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Word for the Week



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




Someone is waiting on you
05 November 2018

Ephesians 6:19
‘Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…’

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To say my father dislikes flying would be an understatement. Just the thought of it turns his stomach. He would quite happily never set foot on another plane. However, around 10 years ago my brother met an American girl and a year later they decided to get married…in her State of residence - New York! Now, New York is only a seven hour flight from London, but that is seven hours too long for anyone that despises the thought of being airborne. My father (accompanied by my mother) took the brave step and over the past 10 years has continued to demonstrate his courage in visiting them in other states such as California, Oklahoma and Texas. As the years have rolled by it hasn't got any easier for him, So I asked my dad why he just doesn't stay at home? He replied “Luke, I can’t stay at home because I know that whatever I have to face will be worth it, as my son will be waiting for me on the other side.”

Jesus Christ died on a cross and rose from the dead because everyone on this planet was worth him dying for. He was willing to endure the most horrendous of ordeals, pushing through great pain so that you and I could truly experience his love and walk in complete freedom. Jesus did it because He saw your face the other side of his trial.

I wonder what you are willing to go through to point someone in the direction of Jesus, to show someone in your community, your workplace, your university the love of God. There are people who you may not even know yet that are waiting on you to demonstrate some brave faith, to rise up above your fears and to step out of your comfort zone. What may be inconvenient to you could be the very answer to someone’s prayer. Today, take a look around and ask God to show you who you can be a blessing to. Pray that whenever you speak, words may be given, so that you will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Pushing through your discomfort could change someone’s life, forever.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the great lengths you went to so I could experience your love and be forgiven from my sins. Help me overcome any fear I have in sharing the Good News of Jesus. Use me today to point someone in your direction.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Stoke the fire!
29 October 2018

Exodus 24:17
‘To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.’

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The Israelites described the glory of the Lord as an all consuming fire. As I sat in my parents' living room this week watching their fire burn, I was reminded of why the Israelites referred to God as that. As the flames flickered away, with the crisp cold autumn air outside, there was no better place to be. In its right setting a fire can be majestic, powerful and resplendent. It brings light, warmth and burns away all the dross that has built up over time. Fire transforms everything it comes into contact with.

The Bible tells us in Acts that when the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost, tongues of fire came and rested upon all of Christ’s disciples. That same fire that came upon those men and women is the same fire available to you today. Perhaps due to circumstances in your life, your fire for Christ that once burned bright has dwindled. The warmth you would have so readily poured out in the lives of others has gone cold. Maybe that contagious passion to share your faith, seeing lives changed as you open your mouth, doesn't happen on the same level it once did. Is the fire in you still obvious for all to see?

It is important to remember that in a week that will be dominated by haunted houses, pumpkin carving and ghost stories everywhere you look, Jesus Christ is still on the throne. Don't allow the festivities of halloween to throw water over your fire and put your faith on the back seat. Use it as an opportunity to fan into flames the love of Christ, to shine his light bright and be a blessing to everyone you come into contact with. Let’s not waste time trying to win an argument, instead stoke your fire, reignite your passion for the lost and win a heart to Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Today help me to stay focused on you. Thank you that in Christ I have victory. May your light shine out of me in this dark world. May your fire in me be obvious for all to see.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Faith that laughs
22 October 2018

Genesis 17:17
'Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man one hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”'

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Have you ever been told something that sounds so ridiculous that you find yourself unable to hide that smile or stop yourself from bursting into a fit of laughter? Even if in the moment it may not be appropriate to laugh, what you have heard is so outrageous that you have no choice. 

This is what Abraham did when God told him he would have a son at 100 years old. All his life he had been waiting on God to deliver his promise, and now, right at the end of his days, when it is nigh on impossible to conceive in the natural, God shows up and does it. I reckon if God told you that exact same news when you reach 100 years old, your reaction would be the same.

Perhaps God has called you to do something laughable. The dream he breathed on the inside of you is so big that you haven't had the courage to pursue it. You feel unqualified, unworthy, unprepared, doubts fill your mind on a daily basis that surely God must have made some sort of mistake when He chose you to do that.

When God placed a desire in my wife Lisa to one day be a plastic surgeon, the odds were stacked against her. Her heart was to help people in a way that would literally changed their existence this side of eternity. However, nobody in her family had gone to university, nobody close to her was a doctor, she knew nobody who could open any doors. Lisa would have to start at the bottom, work hard, stay patient and trust God. Enrolling into medical school at the age of 17, she would then spend the next 17 years of her life giving her all; day and night, exam after exam, trial after trial, experiencing great highs and tremendous lows along the way. Once she had proved to all around her that she was capable of the responsibilities entrusted to her, her dream became a reality. In the natural it looked impossible, but with God it became possible.

What God has called you to should seem so big, so crazy as to be laughable. If what you are doing can be done in your own strength then you wouldn't need God. That’s fine if you want to settle for average but there is a God that has so much more in store for you. A God that created the world, a God that breathed life into your lungs, a God that loaded you up with unlimited potential. That God has put promises in you that can only be unlocked with His help. Today, remove the limitations from your prayers, visions and dreams, stay patient and trust Him. When you do, you may end up fulfilling a dream that a few years ago you laughed at.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that nothing is impossible for you. Even though what you have called me to seems laughable I put my trust in you to make it happen. Help me live the big life you intended me to live.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




I am who God says I am
15 October 2018

Ephesians 2:10
‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’

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Whenever you start to compare yourself to someone else, you’re on the verge of embarking down a very slippery slope. It’s a state of mind that if not addressed, will lead to disappointment, frustration and sadness. Ultimately, it will de-rail the plans and purposes God has specifically assigned for you.

With access to social media, TV and the internet, we are constantly exposed to images of perfection. We are shown how to look, what to wear, whose brand is in and whose brand is out. Everything today is so visual that comparisons are made simply by getting a glimpse of something rather than knowing the full story. They may look good on the outside, they may have acquired wealth and success, but you have no idea what it cost to get there or how broken they still may be on the inside.  

The moment you take your eyes off God and onto the person on your left or right, you run the risk of not completing your own race. If a 100 metre sprinter at the Olympics steps into the lane of one of his opponents, he or she will instantly be disqualified. Their race is over! Yes, it is good to learn from others that you admire, and by all means run alongside them, but don’t try to be them. Take your admiration and turn it to inspiration. Your example will encourage others to do the same along the way.  

When looking at an original oil painting versus a copy, most people would want the original. Why? Because its value is determined by who designed and created it. You have been hand made by God, created in His image. He knew your name before you were formed inside your mother’s womb. You are loved, forgiven, chosen and talented. You may or may not know your creator, but He knows you and you are who God says you are!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the way you made me. Help me recognise what you have put in me so that I can serve others and live out the full life you designed for me.  

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Be still
08 October 2018

Psalm 46:10
‘He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…’

 

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Several years ago whilst studying at Bible college, I had an opportunity to serve at a local youth centre every Friday afternoon. Once the activities were completed, the young people and my fellow leaders would then jump on a bus and go to a youth service at our church for the rest of the evening.

One night as we were waiting for the bus, a car with some men in it drove past us. It was then that I noticed some of my teenagers had decided to make some provoking hand gestures in the direction of that car, and before I had any time to do anything about it, the car did a handbrake turn in the middle of the road, drove up onto the path and started to drive at me.

With the teenagers under my care running off in every direction, I found myself in a rather precarious situation. With panic setting in as this car approached me, I heard a small voice on the inside of me telling me to “stand still”.  Ignoring the voice, a number of scenarios flashed through my mind. Should I run? Do I jump? Do I hide? Again this small voice whispered in my heart: “Stand still, do you trust me?” The car stopped right in front of me and two men got out. There was an awkward silence before I told them that we were going to church. They said nothing, and got back in their car. As they dismounted the pavement, their exhaust hit the curb causing it to fall off. It was a beautiful moment.

When panic starts to set in over a health scare; when frustration begins to rise due to not getting your own way; when you find anger accelerating within because of a false accusation, it can be difficult to pause for a moment and think about what the Word of God says. Too often, when emotions are running high, the decisions you make in the heat of the moment might not be the wisest.

When problems persist, keeping your patience is key. There is a God in Heaven who is still sovereign. You may be flustered but He isn’t. He is in control. Don't start the day at 100 miles per hour. Instead be still and know that God is with you. Seeking God’s counsel, no matter what comes against you, shows how much you trust Him!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me to stand still and wait on you. Too often I try to force things in my own strength instead of giving you my complete trust. Today, as I focus on you, place a peace in my heart as I wait patiently on you to show up.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




The simplicity of the gospel
01 October 2018

Acts 13:47
“For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth’”

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Recently I had the honour of preaching at a men’s conference in Toronto, Canada. At the end of one of the sessions a 12-year old boy called Owen came and spoke to me. I had just delivered a message on living a courageous life for Christ and so this young boy wanted to do just that. He explained to me that later in the afternoon he had hockey practice, but once he was finished there he would knock on his friends door and bring him to the finale of the conference that night. He did just that!  

The next morning, after the Sunday services, Owen and his grandfather approached me. With tears in his eyes, the grandfather told me that the friend Owen had brought, gave his life to Christ. I got to meet the friend, Tyson. It is a powerful testimony.

The Bible is clear that Jesus Christ belongs to all people. He died on a cross and rose from the dead three days later because every soul that passes through earth was worth it. From the youngest to the oldest, Christ’s love is available to all. It is not an exclusive love, whereby you have to earn it or work for it. It is a love that has already paid a great cost so that you could receive it for free. It is a love that once you know it, needs to be shared with others. It is a love that should not remain silent. It is a courageous love.

If a 12-year old boy can understand and demonstrate the love of Christ by bringing a friend to church to hear the message of Christ, then surely you can do the same. You may not be the most eloquent, you may not have all the answers, you may be afraid of the response that might come back your way, but when Christ is alive in you, His light must shine out of you. This week, push through those fears and apprehensions and invite someone to church. Tyson's life was eternally transformed through the love and courage of one young boy. In the years to come, I wonder who will be grateful for the courage you had to do the same.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for paying the penalty for my sin, allowing me to walk in the truth and knowledge of your love. Help me to demonstrate your love to others in the way I walk, talk and live. Give me the courage I need.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Courage is contagious
17 September 2018

1 Samuel 17:52
‘…Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron.’ 

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Your courage is contagious. In the story of David and Goliath we read how an entire Israelite army has been in complete bondage to fear for 40 days. However, through the bravery of one young shepherd boy, the men of Israel are now chasing the Philistines out of town. One man’s courage freed an entire nation.

In the movie Gladiator, there is a scene that gets my adrenaline going every time. It is when The Gladiator is confronted by the corrupt Roman Emperor, Commodus and he responds with a rousing speech. He begins in his deep, gravelly voice, “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, Loyal Servant to the true Emperor, Marcus Aurelius…”. It continues on, but every time I hear it, his courage inspires me and I feel like I can take on the world!

Your courage will lift others. That is why it is important to remember that the course of action you plan on taking isn't always just about you. Your example will transform others around you. So be bold with your faith and be confident in your witness for Christ. God is not going to leave you hanging when you step up and step out for him, for “I have never seen the righteous forsaken.” (Psalm 37:25)

People want to be challenged and inspired to make a difference with their life. Don't leave it to the movies or the media to be their only source of inspiration. Take ahold of God’s Word, get it in your heart and then act on it. The Lord is with you, whom shall you fear? Your courage is contagious so take a step of faith. When you do, your actions could be the catalyst that releases people from their fears and motivates them to achieve the impossible.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. May the courage you have put in me be a shining light to those in my sphere of influence. Help me to be more brave with the opportunities that come my way so that my life inspires others.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Fearful of the future?
10 September 2018

Matthew 6:34
‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…’

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It can be very easy to be fearful of the future, especially when life throws a curveball your way. Diagnosed with a bad medical report, now you fear for the possible treatments. Lost a loved one to cancer, now there is a fear it could happen to you. The career hasn't gone to plan, you’re still unemployed and have no idea how you’re going to pay your bills or raise your children. Maybe you failed that exam again and have no idea which way to turn. When fear of the future moves in, it can be difficult to see a way out.  

Jesus encourages us in scripture (Matt 6:26) that when we begin to worry about all of the obstacles that may come our way, we should take a moment to pause and look at the birds in the sky. “They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father still feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?” You certainly are more valuable, you are God’s masterpiece, handmade in His image. God loves you, He cares for you and has a great plan for you. It is not His will for you to fear what’s ahead, no matter how dark your tomorrow may look.  

Fear of the future will paralyse you from taking a step of faith. It can stop you from starting anything and can keep you stuck. You can spend so much time worrying about tomorrow that you forget to live in today. Do you not think that God knows what’s in your tomorrow? He does, and that’s why you should cling to him all the more today. He knows your best foot forward, He has already planned a way out, He has all the wisdom you need in handling your difficult situation. He can even fill you with a peace beyond human understanding. He has everything you need, so now is not the time to focus on fear, but to focus on your Father in Heaven instead. Fix your eyes on His goodness, trust in His sovereignty and remind yourself that the creator of the heavens and the earth is still holding you in the palm of His hand and has everything under control.  

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that with you I have nothing to be fearful of. I give you my worries and anxieties for tomorrow today, and pray you fill me with a peace that transcends all understanding. Help me to enjoy today, even when it seems to make no sense.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Stay courageous
03 September 2018

1 Samuel 17:32
‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him’.

 

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There is something inspiring about a man or woman who acts with courage. Courage can be demonstrated in a number of ways, but true courage is doing what needs to be done, even when you don't feel like doing it.

David was a man of courage. When he walked into the Israelite camp he witnessed an entire army paralysed by fear over one man, Goliath. In that moment he had a choice to make. He either walks away, allowing anxiety to override his emotions or he takes a deep breath and says ‘I’ll take him on, I’ll have a go.’  

When fear and intimidation could have crept in, David stood strong, looked fear in the eyes and stepped out. To everyone there he was the underdog, they thought he was out of his mind. In David’s heart he had a peace, a complete assurance that if God be for him then who could be against him.

When his courage was activated, it collided with the faithfulness of God and the breakthrough came. Everyone there tasted success because he dared to be different.

You will not take new ground if you don't exercise brave faith. Stepping into the unknown takes courage, facing your giants takes courage, asking God to help you takes courage.

Life is too short to sit back and miss out on all God has in store for you. Don't allow fear to dictate your decisions. Stand strong, look up and be courageous.  

If you are going to be a stronghold breaker, a history maker, a world changer - then take courage and do what other people wouldn't dare do. There is a limitless God on the inside of you, with whom all things are possible. I don't want you to get to the end of your days on Earth regretting a lack of boldness. Make a change today, step out with courage, it won't be easy but one day you will look back and be thankful you did.   

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that nothing is too hard for you. I ask that you will help me take courage in my decisions this week. Give me the boldness, strength and authority to step out for you. I want to accomplish all you have purposed for me. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




No prayer is insignificant
20 August 2018

Ephesians 6:18
'Pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests'

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In January 2006 I had just arrived in Sydney, Australia to begin Bible College at Hillsong Church. My study schedule was full, but in my spare time I wanted to indulge in one of my hobbies - lifting weights and keeping fit! However, I was on a budget so I couldn't afford a gym membership. I decided to pray about it. I knew it was a trivial prayer and it wasn't really that important in the grand scheme of life, but it meant something to me.

The next morning I woke up, got ready and started the one mile walk to church. About halfway through the journey, a large muscular man in a pick-up truck pulled over to the side of the road and offered me a ride to church. At first I was hesitant, and thought it was a bit random, but as we spoke a peace came over me and I jumped in. As we pulled into the car park, he said “I’ve never done this before but I feel in my spirit that I am to bless you with some weights”. I had not mentioned anything to him about my prayer at all. I almost couldn't believe it! Two weeks later he arrived at my house with several pieces of gym equipment and I was a very happy man.

I learnt three valuable lessons that day which I have never forgotten. 1) God cares about what you care about, even when it means nothing to anyone else. If it matters to you, it matters to God. 2) God hears your every request; big or small and will respond in His own way, on His own time scale. 3) If God can answer a prayer about a set of weights, then how much more would He answer a prayer of far greater significance? When you see a prayer answered, it encourages you to believe Him for even more.

Whatever it is you are knocking on Heaven’s door for today, keep knocking. It may be a modest prayer, it may be a prayer with eternal consequences. It may be a prayer about you, it may be a prayer about someone else. Whatever those prayers are, pray them with faith in your heart and remind yourself that God cares, God hears and God responds. Nothing is too hard for Him.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you hear my every request. I am so grateful for your deep love and trust you Lord to respond at just the right time.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Hide and seek
13 August 2018

Matthew 7:7
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

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When I play hide and seek with my little girl, I sometimes change the rules of the game. If I hear her coming, and know that she may find me a little quicker than I had planned, then sometimes, just sometimes, I change location. If I am feeling particularly mischievous then I may keep moving so that I can never be found!

When it comes to seeking God, He is the opposite. He doesn't change the rules, move location, or switch the protocol up. He doesn't say “you’re not good enough today to get my attention”, “you haven't spoken to me for months so why should I answer your prayers now”, or “I saw what you did last night so try asking me again next week”. No, He says “seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Now God may not give you the answer you desire straight away. You may have to keep seeking for more than five minutes. He may remain silent until you do what He last told you to do, but when you seek Him, the Bible guarantees that He is listening. He hears your every prayer! That is why prayer is so vital in your life. It is the greatest weapon you have. Prayer is what gets you prepared to do God’s will. It is the key to unlocking all that God has in store for you. It has the power to see you healed from sickness, made whole from brokenness and released from any shackles that keep you bound.

Do not underestimate the power of prayer. Make time each day to seek the heart of God. He’s not too hard to find, in fact He's waiting on you to show up!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you hear my every prayer. Help me this week to shut out the distractions so that I may seek you. Reveal to me what I need to do, so that your work on Earth may be done.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Which way are you heading?
06 August 2018

John 14:6
‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life…’”

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Recently, as I was driving along the motorway with my wife and baby girl in the car, I saw something I had never seen before; there was a car driving down the slip road the wrong way! This car had somehow managed to get into quite the situation, as it was now heading towards oncoming traffic. In her panic, the woman driving the car attempted to reverse back up the slip road. When that idea failed, she tried to turn her car around in the middle of the fast moving traffic. For a few long moments it looked as if this whole scenario was going to end in disaster. How did this happen? Was she distracted? Did she miss her turn? Whatever the cause, she did her best to correct it, get back on track and start heading in the right direction. Had she continued down the wrong path then a serious accident was inevitable.

I wonder what direction you are travelling in? In life, it can be very easy to find yourself heading into traffic, walking down a path you never intended to go down. With the constant distractions that flash before you it is no wonder that you missed your turn and have ended up on a road of frustration. Perhaps you have been so busy that God hasn't been the same priority he once was and you have drifted off course. Without realising, sin has crept into your heart, the company you keep has changed, your moral standards have dropped, the stress of not having enough finance has caused you to compromise what you believe in, or you have been roaming in a certain direction for so long now that you cannot see a way out.

Jesus said ‘I am the Way, the truth and the life’. He is the way forward. No matter how deep your pain, how dark your secret, how lost from the call of God you may be, with Christ there is always another chance. The Bible doesn't promise it will be easy, but it does encourage us that if you trust in God again, if you run to Him instead of from Him, then He can still turn your situation around. He hasn't given up on you, He isn't mad at you, He still loves you.

Every day, God has an adventure in store for you. You can walk in it or you can continue to choose your own path. If you've messed up, don't think that God has finished with you. He hasn’t! Re-ignite your faith for the future. He will recalculate your journey, then it is over to you to take the steps required. It may take longer than you expected, it may not be as easy as you had hoped, but if you keep walking in the right direction you will see the things God has designed you to see. Don't spend your life going the wrong way, make the change now!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that through Jesus I am loved, forgiven and accepted. I am sorry that I have allowed distractions to get in the way of my relationship with you. Help me to move in the right direction, I want to follow your calling and avoid the pitfalls that are trying to take me out.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Thanks for the encouragement!
30 July 2018

1 Samuel 30:6
‘…but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.’

 

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My mother is one of the greatest encouragers I know. You cannot go anywhere with mum without her stopping to speak life over someone. She doesn’t have to know them either! There have been numerous occasions during my lifetime where my mother has engaged in what seems like a random interaction with a stranger, but within minutes that person’s life has been impacted. Whether they respond with a smile, a “thank you” or even happy tears, the reaction is always worth the initial feeling of being uncomfortable. She never misses an opportunity, and I’ve seen the positive results of her faithfulness. 

The world we live in today can be so discouraging. You turn on the TV and all you see is negative news stories. You open your social media account and all you seem to see is people looking and doing better than you. You walk into work just to be told that what you’ve done is still not good enough. Maybe when you look in the mirror all you see is disappointment.

When discouragement comes along, it can be so hard to pick yourself up and go again. Oh, how we could all do with a Gloria Brendling “on tap” in our lives. However, that isn’t a reality. In fact, as nice as it is to receive encouragement from somebody, you shouldn’t be reliant on that. If you’re dependent on people telling you how good you are everyday, there are going to be many long, tough days ahead.

There are a couple of ways to stay encouraged in your walk with God. The first is to do as David did. He encouraged himself! He prayed and spoke God’s Word over himself regularly. The Bible is full of God’s promises over your life; you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are the head and not the tail, God has a great plan for your life, and so on. His words are recorded in that book so that when you read them daily, your soul will be lifted, your mind renewed and your heart strengthened. Through the Old and New Testament, there is more than enough for you to feast on to keep you going through the struggles of life. 

Another lesson I have learned when needing some encouragement is to sow your encouragement into someone else. Sowing and reaping is a Biblical principle. You can’t plant apple seeds and expect to grow an oak tree. You also can’t plant nothing and expect something. It’s the same with encouragement - if you need it, go and sow it! Speak words of affirmation into somebody else. When you do, not only will their day be changed, but you’ve just planted a seed which at the right time will reap a harvest in your life. Today, go out and encourage someone and you will soon find yourself being encouraged!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that your Word is full of life and encouragement. Help me feed my soul. May I look to you and you alone for my affirmation. Use me to be a blessing to someone today, give me the words and confidence to speak hope into their world.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




It doesn't make sense
23 July 2018

2 Kings 5:11
'But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought you would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord His God…”'

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Sometimes life doesn't pan out the way you thought it was going to. You have been following God but are currently in a season that makes little sense. You thought you would be married by now; you thought you would have a family by the time you were 30 years old. Maybe that dream, birthed in your heart a long time ago, still doesn't look close to coming to pass. You've listened to the voice of the Father but the dots don't seem to be lining up. Where is God in the situation I’m in right now?

Naaman was a commander of the army of the King of Aram. He was greatly respected in his region for all the successes he had brought, but he wasn't perfect. He had leprosy. Through a sequence of events, he was told he could potentially receive his healing if he travelled to Israel and encountered a man of God called Elisha. When he arrived at Elisha’s house, eager, excited and expectant to finally receive his miracle, Elisha didn't even come to the front door to meet him. Instead, he sent a messenger to him with the instructions to wash seven times in the Jordan river. Outraged by the method suggested, Naaman walked away, refusing to obey such a ludicrous suggestion. Surely God isn't in something that makes no sense at all! A short time later, those closest to him encouraged Naaman to be obedient to what the prophet said. He did, and right there he received his healing.

Just because God doesn't show up in the ways you were expecting, doesn't mean He's not in it. God's ways are above your ways. He thinks beyond a scale your mind can even begin to compute. If God allowed you to have everything you wanted or needed in a moment, then that would probably do more damage than good. It is in these seasons that we mustn’t let anger overtake our emotions or wake up each day feeling frustrated with God, but instead make a conscious decision that no matter what, you will continue to trust Him. Can you keep obeying Him even if what He's asking you to do seems a little crazy? Can you still focus on His promises, even when His time schedule doesn't suit yours? This is where your faith is truly put to the test. Your answer may not show up in flashing lights and fireworks, but should you stay in faith and keep obeying His voice, you will at some point walk right into that miracle you have been believing Him for.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Today I choose to renew my trust in you again. I cast aside my frustration in where I find myself right now and believe that your hand will continue to guide me in the right direction. I will do whatever you ask, even when it makes little sense to me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Growing hurts
16 July 2018

James 1: 2-3
‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.’

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It is never easy to smile in the face of adversity. When the storm clouds of life seem to continuously hover over your head, the last feeling you want to embrace in that very moment is joy. Surely it’s impossible to rejoice when life doesn't play fair; when the business deal falls through again, when that person falsely accuses you of something you didn't do, when you are confronted with another loss in the family. 

No one likes going through a struggle, but the Bible is clear that something happens to you as you pass through it. Many of us pray to God to become more Christlike, to make a difference in this world and to fulfil all the plans He has in store for us. They are great prayers, but to see them come to pass you must grow into them. Often the reason God hasn't given you everything you have asked for at once, is because you are not ready for it. I know this from personal experience. I was 20 years old when God called me to preach the gospel, but I was 31 years old when I stepped out into full-time itinerate ministry. Over those 11 years there have been multiple hardships (including the loss of my first baby girl, Elle), lessons learnt both good and bad, seasons that made little sense, mistakes made, agony endured, locations changed…the list goes on. All of it was necessary to prepare me for where I am right now.

We all want to be made perfect and complete without going through anything, but it is in the struggle you learn what you can live with and what you can’t live without. So today, change your perspective, remind yourself that every trial you face is an opportunity to grow, that your spiritual growth is accelerated by conflict, not comfort. Don't allow that trial to get you down, be encouraged that you are hitting a growth spurt! God is getting ready to increase your level of influence, that door of your dreams is about to open, that season is indeed shifting. God will never give you more than you can endure, so push through, trust Him and consider it pure joy. If you can take it, then you will make it.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you are still with me through every hardship. Help me to focus on you. I want to grow in all aspects of my life. I look to you with joy in my heart, knowing that there are greater things ahead.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Let go and move on
09 July 2018

Job 17:9
‘… the righteous shall move onwards and forwards…’

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Whenever life moves you forward there will always be elements that you must leave behind. Location, friends, environment - all of these are common things people may have to let go of when following God’s plan. Now they may not always change drastically, but they might do. It takes faith to release some of those home comforts, to fully embrace all of what is ahead of you.

When Peter stepped out of the boat, he was risking all familiarity to experience something no other man (other than Jesus), could even attempt to put into words. Could you imagine how much courage that must have taken him to let go of the side of the boat? Some people don't even have enough courage to get on a boat, let alone hang off the side hovering over deep stormy waters! He was willing to risk it all to experience Jesus in a new way, and He wasn’t left disappointed.

When you advance into all God has for you, don't be shocked if you feel a little uncomfortable. To begin with, there may be some pain in moving on from the past; some discomfort in changing that job, some sadness to contend with as you wave goodbye, but don't let that defeat you. If you let go, push through and keep going, it won’t be long until you start seeing the progress you desire.

To see changes in your life means you have to do something different. One thing I never mastered as a child was roller skating. My brother could skate, my friends could skate, but I couldn’t. Every time we went skating, their skill set developed, and their ability increased, but mine didn’t. Why? Because I never had enough faith to let go of the barrier that was keeping me stationary and secure. If you want to press on and step into your next season, it is vital you stop leaning on what you fear and let go of that thing that is holding you back.  

Today, if you choose your calling over your comfort then you will encounter Jesus in a whole new way. If you follow God’s voice even when it doesn’t seem to make sense, then you will experience all of what He has in store for you. If you let go of that fear, that doubt and that insecurity, then you will march onwards and upwards, taking unprecedented ground as you go.  

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you have called me beyond my present reality, that where I am right now is not the end. Help me to let go of my doubts and give me the courage needed to take the right steps forward.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




No more excuses
02 July 2018

Exodus 3:11
‘But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt.”’

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Have you ever felt out of your depth to do what God has called you to do? If you have, then you are in good company. When God called Moses to free his people from the oppression of the Egyptian army, Moses thought God had picked the wrong guy. He had made some big mistakes, hadn't lived a perfect life and was dealing with ongoing issues. How could God use him? Moses didn't feel qualified, gifted or able, and tried to make excuses, but God knew that he was just the perfect candidate to fulfil his plans.

Sometimes, when God places a dream in your heart, it can be easy to disqualify yourself before you even attempt to give it a go. You make excuses, like “I am not smart enough to do that”, “I don't have sufficient funds in the bank to build that”, “where I am from means I don't know the right people to open those doors for me”. You spend so much time doubting yourself that the fear of trying something new stops you from moving forward at all.

The more excuses we make, the more time we waste. Do you not think that God knew about all your imperfections before He called you? Of course He did! He knew you would slip up, slow down and settle for something more comfortable, but that doesn't deter Him from trying to convince you to give that thing another go. God doesn't make mistakes, nor does He set you up to fail! He will give you everything you need, but you must take the first step. Trust him again, be brave and stop making excuses. Today is a new day, so go after that dream. If He has called you, He will equip you. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you never disqualify me from your plans despite all my imperfections. I’m sorry for making excuses. Help me to trust you again and your timing. I want to get out of me everything you have put in me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Dealing with disappointment
25 June 2018

Psalm 42:11
‘Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my saviour and my God.’

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It is never easy when disappointment walks into your life. Whether you have been let down by someone, the business deal didn't go through or the job didn't turn out to be all you expected, everyone will face disappointment somewhere along the way. When reality falls short of your expectations, it can be very hard to deal with. 

The key to dealing with disappointment is to not dwell on it. When disappointment shows up, a mixture of emotions can often follow. Sadness, frustration and anger are just a few examples that quickly move into the driving seat of your thought life, distracting you from everything you need to focus on. These emotions don't help you or the predicament you are now in. They burn energy and cloud your vision. It is a cheap tactic from the enemy, which causes you to slow down and lose sight of the bigger picture.

Don't allow disappointments to dictate the course of your life. You may not understand why that particular opposition has come your way, or why the desired outcome didn't go to plan, but God does. What He has called you to accomplish is still on His mind. He isn't surprised by what you are dealing with today. He knew you would face opposition, disappointments and setbacks, but He also knew what He put in you while you were still being formed inside of your mother’s womb; a strong and tenacious spirit that can push through that struggle and go again; a loving and compassionate heart that has the capacity to forgive over and over; a giant that can overcome the tallest of hurdles despite the odds being against you. What is in you is enough to get you through!

You may not see it yet, but your greatest disappointment can serve as a catalyst to your destiny. Ask God to help you move beyond the hurt. Ask God to release you from the bonds of bitterness. Ask God to heal that brokenness that has kept you feeling numb for years. The quicker you let go of the disappointment and trust God again, the quicker you will see that there is something greater waiting for you on the other side.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I’ve allowed disappointment to consume my thinking and rob me of my joy for too long. Today I give it to you. May my pain be turned into praise and that test be turned into a testimony. Thank you for guiding me through.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Who are you listening to?
18 June 2018

Psalm 25:4-5
‘Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.’

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Recently, I was on a speaking trip in Helsinki, Finland. The sun doesn't set until after 11pm in the summer so Mark, my travel companion, and I thought we would make the most of the beautifully light night by taking an evening stroll. We were informed that the beach was only a kilometre away so, that was our destination. After twenty minutes of walking and seeing no sea, we asked someone for directions. They sent us back the way we had come. Thirty minutes passed, still no sea! Again, we asked someone and again we got sent in a completely different direction. This happened a total of three times. A man living close by overheard our predicament and finally pointed us in the right direction. Seven and a half kilometres later, Mark and I made it to the beach!

When you are in an unfamiliar place, season or situation, it is imperative that you listen to the correct voice. You may think you have enough strength or guile to get yourself out of trouble. Perhaps your sense of direction is better than others and you would back yourself to find your own way out. Mark and I didn't think we were too far off course, but we were. The longer we persevered against the tide and listened to the wrong advice, the further away our intended destination became.  

Too many voices bring confusion and slow you down. Don't offload your woes to every person you come into contact with. Of course, share your burdens with those you trust, seek wisdom from those who have expertise in that area of concern, but don't forget to go to your most trusted source first - the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God. God doesn't need a map, GPS or an iPhone to get you through your trouble, but He does need an obedient and willing heart.  

Today, shut out the distractions and purposefully make space to listen to God’s voice. If you are in a mess, He can fix it. If you’re broken, He can heal it. If you’re lost, He will guide you through it. Don't lose hope. God knows the route you need to take, so pay attention, tune into His spirit and you will end up exactly where you need to be.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for being my guide. Father, I need to hear more of your voice. Speak to me today, show me the steps to take and the decisions to make that will help me get to my intended destination.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




I'm coming for you!
11 June 2018

2 Kings 4:24
‘She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.”’

 

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The faith and composure of the Shumanite woman in this passage of scripture is exemplary. A hugely traumatic experience has just barged in on her life. Her son, her only child has died in her arms. As broken as she is, her first thought is to get to Elisha as quickly as possible. Elisha was known across that region for being used by God in the most powerful ways. She needed a miracle, only being in the presence of God could help her now. So without hesitation, she cries out out to her servant, “saddle the donkey and lead on”, meaning, I don't have time to waste, stand back, I’m going after God with everything I have. No one or nothing will stop me getting my miracle back!

The courage of this woman in the midst of a crisis is astounding. Whenever bad news hits, it is very easy to lose perspective of what is going on around you. As your head tries to compute what has just entered your world, the body becomes numb to everything else that would have consumed your thinking up to that point. As the pain starts to set in, the majority of us want to either bury it or offload it to the closest person to us. Neither are wrong, but the Shumanite woman teaches us that your first port of call should be getting into God’s presence. That is where the real miracle can happen.

Perhaps a new challenge has arisen in your life, maybe a close family member has cancer, or your child is in trouble. Maybe you have recently been told that the sickness you have has no cure. When a deep, dark fight shows up and there looks like there is no way out, don't just give up. The same God that brought this boy back to life is the same God that can help you. The key though, is to go straight to him, to saddle up and lead on! To pick yourself up and press into Him again. You may not be able to change what has happened, but with God’s help, you can get through it and see a whole new miracle come to pass.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that with you nothing is over until you say it is. Help me face the giants in my life with courage. Remove the distractions that stop me entering into your presence. Today I am pressing on!

In Jesus' name,

Amen




I didn't ask for it!
04 June 2018

2 Kings 4:28
“Did I ask you for a son, my Lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘don’t raise my hopes’?”

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Have you ever been given something you didn't ask for? This can be both good and bad depending on the situation. I remember my parents working hard and saving their money so that on my 18th birthday they could bless me with a car. It was a metallic grey Fiat Punto! I didn't ask for it, but there it was on the driveway and I was delighted. However, I also didn't ask for the insurance bill which came with it, and which I had to pay!

In the story of this Shumanite woman, both her and her husband appear to be living a comfortable life. They have a house, stable employment and finances. They are in cruise control until Elisha comes along. He promises them a son, even though she did not ask for one. She didn't want to get her hopes up. Perhaps they had been trying to conceive for a number of years, but with no success. Perhaps it was a dream that had been buried due to the pain they had encountered trying to obtain it somewhere along the way. Whatever the reasons, they clearly didn't feel ready or prepared to go there again. God had other plans, and she gave birth to a son just as Elisha said, but a short time later he died. Angry at the situation, she went and got Elisha, who through the power of God performed a miracle and brought him back to life.

Maybe there is a dream in your heart that you have buried. Maybe you haven't asked God for that desire to come to pass, because you don't feel you can do it. Perhaps you feel that to get to where you want to go will require you to experience some pain, and you’re not sure you are capable of enduring it. It could be that God has called you into a certain field, environment or season that you weren't expecting or didn't really ask for, but you find yourself there anyway. 

This Shumanite woman got what she didn't ask for, but it changed her entire life. Where she put a full stop, God had placed a comma. God hasn't finished with that part of your story just yet. One touch, one move, one shift from God is all you need to start a new chapter. He already has the good breaks lined up for you. Don't get disheartened when things don't make sense. God is still in control, He sees the bigger picture of your life! Stay in faith, for that miracle is just beyond what you didn't ask for!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you know me better than I know myself. I am sorry that I’ve stopped believing you for that dream, desire or miracle that resonates deep within me. Today, I stir my faith again. I may have to encounter something I didn't ask for, but through it I trust I will get to where I need to be.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




What's your capacity?
28 May 2018

2 Kings 4:3
‘Go round and ask all your neighbours for empty jars, don't ask for just a few.’

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Have you ever questioned whether God could use you? The answer is simple. Yes He can, and yes He will. You may not have had the greatest education, or be CEO of an international company. You may not have been voted the most influential or considered a rising star in your field. You may not consider yourself worthy to be used by God, but to Him you are just who He had in mind. God is not as interested in the external stuff you collect along the way as you think He is. Of course he will empower you to be successful in whatever you choose to put your hand too, but what He is really interested in is your heart towards Him, your love of others and your faith capacity to believe Him for more!

In this account of the Bible, a widow is left bankrupt, broken hearted and in trouble. She is in so much debt that the creditors have threatened to take away her two sons to pay off what she owes. All she has in her house is a small jar of olive oil. Surely that couldn't be used by God! She reaches out to Elisha for help, who instructs her to go around to her neighbours and gather up as many empty jars as possible. Notice how Elisha didn't give the widow certain specifications for what the jars had to be. They weren't to be from a particular store, like John Lewis, Mark and Spencer or Sainsbury’s. Just grab some jars. Any jar will do. It doesn't matter if they are chipped, different colours, odd shapes and sizes. Don't worry about the state of the jar or the journey its been on, just grab something with some sort of capacity that the oil can be poured into. Once the jars were gathered, she began to pour and the oil flowed until she had what she needed.

When it comes to being used by God, don't disqualify yourself because of the mistakes you've made. God is looking for people who hunger and thirst after him. People that make room in their busy schedule and dare to believe him for the outright impossible. God is attracted to capacity, He wants to fill the empty. So today why don't you ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, the anointing oil, a power like no other. Ask Him to pour His goodness, His mercy, His wisdom and His love into you so that you can fulfil all He has called you to accomplish.  

Remember, it wasn't the outward appearance of the jars that made a difference, it was the oil, the treasure, the gift on the inside that produced the value.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that despite my imperfections you still have a great plan for my life. Help me enlarge my faith capacity so that I can believe you for more. Fill me with your Holy Spirit.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Whom shall I fear?
21 May 2018

Psalm 27:1
‘The Lord is my light and my salvation - Whom shall I fear?’

 

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Have you ever had to fight with fear? I have not met anyone that doesn’t have a fear of anything. Fear simply means a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain. When fear is in the driving seat of your mind it is very easy to become disorientated and even disillusioned. If you let it, it can paralyse your productivity and stop you moving forward.

Perhaps you have a fear over something that is more obvious than others. Maybe it’s a fear of flying, a fear of heights, a fear of needles…the list can go on. Perhaps you are like me and have a fear of wasps! Your fear could be something more personal; a fear of rejection, a fear of not being good enough, a fear of a particular person. While everyone’s fear may be slightly different, they all have a similar outcome. It takes your eyes off God and causes you to spend valuable time and energy worrying over something that actually hasn’t happened yet, and has no authority in your life.

When you give fear permission to run wild in your mind, you are allowing the enemy to take the driving seat in your thoughts. It is a cheap tactic he uses to breed anxiety, which then hinders you from advancing towards the purposes and promises God has lined up for you. If you don’t stop to challenge it or address it, this once small issue will spread like wildfire, causing deeper pain and further destruction.

Speak faith to that fear today! You have already given it more time than it deserves. Hand that stronghold over to God. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, that dread, panic and trepidation that has kept you stagnant lost it’s authority over you! You were given direct access to the God of joy, peace and strength. Fear is a lie, but God’s Word is truth. Wake up today knowing that you have all the power you need to overcome that stronghold, you have all the wisdom you need to move you forward and all the courage you need to conquer your fear.

The Lord is my light and my salvation - Whom shall I fear?

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that through you my fear has been defeated. Calm my heart and give rest to my mind. Keep me safe and strong as I take steps forward in this area of my life.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Sing a new song
14 May 2018

Psalm 33:3
‘Sing to him a new song…’

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When I hear a new song that catches my attention and delights my eardrums, I have a tendency in the first few weeks to play it over and over again. To begin with, I can’t get enough of it. The track lives on repeat. I listen to it getting ready to face the day, driving in the car, training at the gym. It is like indulging in my favourite sweets morning, afternoon and night. Now, however as enticing as that may sound, the more you have of something, the more chance there is of it losing its appeal. This song which once put a tear in my eye and caused the hairs on my neck to stand on end has now sadly lost its impact. Not because the quality of the music has changed, but because the way I listen to it has changed. I have allowed predictability to numb its once profound effect.

Are your prayers predictable? Do you always say the same thing, repeating the same prayers over and over again? You need to pray persistently, but I am asking whether you just go into auto pilot when you have your quiet time. Has your prayer life become so disciplined that you find yourself ticking off a long list of requests instead of taking the time to truly connect to God with every word you utter in His direction?

In this Psalm we are encouraged not to allow this process to happen, especially when it comes to the way we worship and speak to God. Oh, how we can become so accustomed to the routine of life that we miss out on the new things God wants to activate in us. 

Today if you choose to sing God a new song, if you choose to stir up your heart again, if you choose to look at your circumstances with a new perspective, then you are giving Him permission to breathe something fresh in your direction. Something bigger, something better, something greater. You can’t do the same thing and expect different results. So sing a new song today and watch God open new doors of opportunity in your life.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Today I want to sing you a new song. I will not allow familiarity to rob me of my walk with you. I will not allow yesterdays pain to influence todays God-given opportunities. Help me to give my absolute best to every circumstance that arises.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




One step at a time
08 May 2018

1 John 2:6
‘Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.’

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In the past two weeks my baby girl, Lilah has started to walk. It has been fascinating to watch her each day as she slowly learnt the mechanics of being able to travel on foot. First, she had to master the art of keeping her balance before gaining the confidence to place one foot slowly in front of the other and walk. As I observed her progress, I was amazed at the tenacity she continued to demonstrate. As cliché as it sounds, every time she fell down she just got straight back up. When she lost her balance, she re-focused. When she hurt herself, she wasn't deterred by the challenge ahead. Her determination to just take one step at a time has opened up a whole new realm of adventure for her.

Lilah’s lesson in walking reminds us of our own walk with God. When you make a decision to give your heart to Christ, He doesn't promise that everything will be easy. He commands you to take up your cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). He is not talking about you having to carry a heavy burden. No, He is asking whether you are willing to completely surrender your whole life to His plan for you. Are you willing to die to self? Are you willing to be alienated from family and friends because of your belief in Him? Are you willing to follow Him, even if it means losing your reputation? Are you willing to give your life to the cause of Christ? Are you really willing to walk with him?

When you choose to walk with Christ, knock-backs will come, but the Bible promises that we can all overcome these challenges when we keep our trust firmly in Him. God doesn't expect you to live a perfect life, he knows that you will make some mistakes along the way. What He does expect though, is a steadfastness to keep going, to pick yourself up and put one foot forward. God wants you to run after your dreams, but to do that you must first learn how to walk in His ways.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of walking with you. I want to follow you with all of my heart. Help me take the right steps today, which will set me up for a better tomorrow.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




You have what you need
30 April 2018

2 Kings 4:2
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

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Have you ever wished you had more? More resource, more gifts, more talents, more education?  There are times in life where we can feel inadequate, that when God was dishing out some of the good stuff, He seemed to miss you out. That you ended up with a personality and skill-set that appears quite ordinary. How frustrating it can be when you don't seem to have enough, especially if it is in an area that is close to your heart.

The truth is that nobody was born with everything together. I’ve never met a person who didn't feel inadequate in at least one area of their life. Most of us are never completely satisfied with what we have. If we had it all though, we wouldn't need God. We could make things happen in our own strength and this would require no faith at all.

The beauty in knowing God in a personal way is that you when you allow him to touch the seemingly ordinary in your life, that will very soon become extraordinary.

One of the keys to living a full and satisfying life is to recognise that what God gave you is exactly what you need in order to see the desires of your heart come to pass, that should you learn to work with what you've got then you will see the breakthrough you are believing for.

I think about Moses. He had an old wooden staff in his hands, but he worked with what he had and it played a part in dividing the Red Sea. David had a slingshot and a few stones, not much compared to what his opposition had, but it brought down a great giant. When Samson was confronted by 1,000 Philistines, it looked like his day was done, but he picked up the jawbone of a donkey, which aided him in defeating his enemy.

This widow, in 2 Kings 4, had nothing in her house expect some oil. When she saw what she had through eyes of faith, God multiplied its production so that she could pay off her debts and live off what was left.

Here’s my point. God will use something you already have. Nothing about you is ordinary. Stop looking for other things; stop trying to be someone you are not; stop worrying about what you don't have, and ask God today to show you what you do have.

Even though you might not see it yet, the very thing you have is the very thing God wants to use in your life. Wake up each day and be thankful for what God has uniquely breathed in you. That one small thing placed in the hands of a big God can change everything.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for everything you have placed on the inside of me. Help me to see my uniqueness with eyes of faith. Turn what I see as ordinary into something extraordinary.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Where are you looking?
23 April 2018

Psalm 34:5
‘Those who look to him are radiant…’

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Have you ever taken your eye off the ball, been looking for someone or something but have been focusing your attention in the wrong direction?

Recently while out driving in my car, I had a small accident. Getting to a junction at the top of a hill, there was a car in front of me. As it began to pull out of the junction, I took my eye off the car in front and looked to the right. Thinking that the car in front had pulled away, I proceeded to go as well. However, this car had decided not to go, and I sailed right into the back of it! Thankfully no one was hurt, but the incident occurred because I was looking in the wrong direction.

In life, it is easy to look in the wrong direction and miss what God is doing in you. In today’s technological climate one of the ways to lose focus is to spend your valuable time looking at what everyone is doing through social media. Scanning through the various platforms, examining the highlights of other peoples lives, wishing you had just a slice of their lifestyle, is one of the fastest ways to feeling discouraged and empty.  

Looking at others and comparing yourself to them means you are looking in the wrong direction. Bring your focus back in line with God. What God has set apart for your life is beyond exceptional. The more you look at Him, the more He will reveal to you. If you are looking in the wrong direction though, you will miss it, veer off course or even hit an obstacle you shouldn't have hit! 

Open your eyes. The Bible says those who look to God are radiant. Are you glowing? Can people see God in you? Gaze into his glory today, and your life will start to shine again.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that when I look to you I have nothing to worry about. Help me to stay focused on your plan for my life. I don't want to waste time watching others, I want to invest my time looking at, and pursuing you.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Life in the tongue
16 April 2018

Proverbs 18:21
‘The tongue has the power of life and death’

 

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Right back in the beginning of time we read that Adam’s first assignment from God was to name animals. How fun would that have been? There he is all by himself, walking through the Garden of Eden when all of a sudden he sees a small thing swinging from the trees. “I’ll call that one a monkey!” he shouts. He turns around to see something very large and slightly strange. “Let’s call that one a Hippopotamus.” Next he looks up and notices an animal taller than the trees! “That one can be a giraffe”. As his eyes focus on the skyline he catches a glimpse of something gliding through the air, it is majestic in the way it soars. “WOW God - that one can be called an Eagle.”

It was no coincidence that one of the first lessons God taught Adam was that there is power in the tongue. That is why you must be careful with what you say and when you say it.

Never underestimate the power of your words. They can build up or tear down, they can make someones day or break it, they can breathe life or death. The choice is yours. Just because you live in a world where it may be difficult to receive the encouragement you desire, don't let that be a barrier to stopping you encourage someone else. Be a positive influence, show people your best smile, speak faith, speak hope, speak love. Your words could be the very answer they have been searching for.

This week, ask yourself a couple of questions; if people were dependent on your words, would they be nourished? Would they be full? Or would they leave your presence starving and empty? Would they feel like they have just feasted at a Michelin star restaurant, or a Happy Meal at McDonalds?

We serve a big, faithful and loving God, who has given you with the ability to communicate, so be generous with your words. There is power in your tongue, so use it for the benefit of others. Sow your best encouragement, it will reap a harvest far greater than you can imagine. Speak up, someone is waiting on your words!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you have given me the ability to communicate. Help me to speak the right words, at the right time, to the right people. May people see Jesus in me, every time I open my mouth.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




You are forgiven
09 April 2018

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’

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My little girl is nearly 15 months old. I truly love her with all my heart but every now and then she likes to test the boundaries. Recently, my wife and I brought her some crayons to draw with. We gave her lots of paper and showed her what to do. However, the moment our backs were turned, she had her crayons up against the lounge wall and, in her eyes, she was creating a masterpiece.

Now, do we allow her to keep doing this, or do we correct her? She needs to know that if she breaks the rules, there will be consequences; no chocolate this afternoon! If she doesn't learn what is right or wrong, then she will think that her behaviour is acceptable and do that around every person’s house if she sees a crayon in sight!

Do I stop loving her for breaking the rules? No, of course not! Her actions don't change my love towards her. In the same way, God’s love doesn't change towards you, when you do things you know you shouldn’t do. His forgiveness is always just a prayer away. However, that is not an excuse to play the grace card. Don't get forgiveness and consequences mixed up. You cannot plant a bad seed and expect to reap a good harvest. So be wise with your decisions, be kind with your words and be honest with your actions. What you do today will set you up for what you achieve tomorrow.  

If you have done something you regret, stop beating yourself up. The price has already been paid for your forgiveness, receive it and move forward with an assurance that God still loves you and has great things in store for your life. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for paying the ultimate price. Please forgive me for the things I have done wrong. Help me to live a life that honours you. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




The King is with you
02 April 2018

Revelation 19:16
‘On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.’

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As we reflect on Easter weekend and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I wanted to share with you some words of the late S. M. Lockridge. They are taken from one of his most well-known sermons, “That’s my King”. He was a prominent pastor, renowned for preaching the word of God in the USA and all around the world. I pray it blesses you as you go into your week.

“The Bible says my King is the King of the Jews. He’s the King of Israel. He’s the King of Righteousness. He’s the King of the Ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of Glory. He’s the King of Kings, and He’s the Lord of Lords. That’s my King.

I wonder, do you know Him?

My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful.

Do you know Him?

He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s Saviour. He’s the centrepiece of civilization. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He is the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He’s the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Saviour.

I wonder if you know Him today?

He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captive. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. And He beautifies the meek.

I wonder if you know Him?

He’s the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory.

Do you know Him? Well…

His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy. And His burden is light.

I wish I could describe Him to you. Yes…

He’s indescribable! He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hand. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him, and the grave couldn’t hold Him.

Yeah! That’s my King, that’s my King.

Amen!”

Do you know him? Is Jesus a king to you? As you enter into your week, do not forget that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords loves you and is with you. Do not fear, do not worry and do not forgot that “that” powerful King is on your side!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for my sin. I acknowledge his sovereignty. Help me to take up my cross and live in the fullness of his power that is alive in me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Activate your courage
26 March 2018

Psalm 18:29
'With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.'

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One night a few years ago, I had just returned home from my weekly supermarket shop. Pulling my car up outside my house, I proceeded to open the boot so I could take my shopping out. As I moved the first bag, something caught the corner of my eye. Turning around quickly, there was nobody to be seen. I continued, however this time something did make an appearance. It was a fox! But it wasn’t just any fox, this was a fox on a mission. His eyes were locked on my shopping bags and he was moving very quickly in my direction. 

To discourage his audacity I knew I had to do something. I looked him in the eyes and bravely shouted at the top of my voice “STAY FOX, STAY”. It didn't work, I put the bags back in my boot and swiftly made for the house. The standoff went on for several minutes until finally I was able to outsmart him and recover my shopping to the safety of my home.

It’s a funny story, but I was taught a valuable lesson that night. This fox was not the biggest, most powerful, or even the best looking, but he had some courage. His spirit was determined, and his mind was fixed on the prize. It didn't matter who was standing in his way, nothing was going to stop him achieving his goal. He demonstrated conviction, whereas I crumbled under the weight of compromise.  

God designed you to be a world changer. He loaded you up with limitless potential, filled you with gifts and talents, He even sent His Holy Spirit to live in you. You have all you need to see the desires of your heart come to pass. You are armed for the adventure, furnished for the fight, equipped for the experiences that will come your way - but do you have the courage to take the first step? Are you courageous enough to stand strong in the face of adversity?

You will not get to where God is calling you to go without courage. The more you compromise, the more ground you lose. If you stand for nothing then you will fall for anything. Today, make a decision to live with conviction. Do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, not man. Life passes by quickly, so don’t miss out on all that God has in store for you, just because you weren't brave enough.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you have already prepared a way. Help me activate the courage within, so that I may stand up, stand out and advance against any opposition that comes my way.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The promise keeper
19 March 2018

Romans 4:20-21
‘Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God has the power to do what he has promised.’

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Have you ever broken a promise? Has someone ever promised you something, but failed to keep their word and deliver what you were expecting? Have you ever had to wait on a promise that seems to take an age to happen? I am sure many of us have said things that we were unable to complete, been on the end of a broken promise or spent countless days waiting on that promise to come to pass. Broken promises are tough to take, especially when a measure of hope has been invested in the fulfilment of that word. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. However, God is perfect and He never makes mistakes. If He has birthed a promise in your heart, then it will come to pass.

In Romans 4, Paul reminds us of Abraham’s attitude when it came to waiting on his promise from God. God had told him that he would be the father of many nations, yet his wife Sarah was still barren. He did not waver in his faith despite being 100 years old. He did not question God’s ability to deliver his miracle even though his time on earth was passing him by. He kept the faith! In fact, Abraham was fully persuaded that God had the power to do as He said He would do.  

Perhaps God has promised you something and you are yet to see it come to fruition. How do you wait on God? Are you fully persuaded that God will come through for you? Abraham’s example demonstrates what you should do when waiting on your promise. Instead of letting bitterness, frustration and anger take up residence in your heart, you need to strengthen your faith. Start each day by opening up your Bible, spend time in prayer, make His presence a priority. Remind yourself that He is the God of infinite power, immeasurable wisdom and impeccable timing. He is a promise keeper! If He can bring Abraham's promise to life, then He can do the same for you.  

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you always stay true to your word. I am fully convinced that the Bible is the infallible word of God, that you have infinite power to bring the promises of my life to pass at just the right time.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Blessed from rest
12 March 2018

Exodus 33:14
‘And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”’

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In today’s western world, life can move by at such a hectic speed. There can be pressure from all sorts of angles; jobs to do, work to be done, people to see, the list can seem endless. As your life gets more full, it is easy to get more stressed! Especially when it feels like you are being attacked at every angle; the medical report isn't good, the finances are running dry, that business opportunity fell through. It can be hard to rest when there is so much going on.

Rest is important though. It allows your mind, body and soul to be renewed, refreshed and recharged. It realigns your focus back onto your creator and rebuilds the strength that may have been weakened in the busyness of your life.  

Rest doesn't just mean doing nothing though. Living from a place of rest means there is a peace in your heart as you step out to face the day, an assurance that no matter what you’re up against or going through, you are at peace, for you know that God is with you. It can be easy to get upset, unsettled or anxious when things aren't going to plan, but don't put your trust in that! Put your trust back in the unshakeable God, the God who is still on the throne and is bigger than anything you are facing.

Is that your approach to rest? If it isn’t, you can change it. God didn't design your life to be so chaotic that you wake up frazzled each morning. That is not His will for your life. Take a breath, put God in charge of your agenda and it won’t be long before those problems begin to turnaround, that seed in you comes to fruition and your dreams start coming to pass. Staying at rest shows God how much you trust him.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that in you I can find rest for my soul. Help me to live from a place of rest, knowing that with you in control, everything will turn out OK.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Heaven is our home
05 March 2018

John 14:2
‘I go to prepare a place for you’

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Billy Graham once said this about Heaven: "Some day you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don't you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

Since the passing of Billy Graham on February 21 2018, this statement he made about his own death has been quoted many times, across numerous media platforms. What struck me most about it was his certainty of where he is now - that he had no doubt whatsoever that his entering of Heaven, coming face-to-face with Jesus and being reunited with his loved ones was truly the beginning of his existence.  

Despite the broken world we live in and the uncertainties we face each day, with Jesus Christ alive in you there is always hope - hope for today, tomorrow and all eternity. Sometimes we just need to pause and look at our circumstances with an eternal perspective - to look up instead of down, forwards instead of backwards, to take some time to remind us that through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have nothing to fear, for ultimately we are on the winning side.

One day, you will see Jesus face-to-face, but until that time comes can I encourage you to live each day as if it was your last? Let the wonder of Heaven fill your heart with excitement and spur you on to your finish line.

If you don't have that certainty of where you will spend eternity, our loving Heavenly Father is longing to draw you near to him. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, you have made a way for me to spend all eternity with you. Today I repent of my sins. Come into my heart. I want to follow you now and for all eternity.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Leaving a legacy
26 February 2018

John 3:36
‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life

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On February 21st 2018, one of the greatest servants of the Lord finished his race this side of eternity and entered into the gates of Heaven. Billy Graham, born on a farm outside of a small southern town in North Carolina. Nobody could have predicted the impact his life would have on the world. He preached the gospel at crusades around the world, through television, radio, books and magazines. It is estimated that his lifetime audience was somewhere close to 2.2 billion people, meaning he spoke to more people in person about the love and forgiveness of Jesus than anyone else in the history of Christianity. What a legacy that is!

How did his life and influence grow to such a level? Well, he himself did what he would ask millions of others to do - to make a decision to accept Christ as their personal saviour and follow him. It wasn't always easy, he was human like you and me. There was personal sacrifice to endure, time away from the family, opposition, criticism, persecution, the list goes on. However, he had a burning desire, a knowing in his heart that God had set him apart to be an evangelist. He had many opportunities to do other things that he turned down because he had been called to be an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As much as God loves Billy Graham, He loves you just the same. God has breathed life into you for such a time as this. There is a unique calling on your life that has been placed in you to make a difference in this world. You discover it by seeking God’s presence, reading His Word and trusting Him from the very depths of your heart, even when things don't always make sense.  

It is right to admire, honour and celebrate the life of Billy Graham (he is my hero), but don't compare his achievements to yours. Allow his story to encourage, inspire and challenge you. Let it serve as a daily reminder that if God can use a man, a preacher, a humble farmer’s son to speak to presidents of nations and help change the world, then I wonder what God could do with you! Your life matters, so keep Christ at the centre of everything you do, stay committed to your calling and you too will leave a legacy greater than you can imagine.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the example of your servant Billy Graham. I want to live each day for you. Strengthen my convictions as I step out in faith and follow you with all I am. Help me leave a legacy that encourages others to live a full life.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Unashamed
19 February 2018

 Romans 1:16
‘I am not ashamed of the gospel.’

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‘I am not ashamed of the gospel’, Paul wrote to the church in Rome. If anyone had the credibility and integrity to compose such a letter, it was Paul. On numerous occasions, Paul had the opportunity to back down or shy away from proclaiming his faith in Jesus. Daily he faced persecution on a level unfamiliar to most of us. Beaten multiple times, chased out of cities, thrown into prison, threatened with death week after week. He was framed, ambushed and made to look like a fool, yet he stood strong in what he believed. He didn't fear man, nor death. He was sold out for the cause of Christ.

There are always opportunities to share your faith in Christ. Whether it be with your words or your actions, there are moments in time that come your way whereby you have a chance to point someone in the direction of Jesus. However, we can miss it if we allow fear to creep in, if we start to doubt ourself, or worry about what that person’s opinion of you might be.  

I remember training in a gym a few years ago when I had an encounter with a very interesting man. He was loud, obnoxious and came across as a bit of a bully. I had seen him over the weeks but had never engaged with him. On this day, it changed. He wanted to use a piece of equipment that I was on, so I told him that he would have to wait. Unhappy that he didn't get what he wanted, he started talking to me. Staying calm, the conversation started to flow. Over the next few weeks our discussions got deeper and it wasn't long before I was able to share with him about the love and forgiveness of God. Tears filled his eyes as he said, ‘how could God love me?’ We hugged, and he said that I had gained his respect, but then I never saw him again.

Do not be ashamed to stand strong in faith. Let Paul’s conviction inspire you, not overwhelm you. Do not fear what people’s response may be. Use wisdom, but be bold. You never know what that person is going through, and what you say could be the very turning point in their life. You want God to start answering more of your prayers? You want to see nations come to know God? Then start answering His call by telling those in your world about His love, forgiveness and goodness.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the example Paul set by living the life he lived. I am not ashamed of you Lord. Give me the boldness and wisdom I need to keep telling more people about you. Show me who that person can be today.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Unleash my potential
12 February 2018

Psalm 139:13
‘For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.’

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Many years ago, someone asked me a question that will stay with me forever. “Luke, where is the richest place in the world?” Racking through the components of my brain, I thought that it could be somewhere in the Middle East, due to the oil that is found there. I was told that was incorrect. So after some more considered thought I mentioned Botswana or South Africa due to their diamond production. Wrong again. My final attempt was Papua, Indonesia where the world’s largest gold mine is situated. None of my answers came close to what he was looking for. With a puzzled look on my face, he gave me the answer. “The graveyard, for too many people die without fulfilling their potential.”

God was intentional when he designed you and formed you inside of your mother’s womb. He was calculated when he imparted gifts and talents unique to you. He was deliberate when he installed unlimited potential into the fabric of who you are. You are not a mistake or an accident. God brought you into this world for such a time as this. With Christ in you, you are more than enough to achieve the unachievable, see the impossible made possible, live out dreams that look beyond your reach. The question is, do you believe it? Do you believe in the God-given potential in you?

A car has great potential to take you on a journey. However, if it has no petrol in the tank and no driver to turn on the ignition and put their foot on the accelerator, it will go nowhere. It will always be something that had great potential, that was unfulfilled.

Don't allow that to happen to you. Today you can unleash your potential! Start believing what the Word of God says about you. Fill your mind with the promises of God, re-ignite your passion, put your foot back on the throttle of life and drive towards fulfilling your potential. Make a commitment that by the time your work is done here on Earth, you will have got out of you all that God has breathed into you.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you took the time to mould me, shape me and fill me with unlimited potential. Take me on the drive of my life. When times get tough, remind me why I started this in the first place. I will not go to the grave with unfulfilled potential.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Growing into greatness
05 February 2018

Zechariah 4:10
‘Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.’

 

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When you look at an acorn it is fascinating that something so small could be carrying something so grand on the inside. It is unassuming to look at, I doubt it even catches your eye as you kick it along the pavement. However, if placed in the right environment and given the time it needs to develop, it can grow to over 100 feet tall, standing strong in some of the fiercest weather conditions known to man. It can provide shelter, protection and produce new life. An oak tree that reaches its full potential is something to admire, but don't forget where it started…in a one inch acorn.

You have seeds of greatness in you, but for it to truly be discovered and released you need to get into the right environment. The mind needs to be watered by His word and your heart exposed to His presence. You must surround yourself with people who can feed your faith and encourage your dreams. Stay planted in a local church where you are reminded weekly about the the love, forgiveness and grace of our God. These are all major factors to cultivating an environment that sees you flourish into who God has called you to be.

Do not get frustrated if what you have seems small right now, or the process of getting where you want is taking too much time. Every great venture, project or dream starts small. Do not worry about what you don't have. Remember, the Lord rejoices in seeing the work begin. He is with you now, staying by your side all the way to the end. God’s got this! So be faithful in developing and appreciating what you do have and you will grow to unlimited heights.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the seeds of greatness that you have placed in me. Help me to value the small things. Allow me to grow, develop and mature into all you have designed me to be. May I do what needs to be done so that I can flourish and touch the hearts of those around me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




He can make a way
30 January 2018

Acts 12:7
‘He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.’

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Picture the scene. King Herod has just killed one of Jesus’ disciples, James, for preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. Now he wants to seal the same fate for another disciple, Peter. So he has him arrested and thrown into prison. Herod wants to ensure that this man of God has no chance of escaping, so orders 16 soldiers to keep watch over a 24-hour period. They attach chains to his wrists, lock him behind multiple doors and position him between two guards. It appears that there is no way out.

However, God has other plans. He sends an angel to loosen the chains and unlock the prison doors. Peter walks free from an impossible situation with peace in his heart. His escape is so smooth and miraculous that even Peter himself thinks he is having a dream. Oh, how God can show up in a way that takes your breath away.

Why do you panic when you find yourself in a situation that looks beyond repair? Or when the path in life you are walking down suddenly comes to an abrupt end? Do not worry, with God there is still a way. God has a habit of stepping in when you find yourself confronted by an impossible circumstance. When Daniel was launched into the lion’s den, God closed the mouths of the lions and he got out unharmed. When Moses and the entire Israelite nation were fleeing oppression, they were confronted by a sea in front of them and an Egyptian army behind them. God parted the waves and all passed through safe and sound. When Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb, it looked to all that the Saviour of the World had been defeated. God though, was not finished, and three days later raised him from the dead, making a way for us all to receive God’s love, forgiveness and power.

Whatever your ‘impossible’ may be, please be encouraged today that with God, there is always a way! He can get you out, He can get you through, He can set you free. Re-align your heart, awaken your faith. If you can believe it, then a miracle is coming your way!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for reminding me that with you, there is always a way. Even when my faith begins to waiver, help me to focus on your promises. To the natural eye it looks impossible, but with you by my side, I know that a miracle is on its way.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Patience is key!
23 January 2018

Romans 8:25
‘But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.’

 

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My wife is a doctor, she works in reconstructive surgery. When she performs an operation, she does everything she can in her expertise to make the operation as successful as possible. However, once her part is done, the recovery relies heavily on the patient. The patient can’t just go back to their normal established routine straight away. They have to wait until the wound or skin graft heals and gains strength. If not, then the wound can come apart, complications can arise and  the whole healing process takes much longer.

Having patience when waiting on things to fall into place can be a real test. You've passed all the exams, but the right job hasn't come up yet. You’ve saved the money, but the house you desire just doesn't seem to be available yet. You’ve prayed and fasted, but your healing hasn't arrived yet! Just because you are waiting, it doesn't mean God has stopped working. He is always at work behind the scenes of your life, lining up the right connection, the right person, the right opportunity, so at the right time you can step into the fullness of all that God has in store for you. But you have to play your part, which sometimes means being patient.

When walking with God, patience is key. Do you not think that God has heard your prayers? That He hasn't seen the desires of your heart? Of course He has! He knows you better than you know yourself. He created you, with gifts, talents and the potential to accomplish those dreams that get you out of bed in the morning. So don't panic if what you are believing for hasn't yet happened! If you rush this season you may miss what God wants to show you, or re-open a wound that needs further healing. Be patient, keep doing the right things. Your patience could be the key that opens the next door of your destiny.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you work outside of my time frame. Lord, help me to be patient when I try to force things in my own strength. As I wait, teach me all I need to know and prepare my heart for what is next.

In Jesus' name,

Amen