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Word for the Week



Calm in chaos
09 December 2019

Matthew 8:26
‘He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.’

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Recently, while out at a cafe with my two-year-old daughter, a disturbance broke out between some teenage boys. As the atmosphere grew tense, a large crowd was forming. People inside the cafe were getting anxious as there was a sense of unpredictability in the air. Knowing the situation was on the brink of a mass brawl in front of a number of families and small children, myself and another gentleman stepped forward to keep both parties apart. Remaining calm in the chaos allowed a hazardous scenario to de-escalate and subside.

It is not easy to remain calm when all hell is breaking loose around you. The disciples experienced this while out in a boat in stormy seas. The Bible says the storm was so ferocious that the waves swept over the boat! Now, these guys were fishermen. They knew these waters better than anyone and would’ve experienced all sorts of bad weather over the years. So for them to be so frightened shows the magnitude of the chaotic scene they found themselves in. However, despite the utter chaos, not only was Jesus ‘still’ in the boat with them, He was fast asleep! What a picture of perfect peace that is.    

You may be in a tremendous storm today. It could be a storm for all to see or it could be a secret storm. It could be a storm in your finances, your health, your relationships. It could be a storm that is keeping you up all night as you worry about your future. Whatever it is, can I encourage you to stop looking at the waves that sweep over you and start focusing your trust on the one who is sat right there beside you. The presence of the storm does not mean a lack of God’s presence. He is with you, He is not absent.  He is as close to you as He was with the disciples that night. So do not be afraid, for the almighty God will be the peace in your storm, the calm in your calamity and the order to your chaos.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you are the calm in my chaos. Father, I look to you. I put all my trust in you. I place my faith in you as you help me navigate through this storm.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




I have good news
02 December 2019

Luke 2:10
"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people"

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Whenever someone says to me “Luke, I have some good news and some bad news, what do you want to hear first?” I always ask for the good news. Why? because it lifts my level of hope, builds excitement in my heart and puts me in a better mood to hear the bad news! 

We all want to hear good news. Whether the sale of your house went through, the medical tests came back clear or you received that long overdue pay rise, positive reports lift your spirit and put a smile on your face. However good your news is though, nothing is greater than being reminded of what God has done for you.

When the Angel of the Lord appeared to some shepherds to tell them about the upcoming birth of Jesus, he was very clear with his wording. “I bring you news of great joy that will be for all the people.” From the beginning, the message of Jesus was about great joy that would be available for all people. It is a message of everlasting love and astounding sacrifice. Jesus lived, died for our sins and was resurrected, and because of that, if we turn towards him we will receive forgiveness from our past, purpose and meaning for our today and a new hope for our tomorrow. No wonder the Angel described it as news of great joy!

The good news of Jesus Christ is an unchanging headline. It has remained the same throughout the generations and will continue to do so until the end of time. It is simple, but life changing: God loves you! He loves you more than you will ever be able to understand.  

As a follower of Jesus, you have received his love, but now you must share it with others. News is only news if someone tells it! So don't keep it to yourself. In a world so full of bad news, why don't you put a smile on the face of someone else? No one is beyond reach. Tell those around you the good news of Jesus, that He is the hope for all humanity, He is the peace over that storm and the joy in times of trouble. Whether it be through your words, or your actions, be an announcer of God’s love today.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for what you have done for me. May I unashamedly share this life transforming good news with others. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Driving out distractions
25 November 2019

Acts 9:40
Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning towards the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

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There was a woman called Tabitha in the book of Acts who was always doing good and helping the poor. One day she became very sick and died. Peter, one of the Lord’s disciples, happened to be in a town nearby so the locals sent for him, asking that he come and pray over Tabitha. When Peter arrived, he walked into a house full of tears and sadness. Not allowing himself to be overcome with emotion, he sent everyone out of the room she was lying in. He emptied the atmosphere of all the negativity. Then he prayed and Tabitha came back to life again!

It is good to remove the distractions that take our focus off the goodness of God. God has equipped, empowered and filled us with exactly the same spirit that resided in Peter on the day of this miracle. The Spirit of the living God! We have all we need to accomplish those dreams, make the difference we desire, see the impossible come to pass. However, it’s the negative thoughts and pessimistic voices of others that will stop us from inheriting those miracle moments we are believing God for.

Today, make a bold decision to drive out those distractions. I'm certain it wouldn't have been easy for Peter to have removed a whole group of people that were grieving, but it was necessary for this miracle to come to pass. Perhaps you need to switch off the TV, close the laptop and disconnect from your phone. Maybe change the way you think, change your circle of friends or change some of those unproductive habits you have. It won’t be easy, but it will make more room for you to clearly hear the voice of God and activate miracles on a scale you have never seen before. I wonder what will come to life for you as a result of driving out those daily distractions.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I want to see more miracles in my life. Help me remove those negative thoughts and pessimistic voices, so that I can focus on your goodness and power.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Let your light shine
18 November 2019

Matthew 5:16
'In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven'

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Have you ever seen a lighthouse? A lighthouse is a tall tower with a bright light at the top. You will find them located at important or dangerous places, often on a coastline. They act as a navigational aid and a warning to boats that the surrounding area is hazardous, so caution will be needed. What is so significant about the lighthouse though, is that no matter what the weather conditions are, the tower stands strong and the light always shines bright.

The Bible says that as a Christian, the light of Christ shines brightly in you. It is a light with tremendous power. Power that causes the darkness to flee. Power to illuminate the steps you need to take. Power to radiate God’s love through you. Power to burn through every sin that keeps you bound. Power that can brighten up your darkest day. That is why it is important to read God’s Word every day so that you are constantly reminded of that powerful light that lives in you. 

Wherever light is, darkness cannot stand in its presence. So no matter what storms you are facing in life, don't let your light go out. If people are challenging you about your faith, don't dim the switch, withdraw, or shy away. Use the opportunity to shine bright for Christ. Stand tall, stand strong, stand in the knowledge that you possess the most powerful weapon on the planet - the light of Christ! Walking in His light means living a victorious life.  

Today make a decision to change the bulb, flick the switch and turn up the brightness. There is a dark and dying world out there. People are waiting on you to offer them the happiness, healing and hope that only the light of Christ can bring.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the light of Christ that lives in me. Help me to stand strong in times of uncertainty. May my light shine brightly for you at every opportunity.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




He stands by your side, always!
11 November 2019

John 8:9
‘At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.’

 

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Here is a woman, caught in the act of adultery and thrown in front of a crowd of people Jesus was teaching. How embarrassing this must have been for her. We don't know the background to this woman’s predicament. She may have been set up, made a genuine mistake or wilfully placed herself in the original position. Whatever her story was, I doubt she was expecting to be marched out in front of people in such humiliating circumstances. The Pharisees and teachers of the law did this to try and catch Jesus out, but what followed no one could have predicted. Jesus challenged everyone there about their own sin, and slowly, one by one every single person left the vicinity, leaving only Jesus and this woman standing there. Jesus shows her love, compassion and forgiveness. She leaves the scene never to be the same again. What a striking image this is!

We've all made mistakes, done things we shouldn't have done, said things we shouldn't have said. Carrying the heavy burden of guilt. Waking up each day with a sense of shame. Being chained to the fear of what others may think. We've had people lie to us, abandon us and reject us. We may not have had the exact same experience as this woman, but everyone can identify with the way she must have felt. Whether it is through your own choices or by the actions of others, we can sometimes feel broken, lonely and helpless.

This woman would have felt all of those emotions and more in that moment, but here is what I love about Jesus: He doesn't condemn her, He doesn't turn His back on her and walk away. He stands with her! He speaks life to her. He reminds her that her future can be greater than her past.

You may not be feeling your best. You might be disappointed with yourself over those words you said. Maybe you are riddled with guilt over something you did in your past. Perhaps you are in a lonely place or not the most popular person with family and friends. Whatever your situation is, Jesus is still standing with you. He will not leave you, forsake you or let you go. Today, open your heart to Him again and receive his love and forgiveness. Allow this image to remind you that even when you find yourself in the worst of times, Jesus is still standing by your side!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for sending Jesus and standing with me, no matter what my circumstances may be. I am in awe of your unfailing love.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Waiting well
04 November 2019

2 Peter 3:9
'The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.'

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I was recently on a plane with my headphones in and the radio on. I was listening to England playing the semi-final of the rugby World Cup. I had listened to the whole match but with 10 minutes of the game to go, we took off and my signal was lost. We were winning, but I then had to complete a one hour and 20 minute flight before knowing the end result. All I could do was wait.

When you know you have to wait there is little point complaining about it. Waiting is difficult, especially when you are desperate to move forward into your next season. It can be hard to wait for the arrival of a baby, the sale of your house to come through or confirmation of those exam results. Waiting will test every fibre of your being if you allow it to. Getting stressed over something you cannot speed up, slow down or change is only going to leave you feeling frustrated. 

What you do while you wait is very important. Waiting is not an excuse to sit back and do absolutely nothing. It is an opportunity to prepare for what is to come next. Whether you are waiting on a new baby to be born, a dream to come to pass or an answer to that prayer, there are things you can do now to prepare for it. Stay positive, look at areas you can grow in, take your prayer life up a level. Don't see the waiting as an obstacle, see it as part of your preparation. You don't want your moment to arrive and not be ready for it. 

Not knowing how everything is going to turn out is uncomfortable, but don't give in or give up. Keep fighting for what you believe in, remain disciplined, be as productive as you can while you wait. Prove your trust in God as you wait patiently on Him for that answer. It will get better, the sacrifice will be worth it, those early mornings will pay off. Remind yourself that God is not slow, late or off-schedule, for He will always finish what He started. Waiting well will produce the patience, perseverance and power required for when that moment comes.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you know the end from the beginning. Help me maximise my time as I wait on you. I don't want to have my moment and not be ready for it.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Win your world
28 October 2019

Colossians 4:3
‘And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…’

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If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour then you are saying yes to the responsibilities that follow this decision. One thing Christ makes very clear is that once you know Him, you are now commissioned to share His love with others. Telling people the good news is not only for the evangelists, pastors and preachers of this world. You have been called to do it too.

It is good to pray for those people in your world who are yet to know Jesus. Prayer is the most powerful weapon you have. However, it is also good to pray that God gives you the opportunity to tell people about the love of Christ. That everyday you would be presented with a moment or two, or three where you can share your faith. It is a bold prayer, but one the Apostle Paul encouraged us to pray.

I get asked what I do for a living numerous times a week. There are often days when I don't feel like explaining myself again, days when I’m tired, days when I don’t want to have another deep discussion, but I recognise this is what comes with being a follower of Christ. There is no avoiding it. More often than not, it’s not as bad as I sometimes build it up to be. The majority of people are interested in the hope I have, because deep down, they want it too.

Humanity is hurting. The Bible tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No one is perfect. Yet through God’s great love, He sent His son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on a cross and rising again. Through His resurrection from the grave we receive forgiveness from our past, a brand new start for today and a new hope for tomorrow. That truth is the remedy for sin, so the least we can do is share it with others.

You may not have all the answers, have been to Bible college or have a degree in theological studies, but you do have a story - a testimony of how Jesus came alive in you! Don't stay silent any longer, don't retreat when the opportunity arises, don't leave it to someone else. When the doors open to win your world to Christ, walk through them. Be bold, deliver the message, for the truth you are carrying is enough to set them free!

Prayer:

Dear God,

May you open a door for me today to share my testimony. I want to tell others about your love and forgiveness. I am committed to winning my world for you.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Make the change
21 October 2019

Isaiah 41:10
‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'

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Making a change in life can be daunting. Whether it be a change of career, location or mindset, all require a dose of courage, faith and wisdom. Change is often necessary if you desire progress. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome. However, talking about change and actually making the change are two very different matters. I wonder what is hindering you from making that change?

Too many of us resist change. We can become so comfortable with where we’re at, that we settle there. Even though deep down we are unhappy with our surroundings, there is a reluctance to rock the boat, just incase things don't work out the way we envisage. We allow fear to dictate our decision making. We let other people tell us that we can’t do it. We hold onto past failures that we should have let go a long time ago. 

Surely you would rather face your fears than stay stuck in a place that makes you unhappy every day? The Bible says in Isaiah 41:10 ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’   God; The Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and the End, the maker of all things is on your side. You should have no fear of what the future may bring because God has got your back! It may not be a simple decision. It may not make much sense to those around you. It may not bring the instant rewards you desire, but you can’t let that stop you making the changes you need to make.

Today commit your concerns into the Lord’s hands. Ask Him to give you the boldness and determination to navigate the transition period that lies the other side of your choices. Don't waste another day doing the same stuff that gets you nowhere. Be audacious, take the step, renew your mind, break that habit, have that conversation, start that business, stop putting yourself down. Do what needs to be done to move forward. On the other side of this change is the freedom, fruit and growth you are desperate to see. It could be the catalyst that catapults you towards the fulfilment of God's plan for your life. Make a change! 

Prayer:

Dear God,

Give me the courage to make the changes in my life that I know I need to make. I will not be bound by fear any longer. I know you will strengthen me every step of the way.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




It's not a wasted journey
14 October 2019

Luke 24: 15
‘As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.’

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Imagine walking seven miles, only to arrive at your destination, turn around and walk straight back to where you came. This is exactly what happened to two of the disciples, three days after the death of Jesus. They were so engrossed by all of the recent events that they had no idea that the man they were talking about was actually walking right beside them. When their eyes were opened, they changed their plans and headed straight back to Jerusalem to tell everyone what had just happened - that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead and had been with them the whole time!

Sometimes life doesn't always go the way you had planned. You thought you would be married by now. You thought you would’ve received that promotion by now. You thought that dream would’ve been accomplished by now. When things don't work out as you hoped, it’s easy to get disappointed, distracted and disillusioned. You ask yourself questions like; why did I make that decision? How did I end up here? Where is God in this? You can be so focused on the negative stuff that you forget about how far you have come.

God allowed these disciples to walk in a certain direction before they saw what they needed to see. Perhaps taking them out of Jerusalem, that place of familiarity, was necessary for their spiritual development. To most, this whole day would have seemed like a waste of time, but to those disciples it wasn't a pointless journey. It was a journey that pointed to Jesus. It reminded them once and for all that the Saviour of the world was alive.

Your journey may make little sense to you right now, but that’s because you are only seeing one piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Our Father in Heaven sees the complete picture. He sees your entire journey. Don’t become so preoccupied with forcing your own plans and worrying about those delays in life. What you have been through will not be wasted. Yes, you may not be where you want to be just yet, but that doesn’t mean you aren't going to make it. Keep going, open your eyes again and you may just see Jesus walking closer to you than you think. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

Sometimes it feels like I am walking around in circles, never quite knowing where I am going to end up. Draw close to me Lord, make clear my path so that I may fulfil my purpose.

In Jesus' name,




I will not be intimidated
07 October 2019

Nehemiah 6:9
‘For they were all trying to intimidate us, thinking, “their hands will become weak from the work and it will not be done.” So now, strengthen my hands!’

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There is a man in the Bible called Nehemiah, who had every opportunity to cave into intimidation.

He had been given a mandate by God to rebuild a wall around Jerusalem as the city had been exposed to many attacks over the years. As he was building it, some people were not happy about his project and tried to stop him from completing his assignment. They tried their best to sabotage his purpose and kill the dream in his heart. They threatened him, schemed against him, talked badly about him. Nehemiah found himself in the firing line. He had every excuse to back down and give in to the negativity that surrounded him. However, he decided to shut out the voices of intimidation by asking God to strengthen his hands. In other words, he was so consumed by the call of God that he didn't even entertain the thought of coming down from that wall.  

Whenever you step out of your comfort zone, there will always be an opportunity for intimidation to creep in. Doubts can quickly start circling in your mind. Maybe I wasn't supposed to start that business. Maybe I’m not qualified for that role. Maybe I shouldn't have left that job. Perhaps God didn't really call me to do this. My dream is too big to accomplish. I’m too young, I’m too old. There will be people that will come against you, try to distract you, tell you that you’re not good enough. Taking new ground, doing something different, following the call of God on your life will always invite opposition. What I’ve learnt is that intimidation always gets louder when you listen to it.  

When the naysayers stood below Nehemiah, taunting him to get off the wall and do something else, he basically asked them to pass him up another brick! He turned their intimidation into inspiration to stay on that wall. He used their mocking as motivation to keep building his dream. This wall had laid in ruin for over 100 years, but now through the determination and focus of one fearless man it was rebuilt in 52 days.

What is intimidating you? Who is stopping you from pursuing the dream God has placed in your heart? Life passes by too quickly to allow the voices inside your head talk you out of it. You don't have time to worry about what other people may think of you. God has called you for such a time as this. He is on your side. You have nothing to fear. Today, make a decision to shut the door on intimidation, grab another brick, and stay on the path God has called you to walk. You have a wall to build, a purpose to fulfil and a destiny to chase.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I know that with you by my side I have nothing to fear. Help me shut the door to intimidation. I want to fulfil all the plans and purposes you have for me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Hope in dark places
30 September 2019

Luke 24:36
‘While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them. “Peace be with you.”’

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Recently my two year old daughter ran through to our bedroom early one morning shouting, “Daddy, I’m scared of the dark”. At first she couldn't see where she was going. She knew I was close by but she was still distressed. However, the moment I spoke and then reached out my hand in response to her cry everything changed. I pulled her up onto the bed to reassure her. Within seconds, that fear of the dark had been replaced by the love, joy and comfort of her father. It was a clear picture that even when you find yourself surrounded by darkness, your Heavenly Father is always within touching distance.

When Jesus was crucified, His disciples found themselves full of fear. They were in a dark place.

As they contemplated how to move forward in life without their Master, He appeared to them. “Peace be with you” Jesus declared, reminding them again of everything he had taught them over the past three years. He had told them on numerous occasions that He would have to die for the sins of the world, but that wouldn't be the end. He would rise again so that all humanity could be forgiven in the sight of God, receive His everlasting love and be equipped with a power that would enable us to live each day victoriously. He conquered the grave so the whole world would know that even on our darkest days, hope can still shine through.

You may be in a dark place today. You’ve lost a loved one, the business is in trouble, your relationship has broken down. Maybe you are tired of fighting the same battles: that addiction won’t break, there’s an ongoing health issue that continues to discourage you, or perhaps you’re just dissatisfied with where you are in life. Today I want to remind you that God is closer to you than you think. Call out to Him and you will hear a still voice that silences all your fears. Reach out to Him and you will find peace in your storm. Take hold of God’s promises and you will experience a real love that won’t let go. Let hope rise in your heart again, and the darkness that surrounds you will disperse.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that no matter where I am, how I feel or what I’ve done, you are always with me. Even when darkness surrounds me, I know I can walk in your peace, love and victory.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




My dream shall come to pass
23 September 2019

Joel 2:28
‘…I will pour out my Spirit on all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.’

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When God created you, He made you with a smile on His face. He took time to equip you with gifts and talents. He also gave you the ability to dream big dreams and see you accomplish them.

However, a dream won't just happen. It will require you to make some changes, to grow, to break habits of the past. It will take time, commitment and a firm decision to push through the various challenges that will arise.

We all have dreams. Whether it is to start your own business, see that relationship restored, have a family, own your own house, lose some weight, send your children to university, be free from debt, and so on. We all have dreams, but every dream has its challenges. There may be pain, heartache and disappointment, and things that don’t seem to make sense along the way. No one escapes these trials, and depending on what you face, it can change you forever. How you respond to these challenges will be key to whether the dream comes to pass or not. You could come out of that tough time bitter, or come through it better. You could stay knocked down and discouraged or you could get up and go again. The reason why so many dreams fail is because too many people give up too soon. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won’t happen at all.

Don’t bury that dream any longer. You may have tried for it last year, five years ago or 30 years ago, and it didn't work out. Perhaps it wasn't the right time then, but something is stirring inside you again. Today, shake off the negativity and stop making excuses. Get in the right frame of mind. Lift your level of faith. Remind yourself that God handmade you, He put those dreams in you. Now is the time to go after it. Now is the time to be courageous. Now is the time to change direction.

As you look toward the future, don't allow doubt to talk you out of it any longer. You may not have all of the resources, you might not be in the best circumstances, it may look impossible. That's ok! Do what you can with what you have. Have the courage to try again. When you put yourself in a position where you can’t retreat, it’s amazing how your relationship with God moves to a whole new level. It is not too late. If you believe it, then your dream can come to pass.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the dreams you have put in me. Give me the confidence, courage and connections to believe that they can come to pass.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




What happened to gratitude?
16 September 2019

Luke 17:17
'Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?"'

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Do you take regular moments to thank God for all He has done? In this passage of text, ten desperate men called out to Jesus to be healed from leprosy. All were cleansed but only one came back to thank Him for what He had done. There may have been a million reasons why the other nine didn't return. Perhaps some of them went into shock at what had just happened, others may have run to their families to show them their miracle. It is possible one or two of them just forgot to say thank you. Whatever the excuse was, none of them were good enough.  

It is easy to read this account and be saddened by their lack of appreciation towards Jesus.  However, we can all be guilty of doing just the same. One minute we cry out to God desperate for him to act, intervene or turn our situation around, but when He does we quickly move onto our next request. We can be so busy in our lives that our gratitude slowly slips down the priority line. Now, there is nothing wrong with bombarding heaven with our petitions. Prayer is the greatest weapon we have. But are we as passionate with our thanks as we are with our demands? 

As God is a loving Father, we should take time each day to thank Him for His goodness. Even in seasons where it looks like He hasn't heard you, your gratitude shouldn't disappear. If anything it should increase. Thank Him that even though you messed up, He is lining up another chance for you to succeed. Thank Him for picking you up when you were down. Thank Him for the air you breathe. Thanking God for what He has done, or for what He is about to do, releases faith. It puts you in a positive frame of mind and demonstrates to God how much you love and appreciate Him. Today, change your grumbling to gratitude.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I am so grateful for all you have done for me. Thank you for the life you have given me. Even in my darkest and most challenging times, may I never stop praising you.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Caught in conflict
09 September 2019

Exodus 14:14
‘The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still’

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If you have conflict in your life, you are not alone. Everyone will have dealt with conflict at some point, and many will be dealing with it right now. There could be conflict at home, at work, in the family, in your community, in your church or any number of situations. You can even have inner conflict that rages in you. Your heart and flesh are at war. The flesh wants what feels good in the moment, whereas the heart knows what you are doing isn't quite right. Conflict means tension. If tension is not managed correctly, then there will be a negative consequence later down the line, which potentially causes much damage in the process.

Whatever the conflict is, you were not designed to carry it or try to figure it out all by yourself. Conflict may be near impossible to avoid, but the moment you find yourself caught up in a situation that is causing concern, robbing you of your joy, keeping you awake at night, then you need to surrender it all to Jesus. The longer you stay in a battle you were not supposed to fight, the weaker you will become. You can lose the perspective of the bigger picture as you become so inward focused. 

Today, lay down your fleshly desires, put aside your differences, drop your ego. Don't attempt to be the hero by fighting on alone. Don't lower yourself to the standards of those that are trying to pull you down. Don't give in to the temptation that continually tries to pull you away from the life God wants you to lead. Look to Jesus. Allow him to be your strength in weakness, your wisdom in times of worry, your peace when confronted with pain. Nobody escapes conflict, but with the Holy Spirit alive in you, you can come out victorious! You can break free. You can move forward. Trust God by giving it to him and letting it go. If you can do that, then the Lord will fight for you.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I’m sorry for being distracted by the conflict I am in. Give me the peace, patience and wisdom I need to move through this and reign victorious.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The narrow door
02 September 2019

Luke 13:24
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”

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Contrary to what people may believe, living for Christ isn’t the easy option in life. It is a challenge. A challenge to your heart, mind and flesh. Just because Jesus is your Lord and Saviour does not mean you are now exempt from trials and heartache. Nor does it remove the temptations that this world has to offer.

When Jesus speaks in Luke 13, He reminds us all that following him is not a game or something you tell others to make yourself look good. You can’t say you are a Christian but continue to lead a lifestyle that doesn't reflect those values. Now, God doesn't expect you to be perfect. He knows you are going to mess up, make mistakes, and say the wrong things. That you will think, say and do things you later regret. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross and rise again so that you could receive his love and forgiveness. He also sent His Holy Spirit to empower you to live the most Christ-like life possible. However, you can know all this and still not live an authentic life for Him.

Does your lifestyle reflect that He is alive in you or do you wear your salvation like a badge, only displaying it when it suits you? Following Christ will cost you everything; your comfort, your popularity and for some, your life. The broad road may look more attractive, convenient, easy, but short-term pleasure will eventually result in long-term pain.  

Decide today that you are all-in for the cause of Christ. Draw close to the heart of God. Activate your courage, realign your priorities, turn up the light that is longing to shine out of you. The world doesn't need another lukewarm Christian, it needs a generation that chooses to enter through the narrow gate.

Prayer:

Dear God,

It is so tempting to walk the broad path in life. To go with the flow, follow the crowd and choose the easy option. I don't want to live like that. Empower me each day to make the wise decisions and keep me on track so that I may enter through the narrow gate.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Have a good attitude
27 August 2019

Colossians 3:12
‘…Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’

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At 17 years of age I had the honour of playing football at a professional club. Written on the walls of the training ground were inspirational quotes to help motivate the players. One read, ‘to be a professional footballer takes 60% attitude and 40% ability.’ I’m not sure who came up with that statement or how scientifically accurate it is - but the point of the message was this: reaching a level of success is more about your attitude than your ability.  

How is your attitude? Do you wake up excited to face the day? Or are you still dwelling on some of the hurts of yesterday? As you go through life it is easy to focus on all the wrong stuff. How people treated you was unfair, what they said about you isn't true, the way it worked out didn't go to plan. In difficult times it is tempting to allow a bad attitude to creep in. We can sometimes hold on to our hurt and disappointment too long, leading us to become bitter, sour and resentful. These are unattractive qualities that will isolate you and limit your success.

Your attitude will determine your altitude. If you want to soar and flourish in all God has called you to do, then keeping a good attitude is a must. Don't allow the difficult times to bring you down. Paul writes in Colossians that you are to dress in the wardrobe God has picked out for you. Meaning each day you are to clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Have you ever noticed that the clothes you put on in the morning don't leap out of the drawers all by themselves, landing perfectly on your body? You have to choose what you want to wear and then put them on. It is the same with attitude. A good attitude doesn't just happen, you have to choose it and then demonstrate it with the actions that follow.

No one wants to be around that person who is always miserable and complaining. Be different from the crowd, walk around with a smile on your face, demonstrate forgiveness to those who have done you wrong. You can’t change other people, but you can change yourself. Get your mind going in the right direction. Thank God that what He started, He's going to finish - that He has great plans for you, that you haven't seen your best day yet. If you adjust that attitude today then you will travel further, climb higher and be more fruitful than you ever have been before.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me to have a good attitude each day. I let go of the negativity that is stopping me moving forward into all you have for me. In all I do today, I promise to give my best.  

In Jesus' name,

Amen




It isn't the right time yet
19 August 2019

1 Timothy 6:15
... Which God will bring about in His own time...’

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I am blessed with a beautiful daughter called Lilah. She is two years old and growing fast. Every Thursday is a daddy-daughter day. With Lisa hard at work it’s a perfect opportunity to spend time with my girl. Recently I took her to the cinema to watch Toy Story 4. We hadn’t done this before so I thought it would be a bundle of fun. I had prepared the snacks, showed her the preview and paid for the rather expensive tickets. Taking our seats, minutes before the movie began, I was pleased with our progress. However, before the opening credits of the film had finished, I was carrying a tearful little girl out of the cinema and back to the car. We were there for less than five minutes!

Finding yourself in a situation or season that you are not ready for can be costly. So many of us want to rush through the various seasons or stages of our development, that we miss some of the lessons we are supposed to learn along the way. Lessons that are designed to sustain us when we arrive at our intended destination.

It’s great to have the determination and desire to want to succeed in life. It’s inspiring to chase down your destiny. It’s wonderful to dream big and want to change the world, but if you are to be successful, it is going to take time. When God births a dream in your heart, it probably isn’t going to be accomplished by 9am the next morning. He is going to take you on a journey that will challenge your faith, grow your character and test your patience.

Sometimes we get so anxious about our future or our dreams that we try to force things in our own strength. The root of this is a lack of trust in God. God could give you exactly what you want at the flick of a switch, but he also knows that if he did that and you're not ready, then it will cause more harm than good.

Without doubt God has birthed purpose into your heart. He designed you to live a full and meaningful life. He wants you to succeed in everything you put your hand to. But, a God given purpose coming into fruition is connected to His timing, not yours. Fighting God's clock instead of accepting the process He wants to take you through, is only going to slow you down even more.

Today can I encourage you to start trusting in God’s timing again? Lilah wasn’t really ready for the whole cinema experience and it cost me something. Perhaps God hasn’t opened that door just yet because the timing isn’t quite right. He’s protecting you and preparing you for something bigger. Get in sync with God’s clock and not only will you see the desires of your heart come to pass, but you will be able to embrace, sustain and build on them when they come.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that your timing in all things for my life is perfect. Help me to trust you more as you prepare my heart for greater things to come.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Hearing God's voice
12 August 2019

Matthew 11:15
‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear’

 

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Have you ever asked God to speak to you but all you hear is silence? You’ve asked Heaven to show you a sign but still you see nothing? Having been in ministry for several years, I’ve had many people ask me to give them a Word from God. Some enquire out of desperation, others want that sense of assurance that they are on the right track. The reality is that we all want to hear from God. We all desire answers as we look to navigate through the seasons of life. So why is it that we can not always hear Him when we need Him? Has He stopped speaking? Or have we stopped listening?

God hasn't stopped speaking, but perhaps there is other noise in our life that has drowned him out. We saturate our minds with so much stuff throughout the day; meaningless conversations with people, about people that we don't even know. We watch TV for the sake of it. We spend hours scrolling through social media. I am not suggesting that any of them are bad or wrong in isolation, but together they will serve as a distraction. When I engage in a conversation with my two-year old daughter and she is watching her favourite cartoon, then no matter how articulate, expressive or loud my voice gets, she will not hear me. Distraction is the thief to your divine intervention.

God has not run out of things to say to you. He is waiting on you to get away from all that noise so that you can enter into an atmosphere of calm, a place of rest. Taking a moment to be still will allow you to hear His voice. It is a voice that can bring healing to your hurt, peace to your pain and solutions to your problems. Don't go through life thinking God has stopped talking to you. Each morning, wake up with an ear to hear what the Lord Almighty wants say to you that day.

Prayer:

Dear God,

What an honour it is to hear from you. Help me to remove the other noises in my day so I may clearly hear and listen to your voice.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




I am praying for you
05 August 2019

Mark 7:32
'There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.'

 

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The Bible encourages us to pray for each other. To pray for those we like and for those we may not like. To pray for those we know and for those we don't know. To pray for those in need and for those in positions of power. Praying for others is a must if you are a follower of Christ. It is one thing to say you are praying for someone else, but I wonder when you last did it.

The above verse comes from an account in the Bible where a group of people were committed to getting their friend's need before Jesus. Their friend was deaf and mute. Life couldn't have been easy for this man. No doubt this troubled man would have been unsure as to why on this day his friends were dragging him across town, through a crowd with such fervour and excitement. Shocked at what he was witnessing, he watched on as they humbly threw themselves to the ground to beg Jesus to come and touch him. Jesus responded to their request and this man was miraculously healed.  

We all have good intentions when we tell that person we are praying for them. We are quick to offer our support in the moment. A prayer goes up to heaven on that day and we can feel our job is done. God hears every prayer, so saying it once is better than not saying it at all, but it is good for the soul to place someone else’s needs consistently before God. To ask God to heal them, to provide for them, to give them that promotion. To keep praying day and night until the answer comes.  

You don't have to tell everyone you are praying for them - just do it. Whether they know it, need it or like it, praying gets the attention of heaven and releases the power of God in their situation. No prayers are wasted. So what are you waiting for?! Be the best Christian you can be. Make a commitment this week to pray for others before yourself and you may just witness, like the people in this account, the greatest miracle you have ever seen take place before your own eyes. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

I lift up all those people around me. Would you show up in their situations today. May your name be glorified.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Speak it out
29 July 2019

Mark 11:23-24
“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea," and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours…”

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Your spoken words have power! It is important to speak out that which you believe and want to see. Jesus was very intentional in teaching this truth to his disciples. In Mark 11:24 He demonstrates what can happen when you line up right thinking, right believing and right speaking. “…If anyone SAYS to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he SAYS will happen, it will be done for him.”  Many of us believe that God is good, that He can do miracles, that He has the power to answer your prayers, but how often do we line up our speaking with our believing?

Your speech carries authority. Every time you speak out words that line up with God’s heart, faith is released. When faith is released something has to happen. Heaven has to respond. So if anxiety has walked into your life or fear keeps pulling you down or stress keeps showing up in your situation, you don't have to accept it. Don’t let the enemy do all the talking. Open your mouth and speak back to that which is halting your progress. The best antidote for a troubled mind is to declare God’s Word out loud.

Now, you don’t have to wait or find yourself in a crisis before you start declaring God’s word out loud. You should be doing it every day, no matter what season you find yourself in. Get into good habits. Wake up each morning and proclaim His promises over your life. When you are in the car driving to work, shout those scriptures out over and over. At the end of the day, before your head hits the pillow at night, express your gratitude to God verbally. When you start saying things, things start happening.  

You can’t remain silent any longer. If you want to see God move in your situation, speak it out. If you want to see healing in your life, speak it out. If you want to see your dreams come to fruition, speak it out. If you believe that you can receive what you need from Him, then confess it today!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Your word declares that there is power in the tongue. Thank you that as I speak, faith is released and the impossible shall come to pass.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




There is a better plan
22 July 2019

Revelation 22:13
'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.'

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Have you ever made a plan that didn't go to plan? Recently Lisa and I reserved a barbecue at a store that would prepare it, ready for collection. However, one hour after its reservation we received a phone call from the store saying that they had accidentally sold it and it was the last one in stock! Unhappy at the news, we laid aside our frustrations and decided to go to that store anyway to pick out another model. When we arrived, I noticed that there was a display model of the one we wanted and after much discussion they agreed to sell it to us at an incredible price - a much better price than we would have paid should everything have gone to our original plan.

Sometimes we think we know what the best plan is for our life, so we try to do everything in our own strength to make it happen. We are so set on our targets and goals that we have already mapped out a route in our mind before even considering what God has to say about it. There is nothing wrong with planning. There is a well-known saying that goes “if you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail”. Planning, preparing and plotting are vital ingredients when it comes to wanting to succeed in life, but how do you react when things don't work out exactly how you envisaged? Do you freak out? Are you tempted to quit? Does the fear of failure quickly plague your thoughts, bringing you to a standstill? Or are you willing to put your complete trust in God, because you know He has a greater plan?

Although the model of my barbecue is insignificant when it comes to the big picture of life, the principle isn’t. Just because what you desire in life doesn't come to pass in the way you thought it would, doesn't mean that God has stopped working on it. He knows what is in your heart and He knows the best route to take you. So even if the season you are in right now doesn't make sense, hold onto this scripture in Revelation 22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

God is in your tomorrow as much as He is in your today. He can see what you cannot see. That is why you need to activate your faith when you hit a diversion, trial or valley. Faith is believing first without seeing. Don't waste any more time on being disappointed. Perhaps you didn't get that promotion, the relationship didn't last, the sale of your house fell through. It will be OK. God has a bigger and better plan in place. Your setback is a set-up for even greater things to come.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that your ways are above my ways. Help me to activate my faith when I find myself in an unfamiliar place. May I always trust that you hold the bigger picture in your hand.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The garden of your heart
15 July 2019

Matthew 13:22
'The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.'

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Maintaining a garden is not easy. When Lisa and I purchased our first home a few years ago we were excited that it came with a garden. However, that excitement soon turned to into a struggle when I failed to keep on top of basic responsibilities. The weeds soon spiralled out of control and before we knew it, over half of the garden looked like the Amazon rainforest! Recently we had to invest in a landscaping company to fix it, all because of my lack of discipline in keeping on top of things from the start. My garden always had the potential to be amazing, but unless the ground was cultivated on a regular basis, it was never going to be a thing of beauty.  

Jesus said our hearts are like gardens that have the ability to produce “fruit”. Fruits like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. However, for any of that fruit to manifest, it is vital that our heart is fed by God’s Word. It is nurtured through consistent prayer and is protected by boundaries to keep away the weeds of sin that do all they can to halt further growth.

Your heart may be entangled with weeds today. Perhaps through poor choices, unfortunate circumstances or just a simple lack of attention. Maybe it’s a weed of resentment, jealousy or unforgiveness, that started out as a small and insignificant thought but is now overgrown and choking the life out of you.  

Whatever the weeds are, you don't have to live with them. Don't go another day neglecting the garden of your heart. Call on the master landscaper to assist you. He has already paid a great price to ensure you have access to everything you need. Jesus Christ can help you. The result you desire may be instantaneous or it may be a transformational process which will take shape over time. Either way, today is the day to get your garden in order.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that sin can have no hold over me. I ask that you remove the weeds that entangle my heart. Set me free so that I may flourish and live in the fullness of your glory.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




There is greatness in you
08 July 2019

1 John 4:4
‘Greater is he in you than he who is in the world’

 

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There is a seed of greatness in everyone, but it’s down to the individual to nurture, develop and bring it to fruition. You may not know it but without doubt there is greatness in you. Whether you’re a grandma, a stay-at-home mum or dad, or a CEO of a business, you still have room to become a better version of yourself. There is untapped potential buried deep inside you desperate to get out and blossom, but it’s going to take effort on your part.  

A great musician doesn't wake up great. They may have inherited a gift or talent but it still requires hours of practice, months of discipline and years of dedication. Find out who you want to be, where you want to go and what you you want to achieve. Put a plan in place to reach your goals.

Excellence takes effort. It means staying teachable, learning along the way. It means getting up again when you find yourself being knocked down. It means receiving constructive criticism from those who may be ahead of you in your field. Greatness doesn't just happen, it’s developed.

God wants the greatness he has birthed in you to come out in its fullness. He wants you to advance, flourish and grow so much that He sent the most incredible friend you could ever walk with. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in you, to help you, to guide you. Reminding yourself each day of this truth will radically transform your life. God has given you all you need to succeed. So make the most of the 1,440 minutes you get today. You can be the best mum to your child, you can be the most productive employee for your employer, you can build a business that impacts the world. You can be the best version of yourself if you stir up that desire to always want to get better.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me to remember that with you in me greatness is always possible. Thank you for helping me to be the best person I can be, every day.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The gift of contentment
01 July 2019

1 Timothy 6:6
‘…But godliness with contentment is great gain’

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It is not easy being content in life. Often we can be so busy chasing the next dream, promotion or relationship that even when we arrive at our intended destination, we still remain unhappy. Everyone has their problems, some bigger than others. Could it be that one obstacle is blocking the view of all the good things you have? That one current fight has blurred your vision to your other current victories? That one hurdle appears so monumental that you’ve forgotten all the others you have jumped over to get to where you are?

Being in a contented state means you have an ease of mind. Now, you may be in a season that has fallen short of certain expectations. You find it hard to experience contentment due to the negative distractions that surround you. But today can I encourage you to take a fresh look at who you are, where you’ve come from and what you do have. No one has everything together but everyone has at least one thing to be thankful for. It could be your family, your husband, your wife, your job, your house, your health, your friends. Then there is your salvation! Pause and think about the sacrifice God made in sending His Son Jesus so that you and I could receive forgiveness from our sins. That you could wake up every day to new grace and new mercies. That should be more than enough to fill you with gratitude!

Change your language, thoughts and actions. The energy you use on complaining to God could be spent thanking Him for what you do have. You may not be where you want to be but being content with where God has you now, can release you into the next part of your destiny. Contentment shifts perspective, which allows you to see the blessings in your life and prepares your heart for the ones that are to come. Focus on the good things and it won’t be long until joy fills your heart, peace invades your mind and favour starts showing up in your walk. Learn the gift of contentment.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me to be content in the season you have me right now. I ask that during this time you shape and mould me into the person you want me to be. Thank you for all you have done for me and continue to do.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Failed expectations
24 June 2019

Proverbs 23:18
'Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.'

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Have you ever had high hopes for something, but when you experienced it, it didn't meet your expectations? On my recent holiday with my wife Lisa and little girl Lilah, we were all excited about visiting a particular theme park. We had planned our week around this big day out for Lilah. However when we got there, it became very apparent that everybody else with a two-year old toddler had the same idea. What was supposed to be fun quickly turned into a painful lesson in patience. Queue after queue led to tears, frustration and disappointment as our expectations were not met.

Although this is a trivial example, unmet expectations are never a welcome experience. Perhaps you had an expectation that you would be married by now and it still hasn't happened. Maybe you are married but your reality of marriage is not what you had expected! You had high expectations about the job you are currently in, but now you’re there you remain unfulfilled. It may be your prayer life that is under question. You thought God would have answered your prayers by now, but the breakthrough is yet to show up. Failed expectations rob you of your perspective. They eat away the joy of your day, week and the season you are in. All you can think about is what could have, would have and should have been.

Everyone will encounter unmet expectations, but your perspective on them will determine how quickly you can move forward. Spending too long in a negative frame of mind destroys your peace, which slows down your level of productivity. You may not be able to change what has happened, but you can change the way you deal with it. Use that disappointment to determine the trajectory of your future. Remind yourself of the good things in your life, how far you have come, the prayers God did answer to get you where you are today. Don't allow discontent to divert you from the plans and purposes God has that are unique to you. Pick yourself up, set those expectations high again and believe that the best is yet to come.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I’m sorry for dwelling too long on my disappointments. Today is a new day to set my expectations high again. I know you are with me and will lead me to where I need to be at just the right time.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Nowhere to go
17 June 2019

Psalm 142:3
‘When my spirit was overwhelmed within, then you knew my path…’

 

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Feeling trapped is never a pleasant experience. I was once scheduled to fly on a plane from Dallas to Houston. The boarding process had gone smoothly and I was seated all ready for take off by 6pm. At 10:30pm I was still seated on the same plane on the same runway! For four and a half hours I sat there hoping that any minute I would depart for my destination. In fact the flight never took off and was eventually cancelled, meaning I had to take an alternative route, which is another story. The whole time I was on that plane, all I could do was sit and wait.

Being trapped in life, not knowing how to get up, get out or move forward can be a daunting experience, especially if the progress you desire is out of your hands. Perhaps you are wanting to buy a new house but find yourself in a chain that prohibits your next move. Maybe you are desperate for that promotion or career shift but until someone else moves on, you can't move up. It could be the physical or mental pain you have endured that refuses to budge, which stops you experiencing the freedom you crave. The sense of being trapped can leave you feeling confused, discouraged and helpless.

However desperate your situation is though, Jesus understands. For three days he was trapped inside a tomb. For three days it looked like he had lost his fight. For three days it looked liked all humanity would be lost forever, but Jesus had another plan! On that third day Jesus would rise again. He would break through the chains of sin and smash through the bonds of death. His resurrection would ensure a way out for every one of His followers, no matter how stuck they are.

You may be trapped, but it’s not over! Don’t lose hope, your situation can turn around for the better. God can open up a door, even when there looks like there is no way out. God can defy all the odds stacked against you. God can set you free. Nothing is too hard for him. Be patient; your next move - your freedom - is about to happen.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that with you there is always a way out. Lord help me break free and move forward. I want to fulfil all the desires that you have placed in me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




I call, you answer
27 May 2019

Psalm 120:1
‘I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me.’

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The sun is shining, so my daughter Lilah and I are out playing in the garden when the phone rings. It is my wife Lisa. She is at the local supermarket having just completed our weekly shop. However, after having all the items scanned, a sinking feeling comes over her. She has left her purse at home! She cannot do anything until I show up with the money. Waiting on me to arrive was more uncomfortable for her than the mistake itself. Lisa said those 15 minutes felt like an hour!

It can feel very similar when we call out to God. We find ourselves in trouble or facing a situation that we don't know how to deal with. We call out in prayer, believing that God will come to our rescue, and He does, but often on His own time schedule. We need the breakthrough now, not tomorrow. Waiting on Him is the real test of faith.  

In Psalm 120, it is clear that when you call upon the name of the Lord, He will answer you. It doesn't say that He may respond or ignore you altogether. He will answer you. That is a guaranteed promise. Knowing that is the truth, why then do we worry when He doesn't show up at the time we thought He would? God knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. He has all the connections, resources and solutions you need. He is in complete control.

Today, be reassured that whatever mountain stands before you, God has already prepared a way for you to go around it, over it or through it. Every time your prayers go up, Heaven will come down. The results may not be instant, but the moment you call out to Him, get ready, for the answer is on its way.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I am forever grateful that you hear and respond to my every prayer. Help me to see your hand at work in every area of my life, even when it doesn't make sense at the time.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




There is a leader in you
20 May 2019

Hebrews 12:1 (The Message)
'Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit!'

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I recently watched a TV show about people wanting to join the SAS. The Special Air Service is one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. During training, every challenge you take, every test you face, every experience you endure is designed to push you to your limits physically and mentally.

One of the exercises the cadets had to do was a climb up the side of a snowy mountain in blizzard conditions. It was a competition but they were working in pairs. The team who won it had a great strategy. Instead of standing side by side, they had someone lead and someone follow. Both of them were wearing snow shoes, but the one in front, the leader, had to do most of the work. It was their job to set the pace, break through the fresh snow and make a clear path for their partner follow. The soldier behind had to carry some extra equipment, but they didn't lose any energy in trying to find their way forward. All they had to do was stand in the footsteps of their leader.

A dynamic leader clears the way and shows people what path to take. You may not see it, think it or believe it, but there is a leader in you. Leadership can be defined in many ways, but a simple definition is ‘influence’. Depending on your gifting you can influence a small number of people or a large number of people, but as a follower of Jesus Christ you have a responsibility to influence others in a positive way through the teachings of Jesus. This can be done through your actions, words and example.

When God calls you to step out into the unknown, there may not be an obvious path to take, but that’s why He called you! You may not feel qualified, have all the resource you need or enough experience compared to others around you, but don't let that stop you answering the call. Don't talk yourself out of conquering that mountain before you have even taken the first step. There is a leader in you, equipped and empowered for the journey ahead. When you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you partnered with the greatest force on the planet, you enrolled onto the winning side. So set the pace, break the ground, blaze a trail and allow others to follow in your footsteps.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me be the leader you have called me to be. As I step out in faith, may my actions encourage and inspire others to follow in my footsteps.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




A stolen heart
13 May 2019

2 Samuel 15:6
‘Absalom behaved in this way towards all the Israelites who came to the King for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel’

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Absolam was the third son of King David. The Bible describes him as a handsome man with a luxuriant head of hair. He rode a chariot and had 50 men that went ahead of him. He appeared to have it all. However, he was not satisfied with his position in life and made a plan to overthrow his father’s reign so that he could become king. He did it by stealing the hearts of the men of Israel. His interest appeared to be for the people, yet all along it was to further his gain and take the crown.

To steal means to take what is not yours without permission or right, especially secretly or by force. A few years ago while having dinner with some friends in central London, a man approached us where we were sitting. He placed some magazines on our table. After we declined his offer to purchase his magazines he walked off. A few minutes later my friend realised that his mobile phone on the table had vanished. The magazines had served as a decoy to distract us from this man’s real intentions. The distraction allowed this valuable item to be taken right under our eyes and before we knew it, it was gone. It had been stolen.

The devil wants to distract you so that He can steal your heart. Sometimes his attacks will be obvious. Other times it can be done discreetly. Either way, you must prioritise the protection of your heart. Your heart is valuable. The Bible says in Matthew 6:21, ‘…where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.’  Therefore you must guard it, strengthen it and check it on a regular basis. 

The human heart can be fickle, but it can also be an unstoppable force that moves you forward, towards the destiny God has in store for you. So don't give it away to someone who showers you with cheap flattery. Don't allow that corruption to override your conviction or that deception to distract you. A stolen heart will never be satisfied, whereas a secure heart will soar to unprecedented heights. Take a look at your heart today.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that my heart is anchored in you. Help me strengthen and protect the treasure in me so that I will fulfil the promises you have in store for my life. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




A servant heart
06 May 2019

Mark 10:45
‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

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Recently I watched a film based on the life story of a man called Desmond Doss. Desmond Doss was awarded The Medal of Honour for the lives he saved during World War Two. He wasn't your average soldier. Through his faith in God he had a strong conviction that even though he wanted to serve his country on the frontline as a combat medic, he would do so without carrying a weapon. He was ridiculed, teased and bullied by his own comrades during training for taking this stance. Those who trained with him thought he had lost his mind. However, through his immense bravery, he won the hearts of many and alone saved 75 men from almost certain death. Lives were changed forever because of the servant heart of one man.

Jesus was intentional with His actions. Throughout the New Testament we see Him consistently humbling himself by getting down on His knees to serve others. His message was one of love, compassion and service. From the wedding at Cana to His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, He demonstrated how to be a servant daily to His disciples and all who followed Him. He washed feet. He walked to visit and heal the sick and the lame. He fed thousands and spent time with those no one else cared about. He even changed His schedule to raise a young girl from the dead! Jesus was the ultimate servant and He has commissioned, equipped and empowered us to do the same.

There is something powerful about service. Not only does it change the lives of those you serve, it changes something in you. Don't waste time complaining about the people who don't recognise you or acknowledge your gifts and talents. Don't sit around waiting for someone to give you a golden ticket to your destiny. Make a decision to be a servant. Open your eyes to the needs around you and get involved. You may not feel qualified, have all the answers or enough resource, but don't let that stop you trying to make a difference. The reality is, when you serve someone else with a pure heart, God has a habit of bringing your own dreams to life. If you want to be a leader - someone with influence, a man or woman that leaves a mark in history - it starts and ends with a heart to serve people.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me take my eyes off myself and onto the needs that surround me. Give me the courage and wisdom to lay aside my own agenda so that I may serve others. May I make a difference in someones life today.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The stone was rolled away
23 April 2019

Mark 16:4
‘But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.’

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When Mary and some of her friends went down to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus after his death, they had not given much thought to how they would get inside. As they approached the place where Jesus lay, one of the women asked “who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” In other words, how could they remove the obstacle that would block them from being in the presence of Jesus, their Master and Lord. Little did they know, that the stone had already been moved to one side, as Jesus had risen from the dead. He was not there!

Easter is a powerful reminder of all Jesus did for humanity. Because of His barbaric death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, death can have no hold over you. The veil in the temple was torn and the stone was rolled away. As a result of Christ’s victory over the grave, He made a way for you to receive the gift of salvation. You can’t buy or earn this gift. You receive it by repenting of your sins and inviting Jesus to be the Lord and Saviour of your heart.

Jesus didn’t go through all that suffering for you not to receive his benefits. Jesus pushed through the pain, stood up from where he lay and got out of that tomb for you. For He knew that on the other side of his persistence was your breakthrough, on the other side of his fight was your freedom, on the other side of his death was our eternal life.

You may be down today but don’t you stay down, get up and go again. The stone has been rolled away, you are on the winning side, not just for Easter but for all eternity. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

May I never forget the price you paid to forgive me of all my sins. Thank you that because the stone was rolled away and you rose from the dead, I can overcome any obstacle that stands in my way. Victory is mine.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Worship is a weapon
15 April 2019

2 Chronicles 20:22
'As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.'

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There is a story in the Old Testament about a man called Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was a ruler over the Kingdom of Judah. He had a successful reign due to his willingness to obey and follow the commands of God. In this account in 2 Chronicles 20, we read how the Moabites, Ammonites and some of the Meunites came to attack Jehoshaphat and his people. They had a vast army that would take a miracle to stop them. Jehoshaphat went to pray and asked God how they could defeat this army and win the battle. God’s response - to appoint men to sing and praise Him.

What a strange battle plan. Here is this large, ferocious army approaching, but you are to lift your voices in praise. You won’t need any weapons, just an orchestra of worship.  

There is something powerful about worshipping God when the giants you are facing look too big to bring down. Worship takes your eyes off yourself and onto the almighty God. Worship is an acknowledgement that the God you serve is in control. Worship reminds you that the battle you are engaging in, is not yours - it belongs to the Lord.

You may be in a crisis today, whereby it looks like there is no escape. You have heartbreak on your right, financial trouble on your left, a backlog of mistakes behind you and a terrible report ahead of you. You are under attack! Don't panic, don't quit, don't run away. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord. Praise your way out of your problem, worship your way out of worry. Worship is a weapon. The moment you open your mouth, rivers of living water shall flow. Make a daily decision to be a worshipper, for when you do, not only will you get all of heaven’s attention, but you will activate the supernatural power of God in your life, and taste the victory you desire.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that my worship is a weapon. I declare and decree your goodness over my life. May my worship tear down every stronghold that attempts to hold me back. May my praises give me the victory.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Worship Connects you to God
08 April 2019

Psalm 95:6
‘Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our maker…’

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What do you think of when you hear the word “worship”? Worship is more than just a couple of songs we sing in church at the weekend. Worship is a lifestyle, a habit, an attitude of the heart. Worship is who we are. God created us to worship him, not because he needs your worship - He is not sitting up in heaven hoping that today you will throw him a bit of praise. God is bigger than that! In fact, scripture tells us in Psalm 19:1 that ‘the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hand’. Creation worships God every second of every day, so he doesn't need your worship, but he does want your worship.

Worship connects you to the presence of God. The moment you position your heart and open your mouth to worship, you take your eyes off yourself and onto our all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God. By making time to worship Him, you are affirming that He is the Lord of your life. He is first place in your mind, body and soul. 

Perhaps your worship has dried up due to the current situation you find yourself in; the finances are in the red, the marriage is deteriorating, the business is in trouble and you don't see a way forward. Can I encourage you to start worshipping God again? Make some space in your day to lift up the name of Jesus. For when you worship, the atmosphere changes, hope is ignited in your heart and strength begins to rise inside you.  

Don't allow your situation to dictate your level of worship. Tell your situation that you are a child of God with a new song on your lips! 

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for all you have done for me. I will lift my eyes and worship you with all my heart. May your praise always be on my lips.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Procrastination is the thief of time
01 April 2019

Proverbs 13:4
'A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied'

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My daughter is two years old and learning to speak. Recently, she has been developing a rather consistent response to my questions. If I ask her to clean her teeth, she replies “soon Daddy”. If I tell her to put her shoes on, she responds “soon Daddy”. When I command her to put the cat down, she answers “soon Daddy”! There is something about the flesh that always wants to put things off. We want to wait for a time that may be more convenient to us instead of just doing what needs to be done there and then.  

When my brother and I were growing up, one of my father’s favourite quotes was “procrastination is the thief of time”. Procrastination can be described as delaying something that requires immediate attention. He would use this phrase to encourage us to do what needed to be done in the shortest time possible. It wasn't about rushing a job, it was about making the best use of our time.  

How you choose to spend your time will determine how far you go in life. Every minute of your day is valuable. The longer you leave something that needs your urgent attention, the more minutes you are wasting.  

If God asks you to do something, don't allow your answer to be “soon Daddy”. There may be a process involved, it may look impossible to accomplish. Perhaps what He’s calling you to do is uncomfortable. Be obedient, make a decision and take a step of faith. If you get it wrong, put it right. Learn from that mistake and move on. With the clock ticking, the worst thing you can do is nothing. So make a start, make a change, turn the page. Why wait for tomorrow, when it can be done today?

Prayer:

Dear God,

Give me the courage to act on my decisions. Help me to maximise every day by working hard and being faithful with what you have given me. May I live fully satisfied.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Thoughts can harm us or help us
26 March 2019

Isaiah 26:3
'You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.'

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What you do with your thought life is important. The Bible says that as a man thinks, so is he. In other words, what you allow into your mind will have a bearing on how you see yourself and therefore how you walk out your days on Earth.  

If you dwell on a thought that is destructive or negative, it is going to take you down a path in your mind that will be hard to stop. When I get on a train, I am choosing to venture in a certain direction. If it is going in the opposite direction I had planned to go, then I need to get off at the next available stop. If not, I will end up a long way from where I wanted to be.

The same can be said of your thoughts. When an unhealthy thought enters your mind like anger, jealousy or lust, you have a choice to make. You either jump on board and allow those thoughts to take you on a journey you don't want to go on, or you get off at the next stop! The longer you stay on the wrong track, the more damage is done and the further you will be from your intended destination. 

It’s easy to allow our mind to drift and focus on things we shouldn’t. We've all done it. However, the sooner we recognise that those thoughts are unhealthy, the quicker we can kill them off and move forward.  

Isaiah 26:3 reminds us that when your mind is focused on God, He will keep you in perfect peace. Declare God’s Word over your life when you wake up each morning. Remind yourself of His promises throughout the day. Meditate on His goodness before your head hits the pillow at night. The Word of God is living, it is active, it has the power to pull down every stronghold and negative thought into captivity.  

Your thoughts can harm you, but they can also help you when you choose to keep your mind on Christ.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I ask you to forgive me for those negative thoughts that enter my mind. Thank you that through your blood I am cleansed, restored and set free.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Personal prayer brings public power
18 March 2019

Acts 19:15
‘…Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?’

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When Paul was preaching in Ephesus, the Bible says that extraordinary miracles were taking place. As the number of people responding to Paul’s message increased, there was a group of men that wanted in on the action. They saw the power of God at work and thought they could turn it into a magic trick. They attempted to cast out an evil spirit in a man, by imitating what Paul was doing. However, it ended in disaster for them.

These men had no authority in this situation because they had no relationship with Jesus. They weren’t attached to the power source. They had no connection to our Father in Heaven. They were pretenders! Have you ever noticed that a drawing of a boat will not help you sail across the ocean, a painting of the sun doesn’t provide any heat, a photograph of your favourite meal may whet the appetite, but it doesn’t fill the stomach? That’s the same as speaking the word of God without knowing God, the author and perfecter of our faith. 

If you want to be powerful for God in public then you need to be prayerful with God in private. God is not an accessory you pick up when it suits you. He is not a convenience store, where you only show up in times of emergencies. God is a loving father that wants to walk with you every second of every day. He wants you to be fruitful in area sphere of your life, so He sent His Holy Spirit to enable you to do that. You have all the power you need, but it is an authentic relationship with Jesus that will see it released.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me to walk closely with you each day so that your power will be evident in my life. I want more of you Lord.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




All authority has been given to me
11 March 2019

Luke 10:19
‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’

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My dad was a police officer for 30 years. Some days he had to wear a uniform that would require him to carry certain equipment like handcuffs, a radio and a baton. One thing he would have to carry every day during his service, no matter what time of the day, was his warrant card. A badge that would prove he had the authority to step in and deal with any potential situation that could arise around him. However, what good is a police officer carrying a badge if he then doesn't exercise his authority?  

When you know Jesus, you have a badge. The bible says that when Christ comes alive in you, then you have been marked by the Holy Spirit. However, just like a police officer, what good is a Christian who carries the authority and power of God but doesn't exercise it? You have not been designed to live defeated or be bound to sin forever. The same spirit that rose Christ from the dead lives in you. The Alpha and Omega has taken up residence in your heart. There is an authority about you so mighty that demons tremble and dry bones come to life! Victory is already yours, but you must proclaim and walk in that truth.

It is worth noting that when a police officer retires, they hand their warrant card in and no longer carry the authority they were once given. However, it’s not like that with Christ. You may mess up, you may make mistakes, you may feel like you have missed out on God’s power. The reality is, you haven’t. His Spirit is still in you. He hasn't left you, forsaken you or removed the power you once experienced. That potent power is ready and available to be used right now. All you have to do is surrender your life over to Him. That is the goodness, the grace and the love of your Father in heaven. 

So don’t miss out on what God has in store for you because you do not feel feel worthy. The price has been paid. You have all authority; to take back the ground the enemy has stolen from you, to speak health over your sickness and light into your darkness. If you want to see breakthrough in the area you desire, exercise your God-given authority today.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that the same power that rose Christ from the dead lives in me. May I walk in the authority you have given me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




God put the promise in you
04 March 2019

Mark 1:2-3
…"I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way - a voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"

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It has become so easy to compare your life to somebody else’s, through all of the various social media channels we have available to us today. By watching and wishing you had their calling, career or influence, you instantly de-value the time and process God has put into making you. Living like that will lead you down a path of emptiness and misery. Your days would be less complex and more enjoyable if you took the pressure off yourself, relaxed and just be you. Nobody can beat being you!

What I admire about John the Baptist is that he knew who he was. He wasn’t the Messiah, so he didn’t waste any time trying to be that. He was John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way for Jesus Christ. All his energy and effort went into fulfilling the plan God had assigned to him. In staying true to his mission, a foundation was laid and a pathway made for Jesus to come along and demonstrate to the world God’s rescue plan for humanity. John’s promise came to life and was effective because he didn’t waste precious seconds trying to pursue a calling that wasn't his.

Successful people are so focused on their own race they don’t have time to look at others. Stop comparing and competing with that family member, neighbour or work colleague. You have a different calling, a unique promise set aside just for your life. There is nothing ordinary about you. So take inspiration from John the Baptist. Be faithful with what God has birthed in you. Celebrate when others around you do well. Develop the gift you have by working hard and remaining diligent. You will never be happy trying to be someone you are not, so remind yourself today who you are.  Remind yourself that the almighty God created you in His image, marked you to live a life of significance and put a promise in you that, over time, will be released.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the promises you have placed in me. Help me celebrate the success of others that are close to me. May I stay focused and committed to the unique calling on my life.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The cost of comfort
25 February 2019

John 21:3
"I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "we'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

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When Jesus died on a cross, despite having been given clear instructions, the disciples were a little unsure what to do next. They had walked alongside Jesus for three years. He had led them, loved them and discipled them. He had told them that he would rise from the dead, fulfilling God’s rescue plan for humanity. It would then be their job to preach that good news and build the church wherever they went. It was a big mandate, so big that they weren’t entirely sure how to move forward. Some of them, including Peter, even went back to what they knew best for a short time - fishing. 

Whenever God calls you into the unknown and you start experiencing new surroundings in your life, the natural inclination is to revert back to what you once knew. A place of familiarity can bring you comfort when you find yourself in a new environment. It isn't easy stepping out in faith, it isn't always straightforward following the voice of God. Walking the narrow path for Christ is a challenge. However, beyond the realm of comfort is your breakthrough, your promise, the answer you desire. That is why you must keep pressing on.

If you want your authority, influence and impact to grow then you need to master the breaking point of familiarity in your life. As Peter and the disciples learnt, following Jesus cost them everything, including their life, but they knew without a doubt it was worth it. Their courage to pioneer and blaze the trail for Christianity means that we today get to hear and accept the message of Christ.  

So don't look backwards or retreat to what you already know when the pressure is on. Be different, stay committed to the call and hang in there when it doesn't make sense. The determination you demonstrate to push through when times get tough will be what qualifies you to achieve the destiny God has placed in you.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you have called me to greatness. Help me leave behind that which is holding me back so that I may complete the destiny you have mapped out for me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




God will provide
18 February 2019

Psalm 145:16
'You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.'

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Recently, while on a speaking tour in the USA, there was a change in my accommodation arrangements. The church hosting me had very generously placed me in a hotel for the weekend. On the Monday I was supposed to check out and stay with the Senior Pastor for a couple of days before continuing with my travels. However, early on Monday morning the pastor was taken unwell and was rushed into hospital. Not wanting to be a burden on him or his family, I suggested that I stay in the hotel one more night, covering the expense myself. After returning to my room, having booked the extra night at the reception desk, I checked my emails. There was a notification that someone had very kindly put some money into my ministry bank account. The amount was $216. The room had just cost me $215! God had provided!

You may not be in the best position right now, but one touch from God can turn your situation around. He is called Jehovah Jireh, the Lord is my provider. The Bible says in Psalm 50 that God ‘owns the cattle on a thousand hills’, which means everything on planet Earth belongs to him. So speak faith over your lack today. Believe God can provide that job, he can build that house, he can supply that finance. God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Nothing is too hard for him. He is a loving, generous Father who has everything you need. 

If you trust Him with what you have, He will open His hand again and again and again. Seek His heart, keep the faith and praise Him in advance for what is to come. God will provide, but the question is, are you ready for your blessing?

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your provision. I am grateful that you are my provider and will meet my every need. Lord I trust you in every area of my life.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




A fresh encounter
11 February 2019

Acts 9:3
‘As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him’

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Saul was relentlessly in pursuit of harming those who called themselves Christians. His mission was to destroy the church and shut down the spreading of the Good News. While travelling on a road to Damascus, to no doubt inflict further misery on followers of Christ, he had an encounter with Jesus that would transform his entire life. Suddenly Jesus appeared, and the Saul of old disappeared. 

An encounter with Jesus changes everything. I was 20 years old when I had a personal encounter with Jesus that would change the trajectory of my life. The eyes of my heart were opened and He became real to me. When Christ comes alive in you, the way you see yourself changes, the way you see others changes and most importantly the cause you live for changes. 

Saul thought he was living his best life but one encounter with the one true God completely altered the course of his destiny. God had a better plan to roll out, a higher road to take and a more rewarding mission for him to accomplish.  

I wonder what God has in store for you? Pray for a fresh encounter with your Father in Heaven. As Saul discovered, the moment you allow God to suddenly interrupt your plans, you will find yourself growing in courage, power and wisdom. One collision with Christ is all it takes to bring about a game-changing shift in who you are and where you are going. So encounter him today, you won’t be disappointed.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that one encounter with you is all I need to change the direction I’m travelling in. Help me walk the way you have shown me. Fill me with courage, power and wisdom so that I may fulfil your plan for my life.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Is your heart pure?
04 February 2019

Acts 8:20
'Peter answered, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!”'

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Simon the Sorcerer thought he could imitate the power of God. He observed the disciples' technique when it came to praying for the sick, and did everything he saw them do, yet nothing happened. When that failed he offered the disciples money, to try and buy the gift of God. His proposal was strongly rebuked. He wanted the power and the popularity without the prayer, the persecution and the seeking of God’s presence.

If we proclaim to be a Christian then it is important that we try to live like one. The Bible declares that the same power that rose Jesus Christ from the dead is available to you. That power, the Holy Spirit has given to you to help you and those around you. However it is not there to be used like a genie in a bottle. God is not a convenience store where you show up whenever you want to get whatever you need. Your relationship with God has to run deeper than that. 

The apostles were humans like you and me. They had their ups and their downs. They were far from perfect yet God still performed astonishing miracles through them. Why did it work for them and not Simon the Sorcerer? It had everything to do with the stance of his heart. Simon was in it for himself. The apostles were in it for the cause of Christ and the spreading of the Good News. They had an authentic love for Jesus that could not be questioned. The pure intentions of their hearts allowed God’s power to flow through them in extraordinary ways.

This week, make time to fall back in love with Jesus. When you do, you will find answers to your prayers, boldness in the way you walk and a supernatural power that will start showing up in every area of your life.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Purify my heart. May all my actions be in line with your will. Help me surrender all I am to you, so that your miracle-working power may flow through me in abundance.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Dream thieves
28 January 2019

Genesis 37:8
'His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.'

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When God gives you a dream you have to be careful who you share it with. Joseph learned this lesson the hard way. Yes, God had promised him a big future, that included being in a favourable position of power. However, in his excitement he shared his vision with the wrong people - his brothers. They weren't big fans of his to begin with. Telling the wrong people at the wrong time nearly cost him seeing his dream come to pass.

A God dream is exciting. When there is something He has placed on your heart that no one or nothing can stop, then you are onto a good thing. Sadly though, just because you have great excitement for it doesn't mean that everyone around you will feel the same. I like to call these people “dream thieves”. They don't have their own dream so they spend their time criticising or discouraging those that have a dream. Often the root of their issues come from jealousy or envy. Don’t be one of those people. If people seem to be getting ahead of you, especially in your field, cheer them on!  

Joseph's brothers did all they could to stop, steal and derail his dream. They wanted to snatch it out of his heart and kill it there. What they failed to recognise though is that when you are a child of God, there is no chance of stopping you. Shut out those negative voices! Work hard and stay patient, there is a dream in you and a God that is for you. If you learn from Joseph’s mistakes, over time you may well find the dream you’re thinking of today is the reality you’re living in tomorrow.  

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you are on my side. Give me the wisdom I need when talking to people about my dream. Help me switch off those negative voices and switch on the dream you want me to accomplish.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




God, give me a dream!
21 January 2019

Genesis 37:5
‘Joseph had a dream…’

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Joseph had a dream, a God dream. It was big, audacious and completely outrageous to the natural eye. When he received this dream that one day he would be in a position of power, ruling over many, including his brothers, it couldn't have sounded more ludicrous. Although he was greatly loved by his Father, his brothers were jealous of him. They tricked him, threw him in a pit and then sold him to some travelling Ishmaelites. Not the best start to fulfilling his dream. What was already difficult to accomplish was now made impossible. Joseph then went on a 13 year adventure with more downs than ups before finally stepping into the promise he received.  

You can receive a dream in a moment, but a God dream will always take time to come into fruition. Do not lose hope or run out of patience along the way. It will require you to be faithful in your current season, to push through the tests that come your way. The question is, can you pass the test? The test of patience? The test of endurance? The test of faith? When you pass the test, you graduate. So hang in there - it can still happen! It may take longer than you planned but God hasn't forgotten what He showed you. 

Maybe you don't have a God dream, but you want one. Pray! Ask Him to stir your heart for something fresh or new. Demand that he reawaken the dream which lies dormant in your spirit. Petition heaven to reveal how you can get on board with God’s plan for your life. Whatever you do, be open to something big. Don't waste time believing for something you can do in your own strength. Stretch your faith and believe for something so ridiculous that it puts a smile on your face every time you think about it. And remember, even your biggest dreams are still small in God’s eyes. I can hear him say “COME ON! Is that all you are believing me for? I’m the creator of the heavens and the earth, you can do better than that!”

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me the ability to dream. Today I ask that you give me a big dream and help me to achieve it. With you, all things are possible.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Trust me, have faith
14 January 2019

Psalm 31:14-15
'But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God”. My times are in your hands.'

 

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When Lilah, my little girl was learning to walk last year, it didn't just happen. She didn't wake up one morning and walk around the room at her first attempt without ever taking a fall or stumble. There was a process involved. To begin with I put a very small space between us. Once she was upright I encouraged her to take a step. Yes, she was a little apprehensive, but she obeyed my command because she trusted me. She had an assurance that I wasn't going to move or drop her if she fell. Once the trust was established, she then had to have the faith to take the step, take another one and another one and so on.  

It’s very hard to take a step of faith if you don't have complete trust that God is with you. If you think He is going to abandon you mid-journey then you are not going anywhere. If though, you believe that God is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful then the foundation has been laid for progress. Now you have to play your part by having the faith to build that business, start that family, or have that conversation even if it doesn't seem to make sense.  

Having trust in God and activating your faith in him doesn't mean that everything will be easy from here on in. There will be trials, there will be difficulties, there will be pain. There will be seasons you endure that hurt and situations that you don't understand in the moment. That is when you must DECLARE God’s Word over your life - “I trust you, you are my God, my times are in your hands”. Keep the faith and one day you will look back and be thankful for the trust you had in Him.

Prayer:

Dear God,

My trust is in you. I want to live a more faith filled life. Help me to lean on you more when I find myself in places that make no sense. I know my time is in your hands.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Challenge brings change
08 January 2019

Psalm 22:19
‘But you, Lord, do not be far. You are my strength; come quickly to help me’

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When a new year starts many of us want to make changes in the way we do things. Goals are set, resolutions made, standards raised. There is an urgency in the moment to turn over a new page and accomplish some of those dreams that keep you awake at night. This desire to change is very real and the excitement genuine, however within a few weeks the progress has stalled and familiarity has already kicked in. You tell yourself that “the dream was too big anyway” and before you know it, you are defeated for another year.

Over Christmas I was with my wife Lisa and our little girl Lilah visiting family in Scotland. During our short holiday I had some time to train in a different gym. Enscribed on the wall in big black capital letters read the slogan ‘If it doesn't challenge you, it won’t change you.’ Of course, the context here was regarding a person’s health and wellbeing, but those words can apply to several areas of our lives. If you want to progress in life and be all God has called you to be, then you need to make changes, despite how uncomfortable it may be.

The good news is that God will help you. So don't waste time by making excuses along the way; I’m too old, I’m too young, I don't have enough experience, I haven't got the resource, I have nothing new to offer, it’s too hard, maybe I’ll try again next year, and so on. Embrace the fact that some extra discipline in your day-to-day habits could be the catalyst to seeing the change you crave start to take shape.

If you want to change, there will be challenges to overcome. It won’t be an easy journey, there will be obstacles that seem impossible to shift in your own strength, but with God by your side anything could happen. Stick with it, don't quit or walk away. On the other side of your challenge is the progress you desire to see and the person you believe you can be.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you have designed me to grow. Help me to embrace the challenges that come my way. May I see them as an opportunity to change for the better.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




He's coming back!
18 December 2018

Mark 13:32-33
"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!"

 

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Turn on the TV and the most frequent Christmas message you will hear is that the holidays are coming. There are adverts about food, toys and special events but very few that actually reference what Christmas is all about. I am not against all the festivities, in fact Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. To see the lights, smell the turkey and hear the testimonies of generous people all over the globe genuinely warms my heart. However, there is more to Christmas than taking a holiday.

The message of Christmas is all about generosity. God’s generous gift to mankind was his son Jesus Christ. Born to a virgin, in a stable, in a little town called Bethlehem was the greatest present humanity has ever received. Jesus would then, at the age of 33, sacrifice his life on a cross, shedding innocent blood for the remission of your sins. Rising again three days later, he made a way for the entire human race to receive the gift of salvation. This present of forgiveness and everlasting life isn't just something that can be accessed during the Christmas holidays, it can be received all year round!

As life changing as this good news is, God has promised even more - that Christ will come again for a second time. This time it will be to establish His Kingdom of perfect righteousness and peace. I wonder if you have ever thought about the second coming of Christ? The Bible says that “no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows…”. You may not know exactly when Christ will show up again, it could be later today, it could be tomorrow. The question is, are you ready for his arrival?   

The holidays may well be coming, but what is of more importance is that Christ is coming back. Knowing that, there should be an urgency in the way you live your life. As you celebrate the birth of Jesus with family and friends, allow this truth to stir your spirit, use it as motivation to do God’s will for your life. Make every day count, you never know, today could be the day Jesus makes his return.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for sending your son Jesus as the rescue plan for humanity. Not knowing when you will return, help me make every day count.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Show me another sign
10 December 2018

John 6:30
So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe in you? What will you do?”

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There is a fascinating story that takes place between Jesus and a group of people that have followed him across a lake, having witnessed first-hand the miracle-working power of Jesus in a field, where over 5,000 men were fed from just two fish and five loaves of bread. The miracle was undeniable, they saw it with their own eyes and tasted it with their own mouths. However, not satisfied by that experience they asked Jesus a question. “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”  You would think they would need no more convincing than that, but their next response is baffling.  “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe in you? What will you do?” They were so focused on seeing a particular sign that they missed it passing right before them.

There are times when we are desperate for God to give us a sign. We pray, we fast, we hope that the wind will blow open our Bible on a particular verse or that on Sunday someone will come up to us in the church foyer and give a precise word from Heaven that will solve all our problems. If we are not careful, we spend so much time thinking about the “sign” that we stop taking notice of all the signs God has already shown us, which have brought us to the season we’re currently in.

I’m not suggesting that God can’t give you a clear and very direct sign. He can and at times He will. There have been moments in my life where this has happened. He has made the answer so obvious that all I needed to do was activate some courage and to step into it. I am suggesting this though; that you do not stop everything you are doing in the hope that this signal from Heaven will turn up all prefaced and ready on your doorstep. God is moving in your life all the time. He hears all your prayers, He will guide you along unfamiliar paths, He can make a way even when there seems to be no way. So don’t waste any more time by getting frustrated by what He hasn't shown you. Instead thank Him for the journey you have been on thus far. Take a moment to remind yourself of what He brought you through, the situations He saved you from and the answers to those prayers that meant so much to you once upon a time.

All God asks is that we believe in the one He sent. When you do that you will soon realise that all the answers you need are closer than you think.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you are a miracle-working God. Sorry if I have been so focused on a particular way I want you to answer my prayers, that I have completely missed what you have been trying to teach me. Lord, show me your ways.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Guard your heart
03 December 2018

Proverbs 4:23
‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’

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Recently we experienced a storm which caused damage to some of our fencing in the back garden. With pieces of wood strewn everywhere, the landscape was far from picturesque. This, however, was not my greatest concern. What troubled me was the vulnerability the broken fence had now created. Anyone passing by could walk straight into our back garden! The fence acts as a line of protection, and with that gone, all sense of security is lost.

The Bible talks about guarding your heart, for everything you do flows from it. To guard means to protect, to keep safe from danger, to watch over. Protecting your heart is the key for anyone wanting to pursue and flourish in the Christian life. When your heart is open to everyone and everything then you make yourself vulnerable to spiritual attacks, sensitive to the opinions of others and more exposed to temptation. 

Perhaps the fence of your heart has been damaged from the actions of others, maybe its been lying in ruins as a result of your own poor choices. Whatever the state of your heart today, make an effort to put the protection in place. Rebuild the walls by igniting your prayer life and opening up the Word of God each day. Set boundaries with your relationships, the conversations you engage in, the stuff you watch on TV, even what time you go to bed each night. Respect yourself by taking a stand in the areas you know you need to. It is important that you do your part. When you do, God will help and strengthen you in the process. Not only will a protected heart keep you safe, it will set the tone for you to thrive in every area of your life.  

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your protection. Help me each day to put boundaries around my heart so that I may fulfil the plans you have for me. Give me strength in the areas of my weakness.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Take the limits off
26 November 2018

Matthew 8:13
‘Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.’

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We live in a world constrained by limits. When you leave your house in the morning and get into your car, your journey will be governed by a speed limit. When you park in the car park there will be a limit on how long you can stay there for. When you walk into the shops there will be a limit on how much money you can afford to spend. Life is full of limits. Often they are there to protect you, but too many limits can restrict you too, especially when we transfer those physical limits over to our spiritual limits.

Following Jesus, if you stay close to him, will require you to take the limits off your thinking, your actions and your faith. The disciples experienced this every day. I am reminded about the time they were in a boat out on stormy seas, when all of a sudden Jesus appeared, walking on the water. If that didn't stretch their faith enough, what Jesus asked them to do next certainly did. It was now their turn to walk on the water! Each of them on that boat had the opportunity to experience such a feat, but only one man did, Peter. He was brave enough to remove the limitations in his mind, by dangling a leg over the side of the boat and walking on the waves. Taking the limits off his faith was the catalyst to him encountering this miracle.

Have you put a limit on God? Maybe you've done it without even realising. Today I want to remind you just how big He is. That He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is the creator of the world, who holds every star in place. Everything He speaks, comes into existence. This all knowing, all powerful, ever-present God is for you. Stop doubting His ability and start to believe that all things really are possible. The moment you take the limits off your faith, is the moment God goes to work to answer your prayers.

 

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your infinite power. Help me remove any limits that stop me believing in you for the impossible. I want to see radical breakthrough in every area of my life.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Strange Encounters
19 November 2018

2 Timothy 4:2
‘Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.’

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Anyone who knows me will be aware there have been numerous occasions where I have shared my faith in the most unlikely of places. There have been encounters on a plane, encounters in the gym and even some random encounters on the streets, to name just a few, but recently I had a very different encounter. Lying on a hospital bed, I was being prepared for a certain procedure. Unfortunately for me, part of the prep involved being placed in an uncomfortable and awkward position. As the doctor proceeded, he asked several questions and shared with me that his own walk with God wasn’t in a great place. It resulted in him saying to me, “Luke I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe this is a God-incident.” The presence of God was evident in that X-Ray room. He even accepted my invitation to come to church that following weekend.

The Bible says that we are to be ready to share our faith both in season and out of season. Every day you step outside of your front door there will be opportunities that are awaiting your interaction. Some will be obvious, some not so. Some will be pleasant, whilst others may be painful. Some encounters you will be prepared for, others will push you completely outside of your comfort zone. Whatever the scenario, if you are prepared, you need not worry. In fact, the more prepared your heart is for the day ahead, the more you are demonstrating to God how excited you are to embrace the opportunities He will be sending your way.

When Christ is alive in you, you are carrying gold too good not to share, peace too precious to keep to oneself and joy so bright that it should be contagious. You are the answer to someone’s prayer. You may not believe it, but I am warning you now, get prepared! There is a strange encounter coming your way that will reap a supernatural breakthrough, both in your life and the life of the recipient.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that through your Word you have equipped me with all I need to face the day ahead. May your words be in my mouth as I prepare, both in and out of season, to be used by you.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




What are you living for?
12 November 2018

Psalm 145:4
‘One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.’

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In the past month my wife and I have attended the funerals of two very special people. Both passed away relatively young, both were loved by many and both lived their life to the full. As I reflected on the brevity of life I was reminded again how precious our time on Earth is - that we can get so caught up in the meaningless that we neglect what is truly meaningful; family, friends and fulfilling the unique call of God set out just for you.

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman and philanthropist. Successful in a variety of fields, he was most famous for inventing dynamite. Over the years he accumulated a lot of wealth. In 1888, his brother Ludvig died and a newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary. It was condemning and actually stated, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Disappointed by what he read and concerned about what his legacy would be, he left the majority of his wealth in a trust, in order to fund the awards that would later become known as the Nobel Prizes. He made a change even when his time was running out.

How would you like to be remembered? What changes do you need to make that will leave a positive legacy? It’s not too late to change! Don't waste time chasing fleshly desires that, once the buzz has passed, still leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled. Instead, give your heart to Jesus and live for Him. The more Christ-like you become, the more fulfilled your days will be. If you choose to live a Godly life, if you choose to love others, if you choose to maximise your everyday, then maybe one day people will read your obituary and be inspired to live a bigger and more fruitful life. A surrendered heart to the will of God is a life destined to leave a legacy never forgotten.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the air I breathe. Help me live a life that points people to the richness of your glory. Show me the decisions I need to make, and the action I must take, that will leave a legacy for others to follow.

In Jesus' name,

Amen