Tuesday, 23rd June 2020
"If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?" (Heb 12:7)
When I think back over my childhood, I recall quite a few instances of me getting a bit of physical discipline. In fact, as a first-born, I still maintain to this day that I copped it the worst and that Julie and Phil got off lightly in comparison!
Sometimes we go through times in the Christian life where the Lord has to introduce a bit of "chastening". This is never enjoyable, but it is always for our good.
Today's verse reminds us that, when we go through these times, it is helpful to look on the bright side - it is a demonstration and proof that we are His children. The reason? Because God only chastens his own children. Of course He often deals with unbelievers as well, but it is only His sons and daughters that he chastens with a view to conforming us into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29).
We have His promise in verse 11 of the same chapter that "afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it".
It's all for our own good!
Monday, 22nd June 2020
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1)
David was a man who absolutely knew what it was to face scary situations. In the second verse of Psalm 27 you see this - he says, "When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh". He didn't say if! So David faced actual danger and credible threats against his life.
However, he then goes on to say in verse 3, "My heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident". This was not a confidence or reliance upon his own strength but rather the Lord Himself. David doesn't say that the Lord just provides light, salvation and strength but that He is actually all of those things!
Like David, we also can be confident if we trust our Mighty God that he will preserve us through any situation. The pressure that comes may not be fun, but if it drives us closer to the Lord, we cannot lose!
The great missionary to China, Hudson Taylor said, "It does not matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies - whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart"
Friday, 19th June 2020
"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (1 Tim 6:6-7)
For all of our striving and stress to get ahead in this world, it is good sometimes to reflect that the greatest blessing is to live a life of love for Jesus and be content and thankful for all of the blessings He has graced us with.
Two things that people are generally looking for in life are joy and peace. Many think that joy comes with wealth and that the more they get, the happier they will be. They also imagine that peace will come with it - security and certainty. But this current COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that riches are not certain. Prov 23:5 says, "For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven".
Where is your security today? Is it in your bank account, or is it in the Lord Jesus Christ? As today's verse says, there is nothing we can gain in this life that we can take with us when we die. It is only our love for Jesus and service for Him that will count for anything at all.
Thursday, 18th June 2020
"As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him" (2 Sam 22:31)
I want to ask you a question this morning - have you ever been through an experience where you seemed to have no way of escape and the Lord intervened and rescued you? Today's verse tells us that the Word of the Lord is proven in our lives to be true. I really trust that you are able to say a hearty "Amen" to this because it is a powerful thing to walk through the fire and find the Son of God in the midst of it, just like Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-Nego did in Daniel chapter 3.
The Lord is a shield to all those who trust in Him - your mountain may look very intimidating today, but not to the Lord it isn't! When Elisha and his servant were surrounded by a great army in 2 Kings 6, the servant became very afraid, but Elisha said, "Lord, I pray open his eyes that he may see". The servant then became aware that he was surrounded by horses and chariots of fire.
Perhaps today you feel surrounded by the enemy - be encouraged today that his Army is surrounding you - He is a shield to all those who trust in Him.
Wednesday, 17th June 2020
"For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor 4:18)
When you read this verse you may think that Paul is talking about physical things and spiritual things, or that physical things are temporary and spiritual things are eternal. Of course this is true, but if you read the context of the passage in light of the preceding verses, Paul is actually talking about the reality of suffering in the present and the complete lack of suffering that is ahead of us!
When Jesus returns for His bride, the church, all of our pain, tears and suffering will be no more and we will be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ forevermore.
This verse encourages us to be "forward looking" people and not those that look back or dwell on the things of this world. They are all perishing, but the promises of God are eternal and full of glory. What a glorious future awaits those who love the Lord Jesus!
Tuesday, 16th June 2020
"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut 33:27)
We used to sing a hymn at the church I attended as a child, "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms". One of the verses goes like this:
What have I to dread, what
have I to fear
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
The eternal God is our constant support, and this is never more needed or desired as when we are in times of turmoil. Sometimes we feel so low that we imagine we are lower than the dust! But no matter what position we are in, underneath us are the Almighty, Eternal arms of the Lord!
As the hymn says, we can experience blessed peace without fear or dread.
Let us all take encouragement today from this wonderful verse.
Monday, 15th June 2020
There are many wise and wonderful women mentioned in the Bible and one of these is Abigail who appears in 1 Samuel, chapter 25. As far as I know she does not appear again but by no means is her story of little importance.
Abigail was married to Nabal, a wealthy but harsh and evil man, but his wife was very beautiful and wise. She was told by her servants that David had sent ten of his young men to Nabal requesting an offering of food and they had been refused and left empty handed. David’s men had protected Nabal’s shepherds in Carmel and should have been honoured at least with some provisions. Nabal’s answer was “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?”
David and 400 of his men took swords and sought to revenge this insult, but Abigail had loaded up donkeys with many provisions and met David on the way to kill all the males in Nabal’s household. She dismounted the donkey and fell on her face before David begging forgiveness for her scoundrel of a husband, requesting him not to shed blood without cause and seeking to be remembered when he becomes ruler over Israel. David blessed her and heeded her advice sending her back to her house in peace where Nabal was feasting like a king. She waited till morning when he was sober and told him all that had happened. He became like stone and kicked it in 10 days.
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he blessed the Lord for keeping him from evil and returning Nabal’s wickedness on his own head. He remembered Abigal’s words and took her as his wife.
Can you see the message of Salvation here?
Abigail is a picture of the Church, wise and may I say beautiful, recognising and honouring the King.
Nabal a picture of the wicked, foolish world denying Christ, living only for their own
Abigail pleading with David is a picture of prayer and intercession on behalf of a dying world.
David did not forget Abigail and took her as his wife just as Christ has carved us in the palm of His hand and will not forget us, His Bride.
Missing all of you – keep connected, it won’t be long now.
Love Jan C.
Saturday, 13th June 2020
"Be thankful to Him, and bless His name" (Ps 100:4)
There is something so incredibly powerful about praising the Lord in the midst of difficult circumstances. It completely changes your outlook and releases all the resources of heaven into your situation.
If you read 2 Chron 20 you will see that praise can destroy an entire army that comes against you without even lifting a finger!
Equally powerful is having a thankful heart that refuses to dwell on what is going wrong in your life and instead chooses to dwell on all that is going well. In the words of the old hymn, "Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, It is well with my soul". Sometimes just focusing on our destiny to live with Jesus forever and ever is enough to raise the lowest of spirits!
To be honest, I'm going through a pretty awful time in my life at present that is causing a lot of anxiety. However, I have been really focusing on the incredible blessings that have been poured out on my life and my attitude has been lifted from fear and imagining worst case scenarios to faith and believing that God is in control. He is still sovereign and He is still in control! If you are going through tough times, lift your eyes off yourself and onto God and start to thank Him and bless His Holy name! May today's verse be a prayer.
Friday, 12th June 2020
"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble" (Ps 20:1)
I don't know about you, but I'm the sort of person who likes calm, steady days with an absence of trouble. But unfortunately that is not always the case! So often we can be having a great day when something unexpectedly arises that sends us into a panic.
I've had several days like this in 2020 already - but isn't it great to read this verse today and understand that the Lord is there with us in those days of trouble. It's not like He is with us on the good days and leaves us on the tough days. No - He is a constant companion who loves us and cares for us.
I love 1 Pet 5:7, "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you"
So no matter what you are facing today, you can take it all to your Heavenly Father and leave it with Him.
Remember the words to that beautiful hymn, "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer".
Thursday, 11th June 2020
His Lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord" (Matt 25:21)
When I get to the end of my time on this earth, it is these words I want to hear from the Lord. The basis of the commendation from the Lord was not based on the moral conduct of His servant, but was rather connected to his stewardship.
Stewardship is not a word we hear a lot these days, but the task of a steward was to oversee his master's property and mange it to the best of his ability.
The bible speaks of two separate judgments; the judgement of unbelievers before the Great White Throne (Rev 20:11-15) where they will be judged for their works. Because they have rejected the offer of salvation through the blood of Jesus, their sins remain unforgiven and the price for those sins must be paid (Rom 6:23).
The Christian will also be judged, but at the Judgement seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10). This is not a judgement for sins - the sins of the believer have already been judged at the cross! Rather, this judgement is for our service - how faithfully we have served the Lord and acted as a steward of the gifts, talents and possessions He has freely given to us.
Ask yourself today: are you being a faithful steward?
Wednesday, 10th June 2020
"Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed' (Mark 1:41)
I love this verse - notice several things:
(a) Jesus is moved with compassion. Do not ever think that Jesus is unmoved by your problems and trials. He is full of mercy and compassion and is ready and able to enter into our situation.
(b) He stretched out His hand - Jesus took the initiative to make contact with this poor soul. All He needed was faith - if you read the proceeding verse you will see this leper came to Jesus and spoke words of faith. Jesus is willing to stretch out His divine hand to us if we move in faith.
(c) Jesus touched him - even though the law forbade this, Jesus was much more concerned about people than religious rules! Don't ever think that Jesus is about keeping rules - He is about abundant life!
(d) Jesus cleansed this man physically from his disease, but even more importantly Jesus forgave him of his sins and gave him eternal life. The man went about freely proclaiming the good news of Jesus!
Do you need a touch from the Master's hand today? Reach out to Him in faith - He is willing and able.
Tuesday, 9th June 2020
“ I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13
I know myself how easy it is to think negatively about situations that arise when life takes a wrong turn. But negativity can turn into a downward slide. Before long it turns into unbelief, doubt and fear, and we end up exactly where the enemy wants us to be.
He slowly wears us down, not suddenly, but over time, till our faith becomes low.
Replace the negative with positive thoughts, especially focused on the word of God.
King David said “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.” Psalm 27: 13-14.
We all have problems, some more than other people - but it’s what we do with them that is so important. Do we dwell on them, mull over them, get angry, distressed, etc?
What you think produces how you feel.
I find praising the Lord in worship gets rid of all the negativity almost immediately. It’s like a beautiful oil that washes over me, washing away all the garbage.
So If you’re feeling you relate to this message today, put on some worship music and begin to worship the Lord and let Him lift you up.
Thursday, 4th June 2020
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’”
Matthew 19:14 NKJV
So , at the present time, as you may be aware, we are recording the Sunday services on a Saturday at our church auditorium. This is just an easier option with logistics due to government regulations. I say ‘easier’, but it’s definitely not simple! There is so much going on behind the scenes to get this to work. We have an amazing team of musicians, vocalists and tech guys all giving up their time to produce the Sunday service.
Anyway, during the recording of last Sunday’s preaching by Pastor Mark, he was receiving lots of messages on his iPad from our son Sam. The boys had stayed home to reduce the numbers at church and keep it under 10 people. While we were at church, Sam and Ben had a list of jobs to do and when they were complete they were allowed to play golf on the Playstation.
They happened to be playing golf while Mark was recording his message. Mark has a lot of his notes on his iPad, and each time a message popped up it would be over the top of his notes so he couldn’t see them. I found this quite funny!
The thing is, Sam was super excited because he had just managed a hole-in-one on the golf game. All my kids are super competitive (they get it from Mark!), so I think there were two reasons Sam wanted to tell Mark of his success. The first being, he was happy , surprised and excited, and the second- he wanted to tell his Dad because Mark had never achieved one! (Though at the time of writing this he has now achieved a hole-in-one on the game!) and the second was that he had beat his Dad!
Sometimes we can think that we are a little annoying to the Lord, our Heavenly Father. We can pray throughout the day, sometimes trivial things, sometimes not, and begin to feel like we are interrupting God. BUT!!!!! He loves us and wants to hear from us constantly- how good is that?! We are never annoying to Him- we are encouraged to DWELL in His Presence. The Bible tells us that He counts all the hairs on our head, He is a details God!
So go today and chat with the Lord, He longs to be ‘ínterrupted’!
Pastor Leanne xo
Tuesday, 2nd June 2020
“You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.” Psalm 74:17
Now, each of you probably have a favourite season of the year. I love winter! It’s like all of nature is having a rest , waiting to spring forth in spring with freshness and new life. But in summer, if I’m not careful, I can become a complainer. I don’t like being hot and sticky and sweaty- this equals a grumpy Leanne!
Psalm 74 describes the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem and the author spent the first part of it complaining about what they had suffered. Isn’t that a lot like us sometimes? I know that I have to be careful of my words because I can quickly slide down the slope of complaining and whinging to God (and Mark!)
In the next part of the Psalm , the author then begins to encourage himself by remembering the mighty works of God! When all around us seems to be falling apart, look up! Remember how He has saved you, delivered you, set you free!
In the last part of this Psalm , the author then prays for deliverance.
I know this is a very different season that we all find ourselves in , but let us remember what the Lord has done, look up and pray!
Pastor Leanne xo
Monday, 1st June 2020
"My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" ( 1 John 2:1)
John states that the purpose of writing his letter is so that the believers he wrote to would not sin. A couple of verses earlier he tells us that "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". So John here in today's verse is ensuring that we don't get into error and assume that we can sin whenever we like and say "it's OK - I can sin as much as I like because God will forgive me". If we have that attitude, then something is wrong. God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit so that we can live victorious lives that bear fruit for God and glorify Him.
However, he also understands that believers will inevitably sin from time to time and that if as believers we sin, we have an Advocate, someone who speaks with authority before the judge. However, this Advocate does not try to plead our innocence, but rather pays the price of any sentence imposed by the judge. This is because Jesus is the "propitiation for our sins" (Rom 3:25). This means that the wrath of God that was upon us because of our sin is now cancelled or appeased by the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think it is important that we stay balanced in this area. The question as believers is whether our attitude is "I love Jesus so much that I want to live a life that pleases Him", or "I can live how I like because I'm forgiven anyway". I trust your attitude is the former not the latter!
Saturday, 30th May 2020
"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lam 3:22-23)
When we first start school we soon learn the difference between singular and plural. Aren't you glad that the mercy and compassion of God are not singular but plural?
The Lord loves His children so greatly that He extends his mercy and compassion to us each and every day. No matter how badly you feel you have missed the mark yesterday, this new day offers the mercy and compassion of God. He yearns for you to be restored to fellowship with Himself.
It is a natural reaction when we are not on good terms with another person to avoid them. We may cross to the other side of the street if we see them coming. When we know there is unconfessed sin in our lives, we can feel the same way about the Lord. We are ashamed and want to hide from God like Adam in the garden of Eden. God said, "Adam where are you?" (Gen 3:9). In a sense, He asks this of all His children when they are not walking in fellowship with Him.
So if you today can identify with this, understand that you are offered fresh mercy and compassion today from the Lord. Stop running from the Lord and run to Him this morning. He is waiting for you with open arms.
Friday, 29th May 2020
"I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps" (Ps 40:1-2)
We all have seasons in our lives where we feel, like David, that we are in a horrible place, a pit. That pit can take many forms - depression, sickness, grief, despair, isolation, loneliness, unemployment. The list goes on.
It is in times like this that we need a persevering faith. What does it mean to persevere? It means to continue on a course of action in the face of difficulty and opposition. A faith that does not last long and is easily discouraged is not a persevering faith. I believe that when Jesus said to Peter in Matt 14:31, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?", that Jesus was not speaking of the quality of his faith, but rather the duration.
The key is in today's verse - wait patiently for the Lord. If you feel like you are in a pit today, ask the Lord to deliver you, keep praying till you sense the breakthrough, and wait patiently in faith for Him to move. Notice in verse 3 of Psalm 40 David says, "He has put a new song in my mouth". So keep believing, keep praying, keep trusting; a song is coming!
Thursday, 28th May 2020
"For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace" (John 1:16)
Many translations of the Bible (including the KJV and NKJV) render this verse as "grace for grace", but I prefer the Darby and ESV translations here, "grace upon grace". It describes so wonderfully the incredible favour that is upon our lives when we are born again each and every day. Whether we have a good, bad or indifferent day, the grace of God is upon us.
The picture I get is that every day, fresh grace is poured out over my life. I do not have to rely on yesterday's provision - I receive a fresh abundant supply of grace today.
1 John 3:1 says, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" As we approach Pentecost Sunday, let us remember that the Lord loved us so much, that not only did He pay the price for our sins to be forgiven, but He adopted us into our family and made us His children, made us joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, and gave us the indwelling Holy Spirit to be our Counsellor, Comforter and friend. That's grace upon grace!
Wednesday, 27th May 2020
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 NIV
I thought the word ‘stupid’ here was pretty harsh and maybe was just a particular translation decision, but it appears the majority of translations use ‘stupid’ for this verse. Solomon wasn’t mincing his words here.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be acting stupidly. But in all honesty, who really loves correction? Well this verse tells us it’s those who love knowledge, or wisdom, to truly know who God is. Do you love knowledge, do you truly want to know who God is? This verse tells us that a love of correction is part of that journey.
Looking back to the vision I shared in my last blog entry on Wed, 20th May. You might have caught that it was actually the Lord correcting me around distractions in my life, but you’d be forgiven for missing that because He was so gracious in the way He did it.
The longer I walk with the Lord the more I realise that correction isn’t always unpleasant, actually God’s grace through correction is so overwhelming that all I feel through it is love (Prov 3:12)! It’s when my heart is unyielding (and I act stupidly) that correction becomes painful.
Keep a tender heart and don’t be afraid to receive correction from the Lord; He is gentle, loving and gracious. His correction leads to a deeper level of knowing Him and how much He loves us.
Tuesday, 26th May 2020
"And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39)
When I was a boy in Sunday School, I was taught that "justification" means that God looks at me "just as if I never sinned". This is a pretty good summary to remember. When we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, this faith produces the fruit of justification instantly. We are instantly translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
You do not need to do anything other than place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to receive the gift of eternal life. Despite a life of sin, the thief on the cross was instantly justified and forgiven of all his sin (Luke 23:40-43).
We are all in the same boat as that thief - none of us can ever say that we have been good enough to be acceptable to God, since the Bible says that you only have to break one commandment to be guilty of breaking them all! (James 2:10)
Do you feel that you have committed some great unforgivable sin? The good news is that everyone who believes and places their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is "justified from ALL things", as today's verse tells us. He is ready to receive you and forgive every sin you have ever committed if you simply ask Him to.
Monday, 25th May 2020
“We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Mark 2:1-12 (NLT2) When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming,
“We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Today naturally we talk a lot about Covid 19 and its devastating effects on our everyday lives. None of us could have predicted its impact. And we don’t know how long our lives will be impacted by Covid 19. Many people who have been around for a while (like myself!), have often remarked
“We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
But is God less powerful because of Covid 19? Of course not! Can Jesus still heal a paralysed man like He did when He walked on earth? Yes. And even in recent times we have seen many healed and seen multitudes come to Christ, and have their lives changed forever and their eternal destiny secured.
Salvation, of course, is the greatest miracle because its results are eternal. So why don’t you believe with me for a mighty move of God that will touch this great nation of Australia and also every nation around the world like never before – with multitudes saved, delivered, healed, filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we cannot help but exclaiming with awe and amazement
“We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Friday, 22nd May, 2020
“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 40:31)
Has life been getting you down lately? Have you been thinking about just giving up in the face of adversity?
You know the enemy wants you to go exactly down that road, but before you do, get into God’s glorious presence, and wait upon Him for the answer, because He will never let you down and He will hear you as you wait upon Him.
Waiting can be hard especially if you’re an impatient type of person, but we all need to learn to wait on the Lord, and to hear His voice - especially in tough times.
Waiting brings rest, and quietness, which is followed by confidence and strength without shame.
Then with confidence and strength we begin to rise up like the eagle with power from God.
As you watch an eagle soar, it has incredible power and strength as it rises above the earth. The scripture says as we renew our strength, we will mount up with wings like the eagle, so picture yourself rising over your circumstances.
Then they shall run and not be weary, and walk and not faint, so this speaks of endurance. When we have waited on the Lord and come through, we will be become strong and overcomers.
So wherever you’re at today, it’s time to rise up, God wants to renew your strength, to take your eyes off the circumstances, to look up, fly like the eagle, to look unto Jesus and His plan for your life.
Thursday, 21st May 2020
"I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28)
I'm continuing on this morning with bible verses that I memorised as a young person.
Today's verse is one that I think of often. Jesus is the giver of eternal life and He promises those that are His that they will never perish and that no one has any power to snatch us out of His hand.
Some people teach and believe that a Christian can lose their salvation under certain circumstances. I don't believe that based on many verses in the Bible including this one today. It can't be eternal life if it can be extinguished! Eternal life is something that is given to us by the Lord Jesus based on us putting our trust in Him and His shed blood on the cross. We did nothing to deserve it or merit it. So if eternal life is not given to us based on our moral state, then I don't believe it will be taken away based on our moral state.
Of course, we cannot then go to the other extreme and say that, as long as we are saved, we can do whatever we like! No! Those who are truly born again will be filled with the Holy Spirit and He produces the desire within us to live a holy life. If you are truly born again, you will not be able to live in habitual sin for long, because the Holy Spirit will begin to convict you!
Wednesday, 20th May 2020
Flying into the Son
As I knelt before the Lord I asked Him to reveal to me what He wanted me to see.
Instantly before me was a blinding sunrise and I began propelling toward it at great speed, over the sea, over land. I felt like an eagle soaring at incredible speed. Looking down didn’t slow me down, but when I returned my focus to the brilliant sun (Jesus) I began accelerating toward Him.
I heard Jesus say that the more I narrowed in and focused on Him, the faster I moved toward Him and the more accurately I heard from Him. Like an arrow being shot, the narrower the point, the more slimline the object, the faster it propels and the more accurate it is.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Heb 12:1-2a NLT
There are always many things trying to distract us away from the one thing that should always hold our focus, Jesus. These distractions aren’t necessarily sinful, but it’s wise to always keep a check on anything that might be trying to shift our focus. Ask God to open your eyes to what might be shifting your focus out of alignment today. Even the slightest shift in direction or focus, can lead us way off course down the track. Or maybe there is something weighing you down that you need to shake off in order to run the race.
Whatever might be distracting us or weighing us down, the Lord wants us to lay it all at His feet and keep our eyes fixed on Him (Matt 6:33). For this is how we run with endurance the race set before us.
Tuesday, 19th May 2020
“We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but
what is unseen is eternal.”
(2 Corinthians 4:18)
Sometimes God seems distant. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that if you feel that way God’s not the one who’s moved!
This is the time when we do all that we need to do to remember how big our God is! Looking out at the night sky filled to the brim with stars is one way…..looking at the beauty of His creation puts things into perspective. Throwing yourself into reading your Bible , meditating on the Word of God and believing all the promises contained within its pages is definitely the best way!
This time in forced lock-down has been a bit of a faith shaker, at first anyway. I’ll admit that when everything was forced to close and shutdown that pangs of fear entered my heart. God seemed a little distant from me, and this is a completely normal reaction! I had to shift my focus, adjust my lens. There is an eternal purpose beyond the crisis!
Focus on our eternal God and not on the circumstances that you find yourself in. This is true all the time not just during a pandemic!
Pastor Leanne x
Monday, 18th May 2020
"But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 20-21)
There is so much in these verses! Firstly, we are told to build ourselves up. How do we do this? Simply by studying the Word of God. If you want to get some idea of the benefits that come from studying and meditating on the Word of God, see Psalm 19:7-11.
Next we are to pray in the Holy Spirit - we do this by praying in our own language as prompted by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:15), praying with "groanings that cannot be uttered" (Rom 8:26) and praying in tongues (1 Cor 14:4, 14).
Then we are told to keep ourselves in the love of God - the key here is obedience. We must build ourselves up, and pray in the Holy Spirit.
And lastly we are to look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. This means that we are to be watching and waiting for His return, which could come at any moment! An eager and joyful expectation of His return is the exact attitude that we should have each and every day. This is the "blessed hope" that is spoken of in Titus 2:13.
I encourage you to meditate on these verses today and listen to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you.
Friday, 15th May 2020
"Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Ps 61:1-2)
Anyone who has been walking with the Lord for any length of time will know that there are seasons that we travel through. Sometimes our way is sunny and bright and everything seems to be going our way.
Then sometimes we go through awful storms that try and knock us off our feet. These times are tough and no one puts their hand up to ask for them, at least I don't. But I've been walking for the Lord long enough to know these things:
1. God is faithful and has promised He will never allow things to get to the stage where we cannot bear them.
2. In every season of trial and despondency the Lord promises that it has an end date. This is so encouraging to me - the storms we travel through will not last forever and we can stand on the promise of God that we will overcome.
3. When we do feel overwhelmed, we have a Rock that we can depend on! Jesus is the Rock of our salvation and in a world that nothing can be depended upon, He is completely unchanging. His unconditional love for us never changes. Heb 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
4. He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5). This is an unconditional promise for those who are born again. Even if you can't feel His presence, know and understand that He is with you every moment of every day.
So if you are in the middle of a season of trial today, stop for a moment, mediate on Ps 61:1-2 and make it your prayer today.
Thursday, 14th May 2020
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Cor 10:13)
Yesterday I wrote about one of the first verses I committed to memory as a young teenager. Today's verse is another one of those I memorised in Sunday School. It is a powerful verse that contains a promise. So often we read the Word of God and sort of skim over it and miss out on the fact that there are promises that God has made that we should stand on and apply to our life.
Today's verse tells us that God is faithful to us. Because of this, He promises two things. Firstly, He promises us that He will never allow temptation to go beyond levels that we can endure. So if you're being tempted and the enemy whispers inside your head that you haven't got a chance of resisting, know for sure that it is a lie! So often we don't "fall" into temptation, but jump in!
Secondly, God promises us that He will always provide a way of escape. What does that look like? I don't know, but in every temptation you face, start to ask the Lord to show the way of escape - it is there. The Lord promises it!
As a child I sang a hymn in church called, "Standing on the promises of God". One of the verses says,
"Standing on the promises, I cannot fall
Listening every moment to the Spirit's call
Resting in my Saviour as my all in all
Standing on the promises of God"
Wednesday, 13th May 2020
"Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Ps 119:11)
I was raised in a strong Christian family and attended a church in Adamstown until my early teenage years and was taught from a young age the value of the Word of God and the wisdom in memorising Scripture. In fact our Sunday School teachers introduced an incentive scheme - for every verse memorised and correctly recounted, we would receive a small gold nugget that could be used to trade in for various items. So I started to make a serious effort to memorise as many verses as I could. Imagine my devastation when I discovered the gold nuggets were only small pebbles coated in gold coloured paint!
However, as I got older, I came to see that the value in having these verses memorised was far greater than any gold nugget or other commodity. There is power in the Word of God and especially when it is "hidden in your heart" (Ps 119:11)
One of the first scriptures I memorised was Psalm 119:9 and 11. They tell me that the Word of God has the power to fight temptation and keep our way pure. If I keep God's Word in my heart, then the Holy Spirit can bring it to my attention at any time! Do not underestimate the power of this! If you have never made a conscious effort to memorise scripture, can I encourage you today to start now - it's never too late! You will be amazed at how the Holy Spirit will use those memorised verses to speak to you powerfully at the moment you need it most.
Tuesday, 12th May 2020
"Your fruit is found in Me" (Hos 14:8)
As Christians we are called to bear fruit. Jesus said, "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit" (John 15:8). But what is the secret of fruitfulness? It is simply this - being in union with the Lord.
You can lop a branch off a tree and it will still look healthy for a short time, but it doesn't take long for the signs of withering and death to become evident. There is no hope that a branch cut off from the main trunk could ever produce any fruit. So it is with us. Any fruit we bear that glorifies God will never come about through our own efforts, but only as we are relying on the life of the Holy Spirit to flow through us.
That is why the BIble tells us that we are not saved by works but by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). Works are our own efforts to try and bring about fruit. Although our efforts will never produce fruit, there is something required from us to bring about fruitfulness, namely faith. Faith is recognising that our fruit is found in Him as our text for today says. Are you enjoying fruitfulness from fellowship with the Lord today, or are you trying to win His favour by legalism?
Monday, 11th May 2020
"Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you" (Acts 27:34)
In today's passage we see the apostle Paul, who is a prisoner on board a Roman ship, speaking words of encouragement to all of the 276 passengers on board the ship. They had been through a dreadful storm and had really lost all hope of getting out of it alive.
Yet Paul stood up and was able to encourage everyone on board with a word from the Lord! Verse 36 tells us that "they were all encouraged" and eventually, just as Paul had promised, all souls on board made it safely to shore on the island of Malta.
Paul was a prisoner, yet when he spoke people listened, because they recognised that he was a servant of the Lord. This is a great encouragement to me - you may feel sometimes ridiculed for your faith in Christ or that people put you down. Yet in a crisis, you may find yourself being sought out by those same people for counsel and even a word of comfort from God.
So continue to serve the Lord faithfully, even in the midst of storms. You never know when someone will turn to you in a crisis for support - will you have a word from the Lord for them?
Saturday, 9th May 2020
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” Acts 16:25-26 (NLT)
Paul and Silas were in Philippi spreading the Good News when one day Paul’s actions, all in the name of Jesus mind you, led them to be thrown into prison.
They had just copped an absolute flogging and were placed in the innermost dungeon with their feet in stocks so they couldn’t possibly escape.
Now after this ordeal you could be forgiven for thinking that they might be grumbling at God for allowing them to be imprisoned for doing His work. And while they could have done so, we don’t hear that, we only see that they had been praying and worshipping God in the midst of their battle. It was loud enough that the rest of the prisoners could hear them.
Suddenly, the prison walls shook and the doors flew open and every chain fell off the prisoners. Not only did God release His people, but in the process revealed Himself to others. The jailer ready to kill himself for thinking he’d let the prisoners escape, was astounded to find them all still there, even though they’d been freed. He then became a believer and even cared for Paul and Silas.
You’d think that was enough breakthrough but no, they were also legally released by the officials after hearing of the amazing things their God had done, and they also received justice for being wrongfully imprisoned as Roman citizens!
Wow – the power of prayer and praise!
I’m so encouraged by this story. It was midnight when this miracle occurred, and who knows how long Paul & Silas had been praying and worshipping for before this happened. There have been so many times when I’ve almost given up on believing for a breakthrough in some area, and there are some that I’m still believing for, but when I’m reminded of God’s "suddenly" moments like this one, I keep persevering in prayer and worship to God. Because prayer and praise are powerful!
If you feel like you’re in the middle of a battle, or your imprisoned by your circumstances, take a moment in the midst of the pain to stop and pray to God. Pour out your heart to Him, worship Him, and wait for those prison walls to come crashing down. You might be thinking, ‘how much longer do I have to wait God?!’. Keep preserving, keep praying, keep worshipping, do not give up, your suddenly might be just around the corner!
Friday, 8th May 2020
Just a heads up - I'm not going to talk about COVID-19 today! Yay! :)
I have always been very passionate about the persecuted church around the world. I recently received news from Voice of the Martyrs that they are hearing of unprecedented numbers of Muslims coming to Christ around the world. Furthermore, a steady stream of people in China are coming to Christ every year, in spite of the Communist Party’s clampdown on any and all Christian activity. Isn't that wonderful news!!
The need for Bibles remains very high, being their most requested resource next to prayer, from both persecuted and new Christians in restricted countries. In our world today, which has so much upheaval and turmoil, the Bible is a place of refuge, bringing all things into perspective and offering peace within.
There are many examples of how God’s Word is valued in restricted countries, from smuggling a verse in a bread roll to a prisoner, to tearing a page out of the Bible and sharing it with others. It is called the ‘Living Word’ for good reason, because it changes lives, inspires and informs us of the promises of God.
Praise God that we, in Australia, have a Bible available for us to read at any time. It can be easy to be caught up in the "bubble" of our own lives, but I would encourage you to remember the persecuted church & pray for them. The next time you read your Bible, remember how your life was changed through Scripture and the insight gained from it.
“But He answered and said, ‘It
is written, “Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’” Matthew 4:4
God bless always - Ps Jooles xx
Thursday, 7th May 2020
"Being confident of this
very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will
complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6)
I have been watching the series “Chosen” over the past few weeks and I find that the biggest impact that it has had on me is to see the humanity of the disciples.
To see that they were just as human as you and I, that they had their
differences, that they needed to forgive one another, to stop competing with
one another, etc, etc,- the list goes on and on (let alone Peter denying the
Lord and Judas finally delivering up Jesus to His death).
At this time when life is quite upside down for many, particularly if you’re stuck at home working, and the children are at home 24/7, we can all find out things in our lives at a time like this that perhaps we didn’t know when life was normal.
Let’s agree together that as we come out of these times that our God is going bring us through as a renewed people, with a new understanding of His love and compassion and patience for each of us.
Wednesday, 6th May 2020
"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" (Prov 3:5-6)
I have been reflecting on this verse this morning. It is a beautiful verse that greatly encourages me. However, I began to meditate on it and ask myself, "Do I put this into practice". I have to admit that I do not always trust the Lord as I should.
In Psalm 13, David starts with a very heavy heart; "How long O Lord? Will You forget me forever?" Then in the second verse he says, "How long shall I take counsel in my soul?" The word "counsel" means to make plans. So in this passage, David is feeling neglected by the Lord! And his initial response? It is to start to try and work things out for himself.
Have you ever done this? I know I have! When faced with trouble, rather than get on my knees and seek the Lord, I resort to trying to make plans in my own strength.
It is a good thing to make plans in response to pressures and situations in our life and I am not suggesting we shouldn't plan. What I am suggesting is that we should get God's perspective first and trust Him to direct our paths. After all, He has the "big picture" details that we so often lack. And we have His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us, even if it sometimes feels that way.
Let's be people that choose faith over feelings and learn to trust Him more and more each day!
Tuesday, 5th May 2020
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil 3:20)
As Australian citizens, we live in a country where we are ruled by a constitutionally and democratically established government. That rule is evident and visible.
But as believers, we are citizens of heaven and we live under the rule of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, the Bible teaches us that this kingdom is still awaited (Matt 25:31-34) and the rule is not evident yet - but it is coming! That is why Paul tells us that we "eagerly await" the return of our Saviour in that great event known as the "rapture".
There can be no greater motivation to serve the Lord with all our might than knowing that He could return at any moment. I like the KJV of Heb 9:28, which says, "and unto them that look for Him shall He appear..."
Are you looking for the return of the Lord Jesus? As believers, that should be our motivation in a life of loving service and our constant hope that, no matter what we are going through, there is glory ahead!
Monday, 4th May 2020
"Blessed is that servant whom his master, when He comes, will find so doing" (Matt 24:46)
There are two errors that we can fall into as believers.
One is to think that we can do anything we like; that God loves us no matter what we do. He understands we are sinners and He has forgiven all of our sins anyway, so the way I live is not important. Jesus loves me and that's all I need to know!
The second is to go to the other extreme and try as hard as we can to live in obedience to God's commands, but to do it in a legalistic way that has a motivation of trying to win God's favour by our works.
What is required here is balance!
First, it is absolutely true that we are saved by grace. Nothing we do can ever earn God's favour. Our salvation is by faith in the blood Jesus shed on the cross. We don't need to be good enough or strive to earn God's favour.
However, once we are born again we start a process called "sanctification". Simply put, this means that we walk with the Lord each and every day and He changes us into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29). So although we cannot earn God's favour through works, once we are born again, we should have hearts that want to serve Him and become more like Jesus through the motivation of love for Him.
Today's verse from Matthew 24 tells us that there will be rewards for consistently faithful service and obedience. Likewise, there will be consequences for having the attitude "My master is delaying His coming" (Matt 24:48) and living in disobedience.
Let's choose the former today and serve our Master faithfully each and every day until He returns!
Sunday, 3rd May 2020
"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6)
This is another of those "favourite verses" of mine! One of the things I sometimes struggle with is finishing something that I have started. You know what I mean - you start with the best of intentions and then, for whatever reason, you lose interest. Maybe it's because after you start you suddenly realise how much work is involved. Or maybe the project just gets crowded out with other priorities.
Either way, it's not a good feeling to leave a project unfinished. Earlier this year I finished a project that had been sitting there for nearly 5 years! It was a huge day of back breaking work to complete, but it felt so amazing to stand back and realise that it was now completed. I still take pleasure each day looking at the completed work!
The Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate project finisher! He always finishes what He starts and this verse is the guarantee. Maybe you feel like you are stalling in your Christian growth but the Lord tells us that He will do what it takes to ensure the work of santification progresses. We can choose to willingly cooperate with Him in this regard; if not, don't be surprised if changes occur in your life that you perhaps weren't necessarily looking for!
Friday, 1st May 2020
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:6
This is the very last verse in the book of Psalms and I think really sums it up. The psalmists knowing what they were going through, even after bringing their distress and anguish before God, chose to always praise Him - in the good and the bad.
Sometimes praise just overflows out of our heart, it just bubbles up from within, we simply can’t help but praise God when we remember His goodness to us and simply who He is!
Other times, praise requires a real sacrifice from us, things might be really tough, we might not feel like praising God, but when we do it shifts something, even if all we can muster is a simple, “I Praise you God!”
No matter where you find yourself today, “let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” I promise it will change your day!
Thursday, 30th April 2020
"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim 4:12)
If I'm being really honest, I haven't experienced much of being despised for my youth anytime in the recent past, but this verse serves as a reminder that our age is not important; rather it's how we conduct ourselves as followers of the Lord Jesus. Paul tells Timothy to "be an example".
There are many ways we can be an example - some good, some not so much!
Timothy was a young pastor who Paul was mentoring in the faith and how to lead the church he was serving, but this advice applies to all followers of the Lord.
Paul outlines here five foundational areas that we should strive to excel in to be a positive influence on the world around us:
1. Speech - it is important that as Christians we speak "words of grace" (Col 4:6). We can easily determine the state of our heart by listening to the words that come out of our mouths
2. Conduct - Paul in Eph 4:1 encourages us to "live a life worthy of the calling you have received"
3. Love - it doesn't matter how much we "have it together" if we do not love other people
4. Faith - In these times we need to be a breathe of fresh air to those around us, not engaging in the negative narrative abounding in the media, but proclaiming a message of faith and hope
5. Purity - As followers of Christ, our lives should be an example to others in living above the moral standards of this world. If we look the same as the world, how will we impact it?
I encourage you to review these 5 areas in your life and ask the Holy Spirit for His help!
Wednesday, 29th April 2020
Our God is trustworthy!
“Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy and you have promised these good things to your servant”
(2 Samuel 7:28)
Yes, uncertain days are upon us! We are bombarded with updates , alerts and posts that do nothing to ease our anxiety. Things with Covid-19 are, for the most part , improving in Australia.
We live in a blessed nation and we are an island which also helps! Yet, if you listen to or watch media sites/tv they paint a doom and gloom picture for the economy, our social structure, our lifestyles as we knew them, our children’s education and even how our pets will have nervous breakdowns when we are no longer at home all the time. While some of these things may be true, I choose to stand on the promises of God! Even if our future is uncertain, He is not an uncertain God. His promises are trustworthy, His Word is Yes and Amen! He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will supply all that we need. So let hope spring up within you!
“The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand”- Psalm 121:5
Ps Leanne xxx
Tuesday, 28th April 2020
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" (Psalm 103:2)
I have been talking a lot lately about remembering. Part of being thankful and staying positive and encouraged throughout the season we are in is to remind ourselves of the goodness of God.
I want you today to think back over the time you have been walking with the Lord. In my case, it is over 40 years! In your case it may be longer, or shorter. But no matter how long we have been following our Saviour, our testimony will be the same: He is a faithful God that has blessed us abundantly above what we sometimes think. That's why it is powerful to remember the times in your life that God has safely brought you through seasons of difficulty and trial.
The Psalmist says to "forget not all His benefits". He was thinking about the times that God delivered him from trouble, the times He favoured him with his presence and the fact that "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life".
Let's keep our focus this morning on the Lord and remember all of His faithfulness to us!
Monday, 27th April 2020
"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb 10:24-25)
I spoke yesterday about "stirring up the gift of God which is in you" (2 Tim 1:6). Just as a fire that is dying out needs to be stirred up to be brought back to life, sometimes in our lives we need to stir up the things that God has deposited within us and bring them back to life.
We also are encouraged in the Word of God to stir up love and good works. When we talk of someone stirring up, we usually mean that someone is stirring up trouble. We are called as followers of the Lord Jesus to do the opposite. Note that the way to stir up love and good works requires us to not forsake assembling together; in other words to be fully committed to a local body of believers and investing your time, money and gifts into the building up of that body.
This is a unique time in our history where we cannot physically meet. I am very hopeful that these restrictions will soon be lifted, but until they are, we can continue to "assemble together" through the technology at our disposal. We can "exhort one another" and continue to stir up love and good works by staying in contact with our brothers and sisters, checking up on them, encouraging them by praying with them and sharing revelation from God's Word.
Finally, we should do these things increasingly as we see the "Day" approaching. We are much closer to the return of our Lord Jesus than we have ever been. It could be today! Let's be encouraged by this possibility to serve Him with greater fervency today.
Saturday, 25th April 2020
“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel” (2 Tim 2:8)
Today is ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand; a day when we stop a remember all of the servicemen and women who fought and in many cases paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we so often take for granted.
This morning Leanne and I stood in our driveway and listened to the last post and paid our respects like so many other Australians. On this day in 1915, 16,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed at ANZAC cove on the Gallipoli peninsula, and by the end of that day 2,000 of them had been killed or wounded. By the time the troops withdrew in January 1916, over 7,500 Australian soldiers had lost their lives. I am so thankful and grateful to each and every one of not just the ANZACs, but of all of our military personnel past and present for putting their lives at risk to win the freedoms I enjoy.
If we were honest, most of us would have to admit that, although we think of and remember the sacrifices made by the ANZAC’s on ANZAC day, we probably give little thought to them on the other 364 days of the year. The Bible has much to say about remembering. Why? Because as humans we are inclined to forget about things that we don’t make a conscious effort to remember. That is why reading God’s Word every day is so important for a vital spiritual life – we tend to forget the things that we are not regularly and purposefully reminding ourselves about.
As Christians, we are to remember every day that the Lord Jesus died for us, was raised from the dead, has saved us and filled us with His Spirit, and has commissioned us to take His gospel to the world around us. And note that Paul calls it “my gospel”. This reflects the personal aspect of our commission – the gospel is entrusted to us and becomes our gospel.
May we be faithful to carry out the work He has called us to fulfill!
Friday, 24th April 2020
As we look at our world each day, we don’t know what the future holds for each one of us, especially for those of the younger generation who are raising families and paying bills etc. It seems we are moving into darker and darker times which is exactly what our God warned us would happen in these times.
I’ve been reading the book of 1 Samuel 3:11 “Behold,I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears will tingle.”
At this time there was great darkness in the land of Israel and God was about to raise up Samuel to judge Israel and to bring freedom to God’s people.
Just before Jesus was born, there was great darkness on the earth but then He was born to bring salvation to mankind.
And now today we see again great darkness rising again in the last days of the church, as Jesus said it would, but we have an incredible window of opportunity at this time to rise up and bring the Good News to people.
I believe in the days ahead we are going to see a mighty move of God across the earth so don’t be discouraged church - let’s get equipped now and ready.
Much love and blessings
Thursday, 23rd April 2020
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
28 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.
This verse would have to be one of the most encouraging and comforting verses in all of the New Testament. But a deeper understanding of this verse brings even more assurance. John Stott, in his book “The Message of Romans”, points out that the rendering in the KJV could give rise to the idea that things automatically work together for good. However the order of words in the original text permits a better translation as we have in the New Living Translation, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them”
Yes! It is God who is working all things together! Things are not happening in your life and mine just because they have been pre-programmed. The God who loves us and gave His Son for us is the same God who is working in our lives, through Christ and the Holy Spirit, 24/7!
He knows exactly what is happening in our lives right now. He knows the doubts, the fears, the failures in our lives as well as the joys and the victories. But for those of us who love Him, be encouraged by this “God causes everything to work together for our good”
We have been reminded over the last months that “this current COVID 19 pandemic will pass”. True! But whatever difficulty or trial you are facing right now will also soon pass! Why? Because God is working in our lives right now, and the final outcome will be good for those who love Him.
reinforced by the words of Paul in his epistle to the Philippians (Phil 2:13 NKJV)
“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure”
Be encouraged today. God is working in your life right now and He is working all things together for good!
And the best thing is that “our good” includes our final salvation, when we will be with Jesus and like Jesus forever!
Wednesday, 22nd April 2020
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2)
If you asked me to describe my life, I would say I have been abundantly blessed! In the main, my life has been happy and joyful.
But like most people, there have been times in my life where I have walked through the valley and experienced times of trauma and betrayal. The first such occasion was in 2005 – I won’t go into any detail but it was a time where Leanne and I experienced tremendous hurt and ill treatment. To be honest, it nearly destroyed us and we found ourselves in a place of deep depression and a season where we questioned whether we had the strength to go on.
It was at this time that Leanne purchased a CD that contained a song by Susan Ashton called “Psalm 121”. That song became for me an anchor point that kept me sane and kept my head above water. I listened to it countless times and just held on to the words for a long season, trusting God to keep watch over us and to bring us out the other side of our storm (which He did!). Accordingly, this Psalm holds a special place in my heart and I often turn to it for comfort and a reminder of the faithfulness of God. When you are in times of trouble, don’t run from the Lord, but rather run to the Lord.
May you find joy and comfort in His precious Word today.
Tuesday, 21st April 2020
“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” Psalm 119:143 (NLT)
Similar to what Ps Mark shared a few days ago, I was also feeling really flat last week, and nearly every person I spoke to said something similar. For me I think it was probably the realities of a lack of human interaction over a few weeks creeping on me. On top of that, work also became quite stressful, the amount of work I had to complete in a relatively short turn around suddenly loomed on me.
Now, I’m not for one minute complaining! I am super grateful to still be employed in this current climate. Thankfully a heart of gratitude gives me perspective, but it doesn’t take away the pressure and stress.
It was in the midst of these few crazy days that I was reading Psalm 119. I’ve actually been reading the psalms for most of this year and have found great comfort in them. There’s been a few days where I’ve thought, ‘that’s exactly how I feel!’, or I’ve been challenged to reframe my perspective.
Reading Psalm 119 in its entirety, but specifically verse 143, reminded me that no matter how overwhelmed, stressed or saddened I’m feeling, I can find joy in the Word. And I did! It wasn’t an exuberant kind of joy, but rather a gentle, joyful peace in sensing the nearness of God in the midst of my overwhelm.
I found it so interesting that both Ps Mark and I happened to find ourselves feeling rather flat and God directed both of us to His Word for our comfort and joy. If we’re not on our own here and you can relate to feeling anything similar recently, I encourage you to go deeper into the Word of God to find His joy and His strength for you today. Even more so when you don’t feel like it! It’s often on these days that I’ve been most blessed by God’s truth.
Always make time to read the Word because as the psalmist says over and over there is joy, peace, faithfulness and all the other fruit of the Spirit that can be found there.
Monday, 20th April 2020
"But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man's plowshare, his mattock, his ax, and his sickle (1 Samuel 13:20)
This morning I wanted to briefly recap the message I brought yesterday. Just as the Israelites had an enemy (the Philistines), so do we; our enemy wants us to be vulnerable and isolated at this time. But like the Israelites, we should be using this time right now to sharpen our weapons.
Our weapons are not carnal the Bible tells us, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds (2 Cor 10:4). Note that "weapons" is plural. What are these weapons? There are many we could talk about, but there are at least four that I believe we should be sharpening right now!
1. The Word of God - it is our privilege to have easy access to the Word of God in these days of tablets and smartphones, but there is no substitute for having the Word of God inside of us. One way of sharpening this weapon is to memorise it (Ps 119:11)
2. Prayer - this is actually part of the "armour of God" in Eph 6:18 where it says, "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit". Prayer is powerful and accomplishes much!
3. Worship - in 2 Chron 20 a band of armies was put to flight without a sword being raised purely through the power of praise and worship. If you find yourself struggling in isolation, put on some good praise and worship music and see what the Lord does!
4. Thankfulness - this is a tremendous weapon. In the Old Testament the children of Israel were constantly complaining about everything and this brought severe consequences (1 Cor 10:10). Phil 4:6-7 tells us to take our anxieties to the Lord and offer thanksgiving as an antidote to fear and worry. Let's be sure to sharpen this weapon in these challenging times.
Saturday, 18th April 2020
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 good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who
Lamentations 3:22-23, 25
I have to be honest with you – I’ve had a tough week. It’s got nothing to do with COVID-19; it’s just been a hectic week of long hours at work and deadlines to meet that left me completely exhausted by the end of day yesterday. I went to bed feeling really downcast and a bit numb.
Then I began to meditate on scripture – this is always a good idea! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a strong advocate for memorisation of Scripture. You may feel that, particularly in these modern days where you can easily pick up your phone and access God’s Word that there’s no need to memorise it. But there’s something powerful about having God’s Word inside of you. The psalmist said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart…” (Ps 119:11). Then when you feel that you’re in a bit of a valley, those beautiful verses come flooding into your mind and the Holy Spirit starts to encourage you and lift you. That was my experience last night.
This morning I am sitting at the table in silence meditating on today’s verse. Our faithful God is merciful and compassionate. He is so good to us; in fact every day the faithfulness, love, compassion and mercy of God is on full display.
If you are in a place of discouragement this morning, find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Meditate on His Word and talk to Him in the stillness. As you wait on Him, you will sense the presence of God flooding your soul and strengthening you for the day ahead.
Friday, 17th April 2020
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God”. (1 Cor 2:12)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed since the COVID-19 lockdown a huge increase in “free offers” online. All of these offers appear to be very generous with a limited time opportunity to sign up now for a list of incredible benefits. Maybe I’m getting more sceptical, but I doubt the motives of many of these offers. Do they really care about me that much, or is it perhaps a way to increase their customer base?
Today’s verse tells us that we have been freely given so much from the hand of the Lord. I have been blessed over this past week by Eph 1:7 which says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”. He has lavished His love upon us and not only does He give us what we do not deserve, He also doesn’t give us what we do deserve! That’s grace and mercy in combination. But the key is that we must have received the Holy Spirit and not received the spirit of the world.
Ask yourself this morning, “have I received the Spirit of God, or am I operating out of the realm of the spirit of this world”? Or put another way, have you experienced the promise of Acts 1:8, “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you”.
I pray that you will turn off to the spirit of this world and experience the power of the Holy Spirit in these unusual times.
Thursday, 16th April 2020
"The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah." (1 Kings 17:16).
We have been meditating of late on the faithfulness of God. In the story of Elijah and the poor widow in 1 Kings 17, the widow was desperate and had only enough left in the house for one final meal for herself and her son in a time of great famine.
I know we are in difficult days at present, but I think we can agree things are not as bad as they were for this poor widow! Yet, the Lord challenges her and asks her to give away the last of her food to the prophet Elijah and that in return, He would supply her with an unfailing provision.
There would have been great fear inside this widow’s heart as she contemplated what God asked of her. Ultimately, she had to choose to either cave in to fear, or to respond in faith.
Do you feel challenged by the Lord in these days to do something that makes you nervous or fearful? When the Lord asks us to act in faith, there is always a promise to catch hold of and stand on. The widow responded in faith, believing in the promise of God and she saw miraculous provision. Can you think of a time in your life when you responded in faith and pushed your fear aside and saw the promises of God come into effect? If not, I encourage you today to step out in faith and obey His voice. The Lord never breaks His Word!
Wednesday 15th April, 2020
There are so many situations in life that could lead us to a more negative outlook. The current one we all find ourselves in is a great example. We can choose to be ‘glass half-full’ people or ‘glass half-empty’ people.
In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brothers – “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”
Acts 10:40 “…but God raised Him from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen”
So many more ‘but God’ moments in the Word.
After my Dad passed away (nearly 6 weeks ago now), I had questions about his salvation. He had accepted Jesus into his heart many years ago at an altar call at church, but he never came to church again after that . In the midst of my grief on that Friday I had a ‘but God’ moment! We’d arrived home after sitting with Dad for the last time. The staff at the hospice had laid him out beautifully with a flower on his pillow. I took the flower to put it in my Bible, flipped open my Bible randomly, and there my eyes went straight to Psalm 49:15!
Psalm 49:15 “But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself”
I could have spent the rest of my life questioning the Lord , but God interevened and covered me in His assurance and His peace.
He is the Almighty God,
The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace,
And He’s got the whole earth in the palm of His Hand!
So, here we are, with the world having slowed down a bit, and without all of the ‘white noise’ disrupting our thoughts. Let’s look for the but God moments…..they’re happening all around us if we just pause to look.
Tuesday, 14th April 2020
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24, ESV)
Strange times are upon us.
We are used to freedom of movement and freedom of association. We may have extended family and friends we connect with regularly. They provide us with comfort, joy, support and love. When we are in a crisis, it may be to these people we go. In the present circumstances, however, it is difficult to be physically present with those outside our immediate household. We have travel restrictions, numeric limits and social distancing rules to comply with.
The good news is, God need not stay away! He can be, “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” in these times. When we invite God into our hearts and homes, he is there through any trials we may face. And he is not the kind of friend to leave us to, “ruin”.
For those of us who live alone, the increased isolation can be quite acute. But when we feel alone, it is a comfort to remind ourselves that we are never truly alone. God is always with us. When Jesus was close to the time of his arrest, he told his friends, “’A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16:32, NIV). In this time where our friends have seemingly been scattered, “each to his own home” God remains with us.
I pray your household will experience a greater awareness of the presence of God in these days.
Easter Monday, 13th April 2020
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet 2:9-10)
It’s a great thing to understand that we are chosen by the Lord. The word means to be picked out from a larger group and given special privileges. We are the recipients of the grace of God! We are also a royal priesthood – you don’t have to carry the title of pastor to be used of God. What does the Bible mean when it says we are “kings and priests” (Rev 1:6)? It means that the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus has given us as believers the privileges that were formerly only enjoyed by the High Priest in the Old Testament – access to the Holy of Holies (Heb 10:19).
Easter is a wonderful time to think about the sacrifice of Jesus made to cleanse us from our sins; to be called out of darkness and into His marvellous light; and that we serve a living Saviour who has conquered the ultimate enemy – death. But it is also a time to understand that Jesus paid the price so that we could gain access to the very presence of God. He wants us to draw ever closer to Him. That was the reason Jesus died – to allow us to gain access to the presence of God with boldness..
When Jesus died, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt 27:51). The veil kept people away from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies – note that when Jesus died, the veil was torn from top to bottom – God took the initiative to remove the barrier between us and Him. Let us today live in His presence and proclaim His praises to all around us.
Easter Sunday, 12th April 2020
“For I know that my Redeemer lives” Job 19:25
He is risen!
On this beautiful Easter Sunday, all of His people can say, “I know He is risen. I know that He lives. And I know that He is my redeemer”.
As I said in yesterday’s blog, can you personalise this? Is He your redeemer? Yes, on Good Friday we remember that the Lord Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood so that “whosever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But note that it is not automatic! The love of God was demonstrated to us in the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, but it must be mixed with believing faith before it applies to your life.
To redeem something means that you regain possession of something in exchange for payment. Ephesians 1:7 tells us that, “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”. Sin has no more power over those who are redeemed by His blood. And this morning we remember that all of the riches of His grace are lavished upon us; in fact, we are not just children of God, but heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).
Let’s join together this morning and rejoice that our Redeemer lives!
Saturday, 11th April 2020
“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deut 7:9)
Is the Lord your God? At this time when we reflect on the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, can you say that He is your God? Or is He your parent’s God? Or your spouse’s God? It is not enough to say that your parents are Christians. You must make your own decision for Christ. There is a saying, “God has no grandchildren”. God only has children and the only way to enter the family of God is to be adopted into it through the blood of Christ! (Eph 1:5).
Our God is a faithful God! When you turn to Him and enter into His family you enter a covenant with Him – a blood covenant that cannot be broken. He is faithful to keep His covenant and showers us with mercy each and every day of our lives. This is ultimate security! There’s not much in this world that feels particularly certain or stable at the moment. What a joy it is to know that the love and mercy of our covenant-keeping God is absolutely sure and certain. Nothing can break it.
When you come to a place of revelation that the Lord is faithful to you and that He has signed a covenant with you in the blood of Christ to forgive your sins and shower you with His mercy, then it stops being head knowledge and becomes heart knowledge - you will know that you know that God is faithful. Not only that, but you are being kept by the power of God (1 Pet 1:5). The Word of God is full of the most wonderful promises – start reading them today and stand fast in faith on His Word!
Easter Thursday, 9th April 2020
John 13:5-8 NLT
 … Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.  When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"  Jesus replied, "You don't understand now what I am doing, but someday you will."  “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” …
Cross ref: Ezekiel 36:25-26 NLT
 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
Cross ref: 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
The actions from my old life used to weigh heavily on me. I used to wear my shame like a filthy stain on my heart and my identity. It tainted how I saw myself and acted. It wasn’t until I was at my lowest, when I couldn’t carry on in my strength anymore, that I cried out to Jesus and finally understood what these scriptures meant for me.
I realised that Jesus came to wash away my guilt and shame so that I could be renewed, so that I could belong with Him. When he gave me a new heart he washed away the old and gave me new life, a new identity. I’m still me, but I’m no longer stained by the filth of my past. No longer identified by my shame and guilt. No longer chasing after things that would hurt me, but looking to the One who is love Himself. I’ve been made clean. I’ve been made new. I now belong! Not through anything that I’ve done, but all through the love of Jesus.
Even now when I think about Jesus preparing to go to the cross, when I imagine Him washing the disciples feet, washing my feet, I’m moved to tears. What humility, what grace, what love could move the Son of God to offer Himself as a living sacrifice so that I could be made whole!
As you meditate on this today, I pray that you would have a deeper revelation of the magnitude of His love for you and the new life our Heavenly Father makes available to you through Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, 8th April 2020
"knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
The blood of Jesus is precious.
Back in Exodus chapter 12, the Lord instituted the Passover – a time when the destroying angel passed through the land of Egypt and killed all of the firstborn. Verse 13 says, “Now the blood shall be a sign for you”. This was the blood of the lamb that was killed and applied to the doorposts and lintel of their house. Verse 13 goes on to say, “And when I see the blood, I will pass over you”.
You may feel like you are not worthy to call yourself a Christian. And you’re right! None of us is worthy. The question is, when the Lord looks at you, does he see the precious blood of Christ applied to your life? If so, death passes over you and the glorious eternal life that Jesus gives becomes yours. That is the wonderful message of Easter – have you asked the Lord Jesus to forgive your sin and wash you in His precious blood?
Tuesday, 7th April 2020
“So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived” Numbers 21:9
You probably know the story from Numbers chapter 21 well; the children of Israel “became very discouraged” (v.4) which led to complaints and accusations against the Lord and Moses that they were being brought out into the wilderness to be killed. Watch what you say and even what you think when you become discouraged, for it is in these times that we often sow seeds that bring a bitter harvest.
For the children of Israel, the Lord sent “fiery serpents” among the people and bit the people. What a nightmare! I hate snakes! Can you imagine being in the midst of so many snakes that getting bitten becomes inevitable? Well the Bible tells us that we have all been bitten and infected with a fatal condition called “sin”. We are completely unable to help ourselves.
What is the remedy? In this passage Moses is asked to make a bronze serpent and set it up on a pole and then tells the people to look at the serpent. This is a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who would one day be lifted up on a cross to die for our sins. All who look to Him and trust in Him will live.
But why is it a snake on the pole – how could it be that Jesus is equated with a serpent? The answer is in 2 Cor 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. Jesus on the cross took our sin upon Himself and the bible says actually became sin for us. He took the punishment that we deserved to bestow on us His righteousness that we did not deserve.
Monday, 6th April 2020
“Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus” Luke 23:26
I have a confession to make – I don’t like pain and suffering! I suppose you feel the same way. However, if we are going to be followers of Jesus, like Simon, we must follow Him bearing His cross.
What does this mean? That the Christian life is a drudgery? By no means! Jesus grants us His joy and peace and it is a joy and a peace that this world knows nothing about! But we also must understand that there is a cost to following our Lord. Notice a couple of things here:
1. It is not our cross but the Lord’s cross – whenever we suffer for following Jesus, we should always remember that our Lord Jesus suffered before us and for us. We are exempted from the punishment of sin, but not from sorrow in this life. Suffering is not something we ask for, but it does build things in our lives that are strong and permanent (James 1:2-4)
2. We carry the cross after Jesus – we walk a path that He has walked before us. Jesus told us in Luke 14 that if we are not prepared to take up the cross and follow Him then we cannot be His disciple.
3. We are in partnership with Jesus – although it is possible that Simon carried the whole cross by himself, some commentators believe he carried one side of it and Jesus the other. If so it is a picture of how we partner with the Lord Jesus, but He carries the heavy end and asks us to carry the light end!
As we approach Easter, let us thank the Lord Jesus that He suffered for us and, like Simon, gladly bear His cross after Him.
Sunday, 5th April 2020
Hebrews 12:2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]. AMP
Have you ever gotten distracted?! You know, you walk into a room to get something, you never get that something because something else catches your attention. Happens to me all the time!
The word distraction comes from a Latin word, it means a pulling apart; separating; it’s a pulling of the mind in different directions.
We have an enemy and one of his weapons is the weapon of distraction. Every demonic force wants to pull apart, divide your mind, discourage your soul, disengage your faith, and distract you from what matters most.
In our world right now, the whole Covid-19 virus is a huge distraction. It is making people fear for their health, the economy, families, employment, etc, etc.
This is where God's promises in His word are so needed to turn us away from the distractions of this life, TOWARDS HIM.
I love the Amplified version of this scripture, as above. So today, let your eyes look directly forward. Let your gaze be straight before you. Don’t swerve to the left or the right. Turn your foot away from evil.
Be encouraged today. Do not fear. Stay close to Jesus, be daily reading the Word & walk in His presence. This is your strength in times like these.
We love you & are praying for you.
Ps Jooles xx
Saturday, 4th April 2020
I think many of us have been reassured in these troubled times by Psalm 91. In particular by verses 9-10.
“Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;”
In fact my wife and I, over recent weeks, often boldly declare these verses over our lives before we retire for the night.
However, while that has been a great comfort, I have been reflecting on this Psalm and the references to “dwelling” and “abiding”.
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place…….
As I reflect on my life, perhaps it’s been more about “visiting the secret place of the Most High” and making the Lord my visiting place.
So does this make me feel condemned and a failure as a believer? No! While I’m often reminded of my weaknesses I know His amazing love and grace. However what I do feel right now is the quiet, inviting, gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit saying “Come on – there’s more”, and I know the more I abide, rather than just visit, the more I’ll appreciate and love His presence.
About 4 years ago I felt the Lord say something to me that is really very simple, yet very powerful and it has meant so much to me over these recent years. It was simply this “TRUST ME MORE AND WORRY LESS!” It’s amazing how just a few plain words can be so powerful. I remember a conference many years ago where one of the guest pastors said something else that was simple but powerful, and it was this “The plain things are the main things and the main things are the plain things”
Let’s abide more in His presence and trust Him more and worry less!
Friday, 3rd April 2020
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us”
This morning I am dwelling on the kindness and goodness of God. It is always a powerful thing to have a thankful heart that recognizes the many blessings that the Lord has poured out so abundantly on our lives.
When I was a bit younger (!) back in the 80’s I used to listen to a lot of Christian Music. My favourite band was Whiteheart, but I also listened to a lot of Petra (anyone who recognizes these names is now feeling very old). One of Petra’s songs was called, “Thankful Heart” and some of the lyrics are:
"There is no way to begin to tell you how I feel
There's nothing more I can say, and no way to repay
Your loving touch that melts my heart of stone
Your steadfast love I'll never be alone
I have a thankful heart that You have given me
And it can only come from You"
I want to encourage you today to think about everything that is going right in your life and how much the Lord has blessed you. Be a positive and contagious Christian!
As we head into Easter week, let’s give thanks for the unspeakable gift of God’s Son freely given to us because of His great love for us.
Thursday, 2nd April 2020
"Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you"
I think there comes a time in each of our lives when we realise that there is a lack of fruitfulness. Maybe this current crisis has brought home to you that there is a great lack in your walk with God. A crisis very quickly shows you where your heart truly is and what is truly important to you.
I want to encourage you today from this verse in Hosea. It is time to break up the unplowed ground of your heart and begin to sow - seek the Lord with all of your heart. Before sowing seed, a farmer must first break up the hard ground and soften it to receive the seed. Otherwise the seed will soon die and be wasted. This crisis may feel like it is ripping into you, but ask yourself, is it possible it could be the Lord's way of breaking up unplowed ground? If so, then understand that God in His grace is using this season.
Rest assured - this season will pass. All storms have a beginning, a middle and an end. But think of this; if you seek the Lord and sow righteousness you have the promise of the Lord that a harvest is on the way! You will look back in future days and actually be able to bless and thank God for these tough seasons if they drive you back to Him. In this time of trouble that is upon the world, don't run from the Lord. Rather, run to the Lord! Do not waste this opportunity to seek the Lord, break up the unplowed areas of your life and sow righteousness. If you do, He will shower you with His righteousness.
Wednesday, 1st April 2020
2 Chronicles 20:12
“O Our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
It’s quite natural to get uneasy and fearful at this time but as the Lord delivered the children of Israel from the enemy in the days of King Jehoshaphat so He will deliver us today as we worship Him and don’t fear the enemy.
The enemy would try to cause us incredible fear in this season.
The children of Israel would’ve been faced with the fear of losing their lives, their children, their possessions, everything that they had as they were surrounded by their enemy, yet they totally trusted in their God who delivered them and brought total victory.
So the word for us today is “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.
Tuesday, 31st March 2020
The dwelling place
Psalm 91 has been coming at me from so many different angles over the last few weeks, God is clearly speaking to His people through this Psalm during this time. By the time I’d had a chance to really sit down and take it in for myself, I couldn’t move past the first verse!
Psalm 91:1 NKJV
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
A Psalm that is encouraging so many at the moment, starts by giving us a key to unlock the rest of the passage…those who dwell in the secret place...wow!
Two things here:
Dwell/abide: live in, go deeply into His presence, like drawing from a deep well - dwell, make your place, camp out, where you are found! (There are too many scriptures to list here that referencing abiding, but one you may want to look at is John 15:1-8)
Secret place: where He is found! A special place where His children can come to their Father, the most inner place, inner courts. It is His place where He abides and waits for us to join Him.
When we dwell in this place, we abide in the shadow of our loving, protecting, powerful, almighty God! This is where we find our home, our rest, our protection. This is where we learn, grow and know Him in the deepest possible way.
It’s interesting to think about a seed as it begins it’s growth - the most intense form of growth where it shoots down its roots and begins to sprout happens below the surface, out of site, you might even use the term - in isolation.
Maybe the best thing I can do with the gift of this extra time I have at home at the moment is use it to spend time in the secret place of the Most High. To go deeper, to send down my roots to new depths, to simply be in His presence with no other expectation than to dwell.
Ps Steve on Sunday referenced one of my favourite scriptures,
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.”
Dwelling in the secret place, finding rest in the shadow of the almighty, says that we trust the Lord, that He is our hope and confidence. It is from this place, that we can send our roots deep into the water of our living God. That we can be trees that are not bothered by the heat or uncertainty of this world, but we can remain healthy and green, never failing to bear fruit.
I’ve already been so encouraged through my times of dwelling this last week, His love never ceases to amaze me! I’d be so encouraged to hear anything that you want to share about your time dwelling with Him.
Monday, 30th March 2020
This morning I was reading Rev 3:11-12 in which Jesus says, "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more".
In times of trial sometimes it is enough to hold onto what you have. We all like the idea of moving forward, but there are seasons in life when standing your ground is a win! I feel like this is such a time in our history - we are surrounded by so much devastation and crisis. I believe the Lord is saying to us at this time, "Hold fast what you have".
A strong faith is a persevering faith. I like the words of 1 Cor 16:13, "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong".
I encourage you today to stand fast and to be brave and strong - not your own strength, but rather the strength that comes from having been in the presence of God. I promise you, you will never spend time in the presence of God and come away with fear in your heart!