Saturday, 30 June 2007
Joh 20:14 MSG
(14) After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't recognize him.
I wonder how many times that I have not recognized Jesus?
Mary had failed to recognize Jesus in His resurrection form... but I wonder how many times I have not recognized Him in the form of other human beings?
Each human is made in the image of God... they carry something of God.
In Matt 25 we are warned that what we do and don't do to others (people who all carry God's image within them) we do or don't do it to Jesus!
Have you seen the movie Bruce Almighty? I love the different forms that God takes on... a cleaner, a bum, etc. These forms actually prevented Bruce from recognizing Him.
I wonder how many times I have just not recognized God in others...
He speaks through them, He teaches through them, He loves through them!
How can I ensure that I take in 'Jesus'?
How can I be aware of his presence in others?
First I must respect that everyone is made in God's image. Everyone therefore deserves respect, dignity and honor.
Second, I must ask Jesus to 'open' my eyes.
Third, I need to look. To pause and question what I see.
Father, help me to see You.
May I recognize You, and honor You.
Help me to see your image in others, to respect and honor that.
May I be open to your voice and instruction, to your mercy and grace from others.
Friday, 29 June 2007
Joh 19:11 MSG
(11) Jesus said, "You haven't a shred of authority over me except what has been given you from heaven. That's why the one who betrayed me to you has committed a far greater fault."
Even though it seemed that everything was going to pieces... Jesus confidently let Pilate know that all was according to plan.
In fact Jesus went so far as to tell Pilate that he was placed in authority by God himself!
Not only did God place Pilate in authority... but his authority flowed from God Himself.
I suppose the part that I battle with here is the 'all'.
There are so many governmental authorities that I disagree with... people I'm even tempted to think would be better off dead!
Hitler... Robert Mugabe... Sudam Hussein... and countless others...
But then I hear the confidence in Jesus voice... and I her the ring of that word, 'all'.
I need to speak positively about my socialist non-Christian government.
Jesus has placed them there. I may disagree, and vote for others... but while they are in power... its God - ordained. I must rest in the knowledge that God is in control... and He has a plan.
Help me father... when my eyes see only this world and I think 'boy do we have problems here!'
Let me see that You are in control.
Help me when I find it difficult, when my heart gets hardened...
May I see your hand in everything... in 'all'.
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Joh 18:1-2 MSG
(1) Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.
(2) Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often.
Judus didn't know Jesus' plans... but he knew Jesus routine.
Do I have a routine of prayer and devotions?
Would people know where to come and find me?
How interesting that at this time of great stress... Jesus was found in a place of prayer and devotion.
Where am I to be found?
Do my routines declare my devotion and faith in God?
Where am I found in tough or pressing times?
Save me from trying to 'save' myself...
Help me to press into You when times are tough and when times are good!
Increase my passion and desire for You.
May You be my air!
Wednesday, 27 June 2007
John 17:7 CEV
Now they know that everything I have is a gift from You.
The air I breathe...
The job I have...
Everything ... a gift?
How would this truth change my perceptions if I grasped it?
How thankful... joyful... humbled... positive... would I be?
Each day I need to practice thanking God for as many 'gifts' as I can... not just in one setting... but all throughout the day.
Especially for my challenges!
Thank you for my numerous... even limitless gifts that You have given to me.
Help me to recognize these gifts... to celebrate these gifts.
Help me to see... change me...
Thank you Lord
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Joh 16:2 MSG
(2) They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he's doing God a favor.
Joh 16:33 MSG
(33) I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."
Why is it that when hard times come, I get so flustered and upset with God?
I am promised that the one thing that I an count on... is trouble!
In fact, this trouble will even come from religious people... even those closest to me!
I can take heart in two things:
1) The are not rejecting me... its really Christ that they are rejecting
2) My God can use what was meant for harm and turn it round for His good and glory!
I need to expect trouble.
I must recognize that my God can work all things to good (Rom 8:28)! I must declare this in faith!
Truly, we serve an awesome and wondrous God.
Your Name is so far above anything else.
How can I ever comprehend your brilliance?
Help me to never loose sight of your bigness and brilliance.
Joh 15:16 MSG
(16) "You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
4 Key Observations -
1) I didn't choose God (not first at least)
2) Jesus has hand-picked me... chosen me
3) I have been chosen to be fruitful
4) The fruitfulness is so key that I can ask the Father anything in regard to it and He shall do it!
On point 1. Rabbi's chose their disciples. They were hand picked as the Rabbi believed them to be the best of the best. He believed that the hand picked student could at least do what he could do... or do it even better.
My task in life is not to live out the Kiwi dream... my task is to be fruitful... to win people!
What am I doing in my weekly routine to invest my life into the Lost and God's people?
I need to be intentional about planning this time.
What prayers am I praying for the Lost and for God's people?
I need to be intentional about planning this time.
Father... please give me Your heart.
Help me to be intentional. To plan. To stick to the plan.
May the busyness of life never squeeze out your plans for my life... fruitfulness.
Joh 14:21 ALT
(21) "The one having My commandments and keeping them, that one is the one loving Me. And the one loving Me will be loved by My Father, and _I_ will love him and will reveal Myself to him."
I have 3 observations:
1) I love Jesus by keeping His commandments
2) I am loved by the Father because of my love for Jesus
3) Because of my love for Jesus… He will reveal Himself to me
Loving Jesus by keeping His commands was not a totally new thought. The Jews understood that by keeping the Mitzvah (commandments) found in the Torah that they actually connected with God. Check out the selection below from the ASKMOSES website.
A Mitzvah (pronounced MITZ-vah) is a Hebrew word which means “commandment” and “connection.” A Mitzvah is a commandment. If I command you to serve me lunch, that’s a Mitzvah from me to you. The Mitzvot are G-d’s commandments to the Jewish people in the Torah.
And that’s just the idea of the Mitzvah. For “Mitzvah” doesn’t just mean “commandment”: it means “connection” too. You are connected to G-d. When you do a Mitzvah, you’re expressing that connection. Whatever, whenever, you’re always connected to G-d, and you can express that connection by doing a Mitzvah.
"The content on this page is provided by AskMoses.com, and is copyrighted by the author, publisher, and/or AskMoses.com. You are welcome to distribute it further, provided you do not revise any part of it and you include this statement, credit the author and/or publisher, and include a link to www.AskMoses.com."
What an interesting thought… that it is as we obey Jesus… that he begins to reveal more and more of Himself to us.
My disobedience prevents me from connection and revelation!
I need to ensure that I am obeying Jesus!
In churches it can be the norm to concentrate on obeying moralistic / ritual Mitzvah. We may focus on subjects such as keeping pure, having faith, prayer.
But what we can so easily forget are the ethical Mitzvah / how we interact with people.
Did you know that there are only 500 verses on prayer & the same on faith, but over 2000 on the poor and another 2000 on finances and generosity!
Its so easy to be mislead in my focus Jesus, but please help me to Love You… to obey You… thereby loving others.
I need your help. Place a passion for people in my heart.
Help me to move from intention to action!
Sunday, 24 June 2007
Joh 13:18 ESV
(18) I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.'
What an incredible thought. Jesus knew of Judas' forth coming betrayal. Yet He still chose him to be His disciple. Some might contend that Jesus did this just to fulfill Scripture... yet Jesus opened His heart fully to this disciple.
This verse blows my mind:
Mat 26:50 ESV
(50) Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you came to do." Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.
Even in the midst of betrayal, Jesus calls Judas His friend!
Even though Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him:
Joh 13:38 MSG
(38) "Really? You'll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you'll deny me three times."
Even though Jesus knows me... and knows of my betrayals and failures... He still Chooses me!
No matter how bad I duff it... Jesus has chosen me!
No matter how much like dirt I feel... Jesus has chosen me!
No matter how inadequate I feel... Jesus has chosen me!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you...
May I always remember that You have Chosen me... and have faith in me.
I can't say I understand it... but thank you Dad!
Joh 12:27 MSG
(27) "Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? 'Father, get me out of this'? No, this is why I came in the first place.
In our culture of seeking comfort above all else, how strange are Jesus' words. Why wouldn't you want to get a 'Get Out Of Storm Free' card? How often do we plea with God when we are faced with challenges... and yes, even blame and curse God for our storms.
Yet Jesus understood that the storm / challenge was not to be fought... but embraced. It was destiny. It freed Jesus into what the Father had prepared for Him.
When I face my challenges this week... will I thank God that He can use them to fulfill His plans in my life?
Can I give up the temptation to live a life of ease?
Loving Father, please help me to have the understanding and insight that Jesus had when He was faced with trials and challenges.
May I see your loving hand... working in me through the challenge... making me the man you have called me to be.
Friday, 22 June 2007
Joh 11:50-52 CEV
(50) Don't you know it is better for one person to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed?"
(51) Caiaphas did not say this on his own. As high priest that year, he was prophesying that Jesus would die for the nation.
(52) Yet Jesus would not die just for the Jewish nation. He would die to bring together all of God's scattered people.
Caiaphas was the cause of a lot of trouble for Jesus.
From a human perspective Caiaphas was nothing but trouble. He was dangerous. He was to be avoided.
But John saw the hand of God in these troubles.
Some how God manages to take what is in our hearts… and even our actions and use them to His Glory (Rom 8:28).
I must admit, I can’t fully comprehend how this works…
What I do know however is that God used these plans to harm to work out his purposes.
Joseph knew this well. Check out what he said in Genesis:
Gen 45:5-8 MSG
(5) But don't feel badly, don't blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives.
(6) There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years--neither plowing nor harvesting.
(7) God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance.
(8) So you see, it wasn't you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all
Do I see challenges in the following light:
1) God has sent them to fulfill His purposes
2) God has sent them to grow me to enable me to do the above
3) My trouble / challenge is a blessing!
Jam 1:2-4 MSG
(2) Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
(3) You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
(4) So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Father, once again I ask You to help my sight!
May I give You praise in every circumstance. May I see your Hand in my day to day. May I submit to your Hand and training program for my life.
Joh 10:17 CEV
(17) The Father loves me, because I give up my life, so that I may receive it back again.
The proof of Jesus’ love for the Father is seen in His obedience…
This love is reciprocated.
What most westerners focus on is the fact that Jesus had to lay down His life. We squirm at the thought of laying down our comforts on God’s alter. We will do almost anything to get out of that.
Yet Jesus focus would have been on the fact that He would then truly be able to receive life… a full abundant life…
Jesus gave up His life… so that He might have it! We focus on the loss… Jesus focused on the gain!
We see the what… Jesus focused on the why!
We kick and scream, and like Jonah we run in the opposite direction… Jesus willingly laid down His life (although it was painful and scary to do).
How do I view things?
Do I see only the what’s and miss the whys?
To what degree am I willing to lay down my life… my dreams… my ambitions …my agenda… my time, talents and treasures?
Help me! Help me, not to hold on so dearly to my life.
Help me to be obedient… and willing.
Help me to see what You see.
Joh 9:14-16 MSG
(14) This day when Jesus made the paste and healed his blindness was the Sabbath.
(15) The Pharisees grilled him again on how he had come to see. He said, "He put a clay paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see."
(16) Some of the Pharisees said, "Obviously, this man can't be from God. He doesn't keep the Sabbath." Others countered, "How can a bad man do miraculous, God-revealing things like this?" There was a split in their ranks.
Isn’t it interesting how Jesus performed this incredible miracle that the people had never witnessed before in history (see vs 32) and yet all they could see was that ‘work’ had been done on the Sabbath.
How true are the words of the proverb:
PR 11:27 (NIV) He who seeks good finds goodwill,
but evil comes to him who searches for it.
Could what we look for and therefore see become a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts?
Perhaps this is why the Christian experience is so varied… because it is determined by what we look for!
Do I look for the best in people?
Do I look for signs of blessing from a good God or do I look for ‘curses’?
Do I see the best or do I see the worst?
Do I see what God sees?
Father, would You help me to see through Your eyes.
May I search for the best… and see it in every circumstance.
Help me to see the best and not project the worst in situations. Help me to see what even others do not see. Give me Your prophetic insight into situations… like Jesus had into this blind man’s… may I see signposts of Your handiwork.
Help me to see…
Friday, 15 June 2007
Joh 6:11-13 MSG
(11) Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.
(12) When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, "Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted."
(13) They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.
(also see Matt 14:13-21; Mk 6: 32-44; Lk 9:10-17. John's account leaves out the detail that it was the disciples handing out the bread and the fish)
If we had to look at the wish list of most devout Christians, somewhere on top would be the desire for their church to make a significant impact on their city. We all dream of and envision rivers of individuals coming forward to receive Jesus in the services... in the life groups, in the work places, Uni's, schools, sports fields, etc.
What we might not realize is that all of this will require a massive effort on our part. All those people need to be followed up, placed in life groups, discipled, phoned, visited, connected...
Its easy for us to look at this account and think "WOW, how cool is that?"
But did you ever think what it must have been like for 12 young men to personally hand out bread and fish to over 5 000 men, not including the other 10 - 15 000 woman and children?
It must have taken ages!
Now if that wasn't bad enough... when everyone was finished eat... they had a basket full each of left overs to pick-up.
Now that is a loooonnnngggg day of hard work!
I must understand that ministry is hard work!
I must never feel like the work is too hard... if I give up 1 000's will miss out an their miracles and provision!
Lord, help me to work hard for Your kingdom!
May I never look down on the 'work' of the ministry and value other easier things...
I dedicate myself to You Father.
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Joh 5:5-8 MSG
(5) One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years.
(6) When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, "Do you want to get well?"
(7) The sick man said, "Sir, when the water is stirred, I don't have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in."
(8) Jesus said, "Get up, take your bedroll, start walking."
The tradition goes that once a year an angel would stir the waters in the pool of Bethesda and that the first sick person to get into the pool when it was being stirred up by the angel would get healed.
Jesus comes to Jerusalem to celebrate what is thought to be the passover feast (possibly around the time when this angel would stir the waters).
Jesus locks eyes with this lame man... and has insight / word of knowledge about the length that this man has suffered with his condition... 38 years.
Can you imagine each year as this miraculous event occurs... where you have placed all your hope of regaining some sort of normalcy... that as you attempt to get into the waters which you have been keenly watching for the last month... only to be disappointed as someone else beats you in the waters...
year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year!
Can you imagine the building frustration. Anger. Disappointment. Depression. Resentment. Hopelessness.
But most of all, the feeling of being alone.
He had no one to help him.
I believe that the greatest disease of the 21st century is loneliness. We may be surrounded by crowds of people... and yet we are all alone. Its a disease that causes depression, suicide, bad choices, apathy, nihilism, ...
Perhaps the greatest miracle that the Lost are in need of (besides their salvation) is someone who will truly connect with them. Be there for them. Listen. Do life together with them.
I am so busy with tasks... that I neglect 'being there' for people. Getting involved in their lives.
I need to be intentional about booking out time to just 'be' with people.
This is a high calling. A beautiful ministry.
Father, help me to realize the beauty and worth of just 'being with' people.
May You give me a heart that would be a miracle for those You have ordained into my life.
Open my eyes. Reveal to me the pleasure that You take in this act... this miracle.
Hound me Lord when I place task over your precious treasures, give me Your heart.
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
Joh 4:31-34 MSG
(31) In the meantime, the disciples pressed him, "Rabbi, eat. Aren't you going to eat?"
(32) He told them, "I have food to eat you know nothing about."
(33) The disciples were puzzled. "Who could have brought him food?"
(34) Jesus said, "The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started.
One of the comments that I am sooo familiar with, working in the church now for over 12 1/2 years in 3 different churches and 2 countries is... "I'm just not being fed in the church anymore." or "I'm not growing here".
I would have to say that of the 100's of people I have had discussion whom have made those statements... easily 98% of them were not having regular personal devotions (and some 50% of them were carrying offense). Yet they pointed their finger else where... at the church. They thought that by placing themselves in a new environment they could escape themselves. But you can't!
Having a daily personal devotion is just so key to maintaining your spiritual health. As Jesus said... 'Man will not live by bread alone...'
But in todays reading I was struck with another side to this whole issue: Jesus said that what nourished Him and kept Him energized and healthy was doing the Will of His Father.
Perhaps much of Western Christianity's problem is that we are bored, undernourished Christians... seeking out our own will (get a good education, get a job, get married, have 2.5 kids, get a batch, save for retirement, have a fancy holiday, etc.) instead of God's. We miss out on the faith adventure that God has for us.
What is God's will for my life?
What is God's will for me... today? (without getting super spiritual and flakey)
I know I'm passionate when I'm communicating God's truth, mentoring and seeing leaders developed. I'm passionate to see the church prosper, to see its people fly. I'm passionate about Lost people connecting with Jesus.
I need to spend my time and resources here... it nourishes me!
What is God's will for you?
What is God's will for you... today?
What is it that nourishes you?
Dear Jesus, help me to focus on those things You have purposed me for... to complete the task that You have set out for me to accomplish.
I thank you that I have Your mind, I know Your will.
Help me to obey Your leading... to be sensitive to Your leading.
May I finish the race set before me well!
Tuesday, 12 June 2007
Joh 3:16 MSG
(16) "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
Isn't it interesting that the very foundation of Christianity is based on GIVING, and it is this very subject that the modern church repels against!
And its not just in the area of finances either... how easy do we find it to GIVE praise to others? Instead we seek to pull others down, to take from them so that we might look better.
We have been created in the very image and likeness of God!
Yet so often we display the image and likeness of satan... he is a TAKER, a hoarder!
Have you ever wondered why we feel so good when we give... I believe it is because it is then that we actually connect with God's image and likeness within us. We connect with Him as we display His character!
We need to stop TAKING. We need to stop HOARDING. We need to stop the smallness and madness of carrying satan's character!
We need to clothe ourselves with GIVING... with God's character.
Stop trying to save your life, protect your time, hoarde / squander your money on yourself.
Experience the bigness and freedom of walking in God's Character!
A week or 2 ago I quoted Dixie Fraley in my other blog:
"Gaze upon Christ long enough, and you'll become more of a giver. Give long enough and you'll become more like Christ."
Each day I need to clothe myself with God's character of GIVING.
I need to be creative and inventive.
I need to praise people,
I need to bless people financially,
I need to serve people,
I need to give my time to people (even just to listen!)
A great Jewish article I read some time ago suggested keeping a money box that one could practice giving to each day.
The importance of giving each day was that it created a hand that was used to giving. It becomes a daily habit. (as opposed to the one off giving which only happens every now and again... which is hardly habit forming and character transforming).
Maybe its not a money box, but a praise box, a serving box or whatever for you. I think I'm going to start a money box. I must train my hand... my character.
Father, thank you so so so very much for the amazing gift of your Son. It is beyond comprehension!
Please help me each day to clothe myself in your character... to become a daily giver. transform my sinful soul... make me into a generous soul... truly in your image.
Monday, 11 June 2007
Joh 2:1-10 MSG
(1) Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there.
(2) Jesus and his disciples were guests also.
(3) When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus' mother told him, "They're just about out of wine."
(4) Jesus said, "Is that any of our business, Mother--yours or mine? This isn't my time. Don't push me."
(5) She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, "Whatever he tells you, do it."
(6) Six stoneware water pots were there, used by the Jews for ritual washings. Each held twenty to thirty gallons.
(7) Jesus ordered the servants, "Fill the pots with water." And they filled them to the brim.
(8) "Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host," Jesus said, and they did.
(9) When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn't know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom,
(10) "Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you've saved the best till now!"
What thought struck me is the probability that when the servants drew the 'water' out the pots that it was still water... and on the journey to the host it turned into wine (and the finest at that!)
I make this assumption as miracles so often happened only as people of God took steps of action / faith.
Eg. When crossing the Red Sea, they had to actually place their feet in the water before it parted!
Eg. Jesus dividing the 5 loaves and 2 fish out to the 12 disciples... and as they distributed it ... they fed 5000 men... perhaps 20 - 25 000 people in total!
So for the miracle to occur... people needed to act (fill the jars and draw it out and take it to the host).
Interesting that Jesus didn't change the water physically himself... but that He included the servants in the miracle.
Also interesting that Jesus used what they had (the water)
1) I must not wait for the miracle to happen before acting... I must act and the miracle will happen.
2) I must not wait idly for the miracle to happen. I must stop hiding behind prayer. I must get up and do!
(2/3rds of God's Name is GO and 2/3rds of Gods Name backwards is DO. So we must GO and DO!)
3) The material of the miracle is 'what I already have '. I need to stop looking hopefully at what everyone else has... or hold back until I get the 'miracle' something before stepping out. What is in my hands now?
Daddy, so often I can easily hide behind prayer and just 'trust' that you'll solve X, Y and Z... but You are waiting for me to GO and DO... to step out in faith.
Lord especially in the area of finances... help me to step out... to believe that what I have in my hand is enough, that You will take it and multiply it and work a miracle with it!
Give me the faith and willing obedience of those servants. May excuses never stand in my way as long as I serve the God of the Universe, my Provider!
Sunday, 10 June 2007
Joh 1:14 MSG
(14) The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
It is interesting that those who had the law (God's Word) did not recognise the Word standing before them (see vs 26).
The guardians of the truth, did not recognise Him when He stood before them.
These men held the letter of the law... but not the life-giving spirit. The lifeless law was powerless and lifeless to these men.
But Jesus... He is the living Word that is living and active!
When I interact with the Bible, I must interact with Jesus... who is alive...
The Word... Jesus... breathes life into my soul and spirit.
The Bible is not only alive in Christ... but it is a mirror to my soul... their stories are my story!
When coming to the Word... I need to ask Jesus to reveal Himself... and for myself to see my reflection in the Words that I am reading.
I need to approach the Word as living. This Word is for me, now, today. It can speak to me (as can anyone who is living!)
Have I just read words... or have I fleshed it out and come face to face with Jesus, seeing the reflection of my soul?
Jesus, help my readings not to be dead, lifeless words... but may You come alive... breath life into my soul and spirit.
Help me to interact with You....
Help me to know You, the Word.
May your Word be honey on my lips!
Saturday, 9 June 2007
Jon 4:5-11 MSG
(5) But Jonah just left. He went out of the city to the east and sat down in a sulk. He put together a makeshift shelter of leafy branches and sat there in the shade to see what would happen to the city.
(6) GOD arranged for a broad-leafed tree to spring up. It grew over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry sulk. Jonah was pleased and enjoyed the shade. Life was looking up.
(7) But then God sent a worm. By dawn of the next day, the worm had bored into the shade tree and it withered away.
(8) The sun came up and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east. The sun beat down on Jonah's head and he started to faint. He prayed to die: "I'm better off dead!"
(9) Then God said to Jonah, "What right do you have to get angry about this shade tree?" Jonah said, "Plenty of right. It's made me angry enough to die!"
(10) GOD said, "What's this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a mere shade tree that you did nothing to get? You neither planted nor watered it. It grew up one night and died the next night.
(11) So, why can't I likewise change what I feel about Nineveh from anger to pleasure, this big city of more than a hundred and twenty thousand childlike people who don't yet know right from wrong, to say nothing of all the innocent animals?"
Jonah grew an attachment to an inanimate object that provided him pleasure, but still couldn't give a rip about the Ninevites (in fact he had set up this makeshift shelter to the east of the city so he could watch God's wrath overtake the city!)
I look at Jonah's miserable attitude and i think, 'What a punk!"... but then I think about all the things... comforts... that I put ahead of investing in Lost people.
I think how I shrink back in my investment into them:
- with my finances
- with my time
- with my relationships and networks
- with MY plans
- with my voice
I need to up my relational investment into my nonnies (time and money)
I need to serve my community and the poor practically
Ok, so what does that mean and how does that look?
I want to commit to spending 2hrs a week with my nonnies (visit and phone calls). I must put this in my diary!
I want to sponsor a financial upliftment project through world vision as well as mentor a lifestreams young person.
What can I do in my community? I must research this.
DAd, help me to not be so obsessed and attached to my comforts, help me to daily lay them down so that I can serve You more. You are worthy of everything I have... everything of who I am!
Please show me how I can serve my community... my street.
Help me to be more like You... help me to live this all out.
Friday, 8 June 2007
Jon 3:1-3 MSG
(1) Next, GOD spoke to Jonah a second time:
(2) "Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They're in a bad way and I can't ignore it any longer."
(3) This time Jonah started off straight for Nineveh, obeying GOD's orders to the letter. Nineveh was a big city, very big--it took three days to walk across it.
Jonah has run away from God, paid money to run from God, endangered others peoples lives to run from God, and has been a spoilt little brat... willfully disobeying God... worthy of God's full wrath. Jonah judged the Ninevites and is himself worthy of judgment!
And what does God do?
I mess up all the time... like all the time! I am so often tempted to be overcome with guilt and depression of my sinfulness.
Yet my Father has faith in me... He gives me another chance!
I must never give up... because God hasn't given up on me!
My Dad still wants to use me greatly in moving in the prophetic, in seeing my mates get to know Jesus, in seeing heaps of peeps come to know God, in writing my books, seeing those secret dreams become reality!
Thank you so much for your patience with me. Without it, I would be in serious doodoo!
Give me revelation of Your faith in me...
Help me to be and do all that You have me.
Guide me... lead me...
Without You I am nothing.
Thursday, 7 June 2007
Jonah 2 (the entire chapter)
It is interesting to note that while Jonah is fully devoted to God... he is so cold to the Lost and the perishing!
Just because I feel the fuzzies during my devotions, doesn't necessarily mean that I am following God!
His will is plain... that none should perish. I am to seek out and save the Lost!
Am I seeking? Could I even be bothered to look?
How much of my time and money is spent on the Lost?
Am I carrying God's heart?
I don't want to spend my life thinking that I'm doing what pleases You only to find that I missed the boat. I know that the greatest worship I can give to You is seeing another person come to worship You!
I missed the boat again tonight... by not ringing my mate. Lord, please don't let me go through another day without dis-ease for the lost!
Give me your heart. Your priorities.
Jon 1:5-6 CEV
(5) The sailors were frightened, and they all started praying to their gods. They even threw the ship's cargo overboard to make the ship lighter. All this time, Jonah was down below deck, sound asleep.
(6) The ship's captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep at a time like this? Get up and pray to your God! Maybe he will have pity on us and keep us from drowning."
Jon 1:12-14 MSG
(12) Jonah said, "Throw me overboard, into the sea. Then the storm will stop. It's all my fault. I'm the cause of the storm. Get rid of me and you'll get rid of the storm."
(13) But no. The men tried rowing back to shore. They made no headway. The storm only got worse and worse, wild and raging.
(14) Then they prayed to GOD, "O GOD! Don't let us drown because of this man's life, and don't blame us for his death. You are GOD. Do what you think is best."
Jonah is a type (representation) for the church today!
While the world is going to hell, we choose to hide away from this treacherous scene and simply sleep through the crisis!
Jonah was so unconcerned for the Lost that he ran away from his God-given mission to go to Nineveh... and he continued in his hardheartedness by staying below deck and sleeping while the crew faced a hellish death.
How interesting to note that these very sailors who Jonah had shown so little concern for are willing to risk their lives by not throwing Jonah overboard... but instead attempted to row to shore.
Am I sleeping while the world... and my world around me is going to hell?
Am I running to or away from my God-given mission to seek and save the lost?
How much time, energy and money am I spending on reaching out to lost people?
"Young men and old men, and sisters of all ages, if you love the Lord, get a passion for souls. Do you not see them? They are going down to Hell by the thousands."
C. H. Spurgeon
Dear God, I repent of my hardheartedness towards Lost people.
Save me from my hardheartedness. Help me to run towards my mission... towards the Lost.
Give me wisdom in the use of my time... to be intentional about spending time with my Nonnies.
May my heart beat with yours... for the Lost.
May you give me opportunities this week to build relationships and share my faith.
You are great Oh God, and I am not ashamed of the gospel, I am not ashamed of your Name!
Thank you that you have faith in me.
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
Jas 5:4 CEV (4) You refused to pay the people who worked in your fields, and now their unpaid wages are shouting out against you. The Lord All-Powerful has surely heard the cries of the workers who harvested your crops.
How interesting that it is the money itself that cries out!
The cries of the workers are mentioned separately!
How can a lifeless object cry out?
Could it be, that our money / mammon is something more than just a piece of paper?
The Jamieson, Fausset & Brown commentary says this about the word Mammon found in Matt 6:24, "Here, there can be no doubt it is used for riches, considered as an idol master, or god of the heart."
Could it be that Mammon is a god? A demon spirit. And it is this spirit that accuses us before the father in heaven of the worship we have ascribed to it!
I need to constantly be aware that my worship (trust) is not in my possessions... but the One who gave me those possessions.
It is so easy to put my trust and security in the god of this age... money & possessions...
Whenever I give to God... I loosen the grip that money has over my heart.
Dad, there is nothing in this world that compares to You!
Help me to not put my trust in anything / anyone else other than You.
You are my rock & shield... my security and protection.
Help me to loosen the grip money has on my life... help me to be generous and worship You with money.
May You reign in my heart... always.
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires.
As the Scriptures say,
"God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.''
The strength that I need to resist my selfish sin... is not found in my will... but in my humility!
I need to stop trying to change... and ask Jesus to change me from the inside out by the Holy Spirit.
As Pastor Nick always says, "Living a Christian life is impossible... without God."
I need to daily (and even more often than that) submit my character and will to Christ.
I need to ask for the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my life.
When I fail... I need not beat myself up... but turn to Jesus and ask for His help.
Dad, would you help my character. My true desire is to be more like you... but I need you to change me from the inside out. I can not do it in my own ability / power.
Help my anger at bad drivers, help my hard hardheartedness towards giving and to those that I don't know. Help me to be patient with people... and to love them.
Especially help my arrogant pride... so often I try to do things in my own strength... help me to lean on You.
Help me to love You... to pursue You daily.
I love You so...
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Jas 2:24, 26 ESV
(24) You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
(26) For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Very interesting... we are not saved by faith... but our faith is proved by our acts!
Without the acts... their is no fruit of our relationship with God.
My relationship with God is proved in how I act towards other people (and not by religious practices or attendances)!
By not spending time with my neighbours and nonnies... I'm not loving God!
By not investing in the needs of the less fortunate I'm not loving God!
By not encouraging others I don't even know... I'm not loving God!
What proof is there of my love for God?
Lord, help me to truly love you by loving others. May there be enough evidence of my love fo you to lock me away forever! Help me to lift my eyes off of myself, my work, my agenda... to see your agenda... others.
Jas 1:2 ESV
(2) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
What a way to begin your letter to the Christians who are scattered among nations!
How is it possible to count rough, tough, downright depressing and strenuous times as the trigger for joy? Is this just cheap good for nothing religious talk?
No! As this joy was not based upon the immediate circumstances... but rather on what these circumstances would produce in us!
This joy had a future focus...
Too often we are blinded by the immediate. But God is calling us to look beyond the immediate (pain) and see the good that is being brought into our lives.
I need to stop in the midst of my challenges... take a deep breath... ask God to help me see beyond the uncomfortable present... and then begin to thank God for what this challenge (situations or persons) will produce in me.
Lord, this is all much easier said than done. Please help me to stop in the midst of challenges and to see your loving Hand guiding my growth. Help me not to resist your Hand...
May my challenge truly be a joy to me.
Be my strength when I am week.