Thursday, January 29, 2009

They claim that they know God, but their actions deny it. They are hateful and disobedient, not fit to do anything good. Titus 1:16

One of my pet peeves in this world are acceptance speeches from movie stars at the Oscars or other award ceremonies.

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"I would like to thank God...."

Why thank God? They don't even believe in Him. They don't even have a relationship with Him? Why thank Him for an award that they won by acting in a role that blasphemes, that promotes divorce, that promotes promiscuity, that glorifies violence etc etc.

It's easy to bring God into acceptance speeches - but that doesn't mean that the person talking about Him, KNOWS Him. They may acknowledge Him, but unless they are in submission and live in full obedience, they are "not fit to do anything good."

Our actions are our proof that we know God. If we behave like everyone else does - we do not know God. If we act like the World, approve of sin, behave like unbelievers, then we do not know God. If we are not living in full obedience to God and do not submit to Him, we do not know God. And our "good deeds" are nothing.

Sunday Christians (the ones that are pure and holy on Sunday only) are a great example of this. Knowing God is not a one day a week thing. It's all or nothing. If you want to KNOW God - then submit, obey and turn away from the sins of the World. Do not deny God with your actions. Do not be guilty of talking the talk, but not walking the walk. People who do that make Christians look like idiots. It's all or nothing. 100& committment or nothing. God wants you to claim that you know Him and your actions prove it!

With Christianity, actions speak louder than words.

MY PRAYER
God, please help me to remember to act according to your Word. I pray you will show me where I am being disobedient so I can repent and change. I want to be 100% going with you and for you. I want to be a true example of you.
I pray for every reader who reads this, that you will bless them abundantly. I pray your Word will go out from here into cyberspace and to the eyes of those who need to hear from you.

Amen

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Imitating Daddy.

Since you are God's dear children, you must try to be like him. Ephesians 5:1

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I am often amazed at just how much my kids soak in. How they copy my husband and I. I've seen my son going around with his "screwdriver" and fiddling around with door handles. I've seen my daughter imititate her teacher and playing schools. I've seen my baby daughter with her toy phone stick it to her ear and gabble. Kids copy you. They also copy every single negative thing you do and say as well. LOL
For instance, I was trying to tell my eldest daughter to say "Pardon?" instead of "WHAT?" when she didn't hear or understand. DH pointed out that is what I say. I was horrified! I DO??? Now I hear myself saying it - and that is what my daughter is copying. She also heard someone scream out a swear word in the supermarket car park - and she parroted them.

Imitation is how they learn. Children are their parents reflection.

It's exactly the same as Christians. We are children of God. We are a reflection of God. When people see us, do they see God?

We are to copy our Heavenly Father as our own children copy us. We need to try and act, react and think the way God does. Jesus was the perfect example to follow, for it goes on to say: Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God. Ephesians 5:2

Our attitudes, our thoughts, our actions, our reactions should line up with the Word of God so we can truly imitate Christ. The only way we can know what God is like so we can imitate him is to KNOW him. Pray - communicate with our God and listen to Him. Read his Word - so we know what he expects of us, so we can understand and know His character.

Are you truly imitating God in words, thoughts and deeds?

MY PRAYER
God I want to be like you. I want to know you so much more so I can imitate you and adopt Godly thoughts, actions and attitudes. Help me be aware of things I need to change within myself to be a true imitator of God.
I pray you will give me the strength to admit my weaknesses and give the the courage to go out and change them.

I love you Lord
Amen

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blessed are those who mourn

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew. 5:4

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When you think of mourning, what do you think of? Does the picture of someone in black, standing at the edge of a newly dug grave come to mind? Perhaps deep grief over failed opportunities? Perhaps sadness that things didn't work out as we expected them?

Usually humans mourn over something that is lost. But Jesus isn't talking about that - he is talking about mourning and grieving over our sin.

For the sadness that is used by God brings a change of heart that leads to salvation---and there is no regret in that! 2 Corinthians 7:10

As time has gone on, and Christianity has gone on, one of the problems that has happened is that we have failed to comprehend the seriousness of sin. It's just not taught that we are to mourn for our sin. I have seen this far too much. People do something wrong, then pray a prayer of repentance, skipping the step of mourning for the sin.

Christians can be quick to speak out against certain sins like homosexual marriage, abortion, adultery, domestic abuse, murder etc but they fail to see their own sins of judging, arrogance, self-righteousness, lying, and gossiping. No sin is greater than the other. Sure, there are different consequences for different sins, but sin is sin.

God doesn’t have a rating system – this sin is less than that sin. If you gossip – you are in the same category as a murderer. If you lie, you are in the same category as a rapist. If you look at another person who is not your spouse with lust – you are in the same category as a paedophile. See what I mean? Sin is sin. Now I picked three sins that would create a physical and emotional reaction in you. When we think of rapists and murderers it stirs something in us. It sickens us. But ALL sin should sicken us!

The Greek word Jesus used for "mourn" in Matthew 5:4 is PENTHEO. PENTHEO which has the idea of a deep sense of inner grief that consumes the person. It has the idea of strong grief manifested externally.

Jesus selected the meaning well. PENTHEO. He wants to make a point about our attitude toward sin. Does your sin cause you to mourn your condition?

We need to despise sin --We should especially despise our own sins. If we casually say, “Oh yeah baby! I’ll admit I’m a sinner BIG TIME!” but there’s no remorse then we will not receive God’s blessing.

We’re told in Scripture to repent of sin—to recognize how much it offends the heart of God and then grieve over it.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” James 4:8-10

True repentance has become a neglected word in the church.

J. David Hoke said: “Repentance precedes the blessing of God. A lack of repentance shuts off the power of God. There will be no revival or renewal without repentance. And there will be no
repentance without godly sorrow. Until we come to the place where we truly mourn over our sin, we will never see the hand of God revealed.”


Now I don't know about you, but I am desperate to see revival in the community! In our churches - everywhere! Do you? Who wants to see the hand of God?

REPENT!!

What is repentance? Repentance is often wrongly viewed as feeling sorry, conviction and sorrow for doing the wrong thing. However, the Bible views repentance primarily as a radical change of mind, change of attitude, and change of decisions. That results in a change of one's actions and a new direction adopted.
Asking God for forgiveness is not enough, we need to truly repent, change how we think about the sin, change our attitude and decide not to do it again. Repentance means we walk away from the sin. It’s not repentance to say “sorry” and then go back to the sin time and time again.

The great thing is that when we repent and show that godly sorrow, God comforts us.

When my son was young and did something wrong, he was scolded or disciplined, we asked him if he was sorry. Now he couldn't actually say he was sorry at the time, but he felt remorse. His way of letting us know that he was sorry was to lay his head on us while he finished crying. We then as parents comforted him – because he has recognized that he did something wrong. Relationship became whole once again. We don’t hold it against him, we don’t refuse the cuddles because he has done something terrible, and left to cry it out. If he feels remorse, then we immediately show him grace by comforting him when he is grieving.

God is a perfect, compassionate parent. He is sympathetic toward those who mourn for their sin. I can just see him doing what we did with our son, wrapping his arms around us and speaking words of comfort. Our relationship with God has become whole once again.
Chuck Swindoll said: “God loves the broken heart, the bent knee, and the wet eye.”

Does it break your heart when you sin against God? --Or do you flippantly think, “Yeah, I sinned. So what?” or “Woops! Sorry!” or “I’m only human. Humans make mistakes.” or even worse still make excuses for your sin? Do you experience a godly sorrow that leads to repentance? Is your lack of repentance keeping you from experiencing revival and seeing the hand of God move?

“For the sadness that is used by God brings a change of heart that leads to salvation---and there is no regret in that! But sadness that is merely human causes death. 2 Corinthians. 7:10

MY PRAYER
Dear Lord
Have mercy on me, a sinner. I pray that you will direct me and show me the sins I need to repent of. I so desperately want to see you move in my life, my church and in my community. How can I preach repentance if I have unresolved sin in my own life? Show me! Help me to be open to your teachings, your guidance and your discipline. Help me respond to your guidance with humility and obedience.
Thankyou for your Grace on me.

In your precious name, Jesus, Amen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pour it out..

I've been thinking alot about something I preached about a few years ago. I just love this story and it really says something about how Jesus can change hearts and how He can inspire complete surrender of everything we have.

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And while he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, seated at table, there came a woman with a bottle of perfumed oil of great price; and when the bottle was broken she put the perfume on his head. But some of them were angry among themselves, saying, For what purpose has this oil been wasted?
We might have got more than three hundred pence for it, and given the money to the poor. And they said things against her among themselves. But Jesus said, Let her be; why are you troubling her? she has done a kind act to me. The poor you have ever with you, and whenever you have the desire you may do them good: but me you have not for ever.
She has done what she was able: she has put oil on my body to make it ready for its last resting-place. And truly I say to you, Wherever the good news goes out through all the earth, what this woman has done will be talked of in memory of her.
(Mark 14:3 -9)

This woman truly and completely honored Jesus by her giving. She didn't just give Him her heart and that was it. And she did more than hand over a bottle of expensive perfume (which was valued at a year’s salary) to Jesus. She broke the seal on her gift, removed the lid and poured it out. She was capable of such extravagance her heart had been touched by Jesus. This woman cared no longer for the value of this luxurious and prized perfume, Jesus was worth it to her.

Is Jesus worth giving extravagantly to? Have you experienced Him in such a real way and know that he has touched your heart? Compared to Him our money, our time and possessions should mean nothing. Giving needs to come from our heart – from our love and devotion to Christ. Giving shouldn’t be like teeth pulling – it should be an action of our love and devotion to Him.

What would it take for you and I to break the seal and open the lid on our most precious possessions? What would it take to open the lid of our generous giving?

MY PRAYER
Dear Jesus, I want to give you more. I want to be generous with all I have. I give you my finances and ask you to give me opportunities to give. I pray you will bless me so I can give more.
I want to give you more of my time, help me to keep my priorities on track so I can give you more.
I want to give you my heart, completely and utterly. Do what you want with my life. It's yours. Use it for your glory. Use me to do what you will with it. I surrender it to you.
I break open the seal of my life and all that I have and I pour it out.

Thankyou Lord for your grace in my life.
Amen

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Are you ready to tell?

Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15-16)

I've given my testimony, numerous times. I do it as part of ministry. I tell people what kind of life I had before Christ, I tell them what kind of life I have now. I speak of miracles, healing, love and grace. My testimony is written down nicely so when I get up in front of a whole bunch of people, I remember it all, and I don't get too emotional over it. It's a messy story - so I need structure and focus otherwise I ramble.

This is the way I do it. I go to youth groups, women's groups etc and I tell my testimony. Not everyone has that opportunity. Not everyone gets invited to be a guest speaker at some event so their story gets heard. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be ready to give it.

Peter said "Be ready at ALL times".

So if I asked you, what's your testimony, what would you tell me? Would you um and ahh? Would you tell me it's too complicated? Would you tell me that it's nothing fabulous and not worth telling?

Now that last reason is a legit response. Some people believe that because they weren't drug addicts, drinking bourbon every night, with a different woman every night and then when they were eight years old, they gave their heart to Jesus - that their testimony isn't good enough.

Be glad you weren't a vegemite addict! Be glad you didn't inject chocolate topping into your veins. Be glad you didn't ruin your body! Be glad that you gave your life over to Jesus as a young person and be VERY glad you haven't turned back! Be glad that you didn't have the colorful background some people had. Your testimony is just as powerful! I admire old people who say they gave their life to Jesus when they were 5 years old, and 85 years on, they still are still going on for Jesus. Amazing testimony!! Blows me away!

Everyone's testimony speaks to different people. People identify with a person who has had similar experiences to themselves. I can speak into the lives of sexual abuse victims. I can speak into the lives of brokeness. But there is no way a child would understand my testimony or relate. What lives can you speak into?

Jesus saved you from sin. Just as he saved me. Jesus died on the cross for you. He died for me too. See? So far our testimony is the same! The bones of everyone's testimony is the same... the details differ though.

So how can we be ready to share?
Get the story straight in yourself. There is no point umming and ahhhing over details. Write your testimony down and work out what the story actually is. What was your life like before Jesus? How did you receive Jesus? What changed in your life afterwards?

Read your testimony often so you learn it, so it becomes natural for you to share it and that it is in your heart. Because I can promise you, when you are asked to "explain the hope in you" - it wouldn't be appropriate for you to pull out your paper and read it. You need to be able to share naturally and easily with the other person.

And the most important part of this scripture - share your testimony with "gentleness and respect". Don't shove your testimony down people's throats. If they don't want to hear it, respect that. You don't need to pull the pulpit out when someone asks you and preach at them. Share as if they asked you where you got your shoes from. I know it's exciting for new Christians and they just want to tell everybody what God has done... but remember in your excitement that gentleness and respect will drive your testimony further. People don't get their backs up, they will hear what you have to say better and they respond better.

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MY PRAYER
Thankyou God for saving me and rescuing me from a life of destruction and pain. Thankyou for the opportunities you give me to share our story. I pray that you will keep providing those opportunities and open doors for me to keep sharing.
I pray that everyone who reads this will take on board the importance of being ready to share and with gentlessness and respect.
Prepare the hearts of the people who will hear and as we sow seeds that the harvest will be fruitful!

Thankyou Father, Amen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Love Comes Softly

I am a huge fan of Janette Oke. She writes such lovely period stories filled with simple truths about God. I love it. Anyway this is the first of the series. The movie doesn't completely follow the story-line... but mostly. :)



This is such a lovely movie. You can watch the whole thing on You-tube HERE

There are more of the series available to watch if you are interested.

Rain is coming.

Then Elijah said to King Ahab, "Now, go and eat. I hear the roar of rain approaching." (1 Kings 18:41) **I recommend you read the whole story - it's just too long to put in here!**

I look out my backyard and I see a dead lawn. I look out my front yard and I see dead lawn. I look up the hill and I see brown paddocks. I see cracks in the soil from lack of moisture. Farmer's crops in the area are poor. We are in drought. South Australia is not receiving enough rainfall to water crops, lawns, plants and the earth.

Drought occurs in the church too. No new souls are coming in. No growth. It's barely alive and it's dry and dusty.

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Wouldn't it be good to see life giving rain fall? Do you really want it? Do you really want to see our churches and lives revived and life giving? Proactively pray for it! Pray that God will revive his church and his people. Don't just sit there and wait for it!! Prepare yourself for it.

When God revives his Church - it won't just effect you and your church. Your whole entire world and the people in it will be influenced.

Nations will be drawn to your light, And kings to the dawning of your new day. Look around you and see what is happening: Your people are gathering to come home! Your sons will come from far away; Your daughters will be carried like children. (Isaiah 60:3 -4)

I read this quote and I would like to share it with you:

In 18th century England just before the Great Awakening. On the average every third house was a gin house or affected by drunkenness. Violence and sexual promiscuity was widespread and having dramatic increase. The Church was morally corroded and consistently ignored by the masses. Yet under these deplorable, nation-ruining influences, God sovereignly raised up uncompromising men having revival vision, both in England and America, thus heralding unprecedented spiritual awakening.

What happened in the 1700's can happen today! Lives can be changed by this life-giving rain!

So what can we do???

1. PRAY - pray and pray and pray for it. Want it, desire it, visualise what will happen when it does come.

Pray like Hannah did for a baby. Even though she knew she was barren, she continued to pray for a miracle. She believed God was going to produce life in her unfertile womb. (1 Samuel 1)
Pray like Paul and Silas did when they were thrown in jail. They prayed until the earth moved - literally!!!

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Pray for your Church leaders, pray for the souls that are going to be reached. Pray and pray and pray some more - then expect results!

2. Pray until you see results!
When Elijah was expecting rain, he sent a servant out 6 times to look for signs of the rain. 6 times that servant came back saying - nope nothing. On the 7th time the servant came back with "I see a cloud the size of a man's hand"
A tiny cloud. One tiny cloud - hardly a downpour.

When the bureau of meteorology predicts that it’s going to rain in the early afternoon, I check the sky from mid morning onwards. Expecting to see a sign of rain. Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don’t. I check on the online radar, seeing how far away the rain is. Sometimes it’s over the Peninsula – sometimes it’s further. But I know it’s coming. I know it’s on it’s way. Every time I hear a car start, I automatically think “is that thunder?” I am waiting for that rain with anticipation. I know it’s on the way.

So keep on asking God for that spiritual rain, be persistant. Press in, desire it, want it, expect it. Just because it doesn’t come a week after you started praying, doesn’t mean it’s not coming. Keep praying. Keep asking. Keep looking for those rain clouds. The church needs YOU!

3. Be thankful for the small things but expect big things
Elijah’s servant reported a small cloud in the sky. No bigger than a man’s hand. Whenever I have seen storms approaching, there are usually black masses of the things. When I see rain approaching, the clouds are not the size of a man’s hand. They are tiny. Elijah heard of the small cloud but expected a huge rainfall.

When a small breakthrough happens in the church, be grateful for it. Embrace it. Thank God for it, because there is more to come. Don’t stop praying because “oh that was it?” Expect big things to come from that small breakthrough. Expect big rainfalls from that small cloud.

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MY PRAYER
Show me your glory! I want to see your fresh anointing on the church. I want to see spiritual rain fall. I want to see that life giving water flow out of the church and into the community. I want to see lives changed, hearts changed. I want to see people come to you. I want to see people excited about you and what you are doing. I want to see passion and fire in the hearts and minds of the church. I want the church to no longer be a building but a light, beaming into the darkness that surrounds it.
Thankyou for the rain that is coming. I am so looking foward to it!

I commit myself to praying earnestly and persistently for this Spiritual Rain. I commit myself to praying for my brother’s and sisters, for the church leaders, and for my Pastor. I will pray for them with all my heart.

Thankyou God! Show me your glory!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's your motive?

Being neck deep in ministry - you get to meet all kinds of people in the church. One thing I get concerned about is hearing people complain because they have received no recognition for their actions. They didn't get a phone call because they sent someone a card. They didn't receive a special thankyou in a speech. They didn't get to hold the baby first, even though they were the ones that threw the baby shower. The Pastor failed to notice that they were filling in for an usher Sunday morning. It's like they only serve because they want to be seen and be admired. They want to be told how wonderful they are.

We all like to receive recognition, this is true. It's nice to be thanked, it's nice when people notice what we do, it's nice when people talk about your service to others. It makes us feel good. It's great!!! BUT - this should not be the REASON for serving.

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Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. (Phillipians 2:3)

Guess what? It's not about you! Serving God is NOT about YOU! Serving God is about HIM - and the people you serve.

We are not called to serve so we can brag about it later.
"I preached THE most awesome sermon. 10 people came forward at the alter call. 3 people came up to me afterwards and told me I was the best preacher they had ever heard."

We are called to serve each other with humility. When we forget that it's a priveledge to serve God and other's - we will find that our motive will not be godly.

And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, "God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)

God is looking for humble people who will serve Him and others.

And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own. (Phillipians 2:4)

Serving other's with a godly motive is to be completely unselfish. It's not about you! Serving other's is not a career move. You don't move up the ladder, making you higher and above some others.

Jesus said it best: "Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all."

So get down your church and offer to be on the cleaning team! You may want to be a worship leader - but until that opportunity comes, serve in an area you can. Serve your brothers and sisters in Christ with grace. Do all you can to serve them. You are not too good to scrub toilets, or vacuum the carpets.

The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:
He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness.
(Phillipians 2:5-7)

So when we serve God and others - our attitude needs to the the same as Christ's. Jesus is the ultimate example of serving with humilty. He came from heaven to grungy old earth, hung around with mere humans, performed miracles, taught them, loved them - then died without complaint so that we could have a relationship with Him and have eternal life. Jesus had every opportunity to say "I am NOT having lunch at your place, I am too busy being important." - "If you ran out of wine, that's not my problem - I am JESUS - the Son of God."
Jesus even washed the dirty, dusty, smelly feet of his disciples - to show them by example humble serving. The Son of God - washing feet. It blows my mind.

MY PRAYER
Dear Lord,
Thankyou for your Word. Thankyou that you showed us humility by example in serving so that we can adopt your attitude in order to be great servants.
Help me keep my reasons for serving you about YOU. I want to serve you with all my heart and I want to give all my gifts and talents to you. Do what you want with them.
I pray that I remember to serve you with humility and with joy. I pray that I remember what a priveledge it is, to serve you and serve others.
Keep working in me, keep growing me and showing me your ways.

I love you, Amen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Know what side you are on.

David asked the men who were near him, "What will the man get who kills this Philistine and frees Israel from this disgrace? After all, who is this heathen Philistine to defy the army of the living God?" (1Samuel 17:26)

David and Goliath has to be one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. Every kid relishes the part where David pelts a smooth stone and it imbeds into the giants skull - then he chops his head off with Goliath's own sword. What makes it more cool is that David was a kid himself. Small and skinny teen who owned a very cool slingshot.

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It's a very cool story.

But this story isn't just a story - there are some great messages in it.

I just want to focus on one for today.
When David went into the Israelite camp and he saw Goliath challenging one man to a duel, he didn't see the man's height, he didn't see the big muscles rippling on that big body, he didn't see his armour or his sword, he didn't even see his fighting history - he was a great warrior. All David saw was: who is this heathen Philistine to defy the army of the living God?

He was outraged that this heathen was defying the army of the living God! David knew which side he was on, and who was standing with him. The rest of the Israelites had forgotten the power of their Almighty God.

This knowledge is how David had the guts to meet Goliath in battle. A skinny kid... Because he knew who was standing with him. He was confident that God would be with him, because he was acting on behalf of the army of the living God.

Sometimes in life, our own Goliath's come up and challenge us. Things that challenge our beliefs, challenge our faith in God, shake our family's foundations, attempt to destroy us. These Goliath's should not be feared - because we know what side we are on.

I heard this cool story once, and I can't remember the details - just the point. This boy got into trouble by a neighbour, and the neighbour started to chase after the boy, ready to grab him and lay into him. The boy dashed into his yard and onto his porch, the man reached for him - and then they both heard the cock of a rifle. The man looked up and into the barrel of the boy's father's rifle.
"That's my boy" was all he said... The boy felt VERY brave then, and said something smart to the man... and that man could do nothing - because the boy's father was standing right there.
I can imagine God being somewhat like that. When Satan attempts to put his grubby hands on us, he hears that cock of the rifle.... and hears God's voice say "That's my kid - BACK OFF!"

We don't have to be afraid of challenging and slaying our Goliaths. Because we are part of the army of the living God. Instead of running away or cowering, we can stand up and face it head on with "HOW DARE THEY CHALLENGE ME, A CHILD OF GOD!!" "WHO is this heathen??" Be indignant - then get your sling shot ready.....

MY PRAYER
Dear Lord,
Thankyou for your Word. Thankyou that we don't have to be afraid of what comes our way, because you are standing right there with us. I pray that you will give me courage to slay my giants as they crop up. Thankyou for your protection and your love. Thankyou for this lesson on who I am in YOU.

In your name, Amen

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Don't get too comfortable!

"Don't ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the LORD's worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!"
(Ruth 1:16-17)

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Imagine your husband and father in law died. Mother-in-law was going to go back to her native country, which was in the middle of Africa somewhere. Where there was not electricity, running water, the tribes live in grass huts, where you don't know the language and would be expected to work along side these people. You would be leaving your own family behind - your Mum, your Dad, your siblings.

That is moving out of your comfort zone for the love of your Mother-in-law. It would be hard for you, awkward at times, there would be alot of uncertainties. How would you get on? Would you survive without the things you are familiar with?

God calls us onwards in our journey and growth in Him. We are not supposed to be comfortable where we are in our journey. We are to keep going forward, keep striving for excellence, keep feeding our spirits so they grow, keep challenging ourselves so that we may get stronger and more mature.

I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.
Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.
So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above.
All of us who are spiritually mature should have this same attitude. But if some of you have a different attitude, God will make this clear to you.
(Phillipians 3:12-15)

Ruth was definately willing to step out of her comfort zone because she loved her MIL so much. She was willing to go places she had never been, because she loved her MIL so much. Would we do the same for God? Do we serve God with this same attitude?

But it's not all bad.

When Ruth stepped out of her comfort zone, she was blessed in ways that may not have happened if she had stayed put in her own country. She met a man named Boaz who showed her favour. He told her to keep working in his fields, he told the men in his fields to not touch her - she was under his protection. He also served her food from his own table, and he blessed her by instructing his workers to "accidently on purpose" drop wheat on the ground so she would be able to pick it up. She walked out of there carrying about 11kgs of wheat in one day! That's an amazing blessing on her. She ended up being married to Boaz and having a son.

When we step out of our comfort zone in order to pursue more of what God wants for us, he will bless us and show us favour. We need to adopt the attitude of Ruth - that wherever God leads us, we will go.

Ruth went on to say "May the LORD's worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!" She pledged her whole life to her MIL. God wants that same passionate promise! Nothing but death will seperate me from you!

MY PRAYER
Almighty Father,
Thankyou for your Word to me. I pray that I am reminded on Ruth when I start to get comfortable in my walk with you. I want to go with you, wherever you want to take me. I surrender my life to you, my ministry to you, my home, my gifts and talents - they are yours. Do what you will with them. Use them in a way that will glorify you. Nothing but death will seperate me from you, dear God.
Grow me Father, as I go on with you.

In your mighty name, Amen.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Be people of the light.

Light is an amazing thing. A small amount of it can make a huge difference to a dark place. If a crowd of people were in a dark room, and someone lit a candle, every single person would know that there was a light in the room. They may see it first hand, or they may see the glow on the walls or ceiling.
Stars in a night's sky can be seen lightyears away. No one ever says "Look at the darkness up there!" - No-one admires the darkness in the night sky. It's always the little flickers of light. The stars. Light attracts attention. Even the small flash of my mobile phone bugs me when I am trying to sleep. Light is noticeable in a dark place.

You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord's people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, (Ephesians 5:8)

Ever been in a dark room? Ever tried to find your way in darkness? Believe me, I have. Do you know how many times I have tripped, stumbled, stubbed my toes and bumped into walls and doors? Countless times. I sometimes get disorientated and start to panic because I can't figure out where I am.

Imagine the journey of life in darkness. If it was pitch black you could not follow the path, because you don't have a path to follow. You wouldn't know if you were heading in the right direction, you wouldn't know if you were about to fall down a cliff, trip over a rock or anything. Your journey would be aimless because you could not go anywhere.

Before Jesus came into my life, I stumbled, I got hurt, I bumped into things as I tried to find my way. At one point I was in a huge hole and I couldn't get out in my darkened life. But when Jesus came, I was in the light. I was no longer blinded. I could see where I was headed - I could see the path.

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So - we are now in the light. How do we live like we are people of the Light? How do we live like we belong to the Light?

First things - first - since we are now in the light - we can see things clearly. In the cloak of darkness, things can be hidden very well - but nothing is hidden when it's in the light. Light exposes things. Light exposes sin. We need to deal with that in our lives.

We are called to be people of the light. So we are called to stop living life blindly, but with purpose. Our journey is now clear, our destination is now clear. We are to "Run the race that God has set before you" (Hebrews 12:1) We now have boundaries, and a set path to journey on. We are heading towards God - not destruction.

Then, to be people of light, we need to be what darkness can't be. We need to light up our dark world with love for each other. We need to show our light by showing compassion to those who are living in darkness and suffering because of it. We can live with courage because our light can never be overshadowed with darkness.

What an awesome calling. To light the way to Jesus.

MY PRAYER
Dear Lord,
I answer the call you have placed on my life, to live like I am in the Light. Thankyou for your Word to me today, and I pray that I will remember this as I continue on in you.
I pray that you will give me opportunities to "let my light shine" and help me recognise them and act appropriately to be the ultimate example of you. I pray you will keep teaching me and growing me as I obey you and your Word.

Thankyou Jesus, Amen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More fruit...

Today's Verse of the Day couldn't have come at a better time. It ties in with yesterday's verse: "By their fruits you shall know them"

A good person's words are a fountain of life, but a wicked person's words hide a violent nature. (Proverbs 10:11)

How many Pentecostals does it take to change a light bulb?
Ten,one to change the bulb,and nine to pray against the darkness.

How many Charismatics does it take to change a light bulb?
Three,one to cast it out,and two more to catch it as it falls.

How Many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb?
At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and two or three committees to approve the change. Oh, and also one to provide a casserole.

How many Independent Baptists does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, because any more than that would be Ecumenicalism.

How can you tell the difference between a righteous person and a wicked person?
Check the fruit in their lives.

Ok so the last one wasn't as funny - but it still is the truth.


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The most obvious way you can see what fruit is growing in a person's life is the way that they speak.

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart.. (Matthew 15:18)

If Christ is in full reign of a person's heart, then Christ-like speech will spill from their mouth. A person who is growing good fruits in their lives will speak goodness. But the wicked cannot grow good fruit, so what will come from their mouth will destroy. A wicked person cannot hide forever, because sooner or later their mouth will betray them.

MY PRAYER
Dear Lord,
Thankyou for the truth that is in your Word.
I pray for discernment with all people I meet - that I will hear what they say and be able to tell what is good and what isn't. I pray also that I will watch what I say as well - so that only you flows from my lips. That your love for everyone will spill forth, and be light in this dark world. I pray that when my speech isn't life-giving, that you give me the courage to deal with and chuck out the yuck fruit so I can be a good example of righteousness.
I want to be like you. I want to strive to be righteous.
Thankyou for your Word to me today. I pray that it will go out and bless others.

In your name we pray this, Jesus.
Amen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just keep on sowing...

I was having a discussion today with a friend about sowing into people's lives. Sowing the Word of God into their hearts. Sowing and sowing. I was feeling quite sad that not all we sow would not reap a harvest. It felt like a bit of a waste of time.

So I went to the Word of God and read the parable Jesus taught about the Sower and the seed.

"Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep.
But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up.
Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants.
But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty."
And Jesus concluded, "Listen, then, if you have ears!"
(Matthew 13 3-9)

Seed had been sown into lives - and seed has been unfruitful. As a teacher of the Word, and as someone who believes very passionately about sowing into people's lives, I find that sometimes the crops don't yield.

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Jesus went on to explain what he meant by this unfruitful seed:

When seed falls on the path - the person who receives the seed doesn't understand the Word of God and it is stolen away from them by the Evil one.
When seed falls on rocky ground, the seed is fertilised, but the roots don't run deep and are destroyed by circumstances and life.
When seed falls in the thorn bushes, the small fertilised plants are choked by cares and worries and passions of the world.
When seed falls in fertile soil, the seeds grow, their roots run deep, they bear fruit - more fruit than seed you ever sowed!!

Once the sower has sown the seed, what happens to that seed is out of his control. He can't nurture every single seed he has sown, he can't chase away the birds, he can't water every single plant, and make sure the roots run deep. The sheer volume of seed sown would make that task impossible. Once the seed is sown, it's out of his control. A farmer nowadays, pretty much sows and then waits to see if his efforts were fruitful. I can bet not every seed he sows in the paddocks will be fruitful.

Once I have sown the seeds God prompts me to sow, I cannot control what happens to them. I need to keep sowing, regardless if the people who receive it have a fertile heart or not.

I also need to use the manure that life dishes out, to make the soil in my heart more fertile. So I can hear the Word of God and bear fruit. I want more than anything to be fruitful.

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." (Matthew 7:15-20)


MY PRAYER
Lord, help me to prepare my heart to be fertile, every single day to receive from you. I want seeds sown into my life so I may produce a harvest. I want my life to be fruitful. Help me keep my heart soil soft and weed free, so your Word can grow within me freely.
Thankyou for the opportunities you have given me to sow seed. I pray that you will water and nurture the seeds that have fallen into fertile hearts. Thankyou for the opportunities you will give me in the future to sow the Living Word into hearts. I pray you begin to prepare those who will receive.
Thankyou for speaking to me through your Word.

Amen.

Whatsoever things are true..

.. think on these things. Phillipians 4:8

Yesterday for me was not a good day. I was slandered, untruthful stories were published about me on the net. Eh it was a blog - so hardly headline news, but it's there for all to see.

I was angry, upset, hurt, annoyed. I had thoughts of revenge, anger, bitterness. How could she do this to me? How could someone I once regarded as a friend speak so maliciously and so untruthfully about me?

Well...

I went before God in prayer - and I said - "Lord what should I do?"
And God in his wisdom had the answer for me.

"Lay it to rest"

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When we lay a dead corpse to rest, we put it in a coffin, we say goodbye and we bury it. Let it decompose 6 feet under. Now that may sound callous - but it's true isn't it? We don't keep the dead with us. Because death causes disease. Death causes rot. Death decays - and decays all that surrounds it.
It is better for us to bury the dead. (Or if you are like me - cremate the dead.) So we are not influenced by the rot and decay.

So I have made the decision today to no longer be influenced by this persons destruction and decay.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy-keep thinking about these things. (Phillipians 4:8)

Her words are not true, or honorable, or fair, or pure, the are not commendable and they are not excellent or praiseworthy - so I shall give them no more thought. I will not go to the place where I read such rot. I lay them to rest. 6 feet under where they belong.

DH gave me excellent advice - "Why would you go to a place that makes you think fleshy thoughts?"
And he is right. It's the same reason why I don't read trashy magazines. Because they are not pure or true or fair or excellent. Why should I go to a place where I think angry thoughts. Where I entertain thoughts of revenge?
No - this is not good for me. So I will not go there anymore.

I will not rot along side this person.
I am called to be Salt in this world - to act as a preservation agent. But I can't be Salt when I am associating and reading decay.


MY PRAYER
Dear Lord,
You know the truth. You know the circumstances here. You know what is going on. I pray that you will place your hand on it and have your way.
I pray for wisdom and grace. I pray that I will respond always graciously, kindly and in a Godly way. I pray that you will use this circumstance and situation for your glory.
I pray for your blessings on the person who slanders me. I pray that you will fill her life with joy and peace. I pray you will bless her and her family, richly.
Thankyou for giving me wisdom on how to deal with this. I ask you will help me lay this all to rest and carry on with life, filled with blessings and pure, truthful, excellent thoughts.

In your mighty and awesome name, Jesus.

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