Grumble Weed!

March 12, 2007

How many times have you heard yourself complain about something, whether it’s a household appliance that keeps going wrong, or about a situationat church, in the home, with your family or at work?

If you were challenged to a ‘grumble-free’ day, how would you cope? 

Moses was travelling with a large number of people to the promised land, but on the way they hit disaster!  When they were in the desert the people were annoyed that they didn’t have what God had promised yet, and they began to moan. 

When we moan we have to ask ourselves whether we’re actually complaining about God’s will, not being patient as we wait for it’s fulfilment.  We can be cross and say ‘the desert doesn’t look much like the promised land’, so we get annoyed and sometimes distracted from fixing our eyes on the goal.

God, help us when your purposes are yet to unfold, and give us wisdom to know  when to step out of a situation because it’s not Your will. 

TRY BEING GRUMBLE FREE TODAY & SEE IF YOUR DAY GOES BETTER!

Too Big for Your Boots!

March 9, 2007

Unlike the common phrase of being ‘too big for your boots’, Joshua felt too small for his!!

Having travelling around with the great prophet Moses, being by his side and learning from him, Joshua was terribly daunted upon Moses’ death when he was appointed as the new leader.

In a seemingly humourous debate with God suggesting that maybe the wrong guy had been chosen to replace his master, Joshua shared how he was convinced he was the wrong guy.  Moses’ shoes were too big for him to fill and he felt overwhelmed.

When buying shoes you know what size you are, and spiritually we can think the same.  We can feel thatwe know what our gifts our and where our capability level reaches a maximum… but i believe this is to limit God.

Joshua didn’t think he would fill bigger shoes, and he was right, he couldn’t; but through the power of the Holy Spirit he was able to do more than he thought he could.  God put words into Joshua’s mouth to speak to the nations.

God can do more in you than perhaps you realise.  In the words of Isaiah – ‘widen the tent pegs!’

Is Jesus alive?

February 26, 2007

This weekend i was at a training conference during which there was an outreach service on Saturday night. 

If anyone present at the event had doubts about the existence of a force greater than us, then they would’ve found their mind doing somersaults over all that happened.  Person after person came forward to tell how after being prayed for that night they had been freed of physical illness.

One testimony which stood out for me was the lady who turned up, and in her own words, said she told the friends she came with that she had ‘no faith’ that anything would happen.  She had arrived with a partially blind eye, two hearing aids which had been needed for 15-20yrs due to perforated ear drums, and also problems with a pain in her hip.

Half way through the evening this lady went to the front of the church holding her hearing aids high in the air, proclaiming that she could now here.  When someone stood behind her and whispered she could hear every word!!  Her eye was improved and the pain from her hip gone!

Prayer is powerful.  Prayer is mysterious.  Jesus is alive and His power is available to you today!

I’ve been on an epic journey of late, battling spiritual blizzards, shooting arrows of faith at mountains which block my path…

It’s been a hard trek, and would’ve been easy to give up during the course of the adventure.  However when you have treasure you’re fighting to get to, it keeps you going, even when things seem impossible – the treasure acts as an incentive to continue, giving you a boost of energy.

Maybe your treasure is your children, your spouse, your friends, your family, or some promises God has made to you personally, or the promise of eternal life itself?

We all have dragons to slay along the way, and they may be around for sometime in the form of challenges at work, or difficulties with a family member or with someone’s health.  Whatever the dragon you have to slay, you need the hope of a treasure, something keeping you going.  Obviously you first need to identify the dragon you’re trying to slay.

Whatever dragon there is in your life, know that in Christ you have the victory over it.

People without vision perish, those without hope give up!

God of the unexpected!

February 6, 2007

 I’m convinced that God is constantly looking for ways to make us smile.  Imagine someone close to you planning surprise party in your honour… or being a parent wanting to see the look of joy of your child’s face when they’re given their favourite meal or told they’re going to the park; so too God delights in us.

Sometimes we can feel like we’re in a desert place spiritually or generally in life, often convincing ourselves tha maybe God’s too busy to have our interests at heart and free us from our affliction. 

Imagine you had only been able to hear in one ear and then one day could hear in both… how much more appreciative would you be of the gift of hearing than if you’d always heard clearly.

The times of darkness make us open to receive God’s unexpected gifts more fully. 

Last night before a potentially life-changing meeting i prayed for God to have His way.  He gave me two scripture references (this is not a common occurence for me, and i had no idea what the references were about until i looked them up!).  If i hadn’t been desperate, and found God giving me references all the time, then i wonder how much i would’ve appreciated the blessing it was (Colossians 3:17 & 4:17).

God wants to bless you this day, so if you’re in darkness it’s only so you can see the stars brighter… for stars only shine in the dark!

Matters of the Heart

February 5, 2007

If something in your life is of God then Satan won’t be happy so will try to confuse you.

When something which is precious to you becomes a chore or a struggle, be encouraged that this is possibly because you’re in exactly the right place to be maximumly effective and fruitful.

Matters close to the heart can cause extremes: much pain and ecstatic joy.  The heart is a complex place where we talk of emotions originating, the place we get hurt and offended, the place where we take risks, the place people can hit us at the deepest level.  One area of heart searching i’ve come to realise many young Christians battle with is the question of, ‘Where does friendship end and relationship start?’.

Remembering all the way back to my University days i recall one afternoon when a Christian sister of mine (now married with a child)  came out with me for coffee and a chat.  She shared how all the male Christian friends in her life were so wonderful that she’d be happy if God called her to marry any of them!!

At the same time as discerning who might be her future spouse this lovely woman of God was trying to work out whether God might have her assigned for a life of celibacy.  There were so many thoughts my peers went through in those days with regards to their vocational journey…  to help her quest someone suggested that to know who your lifelong partner will be is to say, ‘could i live without this person?’.

Essentially i believe God calls us to the places where we’ll flourish most, but that doesn’t mean there will be no struggle or temptation, even once you’ve made a decision.  The hardships in marriage, the hardships in a life of celibacy are to hone you into a more beautiful diamond, knocking off the rough edges, making you reflect God’s love more.

If you’re struggling with your vocation, your work, or any relationship in your life, rest assured that God will use it to make you more like Him… for He Himself went through trials and temptations from Satan who wanted Him to go ‘off course’ and not receive the prize laid out for Him! 

Don’t let Satan steal the gifts God has for you!  Don’t give up!

Love til it hurts!

February 1, 2007

I was chatting to a friend about the words ‘Love until it hurts’, which i think are rightly attributed to Mother Teresa. 

She of course is the lady who spent most of her life tending to those that most people chose to avoid: the ‘unclean’!  In years gone by lepers would’ve been total outcasts in society, they had to ring a bell when they were coming down the street so people would know to flee.  They were avoided in some respect for medical reasons i.e. that no one wanted to contract what they had.  However lepers, like all people, are made for love: to be loved and give love. 

If someone at your church smells or is unpopular, would you avoid them, not wanting to be associated with them? 

Put yourself in the position of being lonely, feeling ugly and unwanted -how blessed would you feel if someone took time to show you some interest and care?  Maybe there’s a mum at school about whom others gossip, maybe an awkward person in your prayer group people partly ignore…

Mother Teresa chose to ignore what others thought, and even her own selfish desires, giving herself to the service of others, even though it was a risk.

We are called not to have favourites: “Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes… have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (from James 2:1-4)

Treat EVERYONE as you would wish to be treated, even if it means dying to your own desires and wants i.e. even if it hurts.

Disobedience!

January 29, 2007

Disobedience has a cost.  In fact it changes history.

When God asked Noah to build an ark, or Joseph to move his family to a new location, if they hadn’t obeyed there would’ve been consequences for you and i today!

Believe it or not, your every decision is of vital importance.  As a small example, whether you go to a particular meeting one week will affect who you meet and possibly what happens in the future.

Sometimes God asks us to do things which are hard, which go against the world.  God gives us a supernatural ability to endure and risk.

Years back when i was planning to go to University, discerning where to go, i totally surrendered to God, taking risks, and 2 weeks before the start of term a new place got created at just the right Uni for me.

If we’re willing to step out and be different amazing things can happen!

WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO FIT IN WHEN YOU’RE SOMEONE WHO’S CALLED TO STAND OUT?

Write the vision down!

January 27, 2007

I woke up this morning with the verse from Habbakuk in mind, it’s the one about writing the vision down on stone tablets.

As i live in the 21st century i’m not going to go out and find some stone slabs, and a suitable implement to carve out a vision, however realising that it takes effort to erase something after you ‘carve it in stone’ was a useful thing to reflect on.

Can i ask you to do something today?  Would you do me the favour of getting some paper and a pen (not a pencil!!), and writing down the things you’re passionate about and would like from life. 

It might seem odd that some stranger from the UK should be asking you to do this, but i think it’s a really important thing to do.  So often when we make decisions in life we can ‘um’ and ‘er’, not knowing what God calls us too.  Equally we can sell ourselves short, allowing human limitations to restrict what God can do in us.

You might write something like this to begin with: ‘I would like to preach with signs and wonders following’.  Even if it seems an impossible dream, not least because you may have a fear of preaching, write it down anyway.  Or you might write ‘I want to bring relief to the emotional pain orphans in a home experience’, or ‘I want to live somewhere where i can have an outdoor life’.

Next you may say: ‘but these are just my dreams, they’re not what God wants for me’.  I would say: ‘write them down anyway regardless of whether they seem realistic!’.  God will hone the dream over the years – we’re imperfect human beings so will receive His vision for us imperfectly, but if we don’t write it down in the first place then He has nothing to work with.

Our God is a God of the impossible and is not limited by our weaknesses and inabilities – He works in spite of them.  Please write the vision down, then give it to God.  He has planted desires in your heart to act as a signpost to His will.  Ask Him to lessen your desire for anything that is not of Him, and to strengthen passion for the aspects of the vision which are of Him.

p.s. Thank you for the many birthday blessings yesterday.

How shall i celebrate?

January 26, 2007

Birthdays come but once a year, but how people respond to the day is markedly varied. 

Some people bemoan their getting old (suggestive of another year ‘lost’ or a step closer to pensions and less mobility), others revel in the thought of organising a party, some love the opportunity to give thanks to God for the gift of another year, others like the day to smoothly sail by without much mention… and the list goes on.

A birth-day is thinking about the day of your birth (a day most of us have no memory of!): the day you entered the world.  Some people have two birthdays – either because they are the Queen, or because they have one for the day they entered earth out the womb of their mother, and one marking the start of a clean slate after agreeing to put God in the driving seat for the first time.

I suppose a birthday could be a time to reflect on why God brought you into the world, to look back on past blessings and mistakes in an attempt to move forward in the will of God.

Maybe it could be a day when things are reversed: instead of people giving to you, you make an effort to bless others – perhaps buy them something, or make a card saying thank you for who you’ve been in my life, help them out with something… generally show others appreciation for the role they’ve played in getting you to another birthday.

Say THANK YOU to the precious people in your life before it’s too late and you regret not having done it.