Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Encouragement through the trial

Reading Hebrews 11 verse 24 jumped out at me this morning. "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward."
And as I read this I thought of 2 Cor 4:17 "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."

Moses had everything at his feet, wealth, popularity, etc, yet he gave it all up and walked the path of God.  Imagine how hard that must have been choosing rather to suffer affliction at the hand of his own family.

I have had several dreams lately of people coming under persecution and being killed for their faith, some walking away from their faith. One this morning was where a group of people were walking this path and all these rocks were falling down around them and it made me think of people being 'stoned' by others, perhaps with their judgements etc.

When trial comes it is easy to fall away, to question, to point the finger, to whatever, but I want to encourage you as it says in Heb 12:1 "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Jesus too like Moses on the cross suffered the shame that was not his, yet He too did it for something greater than himself. Let these stories of faith be encouragement for you as you walk through whatever may be the trial for you, whatever your family may say against you, whatever people may stone you with in their judgements towards you, knowing that others too have walked a similar path and their stories can help us continue to walk ours. Many blessings this Christmas/New Year.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Use what is in your hand - Enter into the joy of the Lord!

Just reading through the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14) and what struck me was as they gave away what they had, the word was "Enter into the joy of your Lord" V21 & 22 As we give away and use for His glory what He has already firstly given us, a) He will make you ruler over many things, and b) You will enter into the joy of the Lord.

Last Sunday night in church one lady came up to me and had gold dust in her hands, she was so excited but I held out my hands and said to her to put them in my hands, not because I wanted it, but to demonstrate this very principal, that if she gave it away she would get more. She was a little hesitant as she wanted to keep it and was afraid but as she stepped out in faith and put it in my hands, not only did I receive some, but she then immediately got more in her hands! Principal put to the test that straight away proved true.

If we use and give away what is in our hands we will receive more. V16 of the Parable of the Talents says "Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five." Not only was there repayment but then he is put in charge of many things because he has been faithful for what he was given.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Ponderings today 16 Dec

Whilst we may not agree with everything that is preached from the pulpit, there is always something that we can learn either about the Lord or about ourselves and our responses to it. Lets not be a people to whom are easily offended and move on without learning what it is that the Lord would have us learn in the different situations. 

I read a wonderful scripture this morning that really encouraged me as one who often feels arrows in the back in the spirit from peoples judgements towards me, which God really spoke to me about and hope that it would encourage you too if you feel this way. As it is not us who receive the arrows from people but the Lord (v4)
But also reminds me not to be a person that speaks about others behind their back as words are powerful and the tongue either brings life or death. And it is so easily done without often thinking about it. And as easily as I feel arrows, others would feel arrows from me. 
Lord forgive us our sin as we forgive others theirs.
God's wonderful grace forgives me and reminds me of my own judgements towards others taking away any rights of justification/restitution for my hurt.

Psalm 64
Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation;
Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
And bend their bows to shoot their arrows - bitter words,
That they may shoot in secret at the blameless;
Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.

They encourage themselves in an evil matter;
They talk of laying snares secretly;
they say, "Who will see them?"
They devise iniquities;
We have perfect a shrewd scheme.
Both the inward though and the heart of man are deep.

But God shall shoot at them with an arrow;
Suddenly they shall be wounded.
So He will make them stumble over their own tongue;
All who see them shall flee away.
All men shall fear,
And shall declare the work of God;
For they shall wisely consider His doing.

The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in Him.
And all the upright in heart shall glory."

And Matt 5:11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Lets be a people that recognise our own judgements towards people and turn from them and do away with the pointing of finger and malicious talk (Isaiah 58) then v10&11 "Then your light shall dawn in the darkness and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought. and strengthen your bones. You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail....

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Wise men come bearing gifts for Jesus.

Thought this morning - "the three wise men came bearing gifts for Jesus", expensive gifts. Thought .... they were wise men   What is it to be wise.... The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom according to Proverbs. The expensive gifts they brought were because they recognised a King and you never enter a Kings presence without an offering and yet today we become so 'familiar' with our King that we don't even give Him the honour He is due and we can easily take for granted what He has given us. The reason why we have offerings in church???? perhaps a continual reminder for us who our Lord and Saviour is and the honour He is due?? 
Prov 3:9 "Honour the Lord with your possessions, And with the first fruits of all your increase, So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine."

If you enter a Kings presence with the best you have to give, will not that King give you favour and honour because you have given Him what He is due? Not that we bring our best in order to get, but because we recognise what Jesus has done for us in giving His life for us, He gave His best and so in return we want to give Him our best...... Just a thought

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Is there a mess at your place?

I just want to encourage those of you who are feeling like there is too much stuff going on that you can't see a way through, that you will get there and that it will be worth it in the end!

Jim and I have this last weekend had someone move into our back part of our house. In the process we needed to move out of there and shift all the stuff up into the front part. In the process I started on cleaning up loads of other cupboards that needed cleaning up. A 'decluttering' started to happen but as the 'spring cleaning' some would call it, started to happen, actually it became a huge overall and a mass throwout, there became mess everywhere. And in fact we are still in it. And I feel like there are some out there who feel like this, that their lives are just a mess.

But like any spring cleaning, it always looks worse before it gets better - well in our house anyway. It is a work in progress and I know we will come through it. But in the process things have to get shifted, cleaned out, rubbish thrown out, stuff we haven’t used thrown out. Sometimes its messier initially when you start spring cleaning and it may last for a few days, or weeks but eventually you get onto dealing with some of the stuff you found that had been hidden away and you decide what you will do with it. Some of the stuff you find, you wondered where it had got to and are thrilled you found it. Eventually you will find yourself functioning better, not being stressed because stuff has been finally dealt with, and then you can see the way through things way more clearly.

I believe there is a ‘decluttering’ going on in the spirit as well. God is dealing with some of the rubbish that you have been carrying that you no longer need that once dealt with will free you up completely and allow you to function in a better capacity and the way you were meant to. A time of getting rid of stuff you no longer need like wrong theologies, wrong thinking, excess luggage that weighs you down and takes up space, but in the process it may feel messy, unsorted, like you are not ever going to get through this, but be encouraged - you will! And you will come out lighter, freer, seeing more clearly, hearing more clearly and with a joy and lightness that only God can bring when an overhaul is done. Allow the process to happen knowing that God has His best for you in mind.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Do you feel stuck with no way out of your current situation?

Last night I had this dream and in this dream I went into an open home to have a look at a house but while I was there I saw all these people that were part of this building complex that had been 'taken in' by the goodness of how the building complex sounded and had spent their life savings and bought in this complex.  I saw some people that I knew previously from another place where the Spirit of the Lord had touched them powerfully, but now they had invested everything they had into this building complex and couldn't get out of it but when they saw me, how pleased they were to see me.  As I looked around their hearts were stuck as there was no way out for them, a hopelessness as they realised what they had done and the truth in which they now saw.  And as I looked over the walls into the building complex I saw like a chinese school like building but it was a stadium, all very uniform, the discipline hard, the worship of one man who was a statue on their desk, it was like that had become a part of a chinese army.  I don't believe China as a country has anything to do with this, it was more that there was the one world government thinking taking over, the rule of oppression and control, the fear, the hopelessness of not being able to get out of it.

If you feel like this is you, stuck, with no way out, a place where you have invested everything in it only to find the truth and you don't know how to change this situation you now find yourself in, then I have something to share with you.

In Gal 5:1 it says "It is for freedom Christ has set you free".
Freedom is not a place, it is not the situation you are in, but it is the attitude of the heart.  You can be in a prison and still be free.  You can be in a wheelchair bound unable to move and yet still be free.  You can be in the worst marriage relationship of abuse and yet still be free.  Whatever situation you may find yourself in and feeling you cannot get out of it, then I want to share about the hope we have in Christ.
You may be one who has started well in Christ but for various reasons now find yourself bound and wonder what happened that you ended up like this, and yet still be able to come into freedom and joy again.
No matter what situation you are in, God is able to turn it for good - if you let him lead you through the valley of the shadow of death and hopelessness, if you let him be the light that guides your feet, if you open the door of your heart and let him come in and bring hope and healing to you.

He says "I stand at the door and knock, anyone who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and He with me".

When we realise where we are at, the situations we find ourselves in, all we need to do is ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into our lives and to bring the change, to bring the hope, to bring the healing, to bring the freedom.  He says, "Whoever asks, will find".

Because of God's great love for us he sent his son Jesus who died for all of ours sins, all our mistakes, all our hopeless places so that we could have life and have it in abundance.  Jesus took all our pain, all our shame, all our hurt and took it to the cross and buried it along with him at the cross so that we wouldn't have to.  He paid the price for all our mistakes, and failures, all our fears, all our worries.

When we come to him and ask him to come into our lives, and perhaps areas of our lives where we need His help, he will come.  It may not look how we think it will look, but he will answer your prayer.
He wipes the slate clean and holds nothing against us.  There is nothing we need to do in order for that repentance to be 'cleansed' from our life, Jesus paid the price for your mistake so that we don't have to continually pay for ours.  When we believe, we are forgiven, we are set free, there is no account still to be charged on our behalf because it has been paid for.  Today is a new day, the old has past, the new has come.  He will bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the sorrowful, he will bring peace to the restless.  This is who Jesus is and why he came,  so that we could have life and have it to the full!  Like any good father who wants the best for His children, is God  and what he want for us because he loves us so much and doesn't want to see us continue on in areas where we feel bound and hopeless.

We just need to trust that he will work through what he said he will do as we surrender our issues, as we surrender our hurts, allow the walls of our hearts to be broken down, our fears, our lack of trust in areas.  But He will always do what He said He would do, so just believe today that God can change your circumstance around, that he can take you out of that seemingly hopeless situation, that there is a way through where there seems no way.  Just ask Him into your life, into your heart, into your situation and He will come and you will see shifts happen, you will see lives changed, you will see hope return and joy and peace come back into your life even though you may still be in the same outward situation, he will change your heart and bring freedom and hope into it.

If this has effected you in any way and you want help or prayer please feel free to call me on +64 7 8389009 or find a friend who you trust to share your need with.  When we hold it to ourselves it often becomes bigger than it really is but when we share our problems, our needs, then we can receive help.  There is no shame in asking for help, we all need it :)