May He…

Another year draws to a close and another year begins. In some ways, as Christians, this is not an epic event as for us every day is a new beginning.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3: 22-24 NKJV)

Every day our hope is renewed because His mercies are new!!

Nevertheless, many of us look to January 1 as a symbolic way to close the door on the old and  open the door for the new. With that in mind I have some verses to give you encouragement for the start of 2019. They are my prayer for you and over you. I hope you will declare these verses over yourselves.

Most of the verses are from Psalm 20, which without apology I will quote in full.

“The Assurance of God’s Saving Work

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;
May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfil all your purpose.
We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfil all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright.

Save, Lord!
May the King answer us when we call.” (NKJV)

This is an amazing psalm and very appropriate for the start of something new. King David, who wrote it, continually brings us back to the one who we need to keep looking to for help…. “May the Lord….”, “May the name of the Lord…..”, “May He….”, “May He….”, “May He….”, “May the Lord….”, “May the King….”!!!!!

My favourite verse is verse 4…..

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfil all your purpose.

Wow!!! What else do you need for your new start along with His mercies renewed every day? I pray this for you and have no doubt that God will fulfil this for you. Your heart’s desire may not even be that clear to you, but God knows. He sees your heart. Let me make this clear, your heart’s desires are not necessarily the things you want or feel you need. Your heart’s desire is that deep longing in your spirit that only God can see. He will answer that longing as He is the only one who can fulfil it. It is the second half of the verse, however, that speaks volumes to me and I hope resonates with you.

May He fulfil all your purpose. !!

May the great I Am complete everything He has planned for your life. I love this. God will fulfil everything He has purposed for me. Declare this. You see, that deep longing in your heart, that deep desire, is a desire to obtain the purpose He has for us. He wants nothing more than to achieve that because that is His best for us. That is what I pray for you as you read this post, that you will receive all that He has for you.

I don’t want to labour the point, so let’s look at the other prayer points in Psalm 20.

May the Lord answer you when you are in trouble! May the great ‘I Am’ defend you. May He send you help and strengthen you! May He remember the sacrifices of praise and worship. May God give you answers to your prayers. May He give you the strength of His right hand. Even the strength of His little finger nail would be amazing, never mind His whole hand!!!!! Of course we must remember who sits at God’s right hand.

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (Romans 8: 34 NKJV)

This verse brings us very nicely to the final verse of Psalm 20…..

Save, Lord!
May the King answer us when we call.” (NKJV)

Our King is Jesus and He is at God’s right hand interceding for us. Yes our King stands continually in our place right next to the father. He is our go between, our intermediary. He is always involved in our lives.

So… let’s remember that God wants to bless you. He wants to strengthen you and be part of your life. Let these next two verses be so much part of your life and mine each new day.

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

“The Lord bless you and keep you;  The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’ (Numbers 6: 24-26 NKJV)

 

 

IMPORTANT

If you have that longing to be part of God’s family, declare openly that Jesus is Lord of your life and believe that God raised Him from the dead and you will have a glorious future with Him.

Romans-10.9

The Christmas Box

I know it has been months since I have written anything, and for that I apologise. It has not been because I had nothing to say but basically because I felt I needed to stay quiet and wait. Today I woke up at 2.30 am, and knew today was the day. This is a combination of lots of the ideas I had wanted to post in the last few months. It won’t be a long one so don’t be put off.

We are coming to an amazing time of the year. CHRISTMAS!! It is a time of paradoxes for me personally. I both love it and loathe it at the same time. It is both Hallelujah and Bah Humbug. I loathe it because the world celebrates the birth of the most amazing person ever to walk on the earth without actually acknowledging Him. I love it because it gives me the opportunity, as an entertainer, to sing to people about God’s lovely gift to us in sending Jesus without them closing their minds and thinking I am evangelising when all they came to do was listen to some nice music!!

Anyway, that is not what I want to write about. At Christmas we often give our loved ones presents. How many of you,  when buying the present, choose the box for the present to go in first? Do you go out and look for the box and then choose the present to fit the box? Do you say, “They would love that but it won’t fit in the box, so I will have to keep looking” Of course we don’t. We buy the present we know they would love, regardless.

I once wpuppy-christmas-presentas given a puppy for Christmas. Can you imagine my parents saying, “We can’t give him that because we can’t wrap it up”? Yet, we do this with God all the time. Let me elaborate.

 

Often when we meet together as Christians we say to God, “Okay! Here is our gift box come and fill it but I am sorry you can’t go over the limits we have set”. Of course He comes and is with us but He doesn’t move past the box walls we have erected. If this resonates at all with you, I want you to stop reading for a moment and ask God what He wants you to do about it………but don’t go yet keep reading for  a moment!! If you are the leader of the church there is no problem here but if you are a beautiful cog in the wheel, like me, you cannot go above your leadership. If you have the urge to tell your leaders that God has told me you should do this, I can assure you it is not God speaking to you. We have to honour our leadership! He will give you the way forward and for each of us it will be different. We are all unique and God will use our uniqueness for His advantage. Alright, you can go and pray now but come back and  make sure you write down what He tells you!

If this is not resonating with you, that’s okay, perhaps you might like to keep reading anyway just to see what I am getting at. I take a bit of getting used to I know. Welcome back to those who have prayed!!

The point I am trying to make is this (at last I hear you say!!) …….. we serve a very, very, very, very, very, very BIG GOD! Somehow to understand this very, very, very, very, very, very BIG GOD we have put constraints on Him mainly so we can understand Him. Let me tell you something…….. we will never understand the workings of our God because He is a very, very, very, very, very, very BIG GOD!!!!

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9 NKJV)

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:5 NKJV)

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:28 NKJV)

“In fact this next verse tells us not to rely on what we understand,Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6 NKJV)

Recently I was reading Psalm 23. This is my go to scripture. I love it so much. I think it is the Psalm that most people know. There are hundreds of versions all over the world in every form you can think of. Does any one remember the fantastic British comedy, ‘The Vicar of Dibley’? Psalm 23 is the theme song for that! As a child it was one of my favourite hymns. You may think it is a strange thing that a child would love a hymn but I was brought up in Wales, a country in the United Kingdom. It is called the Land of Song. Still today, hymns can be heard at sporting events!! I digress………. I know the Psalm very well

The Lord is my shepherd;499dc05169199b8992338b1407a1aa7a
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. “ (Psalm 23 NKJV)

It is the the only Psalm I know off by heart but this particular day I only got as far as

The Lord is” 

I couldn’t go any further. It just hit me like a train. That’s all we need to know.

The Lord is” 

Say it to yourself….. The Lord is”  The Lord isThe Lord is” 

This needs to be the foundation of everything. HE IS!!

So often there is this little voice that says but what if He isn’t? We need to know that HE IS!! We need to declare My God Is! Nothing else matters, He is. This is not  head knowledge but a deep knowing in your soul. My God is. He exists in all His entirety, power, might, omnipresence and omnipotence. If God is, then what are we worried about? We don’t need to know much more. God is therefore let’s rest in Him.

Can you see how simple this is? We make everything so complicated. We start at this point. When we have our times of quiet, start with acknowledging He is. When we meet together, start with acknowledging He is . Praise, Worship, Prayer starts with acknowledging He is.

Can you let that sink in. It is not for your head but for your heart and soul. What does it mean for you ? We always have to start at that point.  I know this is basic but I honestly believe we forget the fact that God is.

When Moses encountered God at the Burning Bush God introduced Himself as ‘I Am’.74b0cdad7d0c007773770fa1a1faac0d

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” ” (Exodus 3:14)

The starting point for Moses was ‘I Am’. He was to tell the Israelites that “I AM has sent me to you.” This would resonate with them! It is our starting point, “I Am”. He Is!!

Let’s get back to our Christmas Box. (You’d forgotten all about that hadn’t you???) Just to jog your memories….we don’t first by the gift box and then find the present to fit the box.   When it comes to God we often start with the box. Let’s have a look at our Sunday services as an example. How often do we start with a format and then ask God to fit around it. “Here you are God we can only do 60 minutes today or it may be 90 minutes because we have to get home and we can’t forget the poor people looking after our children, God, we have to relieve them of the burden”!! I understand that in the society we live in there are time restraints but are we sure that these restraints are not restraining Him. Seek first the kingdom of God.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)

We may put the box first in the way that we think of God. We may say God is ,,,,,,,, my shepherd, my healer, my provider, my lover, my all in all etc etc All these are fantastic but, you see, God is all these and an infinite amount more. Google ‘My God is, bible verses” if you want just to see. He is everything! My God is too big for a box. Way too big. We cannot understand Him. Remember me telling you about the puppy I had one Christmas. Could you imagine trying to wrap him up!! Even if you put him in a box he couldn’t stay there for long. We, I do feel, have put God in a box for far too long. Myself included. Let us stop putting the dots after God is. It is not God is……….. There are no blanks to fill. God is!!! I AM!!

I need to bring this to a close. Let me wrap this up!!! (Did you see what I did there??) I believe that God is pouring out New Wine. There is definitely a new outpouring. Please don’t try and put that new wine in an old wine skin. Let’s get rid of the boxes and say to God come and be I AM! Let us be the ones who are prepared to shout on the roof tops. “Get rid of your boxes, He is!!”

 
God is

Dad’s Army

Do you remember ‘Dad’s Army’, the classic British comedy series which ran from 1968 – 1977. It was set in Great Britain, during World War II. It was about a group of men who were part of the Home Guard, protecting Great Britain from Hitler who had taken over the rest of Europe. The Home Guard consisted of men who were ineligible to join the Armed Forces perhaps because they were too old or too young, perhaps they couldn’t pass the medical or had jobs that were thought of as important to the war effort. Even though they were counted as no use to the fighting forces they made themselves invaluable on home soil to the point that the government of the time had to recognise them and furnish them with uniforms and weapons!

Recently I watched a few episodes of ‘Dad’s Army’ and what struck me, through the humour and hilarious escapades, is that, as we get older we often, as Christians, feel as if we are no longer pa6d2ef773-09e7-42e7-abe3-93c80a02378c-620x372rt of the main fighting force in God’s Kingdom. We may even feel that we have still not reached our destiny and have missed it somehow. Let me encourage you, that is not the case. Your experience, maturity, wisdom and knowledge of the Father are vital to the Kingdom’s work. Never count yourself out. We have to be prepared and ready. Just like the older men in ‘Dad’s Army’, it is never too late to be useful to God.

Let’s look at a few examples in the Bible. Both Abraham and Sarah counted themselves too old for God to fulfil His promise to them. In fact they both laughed at the prospect!

“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”” (Genesis 17: 17 NKJV)

+Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”” (Genesis 18: 12 NKJV)

They couldn’t take the promise of God seriously. They had become cynical in their old age. Cynicism can be a real issue as we become older. “Yes sure, God!!”, can be said with sarcasm and not declaration. Are you in your 50″s, 60’s, 70’s. 80’s or older and  had prophetic words spoken over you which you have not seen fulfilled yet? Don’t laugh at them and become cynical but declare them as fact. You are what God says you are!! In the end Abraham and Sarah chose to believe God and let Him prove His faithfulness. Can we do the same?

Let’s turn our attention to another Jewish Patriarch and his brother. I am going to let this next verse speak for itself!!

“And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh”. (Exodus 7:& NKJV)

Read it again and let it sink in……. eighty and eighty three!! This is when they spoke to Pharaoh the first time. Even counting for the fact that the Jewish calendar year is slightly smaller than our Gregorian calendar, it is still old!!! They then had the arduous task of leading the Israelites through the wilderness. No wonder Moses needed a staff!!! It is never too late to step into God’s destiny for you. Declare that statement!!

“It is never too late to step into the destiny God has for me.”

Let’s have a look at a couple of people in the New Testament. In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, we have the story of the young baby Jesus being taken to the temple by Mary and Joseph for the ritual dedication. There, they come across two amazing people, Simeon and Anna. Let us look at Anna first. Anna was over eighty years of age, a prophet and had given her life to serving in the temple.

“She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.” (Luke 2:37b NKJV)

She spent herold age time fasting and praying. How many of us of the older generation are intercessors? Never count that out as a ministry for the Lord! The reason why Anna is such a good example for us is that she was in the correct place at the correct time. It was no accident. God places us where we need to be and all we need to do is be ready, as Anna was. There she was doing what she always did and then suddenly God gives her the opportunity to speak over the life of the Saviour of the world!! BE READY!!

 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.(Luke 2:38 NKJV)

Simeon personifies all I am trying to say here. It is not stated how old Simeon was but it is implied in the text that he was elderly.

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.” (Luke 2:29 NLT)

As with many of us, God had given Him a word that had not come to fruition. Even though he was older, he knew that God had more for him.

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. (Luke 2:26 NKJV)

Not only was Simeon about to  see the fulfilment of the promise given to him by the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit positioned him for it to happen.

“For this reason the Holy Spirit had moved him to be in the temple court at the very moment Jesus’ parents entered to fulfil the requirement of the sacrifice.” (Luke 2:27 Passion Translation)

Let us rest in the fact that it is God’s work that we have been called to and He will bring it to pass. I love how the Passion Translation puts the rest of Simeon’s story.

“Simeon cradled the baby in his arms and praised God and prophesied, saying:
Lord and Master, I am your loving servant,old-age-can-be-a-great-blessing-1090x614
And now I can die content,
For your promise to me has been fulfilled.
With my own eyes I have seen your Manifestation,
The Saviour you sent into the world.
He will be glory for your people Israel,
And the Revelation Light
For all people everywhere!” (Luke 2:28-32, Passion Translation)

Just to conclude let’s go back to the Old Testament and look at one of my favourite characters, Caleb!!! He is such an encouragement to us as we grow older. Let’s briefly review his story. Caleb, you will remember, was one of the 12 spies that Moses sent into the Promised Land to see what it was like. When they returned Caleb along with Joshua were the only two who had anything positive to say. The other ten only saw the negative aspects of their new home. There is a whole blog post on that subject. People who always wear a black hat when seeing something new but I refuse to be side tracked!!

“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30 NKJV)

God saw Caleb’s faith and rewarded him for it.

“But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:24 NKJV)

Such a great  reward for faithfulness. Chosen, along with Joshua. to be the only ones out of that whole group to enter the Promised Land. Not even Moses made it in!! There is an interesting twist to it though, Caleb had to wait forty five years to see it come to pass!!

Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! (Joshua 14:10 NKJV)

God gave him the promise when he was forty, now he was eighty five. You have a different perspective about life at forty. Life begins at forty so they say. You certainly see life differently but I love Caleb’s attitude here. He is not complaining that he is too old for all this now at his age. This is what he says,

 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.”  (Joshua 14:11-14 NKJV)

What an amazing man of God we have here and what an amazing God as well. God knew that Caleb would still be able to take full advantage of the fulfilment of the promise. I am declaring that at the age of 85 I still feel as I did at 40. I can tell you, on the surface it doesn’t seem possible but with my God anything is possible.

 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” (Matt 19:26 NKJV)

Seriously though, I think the story of Caleb illustrates that no matter what age we are when God fulfils the promises He has given for our destinies, we will not be lacking in strength to fulfil them. He will equip us and provide for us. It may seem impossible but we know that God is faithful.

“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfil His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” (Phil 4:13 Amplified)

This promise is not for the now but it is for the now in the future. When God says go, we will be ready and equipped. Remember it is His work and not ours, All we need to do is be prepared and still be willing. We will finish the race and God will say well done good and faithful servant.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2Tim 4:7 NKJV)

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14 NKJV)

Let’s not count ourselves ineligible or forgotten, let’s not become cynical but let us be like ‘Dad’d Army’ and be ready, and waiting to be used!!

god-images-photos-prayer-worship-old-man

While you are praying!

As Christians we live our daily lives by Faith. We are saved by Faith,

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV)

We believe by Faith that God is with us all the time because He has promised that.

I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20 NKJV)

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV)

When we pray we believe, by Faith, that He will answer our prayers.

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:24 NKJV)

Sometimes having Faith when we pray  is very difficult, especially if we have been praying for a long time for breakthrough in certain areas of our life and we see nothing happening.  I would like, as an encouragement to look at a passage of scripture from the Old Testament to show that even though we can’t see how God is answering prayer there are wheels in motion to see the breakthrough happen.

I want to look in Exodus and look at the plight of the Israelites under Egyptian rule. The Israelites were in Egypt because of Joseph. (I don’t want to go through the Joseph story here but if you want further encouragement as to how amazing our God is, read from Genesis chapter 37 until the end of the book.) The Israelites are in Egypt and have grown in number and have become a threat. Exodus puts it like this

 But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.  Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.  And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we;  come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.” (Exodus 1: 7-10 NKJV)

From becoming a free people they are made to be slaves. The Pharaoh, at the time, even ordered the death of new born males to curb the rise in population. It is during this time that we are introduced to Moses who is saved from death by the ingenuity of his mother and is brought up in the Courts of Pharaoh by the Pharaoah’s daughter with his mother as his nurse maid. Let’s just stop there for a second and ponder on that fact. How amazing is God to orchestrate that!! He knew the plight the Israelites were under at this time before time began and had put into place circumstances that would save the child who would eventually lead His people out of bondage and into freedom.

Moses, to make matters a bit more complicated, murders an Egyptian and has to run from Pharaoah’s anger to a country called Midian where he settles down, marries and has a family!!

It is from here that I want us to look at God’s unseen working when it comes to answers to prayer. Let’s have a look at the Israelites;

“Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.” (Exodus 2:23 NKJV)

The verse seems to suggest that one day they all decided that they had had enough and so got together in a huge slave prayer meeting and prayed. I can tell you that this calling out to God wasn’t a one off occurrence. You can imagine the prayers daily and nightly that were lifted up. “Save us! Free us! Where are you? Come on God have you forgotten us? You promised us! Remember what You said to Abraham! Don’t leave us here.” etc., etc.

They were doing the same as we do. They were petitioning God. asking for His help. The story goes on,

So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them. (Exodus 2:24 – 25NKJV)

The point that I want to make is this,,,,, They didn’t know that was His response. He didn’t suddenly come down from heaven and say “Alright my children, don’t be concerned now, everything will be alright. I am now going to set you free.” They hadn’t a clue and I expect they kept on praying, asking for their freedom but God had heard and from that point the prayer was answered. They wouldn’t know that God answered the prayer until they saw the answer for themselves but God had heard and answered.

The reason that the writer knew God had answered their prayers was because Moses himself wrote most of Exodus and he knew that while the Israelites were praying, God was answering them by calling in on him, via the burning bush while he was in Midian. a couple of hundred kilometres away, watching his father-in-law’s sheep!!

“And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.  So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey,” (Exodus 3: 7-8 NKJV)

The point I want us to see is that while we are praying we haven’t a clue the wheels God has already put in motion to see that prayer fulfilled. Remember He already knows what we are going to say before we say it.

“You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD” (Psalm 139:4 NLT)

When you pray God always hears and always answers.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5: 14-15 NKJV)

Be encouraged. Don’t give up. There might be a Moses who at this moment is answering a call of God which is somehow going to answer your prayer or at least contribute to the answer to your prayer. We cannot see the unseen.

““Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV)

Do not give up hope. Hope is vital and a gift from God.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ( Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV )

The next verse is important. God gives us the hope and …

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:12 NKJV)

In conclusion, God answered the Israelites’ cries but they had no idea that He had. We often don’t know either until we receive the answer. Faith is believing that God has heard and is faithful to answer. Are you willing to hang on. The answer may be there in the next second. God has answered your prayer without a doubt. Hang in there.

Prayer starter,

Father thank you for Your love for me. Help me to hang on to the hope that You have heard my prayer and that the wheels have been put into motion to see the answer realised.

respect-and-praying-on-nature-background_c8e4490c-d4e0-11e6-a877-a82e4b02bda2

Immanuel – עִמָּ֫נוּאֵ֫ל

“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:  “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”” (Matthew 1: 22-23 NKJV)

We are coming to a time of the year where the world seems to go quite mad. In the commercial world retailers rely on people spending millions of dollars, shoppersor whatever the currency is in your part of the world, to keep their profit margin in the correct place. We have days like Black Friday when shops put prices at supposedly low levels so that people will queue up in all sorts of weathers to get that special bargain. No this is not going to be one of those watch out for the evils of shopping blogs. I love a bargain probably more than anyone and have been known to queue outside ALDI’s to get one!! Be patient and I will get to the point.

christmas-light-display-of-gingerbread-house-vandusen-botanical-garden-vancouver-british-columbia-canada-128084682-58f4c8c33df78cd3fc192cf5At this time of year we have houses vying for the prize of the best Christmas lights. People spending hundreds of dollars to light up their houses for a few weeks a year. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas lights and wish they could be up all year. They make such a difference to the communities we live in.

Okay, so let’s get to the point!! AtChristmas star and birth of Jesus 1 this time of the year we have the opportunity globally to remember what Christmas is all about, and yes,  the primary reason we celebrate at Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus. It is a time when the world can see that something happened in the little town of Bethlehem (did you see what I did there?? Cue the Christmas Carol!!) Yes that one silent night, once, in Royal David’s City, while shepherds watched their flocks by night, angels from the Realms of Glory sang about the first Noel!! Alright, enough of that. We, as nations, have the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and yes, often we miss the point.

I have a feeling though, that as Christians we miss something at Christmas as well. Let’s look at the verse I quoted at the start:

“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:  “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”” (Matthew 22: 22-23 NKJV)

“All this was done” – First of all what was the “All this”? Before this verse we have the story of Mary becoming pregnant and Joseph being visited by the angel to tell him that God was the Father. This would be mind blowing in itself. but the angel also reminds Joseph of his lineage. The angel calls him, Joseph son of David. Matthew, the gospel writer kindly puts this into context by telling us the lineage of Jesus from Abraham all the way to Jesus’ earthly father Joseph. As Matthew puts it:

“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1: 17)

Putting it simply, Matthew is telling us that all that has gone before, 42 generations of Jewish history has led to this point. “So all this was done“!! This I find incredible, all that had gone before led to this time in history. All those amazing stories that we read in the Old Testament led to the birth of this one child.  Abraham and Isaac. David and Goliath, Daniel, Jonah, Job etc etc. It sort of puts our celebrations into perspective doesn’t it? But that is not all that this verse says. The verse says that it was all done to fulfil a prophecy from the Old Testament. Just to clarify there was no Old Testament when Matthew was writing!!!! For him it was the Law and the Prophets. The prophet in question was Isaiah.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7: 14 NKJV)

For me this verse holds the key to Christmas and why all our frivolity mocks what actually happened. Jesus is called Immanuel which, Matthew kindly tells us non Hebrew speakers, means God with us. Don’t you think this is remarkable. This baby, was God with us. The God who created the Universe, for that short period of time, was actually with us in bodily form. The God of all power and might was living here with us. How can anything we do at Christmas bring recognition to this fact. The Apostle John in his Gospel puts it incredibly simply. Here are some verses from the first chapter,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  (v1-5 NKJV)

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own and His own did not receive Him.” (v 10 – 11 NKJV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (v 14 NKJV)

What I would like to suggest this Christmas is that we bring some “awe” into our celebrations . Some wonder, wonderment, amazement, astonishment, admiration, reverence, veneration, respect. That we are filled with wonder, wonderstruck, awestruck, amazed, filled with amazement, astonished, filled with astonishment, lost for words, open-mouthed. Let us not take this for granted, God came down to earth and lived among us and for why? To secure our salvation. To make sure we have the opportunity to be in relationship with Him. He wants us for His own. Immanuel came to be our salvation.

When Jesus was only a few days old, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple to offer a sacrifice as was the Jewish custom. When they were there they encountered a Godly man named Simeon who prophesied over Jesus.

 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;  For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,  A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 28 -32 NKJV)

Let us this Christmas ponder on the life of Jesus, God Incarnate, Immanuel. Let’s look through the gospels and see what an amazing God we serve. Perhaps start in John chapter 13.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (v 3-5)

Immanuel was willing to take the position of a servant, willing to kneel and perform the menial tasks a slave would do. Why?……… because He is a God who loves.

 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4: 8-11 NKJV)

This is what God’s love looks like and this is what Jesus came to show us,

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a)

Have the most wonderful Christmas, filled with His love for you.

 

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Perception Part 3

“The mind is a wonderful tool, but a terrible master. Sometimes what God is doing will offend the mind, but the spirit will be able to discern His presence. Don’t reduce God to what you can comprehend!” (Bill Johnson, Bethel Church, Redding, California)

I love this quote. How often do we reduce God to something we can understand. As soon as we do that we create Him in our image. Blaise Pascal a French philosopher wrote

“God made man in his own image and man returned the compliment.”

Basically the way we think of God diminishes Him because we try to make him small like us. We perceive Him to be a God who reacts like us, who thinks like us, whose logic is the same as ours. Our perception of Him has made Him much smaller than He is. Especially in the area of His love for us. Personally I don’t want a God who is similar than me. I want a God who can help me when I get into a mess and is not perturbed at my messes. He doesn’t bat an eyelid when I make mistakes because all I have done or will do is already known to Him. Not because it is preordained but because my God is so big He knows what I am going to do before I do it!! Psalm 139 puts it perfectly,

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.  You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.   Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139:1-6 NKJV)

Verse 4 puts it succinctly,

Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken], Behold, O Lord, You know it all” ( Psalm 139:4 Amplified Bible)
He even knows what you are going to say before you say it. That is so cool!!! Yet, His love you cannot and will not change! His love for you does not depend on what you do because He knows it already. He didn’t choose you, knowing that one day you were going to mess it up so that He couldn’t love you any more. He knows you from the beginning to the end and His love does not waver!
Don’t let your perceived experiences of God , diminish who He is in your life.
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?” (Romans 11:34 NIV).
Often we think that God’s plan for us has pitfalls and it is to our detriment but that is not what He says about Himself,
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)
Declare this over your life today:
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5)
His understanding is without limit. beyond comprehension, inexhaustible, infinite, boundless or unfathomable.
Remember that it is not what we do for God that is important but what we believe about Him. He is a mighty and infinite God who is is interested in the finite detail of or lives. Be willing to allow God to change how we perceive Him. Often we have been “churched’ into believing certain aspects about God’s character that are certainly not based on the God that Jesus came to show or the God in His word.
It is important that we look to Jesus to see the nature of God.
If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him. (John 14:7 NKJV)
If you want to know who God is look at the life of Jesus.
 I and My Father are one. (John 10:30 NKJV)
Read the Gospels and the Letters in the New Testament written by those people who knew Jesus or who had encountered Him as in Saul/Paul. You will see how great is our God! We sing it and shout it but then somehow live our lives as if He isn’t that great. My God is worth trusting, how about yours?
i am
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I Am Your God!!

“I am Your God!” he said.

I was having coffee with a good friend of mine and we were just chatting when I heard him say, “I am Your God!” I didn’t think much of it but then he repeated it and he repeated it. He just kept on saying, “I am Your God! I am Your God! I am Your God!” I actually began to question the sanity of my friend. We literally where in a crowded local coffee shop and he wasn’t talking quietly. All I could hear was him saying, “I am Your God!” and then suddenly I found myself crying, Tears rolling down my cheeks. I suddenly started to hear what he was saying. I began to hear God through him. God was saying to me, “I am Your God!” I realised that I had forgotten to let Him be my God. I just couldn’t stop crying but I knew this was a very important statement for me to grasp.

“I am Your God!” The first words that started to sink in were “Your God!” I think this was was one of the reasons that God revealed this in a full coffee shop. Even though I knew God was God of all things and that included the people in the shop, He was reminding me that He was my God as an individual, “Your God!” “Your God!” “Your God!” “I am Your God!” His love is inclusive but also exclusive!! Somehow in my busyness I had forgotten that He wanted to be and was, MY God. How easily it had been to take-back the reins of my life, hence the tears.

After the coffee I was able to go home and ponder what God had been saying. It was simple really……. He wants to be my God. It is a longing of His, that was why He made me, it was for His purposes and not mine. God knows what is best for me a lot more than I do. He longs for me to be in a position where I can trust Him for everything because then I will be able to live in the abundance He has for me. I don’t live in abundance basically because I keep areas of my life to myself.

I came home and saw that there were areas of my life that I simply didn’t trust God with, especially areas where I had been hurt at some point. Just a thought…….  ask your Heavenly Father what areas of your life you are holding on to. He will tell you and then love you so much that you can’t help but give them over to Him. That is what I did. I sat and just asked Him. I was very honest with Him and pointed out the areas where I had felt let down. God is big enough to cope with that. I looked deeply and saw areas where things had gone radically wrong, in relationships, work, church and my general walk with Him. How can I trust You God when these things just didn’t turn out? How can I give You areas when my life may fall apart?

As I spent time with this, the first fact I realised was that no matter what had happened I was still talking to God. even after all the hurt and the failure. He was still in my life and cared enough about me to tell me very clearly that He was/is my God. So no matter what, His word was true:

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV)

The second fact was that many of the areas that had appeared not to go as I thought they should, were aspects of my life where I had taken over the control in the guise of it being “God’s Will”. How many of us do that, or is it just me? Many times when situations started to go pear shaped I didn’t necessarily turn to my Heavenly Father for help but blindly sorted out what to do next from my flesh or my soul, in other words from an emotional level. There is no doubt that God has the right way.i-am-the-lord-your-god

Any way, I don’t want to get bogged down in all this, the fact is that it is not about me or you, it is about Him! “I AM YOUR GOD!!!” He has chosen me. I am hand picked. The Great I Am has selected me to be His child and I need to give Him permission to be that for me.

There are many scriptures where God says I am the God ….. of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, ….. who brought you out of the land of Egypt,….of Bethel

There are many scriptures where God declares He is our Lord  specifically. Let us look at some and start to declare them in our lives.

“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.” (Leviticus 26:12 NKJV)
 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.” (Numbers 15:41 NKJV)
I like this verse because it shows us that the reason He brought us out of bondage was to be our God. He cares enough to bring us out of the areas that bind us so that He can be God to me. love me and protect me.
“You shall not be terrified of them; for the Lord your God, the great and awesome God, is among you.” (Deuteronomy 7:21 NKJV)
“For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.”  (Deuteronomy 23:14 NKJV)
“I am the Lord your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.” (Joel 2:27 NKJV)
If we can understand how important it is to recognise that it is His work in us and that His whole desire is to be our God then we can see that nothing can stop us. Not even us!!
So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 NKJV)
I realise now that the more I take control, I receive less of Him. To receive more of Him I have to let go. It is worth it. He knows our future. He knows what lies ahead. He knows what we will need in the future. Only His love sustains.
” We must learn to live before an audience of One. Receiving the nod from our Master has great power in the hearts of those who love Him. It has more power than the approval of all others.” (Mike Bickle from a talk on the Divine Kiss based on the Song of Songs)
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Be Ready!!

These are two recent prophecies that I thought I would share.

There is to be a burning away but the flames will be preparing seeds for the rain! The rainfall will come! Rain on rain and it will water the seed! The seed because of the burning will grow quickly! Putting down roots in soil that has also seen burning but which is so fertile that the root grows deeply and develops foundation allowing the new shoots to develop! Shoots and shoots! Quick growth! Strong growth! A plentiful harvest! The burning was important! Allow God to burn away the old growth for the new to come!

 

I look to the hills from where comes my help! My help comes from the Lord! But the mountains have been moved, they have been razed to the ground! The entry for the Lord has been made ready! The angels have been working. The way is prepared!!! The Highway from Heaven is made! A Freeway with no lanes! Ready for the King of Heaven and Heaven’s Armies to match down!

I look to the hills and they are replaced by the freeway of God! Heaven is on the move! He is on the move!

We can hear the shouts! The shouts have been obscured by the mountains but no longer! The Shout of Heaven Roars out! The Shout of Heaven Roars out! The Shout of Heaven Roars out! The King is riding! The King is riding! He is on His charger! (Seven eyes and seven horns) A flaming sword in His hand! A crown of fire on His Head! Fire burns in His eyes! Flames of truth burn from His mouth!

The King of Glory comes! Hail to the King of Glory! The Lord Full of Glory! The Lord in All His Glory! Glory to You Lord King of Glory! Glory, Laud and Honour to you!

Perception Part 2!!

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (Eph 3:20)

I want you to declare this over you as you read it. “My God can do far more abundantly than I can ask or think because of His power that works in me.” Declare it again and again until Holy Spirit writes it on your heart. Synonyms for abundantly include – copiously, plentifully, amply, profusely, exuberantly, prolifically, luxuriantly, in profusion, in abundance, in great quantity, in large quantities, in plenty, aplenty, in huge numbers, freely, extensively, everywhere, all over the place, affluently, bounteously, plenteously, lavishly. This is who your God is. We need to raise our perception and expectation of who God is.  At this point, if you haven’t read the last post on Perception, please do.

Is there a limit on what you believe God can do for you? Ask Holy Spirit to show you. Be open and honest because God knows anyway. We put limitations on God all the time, it is nothing we should be condemned about, Holy Spirit wants to change our Spiritual Perceptions of God. It is something to be excited about and not scared. Ask Holy Spirit to invade your dreams with visions of the Greatness of God in your life.

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“My God can do far more abundantly than I can ask or think”! He is a Huge God. The Heavens cannot contain Him.

The Holy Spirit is changing mindsets at this time and we need to allow Him to do that. There are times when we become scared to allow Holy Spirit to change things in us because we are secure in what we think we know of God, but there is a new move of God and we need to see God’s fullness to partake in that new move.

I really feel we are at the cusp of something new! ( isn’t that a great word? Cusp! It means A point of transition between two different states! Say it again, CUSP!) Anyway, we are at one…… a cusp that is!! A transition that is so important that it is going to change the way the world sees God forever. It will never be the same again. It is the time of Reformation. If we continue to see life through our eyes we will miss it. We have to start looking through Spiritual eyes and see into the Spiritual Realm.

We were created in God’s image. We are three in one just as He is. Body, Soul and Spirit. Often we are very strong in our body and soul but our Spiritual side is weaker. We are Spiritual beings having an earthly experience and therefore we have to exercise our Spiritual Perception to see into the Spiritual Realm. How did Jesus see what the Father was doing except through His Spiritual Perception. Jesus came down and was totally man, He was like us in every way except that He saw the way that Father God saw. We can do the same because we have Holy Spirit living in us.

In her Vinedresser series, Theresa Croft uses this phrase,

“You have a song that only you can sing”

This is so powerful! Unless we sing the song that God has written for us, the people around us, friends, families, our community, our towns and cities will miss out. No one else can sing your song! Therefore we need to have our eyes opened. To have our perception changed. We need to experience life through our Spiritual Senses.

Prayer Starter

Dear Holy Spirit, show me the areas in my life where I limit you, where I limit Father and Jesus. Expand my experience of you! Change my perception. Let me experience life through Spiritual Senses. Allow me to sing the song that only I can sing.

Perception

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9 NKJV)

I was praying one day and I saw God standing in front of me. He was my size and He looked at me. He then started to move away but as He did, He got bigger and bigger and bigger. I couldn’t comprehend how big He was. This is the opposite of what our senses have been told. We know that a twenty foot tree looks taller the closer it is and conversely, the same tree seems smaller the further away it is. What God was showing me was that my perception of things, is not God’s. He doesn’t look at things the same way as I do. My perception needs to change to Spritual Perception. His thoughts are not the same as my thoughts.

God does not think as we do! Let me say it again – God does not think as we do. Last time – God does not think as we do. Has it sunk in? We bring God down to our way of perceiving things. It is easy for us to picture the God who walked with Adam in the cool of the evening. That God is relatable to. We can see God as a Father especially if our Father’s were a good role model but what about the God who made this……?

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There are a 100 trillion of these in the universe.

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Each one of these bright stars is larger than our Sun. God made all this. That God lives in you, in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was there when all this was made and He lives in you!

“Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:5 NKJV)

God’s understanding is infinite and yet so often we make His ways finite. King Solomon grasped it when He was building the temple.

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27 NKJV. Also 2 Chronicles 6:18)

All those 100 trillion solar systems are too small for Him. Heaven and all the heavens are too small for our Father.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth,Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,  But those who wait on 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: 28-31)

How do you see God at the moment? Ask God to show you who He is at the moment to you. If He is small, ask God to forgive you for not seeing who He really is and ask Him to show you how big He actually is.

Remember, God does not think as we do!! So we need to allow the Holy Spirit to show us how He perceives the circumstances we are in. I can tell you now they will be different perceptions.

Just to summarise….. It is wonderful to see God as a God who wants to walk with us. It is amazing to recognise that He is our Heavenly Dad and His touch is so Gentle. It is even more awesome to see that this God who relates to us so intimately is too big for 100 trillion Solar Systems. We need to start to use Spiritual Perception and not our natural perception. To do this we need the help of the Holy Spirit to see the way He sees.

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Things are not always as they seem!!

Prayer Starter

Precious Holy Spirit, thank you that you live in me and can’t wait to show me how wonderfully gigantic Heavenly Father is. Let me see Him as you see Him. Let my perceotions become Spiritual ones. Holy Spirit ones. Let my Spiritual senses grow.

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