynthesis. I hope you are suitably impressed, I looked it up!!! It means, simply put, that if the shoot isn’t part of the vine it withers and dies. What I love about the shoot growing from the branch is that there is no effort involved! It doesn’t strive to be part of the vine,….. it is. All that it needs is provided by the vine itself. Are you getting the picture? Say it to yourself again. ” All that it needs is provided by the vine itself”. Let that sink in. If we are a branch coming from Jesus then He has all we need!

 

The key to being part of Him is to ‘remain’! Jesus says it over and over in this chapter. Remain! Remain! Remain! I heard Pastor Mark Zschech speak recently and he said if anything was repeated in a passage of scripture, we were to “Lean in”. I loved that expression. It is so visual. Lean in, go towards it, observe it closely, give it more attention!  In John chapter 15 where we find this passage there are eleven ‘remains’ in the first eleven verses. Obviously Jesus was trying to make a point!!!!!

Let’s ‘Lean In” on the word remain. Well first we need to be clear on one thing, Jesus didn’t speak English!! So He didn’t actually say ‘remain’. Jesus spoke Aramaic and although there are a few Aramaic phrases in the Gospels the majority of the New Testament is written in an old form of Greek. Scholars call it New Testament Greek! You would think that being scholars they would have come up with something more original than New Testament Greek! Any way the Greek word for remain is μένω.  The Phonetic Spelling is men’-o. As in (A)men and OH! (dear), men -oh. μένω means : I remain, continue, dwell, endure, be present, stand, abide, stay, wait. You see the point. We need to ‘remain, continue, dwell, endure, be present, stand, abide, stay, wait‘ in Jesus for Him to work through us. Unless we ‘remain, continue, dwell, endure, be present, stand, abide, stay, wait’ in Jesus we can do nothing. All these words are verbs, doing words, words about action. We cannot just sit back and expect it to all happen around us, we do have a part to play. The exciting part of this, is that we have someone inside of us who helps us, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our advocate. (John ch 14 v26). An Advocate is a champion, upholder, supporter, backer, promoter, proponent, exponent, protector, patron etc. I can honestly tell you that I cannot survive without the Holy Spirit in my life. God is so amazing that He asks us to do something for Him but then gives us the help to do it. What a Good Father we have! In a lot of churches the Holy Spirit is very rarely mentioned. God, the Father is talked about and so is God, the Son but God the Holy Spirit is talked about much less and yet He is on equal footing with both Father and Son. To put it simply, the Holy Spirit is Jesus’ replacement on earth. Just as the Disciples had Jesus to teach, encourage, help and even admonish at times, so we have the wonderful Holy Spirit to exactly the same. We have Jesus with us all the while.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt ch 28 v 20)

Let’s get back to the point. We have established that it is important to remain, continue, dwell, endure, be present, stand, abide, stay, wait’ in Jesus and that the Holy Spirit helps us do it. We know that Jesus laboured the point, continually saying “Remain in me”, but why is it so important for us.

First of all let me remind you of this scripture,

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter ch 5 v 8)

Say no more! If we step outside of fellowship with Jesus we are more likely to allow our enemy to have a foothold. We have God’s protection.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,
 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command  his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;  they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra;  you will trample the great lion and the serpent.” (Psalm 91 v 9 -13)

Not only do we get protection from our enemy but also the power to crush him. (verse 13) Don’t you want that?

Not only do we have protection but we also have rest.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  (Psalm 91 v 1)

Remember the word dwell means the same as remain. You remain in Him, joined to the Vine and He promises rest. Remember our little shoot? It doesn’t have to strive to grow because, ” All that it needs is provided by the vine itself”!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.(Matt ch 11 v 28)

Unless we remain in Jesus we can’t produce fruit.grape-2852

If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15 v 5)

We don’t produce fruit but ‘much fruit’. I love this. We don’t produce the fruit, Jesus does. Fruit refers to our spiritual lives and all that develops from that. Our character, our prayer lives, how we are outside church, in work or school etc. With Jesus, our lives will be fruitful.  The Holy Spirit will show us how to be fruitful especially in the area of caring for the people God puts in our path. Just as an aside, God wants us to be there for each other and if we take time in our daily conversations with others to ask God what He wants us to say and pray during our conversations we will see much more of God in action.

By remaining in Jesus we have the privilege of being called His friend,

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John ch 15 v 15)

This is such an incredible concept. Quite mind blowing! The Son of God, the Great  ‘I Am’ is my friend. The Apostle Paul goes one step further,

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians ch 4 v 7)

If we remain in the Vine we are called friends, sons and heirs.

It is obvious the blessings that come to us by remaining and of course I have mentioned  only a few, but as I said  earlier, we do have a part to play. The Holy Spirit will show us the way, definitely and the starting points for this are simple. Read your Bible and pray!!! readpraysmallerYou can’t remain in the Vine unless you know who the Vine is. You will definitely end up attached to an orange tree or even worse a thorn bush. If you don’t already read your Bible, start in the Gospels, which tell us about Jesus’ life. Perhaps even start with the Gospel of John which is where the teaching about the Vine comes from. Wherever you start keep going. Spend time each day. When you are reading, ask the Holy Spirit to show you new things. I can tell you, there are times when I read a passage of scripture perhaps for the fiftieth time and suddenly I see something completely new. One of the most powerful ways to see see the power in the Bible is to declare it out loud. If you look at the first two posts on this blog you will see some examples. Also pray! Praying is just talking to God. It is a conversation between Him and you. Tell Him how your day is going. Ask Him questions. Tell Him when things are not going well. Ask Him for help? The Bible teaches us that if we come close to God He immediately will be close to us.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4 v 8)

Jesus also says this about prayer,

  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John ch 15 v 7)

Now if that is not an amazing blessing I don’t know what is. Remain! Remain! Remain!

Without remaining in Jesus we will wither and die, producing no fruit. Blessing-less! It’s a choice as all our Christian walk is. To be (in Jesus) or not to be (in Jesus) that is the question? See what I did there? Not just scripture but a bit of Shakespeare’s Hamlet too! What will be next? Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, Rogers and Hammerstein!!!!

Anyway what will you choose to do. There is only one answer really,

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John ch 15 v 9)

Prayer – God thank you that you love me so much that you call me your child. Help me today to remain in you. Holy Spirit guide me and encourage me in my walk with you daily. May I have all that you want for me in my life. Amen

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Tithing? Yes or No!

 

Those of us who attend church know that during each service an offering plate, bag flowerpot, bucket etc., is past around for the monetary gifts that we bring to God that week.  The offering has been a part of the Christian Church tradition for a long time. “Why?” I hear you ask, and if you didn’t say , “Why?” Please do so now!….”Why?” Thank you! Now I do realise you could have been asking “Why do I have to say Why?” and not “Why does the Christian Church collect the offering?” I am going to only answer the latter and ignore the former as it is just plain bad manners!!!!!! See you’re smiling now, or utterly confused! Just keep reading, it gets better, I promise!
The offering, sometimes called a Freewill Offering, was part of God’s walk with us from the beginning. The argument with Cain and Abel was over an offering. One was accepted by God and the other wasn’t. That offering ended in murder. (Genesis ch 4.)
Even before Abram had a name change he is seen to be offering to Melchizedek the King of Salem.
“and he blessed Abram, saying,“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,Creator of heaven and earth.And praise be to God Most High,who delivered your enemies into your hand.”Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” (Gen 14 v 19 -20)
Again in the book of Genesis, we find in chapter 28 the story of Jacob’s dream. During the night Jacob dreamt he saw a ladder from heaven with angels ascending and descending. He also saw God at the top, blessing him. Afterwards Jacob called the place Bethel and promised that he would give God a tenth of what he had if God continued to bless him.
“and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” (Gen ch 28 v 22)
When God gave ‘The Law’ by which the Jewish people were to live by, to Moses, the giving of a tenth of what they had became entrenched in their relationship to God . The giving of a tenth, often called a tithe, was mainly to provide sustenance for the Levites who were the priests who looked after all spiritual aspects of the people.

“The Israelites will give me a tenth of everything they produce. And I will give it to the Levites. They serve at the tent of meeting. I will give them the tenth for the work they do there. (Numbers ch 18 v 21)

So this tradition has lasted even today in our churches. Here lies the problem for us as modern day Christians. There is very little talk in the New Testament about tithing, but there is talk of giving. In the Gospel of Matthew we have this:

So when you give to the needy, (Matt ch 6 v 2)

When Jesus says this, it is obvious that He is expecting people to give. There is no “If you give” but “When”. Also in 1 Corinthians ch 9, Paul tells the church that it is important that his material welfare is looked after and that it is their job to do it.

If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? (1 Cor ch 9 v 11)

So is this the reason why it is important to give to our church? Basically to keep the church functioning? My answer to this is absolutely……. NO!!!  The first thing to note is that God doesn’t need your money or grain or corn and the like. If He wants to keep a church open, then He will, regardless of the offering. He cares enough about the people in it, to provide for them. He has promised that. God owns the riches of the earth. Gold mines, silver mines, He owns all the silicon in the world. The bible says He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50 v 10) He honestly doesn’t need your money. We would be in trouble if He did.

Let’s me put something else to you and this might help. If you are one of these people who come to church with the attitude of having to give to God because you have been told it is the thing to do, you might as well put your money back in your wallet. Yes I know that if there are any church leaders reading this you are all shouting “Lock Him Up!” or maybe worse “Make Him watch Liverpool play soccer!” Just hang on… remember I have already told you that all your needs are going to be met through Jesus, so shame on you for your lack of trust!!!!! So why is it better not to give at all if you are doing so out of obligation? That is a very good question and thank you for asking it because it brings me to the whole point. You see all that God wants from you is…. you. All of you! When you give God your life you give him everything including your money.

You see, giving  is not for God’s benefit but ours. Giving an offering helps us in our walk with God and not God’s walk with us. It helps us increase our trust. It helps us grow in faith. It gives God the opportunity to show how much He loves us. His word tells us that He will provide for all our needs.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians ch 4 v 19)

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matt 6 v 31-32)

“…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34 v 10)

It is fairly clear from God’s word that He will look after us. The difficulty is actually trusting Him to keep His promise. You have a family to look after. Bills to pay. Food to buy. I know all the reasons why not to give to God. The question is can we trust God to provide? Put another way, does God have all of us or only part. Are our finances ours just in case He doesn’t fulfill His promises. Actually, if we can’t trust Him with our money then the only word that describes it is DOUBT! Their is no trust in doubt. You can’t half trust!! You either trust or not! God does want all of you. He will go on chiselling away until He has all of you. Again I will say, this is not for His benefit but for ours! The more we trust, the closer we are to Him. The more we trust, the more opportunities God has to pour His blessing on us! I would much rather have God’s blessing than miss out because of lack of trust. God is worthy of our trust!

No one will ever argue with you that it is true we need money to live. However there is a difference between what is true and truth. God’s word is truth. So yes it is true that we need certain things to survive,

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt ch 6 v 33 – 34)

Put God first and He will add everything to you, is truth and far out ways what we perceive to be true. Trust or Doubt? In the book of Malachi God says test me on it!

“”Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.“” (Mal ch 3 v 10)

I don’t want to labour the point so I will start to close. Give because you want to. Give because you trust God. Give because you love Him. Give because you want to bless those around you. Give because you love the work that God is doing in your church.Give humbly!

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt ch 6 v 2-4)

That’s just in case you already were unpacking your trumpets!!! Put them away immediately! Basically don’t show off! Give what you decide to give. Don’t keep second guessing yourself. Give cheerfully. Don’t begrudge God what is already His!

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor ch 9 v 7)

Last thought! If the children of Israel gave a tenth of everything they had before Jesus came and gave Himself on the cross for us! How much more then should we really be giving God for all He gave us. It has to be all we have!

I can’t wait to see your church, the mission fields, the needy and you really blessed because you put God first and trusted Him with everything.

 

Ebenezer

Just before you think that this is a post talking about the famous Dickens’ character Ebenezer Scrooge from his novel “A Christmas Carol”, I need to correct you. This in fact refers to a story in the Old Testament concerning a great man called Samuel. Samuel had been called by God at a very early age. He was born as a result of his mother’s prayers and placed into God’s hands because of a promise.

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life…” (1 Sam ch 1 v 10 – 11)

In 1 Samuel ch 3 we can see he was called by God to be a prophet and as he grew older he was recognised as being the voice of God for the Children of Israel.

The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.” (1 Sam ch 3 v 19 – 20)

It wasn’t all blue skies and sunlight for Samuel. The Philistines were always a pain. The Philistines would attack and take cities from the Israelites. They would plunder the riches of Israel. They even took away the sacred Ark of the Covenant. The symbol of God’s presence with His chosen people. It really wasn’t easy for Samuel to lead but he kept His eyes on the One who called him.

So we come to  Ebenezer. It’s not a person but a stone, a rock. Let me fill you in. After so many failures against the Philistines, Samuel and the Israelites began to see victory after victory. They even saw the return of the Ark of the Covenant. So Samuel decided that the time had come to put down a stone in gratitude to the God who had brought about the victories. He called it the rock, Ebenezer!

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”” (1 Samuel ch 7 v12)

Eben -ezer is a Hebrew word and it means the stone of help. ““Thus far the LORD has helped us.”” It is a point of reference. Up to now God had brought them through. There would be more difficulties but if they could see what God had done, it would increase faith for further triumphs. I love the way the verse says that Samuel took the stone and set it up. He placed it. He put it down. The stone was just like any one you find any where. It wasn’t chiselled out of anything. No man had caused it’s formation. If it had had work done on it, then the rock would become an idol. No one had done anything to the rock. It was placed. It was never to be worshipped, it was just a reminder of God’s goodness.

This is what I love about the Bible. Here we have a story that is at least 3000 years old and yet it has relevance for Christians today. We need to take our rocks and place them, just to remind us of the goodness of God. All we do is place it. The triumph has come from God and not by our own doing.

I have more than one Ebenezer in my life. I will give you an example of  two of them. I hope they are helpful. At the moment I have a ministry within Aged Care. I go to different facilities and I sing. I have made this one of my Ebenezers. Every time I sing I remember all the amazing blessings God has given me. I remember how God has taken hold of my life and given meaning to it. How He has worked in my life to allow me to sing.

Another Ebenezer I have is like a full stop. I placed it at the end of a season of struggle and turmoil. It was a period in my life when I lost hope. I couldn’t see light. I couldn’t even see the tunnel I was in it was so dark let alone the light at the end of it!!! But God had His hand on me and gave me a promise.

““Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”” (Psalm 12 v 5 ESV)

God honoured that promise. It took months for me to see something happening but I know that from the point of the promise, God was in action. There were times when the situation seemed so hard but God reminded me of His promise. There were times when I was so angry with God that I was reminding Him of His promise. I can tell you this, that God is faithful. I am now in a place of security in God that I have never been before. I know His love for me. I placed the Ebenezer here. This one has become a bit of a wall even though it is only a rock. It is a before and after stone. The stone represents a new season, the next step or transition. That point reminds me of who God is to me. My Father, my Shepherd, my Deliverer, my Stronghold, my Love etc. I don’t need to go past that point. Who I was then is not who I am now. No going back because I now know of God’s hand on me.

I want you to start to place Ebenezers in your life. Whether it is in an area of your life that you do regularly. Something meaningful that when you do it you can remember all  God has done for you. It might be a date or an event, that when you remember it you can see God’s hand in your life. It might be that you often fail over the same areas time and time again. Anger, lack of patience, pride, lust: you get the picture. Those areas are like the Philistines for Samuel. Always around causing havoc. Defeat after defeat. Then there started to be a couple of victories so immediately the rock is put in place. So when you start to see even the smallest of victories in an area, put the stone down. It will remind you that victories can happen. The stone is not a good luck charm that can  guarantee that the defeat will go away for ever but  we can thank God for His forgiveness, look at our Ebenezer and thank Him that the victory can happen again.

I can promise you that your Ebenezer will bring hope

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Rom ch 5 v 5

Hope always brings Faith. Remember all that God has done for you. Remember how He loves you.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11 v 1)

The exciting aspect of your Ebenezer is that it reminds you of what you have seen God do so how much greater will be your faith!!!!! Hallelujah!

Fruit of the Spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal ch 5 v 22 – 23)

This is such a well-known passage of Scripture. For some people it is a passage which brings encouragement and hope but to others it is a source of challenge and condemnation. Why is that? Let’s have a look.

First, let’s look at the background of the Letter to the Galatians. It is written by the Apostle Paul, who wants to assure the church of his authority as an Apostle. A group of Jewish Christians had come into the church at Galatia and tried to discredit Paul by saying he had no authority, that at least as Jews they were descendants of Abraham and in turn had seen Jesus for real. Paul lays it down straight from the beginning of the letter as to whose authority he is writing in.

“Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Gal ch 1 v 1)

He just wasn’t just part of any congregation but he was chosen by God, set apart and appointed. He is assuring the churches in Galatia that he speaks with the authority of the one who sent him. He also wants to defuse any fears that the church might have about him being a lone wolf, prowling around doing his own thing. He is writing the letter along with those who are with him. Not just on his own authority but with the backing of others.

“and all the brothers and sisters with me,” (Gal ch 1 v 2)

He treats the usurpers to his authority with contempt.

“As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal ch 1 v 9)

Paul is incredibly angry and calls them foolish for listening to teaching that obviously is so against the teaching of grace that he brought to them.

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (Gal ch 3 v 3)

“So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” (Gal ch 3 v 5)

The letter sets out to show how Jesus came to remove the traditions of the law and bring freedom and liberty in life. Paul explains that it is only because Jesus died on the cross that we have eternal life and not by external actions. It is by faith in Jesus that we have Life.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” (Gal ch 3 v 10 – 11)

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,” (Gal ch 3 v 26)

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope” (Gal 5 ch 4 – 5)

It is in this context that we have our verse. The Law of Moses v Grace and Faith. Flesh v Holy Spirit.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Gal 5 v 16 – 18)

The Flesh brings immorality

“sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Gal ch 5 v 19 – 21)

but the Holy Spirit brings His Fruit!!!!

“love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  (Gal ch 5 v 22 – 23)

One of the interesting points to notice is that when Paul talks about the result of living in the flesh he calls it ‘the works of the flesh’, works which is plural, and yet the result of partnering with the Holy Spirit brings fruit, singular. Works is plural because each act of wickedness is inconsistent with the next, not connected. Conversely, fruit  describes consistency and connectedness. Love doesn’t grow quicker than gladness or forbearance. They grow at the same rate and one doesn’t grow without the other. One grows, they all grow. It is the sole result of having the Holy Spirit living in us. It is the Holy Spirit that causes the growth dependent on God’s grace and mercy. The fruit doesn’t grow faster if we do extra things for God. If we help the needy, love our neighbour, volunteer more or help old ladies across the street. The fruit of the Spirit becomes more noticeable in our lives when we seek after Jesus.

I don’t want to go into each of the fruit individually, as I feel they are self-explanatory. I might return to it at a later date. I really want to look at our reaction when we can’t seem to find the fruit growing anywhere. We see plenty of the works of the flesh, being quick to anger, jealousy , selfishness, bitchiness, dislike, distrust, unforgiveness  and the rest, but often no sign of fruit. The strange thing is that we can easily recognise the works of the flesh more easily than we do the fruit of the Spirit.

The bottom line is that the fruit of the Spirit will only be missing from your life if the Holy Spirit has decided to take a vacation and left you to fend for yourself for a while. The fact that He doesn’t need to rest and as he has moved over the face of the whole earth, so doesn’t need to go sight-seeing, is a fair indication that this is not the case. So if He has not gone anywhere the fruit is still there. Have a look at joy for example. How many times do we go about miserable, depressed and saddened and ask ourselves where is our joy? The joy is still there, it hasn’t moved, it hasn’t shrunk in size, so what has happened?

Firstly let’s not equate joy with earthly happiness. There is a difference, although, I must add,what the difference is has been a bone of contention among Bible scholars for a very long time. The problem is that the Bible itself doesn’t differentiate between the two words. Words like joy. gladness, happiness, blessed, delight are all interchangeable. The New Testament was mainly written in Ancient Greek, and the word for joy in our passage is χαρά or in its anglicised form chara which is also translated as gladness or delight. You see the problem?  I believe there is a form of happiness which is very shallow. It is brought on by earthly pleasures and is very fleeting. Often when the feeling goes there is emptiness. We go to church and have a great time in praise and worship, the songs are great, the band and singers are also good and we leave church feeling euphoric. We get home but that feeling doesn’t last and we feel let down that the joy has gone. We are back in the same place again. Where is the joy?

The solution is simple.When we were worshiping we have somehow missed the point of worship. Praise and worship is takes us into the presence of God and there we can commune with Him, which enables Him to do the work He needs to do in us. Often in the Old Testament the musicians and  singers were sent first into battle to prepare the way for the rest of the army. They weren’t cannon fodder!!! They were as much a part of the army as the cavalry or the foot soldiers. They prepared the way for God to do His work!  If we treat church as a Rock Concert then all we get back is the same euphoria you get from listening to your favourite band and it only lasts for a short while.We need to go deeper into God’s presence and from there we will find the joy of the Holy Spirit.

I am sorry to go into such detail with joy but I feel this is such a good example of why we can’t always see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The answer again is simple. We need to look to God.  I know I should have said that at the beginning and saved you a lot of time but I needed to take you on a journey. You see God wants you to look to Him first. He wants you to understand that He has the answers for you. After all He is the Creator of everything so logically He is the one with the answers to everything. If we go back to the reason for the letter, we see that Paul was trying to show the church that it is not ‘the doing’ that gets us closer to God but His Grace.

The Holy Spirit enters us when we first ask Jesus to come into our lives and ask Him to forgive us for going our own way. Then each day after we continually ask Him to fill us with His presence daily. We keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is there, the fruit is there also, growing at the same rate in connectedness. It is your choice. Look around and find fulfillment in other things, and not God, and you will lose sight of the Holy Spirit’s work in you. It is all about trust. God has said He has placed His Spirit in us, so trust He is there. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is God’s character in a nutshell and so the more we become closer to Him, the more like Him we become.

Remember the fruit of the Spirit is not affected by outward circumstances. It is not dependent on what we feel like. We can go through the worst situations and still know that because we have the Holy Spirit in us, gladness, peace, forbearance and love are still there. They are all attributes of God and He lives in us.

If we want the character of God to shine through, then seek Him. Go into His throne room boldly and talk to Him! Praise and worship Him. Read about Him in His word and find out from His word how much He loves you. You will find the fruit shooting about all over the place. Seek Him!

“May the Lord bless you
    and take good care of you.
May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
 May the Lord look on you with favor
    and give you peace.” 

(Numbers ch 6 v 24 – 26)

God Loves You

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A few years ago, this statement, God Loves You, was everywhere. There was often the word Smile attached to it. Every other car seemed to have it as a bumper sticker. People used to add things to it, ‘God loves you but I find you really difficult’. ‘God loves you! At least someone does’. ‘God loves you and I am trying too but it is so hard’. etc etc  I don’t think that anyone really got the message. God Loves You!

Today as we gather in our churches, small, bible or prayer groups we spend hours looking at the word and hearing that God Loves You! Again I don’t think anyone really gets the message.

In church we stand and we worship. In our worship songs we have lyrics that explain how much God Loves You but again we don’t get it.

We sit at home and read the Bible and spend time finding out about God’s Love. We pray and God tells us of His Love. But we really don’t get it.

The reason I say that is,  if we did get it. we would change the world. Nothing could stop us. Everywhere we go we would be a people who were Loved by God. Who could stop us? What could get in our way? God Loves Me!! Either we don’t understand God, or we don’t understand love, or we really, deep down, don’t believe it!!!

Let’s go through the three statements and see where our problem might lie.

We don’t understand God

The whole nature of God revolves around Love. If we look in the Bible at the verses that show us the character of God, we can’t ever get away from Love as being an important aspect of the whole essence of God.

“……..but his favour lasts a lifetime; …….” (Psalm 30 v 5)

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Psalm 145 v 8)

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”  (Isaiah ch 49 v 15 -16)

“….you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you …..” (Isaiah ch 43 v 9)

Then of course we have the Apostle John’s first letter,

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1John ch 4 v 8)

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John ch 4 v 16)
The whole of God’s character is about Love. The interesting aspect of the last two quotes is that they were written by a man who was called “The disciple whom Jesus loved”. He knew first hand the character of God because he had spent time with the one who had come to show us the character of God, Jesus.
“I and the Father are one.” (John 10 v 30)
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14 v20)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John ch 1 v 1) and
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John ch 1 v 14)

So, in Jesus we can see how wonderfully Loving our God is. He doesn’t look at rank or favour. He treats everyone the same,no respecter of persons. He ate with those who were thought of as less than. He touched lepers, who were the lowest of society. He healed the sick. Set free the people who were trapped by the enemy. This is your God.
God is the Creator of All Things, Full of Wisdom, Without Measure, Sovereign, Holy, Omnipresent (present everywhere), Omniscient (His knowledge is infinite, You can’t hide anything from Him), He is also Faithful and more than anything, Full of Love.
This awesome God, Loves You. Shouldn’t that be a world changer. He Loves You. Say it again and again. This Awesome God (and you can go through the list above) Loves Me.
What can stop us? Something does. Perhaps it is in the next point?
We don’t understand Love
What is Love? There are millions of songs that speak about it. Apparently it is ‘All You Need’. There are poems that tell us of its virtue. There are stories, films, plays and musicals that tell us of the effects of Love! So, what is it?
We have got the answer for who is Love and that is God, as shown to us by Jesus, therefore the answer to what is love can be seen in the work of Jesus. I don’t want to go into too much detail here. I have a feeling that whoever reads this will have some idea of the kind of person that Jesus was and I have covered some aspect of Him under the last heading. To find the answer to what is Love you can’t go to far wrong by looking at 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, the famous Love chapter written by the Apostle Paul.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13 v 4 – 8)

This is only a small part of what Love is, but even this blows your mind. Many people are really condemned by this passage. They feel that if they are to show Love like this, they come up short. Remember God doesn’t condemn us, so this chapter is not to show us our failures but to show us the true nature of Love and therefore the true nature of God. Just for an experiment try replacing the word Love with the word God. for example, God is patient, God is kind, God is not envious, God is not boastful, God is not proud etc etc.   We see here what God’s Love for us is really like. His Love is immeasurable.

“For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies”(Psalm 108 v 4)

All this amazing Love and we haven’t even mentioned the greatest example of His Love:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John ch3 v 16)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom ch 5 v 8)

Again this is life changing! This is world changing! This is the Love that is ours! This is how much we are loved! We are Loved by a God who sees no wrong in us, who thinks highly of us and more than anything sent the Son who He dearly Loved to die on a cross so that our sins can be forgiven and we can have the gift of eternal life. Why then doesn’t it have the impact on the world as it should. Perhaps it is in the next point?

 We don’t really believe God Love’s us

I believe that as you read the last two points you have known what God is like and the nature of Love. I think we have come to the crux of the problem. We can see that we have an awesome God who loves us and and who loves us more than we can ever understand but it doesn’t have the impact on those around us as it should. We know all this in our heads but in our hearts we have a different story.

Many of us are disappointed in God. We are not where we thought we would be. We are still struggling with the same old sin. We are still sick. We are lonely. Some of us struggle with mental illness and put this down to God not being there. Christians have hurt us and we blame God. The church has rejected us and we blame God. We are still broke. We thought we would be leaders by now. He still hasn’t answered my prayer from a month/year/2 years/5 years/10 years or more ago! My wife/husband left me. My children/parents don’t speak to me. The church leaders don’t understand me, they don’t even see me. There are a thousands of these thoughts and we put this down to the fact that God doesn’t really Love us.

You see this has a knock on affect when we are with our friends who don’t believe in God, or our work/college/school mates. We don’t share about God because we are  not sure He will come up with the goods for them because He hasn’t appeared to always do so for us! If we are not sure of God’s love it will reflect outwardly from us!

Is this speaking to you? Have you been disappointed by God or God’s people? Do you doubt that God really Loves you?
You are not the only one. I have come across many Christians recently who have felt God has abandoned them in their calling. Who have been hurt by church leaders, may be twenty years ago but it still holds them back. They believe that if God could hurt them so much then, He could allow it again. Finances are a big sticking point at the moment. There are many Christians who are struggling and they put this down to God not Loving them.
How can we change this? How can we become more secure in God’s Love. To be honest there is no easy answer.
“There you go,” you say,  “I have read all this and he still hasn’t a clue.”
Firstly may I congratulate you on figuring out I am a guy and secondly I never actually said that I didn’t have an answer, only that the answer is not an easy one!!!!!  The reason that it is not easy is that it requires work on your part. You have told yourself a lie for such a long time that you need to change your way of thinking. As the Apostle Paul says…… renew your mind.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom ch 12 v 2)
By renewing the way you think, you will be able to test God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. You see, the bottom line is that God cannot not Love you. It is His nature to Love. That is fact. Say it out loud, God is Love and HE LOVES ME!! There is no doubt in this. We have been telling ourselves a lie and we know who the father of lies is, satan, who wants to destroy our relationship with God. As I have mentioned in a previous post, my friend YBW calls this, partnering. We have chosen to listen, partner, with the enemy rather than believe God.
Somewhere along the line, we have believed that God has to answer prayer in a certain time frame. Or we have believed that because a certain promotion or acknowledgement hasn’t come along when we thought it would, then God doesn’t Love us.
He wants the best for you and only the very best. Jesus often uses the analogy of an earthly father and compares it with how God’s Love is far more superior. Father’s do not give their children everything they ask for or if they do they will be heading for trouble. God knows what he has in store for you. God/Love never fails! He can’t fail you. He is unable to let you go! He will pursue you.
One of the first actions you take is to forgive God. That’s correct forgive God. Don’t hold grudges against anyone especially God. Forgive Him. God is gracious enough to let you do this because He knows the principle behind it. Then ask God to forgive you for partnering with the enemy. Finally start declaring scriptures about God’s unfailing Love. If you are not sure what declaring is all about, have a look at the first two posts of the blog. You will soon start to believe what the Bible says and then we will see a difference in those around us. Declaring what God says about you will change your whole perspective of Him.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor ch 4 v 18)
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Col ch 3 v2
How amazing it will be, to be a people who actually believed that we have the Creator of the whole Universe Loving us. What can stop us? Who can stop us. I believe that by trusting in God and not fighting against Him we can see a great change in the impact that the body of Christ can have on the world.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans ch 8 v 31)

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.” (Romans ch 8 v 33)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans ch 8 v 35)
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans ch 8 v 37 – 39)

The above verses are true but they are also Truth. Their truth will never change. It is how the kingdom of God works. This is how I know we will radically change the world around us because God says we will. You have a choice, will you believe the Truth about God or will you continue to partner with the father of all lies. It is your choice. It is easier to stick with what you have been saying for years but you will miss out on all that God has for you. If nothing can separate you from God’s love, nothing can. It is very simple. God doesn’t ever promise that there won’t be hardship but God’s love will be there. His Love is life changing if you dwell in it. It will change those lives around you too.
So make sure we:
“…. demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”(2Cor ch 10 v 5)
Please don’t let the enemy rob you of what God wants for you. Be vigilant! Take every thought captive. A thought is just a thought, it is not truth. Check your thoughts before you partner with them. Declare truth.“God LOVES Me
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In a later post my friend YBW is going to go into more detail about God’s love, so look out for that.

 

Approval

From the day we are born we all seek approval. It seems to be part of genetic make up. We love the pat on the back, the “Well done”, the promotion, the applause, the……….. Hang on a minute is what I have said true? Is approval something we inherently need? Is approval the pat on the back, the applause, or is it….. appreciation. Are they the same? I have the feeling that they are different. I will try and explain why.

Approval is something we need when we are broken and not whole. To gain approval we often manipulate circumstances. Approval is an acknowledgement that a person meets requirements. It is standards driven and therefore not unconditional. Appreciation on the other hand comes from a heart of love, often spontaneous and therefore unconditional. “Appreciation has much more to do with the essence of a person rather than with performance. We are appreciating a person’s core Self, who they really are and the results of who they are, rather than what they do and their performance. With appreciation, there is no attachment to the outcome, no expectation that the other should or will continue to perform. Appreciation is a true gift.” (Margaret Paul, Ph.D.)

I have sought approval from others for most of my life. I never seemed to reach the stage where I understood and trusted that God loved me for who I was and am. There were many reasons for my thinking this way, but the bottom line is that I was willing to believe a lie. You see, we have an enemy whose only intent is to rob us of what our Heavenly Father has in store for us.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1Peter ch 5 v 8)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John ch 10 v 10)

I believed I wasn’t good enough to have God’s love. I knew that other people could be loved and accepted by God but I was an exception. My sin was different! My character flaws were different. I was angry and frustrated. I hit out at  the church as an establishment, at the body of Christ and at God. I knew God was always there, I knew He was love but I could never reach the love. I tried and tried to step away from sin, to be different but I couldn’t. I had to be brought to a place where I could see that it is God who does the forgiving and not me. It is not me who chooses whether God accepts me or not, it is Him and if He says He cares and loves  be careful anyone who stands in His way.  I learned that God is a jealous God, He will take down anything that comes in the way of His children receiving His love.

I will write in another post about my journey and how God brought me back but I want to concentrate on “Approval”. You see when you look for approval, nothing will satisfy. First you start with those close to you and that is not enough. You then go further afield, again no satisfaction. In the end you are looking for approval from complete strangers. People who serve you at the supermarket, the postman, the person you see walking the dog, the chemist, the butcher, the baker, and not forgetting the candlestick-maker!!! You get the idea. It becomes ridiculous and incredibly tiring. All that effort, and for what? So someone who you don’t know, someone who is a non-entity in your life gives you a nod or a wave. The feeling doesn’t last as you will be out there again with the same manipulations you used last time to get someones attention.

I mention that horrible word manipulate! That is truly the difference between being approved of and appreciated. That is why approval cannot satisfy….. it is manufactured. It is not real. It is a decoy that satan has got us thinking is a worthwhile pursuit, something to put your energy into. Approval doesn’t exist!!! It is like the Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow, and the unicorn, you search and search for it and you never find it.

Jesus tells the story about two men who went to the Temple to pray. One was a Tax Collector and the other a Pharisee. To paraphrase the story. the Pharisee postures himself with the look at me I am amazing pose while condemning the  Tax Collector for being unworthy. The Tax Collector stands and says “God have mercy on me a sinner.” The story is often used as an example of seeking approval but it is far from that. Neither of these men were seeking approval. The Pharisee needed approval from no one and the Tax Collector felt he didn’t deserve approval. What this story illustrates is the way that God looks at the heart and sees the motives of the heart. It is not the action that matters but the motive behind it. God never gives approval. Approval requires a work or a deed. An act of doing something. We can never do anything to attain His approval. The only way to God is through His son Jesus Christ.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John ch 14 v6)

Jesus is the only one who has His Father’s approval. So nothing we can do can make God love you more than He does now.

So why do we arrive at such a place? As I said earlier, we have at some stage in our lives believed a lie. A friend of mine, who we will refer to as YBW and who I hope will post some of  his Godly wisdom on this site soon, has a term for it. He calls it ‘partnering’. YBW says that we always have a choice between listening to what our Heavenly Father says about us and what satan says. Often when the lie first appears it seems to fit a picture of ourselves that is already formulating, for example, “You are a failure”, “You will never amount to anything”, “No wonder your friends hate you”, “You are worthless”.  YBW uses the word ‘hook’ to describe what happens next. We attach ourselves to the lie, we get ‘hooked’. Then slowly but surely we start to get hooked by words of a similar nature until we are really trapped.

The other option is to ‘partner’ with God. The safest place to find out how God sees us is in the Bible, His word. We need to get ‘hooked’ on the word. This is where this blog comes in. I want us to turn to our Father and know what He thinks of us.

In the Bible we can see He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die on a cross for you. Jesus loves you so much that He was willing to die on a cross for you.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John ch 3 v 16)
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans ch 5 v 8)
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians ch 2 v 20)

Also if you search the web for Bible verses about God’s love you will find a lot more. I challenge you to do it! Find the verses that specifically apply to you and personalise them, as I have shown you in the previous posts. You need to declare how much God loves you, out loud declare. You have lived by partnering with a lie for such a long time that God has to renew the way you think about yourself.

“….be transformed by the renewing of your mind……” (Romans ch 12 v 2)

Here are some declarations on God’s love for you and your value to Him. I won’t put the Bible reference this time. See if you can find out the scripture they apply to and how I have personalised them to suit my situation. Some are easy.

  • The Lord is my shepherd! (See easy, but wonderful)
  • I am made in God’s image!
  • God will never leave me!
  • God is love!
  • I am loved!
  • I am the apple of God’s eye!
  • God blesses my going out and my coming in!
  • God wants the best for me!
  • God sent Jesus to die for me!
  • God directs my path!
  • God is pleased with me!
  • All of my needs are met!
  • God blesses the work of my hands!
  • God is my shelter!
  • The Lord goes ahead of me!

Before I close, it is important to know that to step into all that God has for us, we need to see a need for Him. That is the first step. We need to see that we need God in our lives. To do this we ask Jesus to forgive us for trying to do things our way and ask Him to come into our lives to do the walk with us. He will make you a child of God:

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John Ch 1 v12)

He promises to forgive us and give us eternal life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”(John Ch 3 v 16)

If you want that assurance just pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I thank you that You love me and that you died on the cross for me. I am sorry for all the times I have tried to live my life my way, by my rules and have ignored you. I ask you to come into my life and show me how immense is your love for me. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. I want you to take control of my life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me be the person that you have always wanted  me to be.

If you prayed that prayer let me be the first to welcome you into the family of God!! Next it will be great to get hold of a bible, preferably one that is a modern translation. New International Version and the New Living Translation are good. If you are technologically sound there is a great bible app called YouVersion. This not only has the whole bible with lots of translations but it also has very helpful bible study guides to give you a start. If you can’t download apps, the computer gives you access to a lot of Bible sites. The next thing that is important to do is find a great church. We can’t do this life without other Christians. This believe it or not is the difficult part. Find a church that suits you. It needs to have life in it. If the church is full of people who are over 80 don’t go in. Even if you are over 80!!!! Trust me!!! Have a look on the net for churches in your area and find their web page. If they don’t have one, stay away. If the people in the pictures look happy and contented give it a go. If you don’t like it find somewhere else. I can promise you that God has the right church, with the right people in it just for you. It will be like putting on a glove with the perfect fit. Ask God to bring Christian people into your life. You will be surprised.

Okay it is time to close until next time.

Remember God loves you!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Word Is A Light To My Path

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Yesterday, on my first post I said that I would give you some more of the daily declarations that I use. It is important to say them out loud. Remember this is not about the power of positive thinking. These are not meaningless phrases that are just plucked out of the atmosphere to make us feel good. Like saying, “In the morning my boss will like me” over and over again in the vain  hope that you may get the raise you need!!!! In the Bible, which is also known as the Word of God, there are many verses that tell us how powerful the spoken word actually is, for example

  • Proverbs chapter 12 verse 14 says “From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things”
  • Proverbs ch 12 v 18 “The tongue of the wise brings healing”
  • Joshua ch 1 v 8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful
  • Romans ch 10 v 9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

So let’s start declaring:

  1. God is my hiding place. (Psalm 32 v 7)

  2. God will protect me from trouble (Psalm 32 v 7)
  3. God will surround me with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32 v 7) 3 declarations  1 verse
  4. God will teach me in the way I should go (Psalm 32 v 8)
  5. I have been saved by grace (Ephesians ch 2 v 5)
  6. I am alive with Christ (Ephesians ch 2 v 5)
  7. God raised me up with Christ and seated me with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Ephesians ch 2 v 6)
  8. I sit with God in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Ephesians ch 2 v 6)
  9. I am God’s handiwork (Ephesians ch 2 v 10)
  10. I am created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians ch 2 v 10)

Don’t fall into the habit of just saying each declaration once. Perhaps the first time just say it out loud. Perhaps when you repeat it you can put emphasis on different words thinking what each word means to you in your specific circumstance. Let me give you an example by looking at the second declaration. First time just say it through, then emphasize a specific word and think what that word means to you.

  • God will protect me from trouble
  • GOD will protect me from trouble (Creator, All Powerful, Father)
  • God WILL protect me from trouble (this is a promise from God. He will not let you down!!!)
  • God will PROTECT me from trouble (cover, put a wall around. shield, preserve, defend, cushion)
  • God will protect ME from trouble (can’t get more personal than that!!!! You! Not them but ME!! )

I hope you get the idea. Try declaring in front of a mirror. It can be confronting at first but it is really powerful. You actually get to see who you are declaring over.

Who knows what will happen on the next post. I have learnt how to increase font size, do bullets, use colours!! What will I use next time!