preacher teacher evangelist
Word for the Week



Trust God and let go
19 October 2020

Psalm 37:5
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this

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When I was younger I remember taking part in an activity designed to build trust. One person would stand on the edge of a table, while the rest of the group would stand next to it. The person on the table would then lean back, falling into the arms of those poised and ready to catch them. The person falling backwards had to let go of any fear and put their complete trust in those catching them in order to successfully pass the exercise.

Letting go of the familiar to experience the unknown is always daunting. When we know our surroundings it’s so tempting to want to stay there. Like a baby bird nestled in its mother’s nest, it’s hard to leave that place of security. Even if we’re uncomfortable, the thought of change seems more terrifying. That’s why so many people just accept what they have, remaining unsatisfied and unhappy.

Now is the time to let go of that ‘thing’ which is holding you back. Perhaps it’s a previous relationship that you can’t seem to move on from, maybe it’s a bad decision that constantly haunts you or a past hurt that leaves you numb inside. The longer you hold onto that disappointment, fear or regret the slower your progress will be. 

The Bible says that God’s mercies are new every single day. We mustn't dwell on the past. He supplies us with sufficient grace to face our troubles and move forward from them. The key though is to let it go and trust God. At first it may be difficult and frightening as you explore a new way of living, but God will hold you. So take courage, lean back and sink into the arms of God. He will never let the righteous fall.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I desire to let go of the pain, negativity and fear that is holding me back. I trust you to guide me in a new way of living, free from the burdens that have held me back. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Facing the impossible
12 October 2020

Matthew 19:26
‘…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'

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When you are faced with the impossible, what do you do? How do you advance when that adversity takes the wind out of your sails? When the medical report gets worse? When there is no way forward?

Life isn’t easy. Sometimes it looks like others have an easier journey, but in reality many of us face situations that seem impossible to get through. This is where faith plays a huge role in our daily walk.

God wants us to live by faith and not by sight. Faith means seeing first in your heart before seeing it with your eyes. You need to see what you’re believing for in the spirit realm before you witness it in the physical realm.

Faith is critical when facing the impossible. You can release your faith in at least three ways - prayer, confession and action.

Praying means communicating with God. Sharing with him your concerns, requests and thoughts. When you convene with God it releases faith. Prayer builds your relationship with God. It acknowledges your need of Him, that you trust Him to take control and deliver your desired outcome.

Confession means matching your words with your prayers. There is no point telling God that you believe He can heal you but when you speak to your friends you say the opposite — “I’m not sure God can heal me”, “I think I’ll have to live with this pain forever.” There is power in a positive confession. Of course I’m not saying you shouldn't share your true feelings with others when you’re having doubts — that is important too. I’m saying being negative in your speech should not be your regular stance. When you exercise a hope-filled vocabulary you release faith.

Action is important. Once you’ve prayed and confessed boldly that God is going to show up, you still need to play your part. All things are possible but you can’t just sit back and do nothing. You are in partnership with God. You have to do your part, then He will do what you can’t do. Actions release faith.

Today you may be facing the impossible, but don't worry. Release your faith through prayers, confessions and your actions, and you will see God do something beyond the bounds of possibility.

Prayer:

Dear God,

It has been a challenging year. Thank you for reminding me that with you all things are possible. I release my faith and trust you to do the unimaginable in my situation.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




It takes patience to be successful
05 October 2020

Proverbs 14:29
‘Whoever is patient has great understanding…’

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Have you ever completed a jigsaw puzzle? You will notice that depending on the size of the pieces and how big the picture is, there is a process involved. My daughter always starts piecing a jigsaw puzzle together so enthusiastically, but often after a few minutes frustration sets in and she walks off. Not being able to see the bigger picture soon enough is what causes her to get distracted instead of sticking with it to the end. Her lack of patience means missing out on the satisfaction of seeing the reward.

How true this also is for so many of us in our own lives. We believe that God has a big plan for our existence. However, when it doesn't fall into place quickly enough we get frustrated, upset and for some, walk away far too soon. We want a quick fix, something that brings instant satisfaction. We want to accomplish our dream now, anything less and we start questioning ourself and the process.

It takes patience to be successful. Rarely does it happen overnight. Just because you are being delayed right now doesn’t mean that you are being denied. True lasting success is built from the ground up. Piece by piece, day by day. If you could accomplish your dreams or fulfil that vision in less than a week I would suggest that what you’re pursuing isn’t big enough.  

Face today with a new perspective. Recognise that a willingness to endure is crucial to your level of achievement. Give your best to the pieces you hold in your hands right now and stop looking for shortcuts. Where you are isn't the complete picture, but it is an important part of it. Patience isn't an enemy. It is there to ensure you develop, learn and mature all the necessary traits and virtues you need to not only be successful, but remain successful in all that you do.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Please help me with my patience. Give me the grace to trust your timing. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Remember who you are
28 September 2020

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

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There is a scene in the movie The Lion King that always arrests my attention and brings a tear to my eye. Simba has now grown up and realised that he has to return home, face his past and take his rightful place as king. Looking into the water, at first he only sees his own reflection, but as he takes another look, he sees his father in him. In that very moment he hears his father’s voice.

“Simba, you have forgotten me.” “No, how could I?” Simba replies. “You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me, look inside yourself Simba, you are more than what you have become…remember who you are…you are my son…remember who you are.”

Although this is just a movie, the words this father speaks to his child are powerful. When Jesus becomes the Lord and Saviour of your life, the bible tells us that we become an heir to His kingdom. Our bloodline changes. You take on a new identity. A son, a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are now royalty in the eyes of God.

You can’t ignore that royalty comes with responsibility, but it also comes with great power. As a born again believer the Holy Spirit comes and lives in you. You have direct access to the great comforter, teacher and guide. How incredible this truth is.

With all that is going on in your life, don’t forget whose you are. You are God’s special possession. He loves you, is for you and has great plans for you. You are favoured, forgiven and free. So don’t give up. Don’t run away from from that calling, obstacle or person. There is no mountain too great for God to move, no sea too deep for God to part. No situation too broken for God to fix.

With God all things are possible because He lives in you. Today, remember who you are.

Prayer:

Dear God,

How wonderful it is to know that you live in me. You watch over everything I do. Thank you for reminding me that I have nothing or no one to fear, that I am yours.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




He is a healer
21 September 2020

Exodus 15:26
"…for I am the LORD, who heals you."

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No one enjoys receiving bad news. Whether it barges into your life suddenly or you are half expecting it, bad news is bad news. Often shock is the first experience you feel as your mind tries to process what it’s just heard. As the cogs in your head begin to turn, various scenarios play out. The worst outcomes tend to dominate your thinking, leaving you with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Such a reaction is normal but what you do next is important. Dwelling on it won’t help.

Perhaps sickness is what you're dealing with right now. The diagnosis is not good, you're in pain, perhaps fearful of what may lay ahead. Maybe it’s a family member or close friend thats just had a terrible medical report. What do you do? How do you pray?

First you need to focus on God and His promises. In Exodus 15, God says “I am the Lord that heals you.” God is a healer. He desires to see you well, not sick. You need to believe that. You can’t allow doubt about God wanting you well to take up prominence in your thinking. There’s no doubt about it. No good father wants their child unwell.

So today, meditate on this scripture. It’s a promise from God that can not be shaken. God doesn’t break a promise, He never has and He never will. If you’re confronted with sickness right now you need to draw upon what He declares in his Word. Confess the scriptures with your mouth and get in agreement with Him. 

Wherever you are right now, God is with you. Close your eyes, slow your breath and focus on God’s love. Meditate on His incredible power and willingness to help you. Remember his faithfulness to you. And no matter how distant you've been, turn to him again. He desires your company. God is good and He IS the Lord that heals you!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your promises. Please remove this affinity from my body. I believe that you can heal me. I place my faith firmly in you for my good report.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Lord make a way
14 September 2020

Exodus 14:22
‘… and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.’

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Have you ever found yourself in a place where there seems to be no way forward? You have a desire to advance in life but every door that stands before you either doesn't open or is just too far out of reach.

Recently I was watching a film with my three year old daughter, Lilah. It was entitled ‘The Prince of Egypt’. Those familiar with the movie will know it is based on the life story of Moses up until the crossing of the Red Sea. Of course, there is some artistic license used in the script but the majority of the story runs parallel to the account we read in the book of Exodus.  

Moses’ story is remarkable. From his birth to his death he lived an extraordinary life, but I want to draw your attention to that history defining moment when he leads the Israelites through a wall of water in the sea. Can you imagine it? His people are being pursued by the Egyptian army, right up to the Red Sea. They are distressed, frightened and angry as there is literally no way forward. They have followed God’s lead but it appears to have brought them to a dead end. 

Moses didn't panic. In fact, he did the opposite. He stayed calm and composed. He projected a confidence and trust in God. With an outstretched arm, he lifted his staff over the sea and the waters receded and divided - making a way for an entire nation to walk into their freedom.

When you’ve come to a dead end, don’t panic. God has not forgotten about your escape route. This moment in time isn't about how good your own ability is to get you out. It’s about trusting in God with everything you’ve got. The crossing of the Red Sea is astounding, but it took a tremendous amount of faith and courage to walk through it. God has a spectacular plan and purpose for your life, but for you to fully discover it, it’s going to take faith and courage. It’s going to mean depending on your Father in heaven in ways you've not yet experienced.

Today, learn from Moses. Don't let fear and frustration be the barometer for your decision making when you find yourself in a dead end. Instead, stay calm, keep your peace and trust in God. If He brought you this far, then the Lord will make a way, even when there seems to be no way.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for opening supernatural doors in my life. Give me the faith and courage needed to trust in you and take the necessary steps, even when what I’m confronted with makes no sense.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Shout a little louder
07 September 2020

Matthew 20:31
The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

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In this passage we are introduced to two men who were blind and desperate for a miracle. I cannot even begin to imagine what a life without sight would be like. But if I were in these men’s shoes I can totally understand why they would shout all the louder until they got the attention of Jesus. However, those present didn't share their enthusiasm. Amazingly, the crowd that surrounded them told them to be quiet.

It’s easy for people to tell you to be quiet when they have no idea what you’re going through. Not everyone knows your story. They don’t fully understand why you think a certain way or live a certain way. They can’t grasp that the tears you cry come from a place of deep pain which doesn't just disappear overnight. Perhaps people laugh at your persistence or question your motives. Sadly not everyone will appreciate you or your calling, but you can’t let the opinions of others determine how you live your life.

Take on the attitude of these blind men. Shrug off the negativity and rise above it. Choose boldness over fear. They couldn’t see Jesus immediately but once they called out to him, a transformation in their situation was inevitable.

Today, don’t allow the multitude to drown out your dreams or their lack of faith to hinder your ambitions. Instead let their ignorance serve to fuel your fire, spurring you on to pursue the breakthrough you desperately need. You can remain silent because of the intimidation of others or you can open your mouth and shout a little louder. Remember, when you call out to God, He hears you and He answers.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for hearing my requests. I will not allow the voices of others to deter me from my miracle. Help me rise above any obstacles that stand in my way.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




There's a fourth man in the fire
03 August 2020

Daniel 3:25
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

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In the book of Daniel we read about three Hebrew boys named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar created a 90-foot-high golden image and demanded the entire nation bow down and worship this statue, these three men of God had other ideas. They refused to obey such orders. As a result of their unwillingness to compromise on their beliefs they were thrown into a fiery furnace. However as they stood in the fire, a fourth man appeared next to them. The King described this fourth man as “like the Son of God.” When they came out of the fire not a hair on their heads had been singed, nor were their garments affected. 

Lots of encouragement can be taken from this incredible story. However, I want to draw your attention to the ‘fourth man.’  Although being in the fire was daunting, it must have been a tremendous comfort to these boys to know that even in the middle of their situation, God was very present. They were not alone, God was with them through it all, even though the outcome was uncertain. They trusted in God’s power but did not presume to understand God’s will. 

Today, you may be facing something that is leaving you completely overwhelmed. You feel like you've tried your best and made the right decisions but you still find yourself trapped in the fire with no way out. The weight of apprehension is suffocating, the fear of the future tangible and any sense of living a normal life seems way outside of your control. With your current predicament making no sense at all there has been a temptation to doubt God. Well listen up - this word is for you. 

You’re not alone. God is right by your side. He has not abandoned you, even if it’s difficult to feel His presence. He was with you before the fire, during the fire and will be with you long after you come through the fire. He is ready to protect, guide and restore you. He has the power to set you free. So dry those tears, take another look through the smoke and uncertainty that surrounds you. There’s another one in the fire and He's standing next to you.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you are standing with me. Help me to develop the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and trust you completely. It reassures me to know that I’m never alone, no matter what fires I find myself in today.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




What steals your peace?
28 July 2020

Song of Solomon 2:15
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

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There are certain things in life that will steal your peace. Some are very obvious, whereas others are more subtle. Of course it’s difficult when a major problem, bad report or circumstance outside of your control barges into your life. But often it’s the little daily things that trouble us the most.

I have to confess that last week I found myself in this exact situation. As someone who loves sport and in particular football, I can often find myself too engrossed with what is happening on the pitch. Unfortunately my team Watford FC, didn't have a great season and were relegated from the top tier of English professional football on Sunday. In the build-up to that game I actually found myself worrying about the football club. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but one night I remained awake all through the night thinking about our predicament. Now, you may laugh as it’s only football, but I’m sure we can all identify the little things in our own life that rob us of our peace. Things that really shouldn’t. Perhaps it’s getting stuck behind a slow car when you’re in a hurry to be somewhere. It could be someone else parking right next to you in the supermarket carpark when they had 50 other spaces to chose from. Or maybe your child forgot their PE kit again and now you have to drive back to the school. There are so many ‘little’ things that can arise in your day that if you fail to manage in the moment, can have a very negative effect.

In Song of Solomon we are reminded that it’s the little foxes that spoil the vines. In other words, it’s the minor inconveniences in life that can cause the most destruction. No one is perfect and everybody can be guilty of overreacting in some situations. However, the more we make something bigger than it actually is, the worse it makes us feel. It builds unnecessary tension within, stealing our peace and joy in the process. How we handle the little things will determine how we live.

As my parents would often tell me growing up, “don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” The more you focus on something the bigger it becomes. If you can’t change it, go with it. It’s not worth getting upset about it. Today there will be challenges, interruptions and setbacks. Everything may not go to your plan, but ask God to give you a good attitude as you pass through them. Decide that you’re not going to lose your peace no matter what shows up in your day. Remember, God is still in control, His hand is on your life and you have nothing to worry about. Keep things in perspective, get the balance right and you’ll enjoy life a lot more.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me to let go of the small things early, especially when it’s outside of my control. I will not let someone or something steal my peace or rob me of my joy when things don't go to plan. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Trust in the Lord
20 July 2020

Jeremiah 17: 7-8 NIV

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’

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Are you struggling this year to trust in the Lord? Do you find yourself constantly battling worrying thoughts or anxiety? Trust can be defined as ‘assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something’. It means placing complete confidence in someone. The words ‘trust’ and ‘confidence’ share the same Hebrew word ‘Batach' , and are often used interchangeably in scripture. But placing our confidence in God isn’t always easy, especially when we constantly find ourselves in situations where our trust is tested.

I love this portion of scripture where God provides us with a powerful visual image of a tree planted by a stream. I imagine the deep roots from this tree extending to the stream, drawing nourishment from the constant supply of water. To develop confidence and trust in God, we must choose to plant ourselves by His stream. Every day we need to extend our roots into His word, and draw close to Him in prayer. As we develop intimacy with Him, our confidence in Him grows. As the stream constantly flows, God never fails to bring renewed refreshment to our souls. 

And just like the tree, we don’t need to be concerned about external circumstances. When the heat comes, we will not fear! When the drought comes, we will not worry! In fact, not only does this tree survive the harsh conditions, it flourishes and never fails to bear fruit. What an incredible truth to hold onto.

God is doing something amazing in your life during this season, both for your benefit and for His glory. Then you will bear fruit that will bless others and have eternal significance. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

I choose to plant myself in you and your unfailing word. May I take nourishment and encouragement from this promise. Even though times are tough, I know your goodness will show up in every area of my life.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Refuse to worry
13 July 2020

Matthew 6:34 (TPT)
Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

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Imagine a life free from worry. What would that feel like? It’s an incredible thought, which seems too good to be true. And yet, God repeatedly commands us not to worry. 

This passage of scripture not only reassures us of God’s love and provision for us, but it also gives us practical advice in dealing with worrying thoughts. 

Whether our worries are large or small, over present circumstances or for the future; these thoughts ruminate in our minds, keeping us awake at night and consuming unnecessary energy. However, some studies show that over 90% of what we worry about never happens! Hopefully that statistic alone is reassuring and gives us a determined approach to release our worries to God. 

The word worry comes from a Greek word meaning ‘to divide the mind’. The dictionary describes worry as ‘tormenting oneself with disturbing thoughts.’ Neither definitions are positive, yet so many of us allow worry to take up such a place of prominence in our thinking. We can be so consumed with what may happen tomorrow that we forget about the grace God has supplied us with today.

In Matthew 6, Jesus instructs us to deal with each challenge one day at a time, trusting that He will take care of our tomorrow. But how do you stop worrying? You can consider this three-step approach:

1) Turn your worries into a prayer list and bring them before the Lord. 

2) Identify the areas you can influence. With the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, you have the ability, strength and wisdom to take action against those anxieties that arise in your day. 

3) For the things you can’t control, trust that the God who made you will sustain you. Believe that your life is in His hands and that He will work all things together for good.

So today obey the words of Jesus and refuse to worry. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a command which when embraced allows you to experience a peace that goes beyond understanding.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I refuse to worry! I give all my anxieties, concerns and doubts to you. Help me enjoy today and leave my troubles for tomorrow in Your mighty hands. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Don't let doubt win
06 July 2020

Matthew 14:31
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

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It’s one of the most well-known stories in the gospels. The night Jesus walks on water in the middle of a storm. Shaking in fear, the disciples can’t believe what they are witnessing. Peter calls out to Jesus and Jesus commands him to get off the boat and come to him. Despite how crazy that call appears to be, Peter obeys. However, he soon takes his eyes off Jesus and focuses on the wind and waves. He allows doubt to consume his mind, causing him to sink.

Jesus reminds Peter that his fear is a symptom of his doubt. He didn’t believe that Jesus would keep him safe so he began to sink. How true this is in our lives. Often our fear and anxiety is rooted in doubt. Although we can believe God for some things, we struggle to fully trust him in other areas of our lives. But how do we overcome these feelings? Like Peter, how do we trust in a God that we can’t physically see, when the reality of our circumstances can feel so powerful and overwhelming? 

God doesn't expect us to ignore our fears or pretend that everything is OK. However, we have to learn to focus on the Lord in the face of these fears and rejoice in His goodness. I do this by reminding myself of His presence, His promises and His faithfulness to me in the past. God assures us of His presence whether we feel it or not. He has also given us countless promises in His word to strengthen and protect us. And we all have experiences in life where we can recognise the hand of God. Shifting your attention to God when you’re feeling afraid and reminding yourself of these truths will allow you to experience the peace and strength you need in order to walk in victory.

Satan wants to sabotage what God is trying to accomplish through your life, thats why he puts seeds of doubt in your mind. Doubt is the opposite of trust. So today, if you don’t want doubt to win, put your confidence in the Almighty God by choosing an attitude of trust.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I recognise there are areas in my life where I feel afraid and doubt your goodness. Help me to develop complete trust in you. I want to experience your peace, whatever my circumstances. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The divine diversion
29 June 2020

Acts 27:39
When it was day, they did not recognise the land…

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When you’re on a journey, the last thing you want to be confronted with is a diversion. Recently my family and I had planned a day at the beach. Knowing it was a popular destination, we got up relatively early, made the sandwiches, loaded up the car and off we went. Unfortunately for us, one hour into the journey it became apparent that everyone else had the same idea. Stuck in traffic for what seemed like an eternity, our hopes of making the beach were looking slim. Unfamiliar with the area, I saw a woman and a child cycling towards us. I wound down my window and asked her what was going on. She informed us the authorities were closing the beach but if I turned around and travelled two miles in a westerly direction, I would find an empty beach. She wasn't wrong! With the tide out we found a small haven. If it wasn't for that diversion, we would have missed out on what turned into a God-breathed special day.

Diversions can be daunting, frustrating and time consuming. However, they are often necessary. Diversions are in place to allow you to keep moving. Personally, I hate being stuck. Stuck in traffic, stuck in a queue and certainly being stuck in life. When I’m on a mission I want to succeed and, hopefully in the quickest time frame available. I’d much rather go on a diversion than stand still, going nowhere.

Reading through the book of Acts, it’s very clear that the diversions the Apostle Paul encountered were ‘divine diversions’. God’s hand was on his every move. After appealing to Ceasar when the leaders of the Sanhedrin were plotting to kill him, Paul embarks quite literally on one of the most miraculous journeys, which includes being shipwrecked on the shores of Malta. Although Malta wasn't in Paul’s plan, it was in God’s. While there, Paul performed many miracles and the name of Jesus was made known across that entire nation. It was a divine diversion.

This year may not have gone as you had planned, but God’s plan for your life hasn't been derailed.

Maybe your company has let you go. Maybe you thought you would’ve been married by now. Perhaps that dream still hasn't come to pass. Trust God! Focus on him and his promises. You may have taken a diversion, but it’s a divine diversion! Keep walking, let faith drive you forward, there is treasure to be found on this track that would’ve been missed if you had stuck to your original plan. So open your eyes, embrace a new attitude, God is up to something way bigger than you can see right now. You may not recognise the season you’re in, but this divine diversion is the beginning of greater days to come.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for guiding my every step. Even though I don’t understand why this has happened, I put my trust firmly in you. I will enjoy the journey as I know you are right by my side.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Listen up
22 June 2020

James 1:19
'My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.'

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Several years ago, my boss at the time was going away for a week with his wife on a business trip. They asked me to house sit for them, but more importantly to look after their two cats and one dog. The dog’s name was Millie. She was relatively small and not particularly young. One of my duties was to walk Millie, three times a day for 45 minutes. With that in mind I restructured my whole week to ensure I gave Millie everything she needed. At the start of the week she was very enthusiastic about her walk, but by the end of that week I was observing some clear resistance from her. When my boss returned from his trip and asked me how everything went I explained that Millie had started to lose her motivation to go for a walk. He asked “how long have you been walking her for?” I replied, “three times a day, 45 minutes each time, just as you’d asked”. He responded “45 minutes?! I said four to five minutes!”

Most people can hear, but can they listen? Listening is a skill, an art. It’s something you do intentionally. In today’s world so many people want to be heard. They are quick to speak, share their side of the argument and force their opinion on others. But when it comes to listening to what someone else has to say about it, they don’t want to know. I truly believe that if people listened more than they talked, the world would be a better place. It’s no coincidence that you have two ears and one mouth.

Generally your ability to speak comes when imitating the sounds you listen to. The process is called mimicry. I’ve watched my 3-year-old daughter engage in this very process these past couple of years. She listens to the sounds, tones and words and then attempts to mimic them. It is something we practice over and over until she formulates exactly what she hears.

I lost a lot of time in the week I walked Millie, three times a day, 45 minutes each outing, all because I didn't listen properly. No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, you will save yourself a lot of energy, pain and time if you chose to listen. Opening your ears before opening your mouth will open more doors of favour and opportunity in your life. If you want to make fewer mistakes, if you want to help others, if your want your wisdom to be heard - learn the art of listening and your existence on this planet will have a far greater impact.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me turn down my own voice and tune up my skill and ability to listen. May I be alert and intentional when it comes to hearing the voices of others so that when I speak, my words have power.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Cast your cares
15 June 2020

Psalm 55:22
'Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.'

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When something seems like more than you can handle, what do you do? In Psalm 55, King David reminds us to "cast our cares on the Lord and He will sustain you." David knew hardship. King Saul tried to kill him many times. David’s own son, Absalom rebelled against him too. He also experienced the death of his baby boy just days after the birth. His time on Earth was full of trials and troubles. Some were of his own doing, but many were not. However, he never turned his back on God. In fact, he penned many Psalms, including this one, to encourage us through challenging times.

We can all carry things internally that we were not designed to; anxiety about not getting enough sleep; fearful about tomorrow; stressed about what’s happening at work. Such burdens become a heavy weight that pulls us down, robbing us of our joy, leaving us feeling completely crushed in the process. The longer you carry such turmoil, the more overwhelming it becomes as it pushes the victory you crave further away.

Psalm 55 tells us that we should ‘cast’ these cares onto the Lord, but what does that mean? My dad’s favourite hobby is to go fishing and as a young boy I would sometimes go with him. After setting up the rod and attaching the bait to the line, the next thing he taught me was how to cast. Casting means to ‘throw off’ or ‘hurl’. In other words you are to launch your bait out on the water as far as possible. 

This scripture commands us to throw anything and everything that is getting you down at God. Whatever you’re going through, God is able to sustain you. His power is greater than your weakness. His grace is greater than your need. His purposes are greater than what you can see right now. He is at work in your life, even when you can't see it. No matter how bad your circumstances are, God promises to hold you up, support and nourish you. So release that burden today, fling it with force in the direction of your Heavenly Father and you will receive the breakthrough, deliverance and peace you desperately desire.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I cast my cares upon you. I can’t carry this burden anymore. Take it from me and sustain me. Release me so that I may walk in complete freedom.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Fix your eyes on Jesus
08 June 2020

Hebrews 12:2
‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’

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For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered with travel sickness. Whether it’s the back seat of a car, a bus or a boat, all tend to leave me feeling rather delicate. As someone who grew up playing a lot of football, travelling to play in matches was unavoidable. The only way I could make it to a game without experiencing a level of nausea was to sit at the front of the coach next to the driver. As you can imagine, this often put a smile on my teammates faces. The reason I did this, and I still do it to this day, is that I need to see the horizon. I need to fix my eyes on something that is unmoving. 

The bible tells us that we live in a fallen world because we, mankind, have turned our backs on God and have determined to run our lives without Him. This is what the Bible means by sin, choosing our way instead of God’s way. The evidence of this is all around us. Turn on the TV, scroll through social media, take a good look around and you will see a broken, hurting and sick world. So God made a way to restore this separation between Him and humanity. He sent His son Jesus, the only perfect man to walk the Earth, to pay the penalty for our sins, by dying on a cross and rising from the dead. His resurrection broke the chains of sin and bonds of death, opening up a way for everyone to be forgiven, loved and set free from the punishment of sin.

Hebrews 12:2 commands us to FIX our eyes on Jesus. To lock your gaze upon Him. To intentionally focus on His love, His forgiveness, His sovereignty, His promises. It can be so easy with everything going on, to allow your gaze to be drawn away from our Master. To aim your attention, efforts and energy on things that leave you feeling worse. Things that agitate and distract you. I know that whenever I travel and my eyes divert from the horizon, it won’t be long until I find myself in trouble.

Today, make Jesus your focal point. Allow His presence to invade your heart. Let His glory fill you up. Do not look to the left or to the right, instead look up and ahead. Fix your eyes on Jesus. There you will find all the answers, comfort and strength you need.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I need more of you and less of me. I fix my eyes upon you. Heal my heart, give me the wisdom and help I need to get through each day, so that I may experience sure freedom and walk in victory.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




A new you
01 June 2020

Acts 2:4
‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.’

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The Day of Pentecost changed Christianity forever. Followers of Christ were given direct access to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Truth that fills us with a boldness, courage and power to be His witnesses. Look at Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. A few weeks earlier he had been running in fear, denying that He even knew Christ. Now, after receiving the Holy Spirit, he stands up and boldly communicates to a crowd of thousands the message of Christ. His tongue, voice and confession changed for the better. He was a new man.

When you invite the Holy Spirit to fall on you, your life will change. He enables you to live God’s way and not the world’s way – a life that bears the fruit of His spirit; love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  

Could you imagine what the world would look like if everyone was full of the Holy Spirit? If all the fruits of the Spirit were evident in everyone’s life? There would be no war, crime and injustice. It would be heaven on earth!

The Bible says that all authority has been given to you to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. He’s equipped you with a power like no other to make a difference in your world. He’s deposited a new sound that wants to come out of your mouth. A bolder voice, a faith-filled voice, a louder voice. Words that can bring life, hope and healing. Wisdom that shapes, influences and inspires generations. Everything you need is available to you.

Acts chapter two started with 120 men and women being filled with the Holy Spirit in a house. By the end of the chapter the church had exploded into over 3,000 members! And it’s still growing all over the Earth today. If you desire to see change in the time you have left here on Earth, invite the Holy Spirit to take complete control of your life. When He does, a new you will rise up, transforming everyone and everything you come into contact with.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I ask that your Holy Spirit fill me up. Anoint me with a new boldness to make a difference in this world. Let the fruits of your Spirit be evident in my life.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Fire transforms
26 May 2020

Acts 2:3
‘They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.’

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When I attempt to visualise the tongues of fire falling on every head I see a powerful image. When fire falls, it’s difficult to contain. It spreads - in full flow it is an unstoppable force, transforming everything it touches.

I think of a forest fire. Despite the damage that can occur, good things can come out of forest fires too. Forest fires are a natural and necessary part of the ecosystem. Even healthy forests contain dead trees and decaying plants. When a fire rages through dry underbrush, it clears thick growth so sunlight can reach the forest floor and encourage the growth of native species. The fire releases plants from invasive weeds, making a way for new, young healthy trees to have a growth spurt. In other words…in order to thrive, this ecosystem, like many others, needs fire.

As Christians, we need the fire of God. When the fire of God comes on you, everything changes! There is no such thing as normal. You’re a new normal, going to new places, set apart to do new things. Everyone you come into contact with should be different after their encounter with you. Not because of you, but because of who and what is residing in you.

When God sent His Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, it wasn't just a one-time event for his apostles 2,000 years ago. The fire that fell that day is still raging on today. And you have access to it. Don’t live your life as a flickering ember, ask God to fan into flames the gift that is available to you. When His fire falls on you, you will never be the same again. You are transformed, equipped and empowered to declare His gospel to all people, to the ends of the earth.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. May it land on me and never take off again. Let your fire transform me and everyone I come into contact with.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Receiving a gift
18 May 2020

Acts 2:38-39
And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.

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You’ve heard it said "you’re more blessed to give than receive". This statement merits a tremendous amount of truth. However, you’re also blessed to be a recipient of a gift. This week I received a gift from someone that was very thoughtful, and a direct answer to prayer. It sincerely lifted my spirits. I then watched my daughter open a small present Lisa and I had bought her. Unwrapping her gift filled her with a joy and excitement that was contagious. Watching her smile made me smile. 

Receiving a gift can change someone’s day, week or even life. In John 14 we read about Jesus telling His disciples about the gift He was soon to send them. Although Jesus told them that this gift would be The Holy Spirit, they didn't quite understand what that meant or when it would be given to them. 

When the feast of Pentecost came, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus, so did His promised gift! With 120 Christ followers gathered together in one room, suddenly the sound of a violent wind filled the whole house and they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire land on each of them. What a sight to behold! As they received this gift, everyone there started speaking in other tongues as they were equipped with a power to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. It was a history defining, life transforming, discipleship shaking day. It was the day the local church was born.  

The gift of the Holy Spirit wasn't only for the disciples 2,000 years ago. He is available to you today. It is a gift which, when received, will change the course of your life. He will guide you in all truth. He will comfort you in hardship. He will counsel you through the unknown. He will convict you from sin. He will give you peace in the storm. He will empower you to love others. He will equip you to live a faith-filled life. He will strengthen you in weakness. There is no one else like the Holy Spirit.

Today, open up your heart and receive God’s great gift to you. It will have you smiling for all eternity.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. May I never forget the joy I carry and the power I possess in knowing that you’re with me, every single day.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Give me a good night's sleep
11 May 2020

Proverbs 3:24 (The Passion Translation)
You will sleep like a baby, safe and sound - your rest will be sweet and secure.

 

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As part of my three-year-old daughter’s bedtime routine, she wants her mum to sit with her until she falls asleep. One night, as my wife Lisa watched her fall quickly into a deep sleep, she observed a peace and ease to Lilah’s countenance. There she was, without a care in the world, safe in the knowledge that her parents were watching over her. 

Like many others, getting a good nights sleep can be a real challenge for Lisa. Switching off from the day’s accomplishments while envisioning what the next 24 hours could look like can be a destructive cocktail of anxiety and worry. Some nights she can be awake for hours!

On this particular night as Lisa sat in the slightly dimmed room, she felt God whisper to her heart, “you can experience that same peace and rest.” In a moment she was reminded of God’s presence. That He is a good Father who is always available to us. Whether it be the height of the day or the middle of the night, He is there. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

If you struggle with sleepless nights or anxiety then take your struggles to the Lord. Whether this is an ongoing battle or something you’re experiencing for the first time in light of these uncertain and stressful times. Jesus is our Prince of peace and He desires to give His loved ones rest.

What a wonderful image to visualise Almighty God in our bedroom, right beside us in those still, dark moments of the night. We don’t need to plead or strive to feel His presence. As His child, His manifest presence is already here whenever we choose to acknowledge and spend time with Him. Tonight as your head hits the pillow, say a prayer and let the comfort of His presence fill you with peace. May your rest be sweet and secure knowing that He is right by your side. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your presence. As I lay down this evening, help me sleep like a baby, safe in the knowledge that with you watching over me, all will be well.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The act of generosity
05 May 2020

Mark 14:3
‘…She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head’

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Although there is a tremendous amount of anxiety and sadness in the world right now, there have also been a number of very moving stories that have surfaced. Testimonies of people doing generous acts for others. Some people have raised money for charity, like Captain Tom Moore. Over the past few weeks, in the lead up to his 100th birthday, he chose to walk 100 lengths of his garden. His record breaking effort lead to over £32million being raised for the NHS. I’ve read about countless other acts of kindness, some small, some large, but all leave a lasting impact to those on the receiving end of such generosity.

I remember Lisa and I being a recipient of a generous act a few years ago. After the sad loss of baby Elle, Lisa and I went to Italy for a week. On our return there was a note in the door telling us to go into our back garden. To our complete surprise a group of friends had gathered together and purchased a beautiful array of garden furniture. It looked amazing! We were speechless.

In the book of Mark we read a story about Jesus being in the home of Simon the leper. As he's reclining at the table a woman comes in with a very expensive alabaster jar of perfume. Weeping, she breaks open this jar and pours it on his head. Some of those present were furious at what she did, exclaiming that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor. However, Jesus said “She has done a beautiful thing to me.” Her act of generosity moved the heart of Jesus. He even declared that her story will be told all over the world throughout the generations to come. That she would be remembered forever.

How do you want to be remembered? As someone that was generous, or someone that was stingy? The act of generosity is rarely forgotten. It is a gift to be able to place a smile on the face of someone else. Don’t allow this current crisis to shrink your generosity. Do the opposite. Let your generosity grow! When time passes, people may forget all that was said, but they will remember the way you made them feel through your acts of generosity. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

I ask that you open my eyes to the needs around me. Give me the confidence, resource and wisdom needed to demonstrate a generous heart. May my willing acts make a difference.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Grieving well
27 April 2020

Psalm 147:3
‘He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.’

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Very few people will go through life without being confronted by loss. The death of a loved one often leaves a hole in the hearts of those left behind. A deep hole that is difficult, perhaps impossible to repair. I’ve found in my own experience that this hole doesn't get smaller, but over time life around it gets bigger, depending on the decisions you make as you slowly move forward.

Grieving is important. It’s part of the healing process to a broken heart. That is why you must take the time needed to pause and reflect. People have asked me over the years how long it takes to grieve. It’s not a question of how long, it’s a question of how well. Everyone is different. Some people grieve over weeks, others over years. What’s important is what you do in that time.

When Lisa and I buried our first child, a still born baby named Elle, we were thrust into grief. Her feet touched heaven before they touched earth. The pain was so sharp and intense it was hard to picture life beyond that moment. Nothing made sense, everything was a blur. The first year was particularly difficult. We had never experienced anything like this before. However, we recognised there were things we needed to put in place to help us cope with each day.

As Christians, reading God’s Word was a non-negotiable. We needed to hear His voice and feel His arms of comfort. The scriptures are full of hope, and that can help when you feel hopeless.

Communicating with others around you is also vital. Both of us are very comfortable in our own company, but to share your grief with others does aid the healing process. If you shut yourself away from everyone for years on end, the likelihood of making any progress is slim. Another key to grieving well is to engage in meaningful activities that make you smile. If you’re creative person, draw, paint or make something. If you like the fresh air, go out for a walk. If you enjoy food, bake a cake. Don’t feel guilty if you find yourself smiling - be kind to yourself. Remember, it’s not about how long it takes, it’s about grieving well.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me with my grief. My heart is broken but I know you are close to me. Give me the patience, strength and wisdom to grieve well in such painful times.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




There’s always something to be grateful for
20 April 2020

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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One of Lisa’s Christmas presents last year was a gratitude journal. Along with her bible reading, she starts the day reading a page or two of this journal. It’s a simple but powerful concept.

It’s not just wishful thinking; in fact, there are scientific findings that practicing gratitude every day has positive effects on our overall wellbeing, both personally and professionally. But, how much more does our all-knowing heavenly Father know this principle is good for us. He encourages us to give thanks in all seasons!

We often wonder how some people endure the most tragic or unjust situations. Indeed, it sometimes takes another’s tragedy to see our own good fortune. We know that life is made up of good and bad times. Whilst it’s easy to be grateful when life is going our way it can feel like a thankless, forced practice in a season of adversity. However, it is when we face some of our greatest trials that we learn the power of gratitude.

My wife and I have been reflecting on this recently, especially in this present day lockdown.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with anxiety, worry and sometimes boredom. But sometimes in these perceived negative experiences there can be a lesson, an opportunity or a gift. God encourages us to give thanks in all circumstances because He knows it does something positive in us. Focusing on the good, even if it’s a small thing can put a smile on your face and lift your spirit. It also changes your perspective, giving you renewed hope in the process. Today, life might not look as you thought it was going to look, but look again and you will find that there’s always something to be grateful for.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me seek out life’s gifts even in the most difficult of circumstances. Thank you that no matter where I am or what I face you’re with me every step of the way and that is something to be grateful for.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Easter is not cancelled
13 April 2020

Luke 24:5-6
‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!’

 

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I would like to start this week’s blog with a short quote taken from a message Her Royal Majesty the Queen delivered this Easter weekend.

“This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn't cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever. The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this.” 

Easter is always a significant time of the year. It brings focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus, reminding us of the great victory he won. As followers of Christ, Jesus’ triumph over death should encourage us to live our day-to-day lives knowing we have complete authority over sin and power over death. Knowing this truth should allow us to rest in complete security.

No matter what you are facing, no struggle is too big for God. No question is unanswerable. No problem is too difficult. The conquering of death means there is nothing this side of eternity that can have the final say. The coronavirus will not overcome us. We know this to be true, because Jesus Christ overcame the grave.

Today, as darkness falls around us, be assured that light always shines greater in the dark. Do not be afraid, the Spirit of the Living God is with you. So take heart, Easter isn't cancelled, the victory is still yours.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for sending your Son Jesus into the world to save me from my sins. I am eternally grateful that because of His resurrection I have access to His light and power. I rest assured that victory is mine.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




What do I put my hope in?
06 April 2020

Isaiah 40:31
‘…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’

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The scripture Isaiah 40:31 has always held a great deal of significance for me. When i was growing up, my parents had this verse printed on a magnet which was stuck to our fridge. It was also a verse I would regularly meditate on after the sudden and tragic still born birth of my first baby girl, Elle. It is a powerful promise to those who make a deliberate decision where to place their hope.

To have hope, you must first understand what it means. Simply put, hope is the belief or expectation that things will turn out for the best.  

Over the past few weeks I have been asked on numerous occasions, how we can have hope in the middle of troubled times. How do you stay faith-filled, positive and hopeful when you are surrounded by such negativity and fear?  

When things are uncertain and your current way of living is under constant threat, it’s easy to put your hope in the wrong things. Whether you intend to or not, everyone can be guilty of putting their hope into someone or something. Perhaps for you it’s the government, your employer or your spouse. Maybe it’s your own intelligence, previous experiences or strength that you have attached your hope to. 

As a Christian, our hope should not be in man or one’s own ability. It should be anchored to God and His unchanging character. We know that He is constant, steadfast and unshakeable. He is compassionate, forgiving and loving. He is all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present. He is infinite, eternal and true. The God who is described as the alpha and the omega, The first and the last. The God who knows the end from the beginning. This is the personal God you get to put your hope in.

When you deliberately put your hope in the Lord you will renew your strength and soar on wings like eagles. There are no ifs, buts or maybes. Things will get better. The storm will pass, those doors will open, peace will reign again in your heart. So today, make a conscious decision about where you will place your hope. 

Prayer:

Dear God,

I place all my hope in you. I believe that things will get better. Help me focus on you and your unchanging nature. I know that my greatest days are still ahead of me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




What's your report?
30 March 2020

Numbers 13:30
‘Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”'

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In Numbers 13 we read that Moses gives 12 spies a brief to go into the Promised Land to do a scouting mission. All 12 men are given the same instructions of what to look for. They all have exactly the same external experiences, yet 10 draw different internal conclusions compared to two - Joshua and Caleb. Ten give a negative report, two a positive one. The 10 spies see everything as too big, too hard too dangerous. They are full of fear as to what might happen, whereas Joshua and Caleb are the opposite. They see the same challenges but know that with God on their side they can overcome anything that stands in their way. They are enthusiastic, encouraged and faith filled about what lies on the other side of such struggles!

Fear will always project the worst. It distorts the picture and breeds worry. We see that the negative report the 10 spies shared with the entire Israelite camp had devastating consequences. Fear spread like wildfire and prevented an entire generation from entering into the Promised Land.

Right now there is a lot of fear in the world. Many of us turn on the TV, listen to the radio, scroll through our social media and hear the same reports. Yes, they are serious and it is important to be kept up to date with all that is happening from the experts doing their best to advise, guide and inform us. However, let’s not draw the same internal conclusions as the 10 spies. Yes, there are tremendous challenges. Giants that you have no idea how to face. Perhaps your finances have never been under threat to the extent they are now. Maybe you've never had to be housebound for so long due to your underlying health issues. Maybe being so isolated frightens the life out of you. All are very real and difficult scenarios, but try your best to adopt the same perspective as Joshua and Caleb. The other side of these problems is a Promised Land with your name on it. 

I doubt it was easy for Joshua and Caleb to stay true to their faith-filled convictions when everyone else was consumed with fear. However, their positive stance was honoured by God. Out of all the 12 spies, only those two ended up living in the land flowing with milk and honey. 

What is your stance in these unprecedented times? I hope you decide that no matter what you see and hear, your confession will remain positive. As water prevents the expansion of fire, wise words prevent the expansion of fear.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me to wake up each day with a positive outlook in such negative circumstances. May the words that come out of my mouth dampen fear and ignite faith.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Fear sinks, faith lifts
23 March 2020

Psalm 121:1
‘I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.’

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As we currently find ourselves in unprecedented times, it is easy to lose all perspective. With fear on the increase, logic goes out of the window. People start making decisions they wouldn’t normally make, think things they wouldn't typically think and say things they wouldn't usually say. Just this week while I was trying to complete my food shop I heard people verbalising all sorts of thoughts. Anger, confusion and concern filled the air. The lack of hope was tangible. It was sad to see.

Fear is very real to people. Similar to a boat on an ocean with a hole in its hull, once fear finds a way in, like water, it will pull you down. It overtakes you, fills every crevice, sinking you in the process. This is why urgent action needs to be taken. The longer you accommodate fear, the harder it is going to be to rise above it. You need to make a very conscious and continuous decision to choose faith over fear. Faith lifts your eyes. Faith reminds you that all things are possible. Faith believes that the best is still to come.

As Christians these times present us with an opportunity to be the salt and light of the world. To be a voice that is different from the rest. I’m not suggesting that it isn’t difficult for us as well, it is, but we know that our God is with us. He knows our needs, our thoughts, our worries and He is above them all. 

Let’s not succumb to the ways of this world. Keep the faith. Stand strong. Feed your heart, mind and soul with good things. Open up the Word of God and meditate on His promises - the promises that have your name on them. Wake up each morning and declare that God will supply your every need. God will restore to you what the locusts have devoured. God will make a way where there seems to be no way. Tell yourself and others that ‘my help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, I have nothing to fear!’

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your promises. Today I abandon my fears and embrace faith. I lift and fix my eyes upon you, for I know that is where my help comes from.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




Facing fear
16 March 2020

2 Timothy 1:7
‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’

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In the story of David and Goliath, we see an entire nation trapped in fear over the potential destruction of one man. Hundreds of thousands of people (the Israelites), bound in fear because of the actions of one man, Goliath. David recognises this. Instead of listening to the fear of those around him, he makes a stand. He purposely decides that fear will not dictate his outlook on the situation. By no means did he underestimate the size of the giant before him. He knew he was facing someone or something far more powerful than him in the physical sense. However, he also had a complete trust and assurance of who and what was in him - that the God who created the heavens and the earth was for him. He was on the winning side.

What a powerful truth this is. Yes, this world is facing a giant in regards to coronavirus, but it is not bigger than our God. God is still sovereign. He is above every sickness and disease. This is not a time to cave into fear. Of course it is difficult to shut off the negative reports when they consume every media outlet, but hearing the news does not give you permission to be overcome with fear. It is possible to hear negative things and not be affected, especially when your faith is anchored in Jesus.

It’s not easy to stay calm when everyone else is panicking around you. David realised this when walking into the Israelite camp that morning. Hearing everyone around him conceding defeat, seeing the fear in the eyes of his comrades. It would have been enough for most people to give up, but not David. Fear would not determine his outlook on life. He actually confronted fear by removing himself from those who tried to bring him down and advancing forward, pressing on to the prize that awaited him. His courage released an entire nation from the grip of fear.

As the world attempts to navigate such uncertainty, you have an opportunity to remain steadfast. Be wise, but don't worry. As the Bible says, God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Prayer:

Dear God,

My trust is in you, I shall not fear. Thank you for giving me peace, power and the protection I need.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Where are you going?
09 March 2020

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a persons heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

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When my three-year-old daughter Lilah wakes up and makes her way into our bedroom each morning, she always asks one question. “Where am I going today?” There is no “good morning Dad” or “did you have a good sleep Mum?” She wants to know what the plan is and how she is going to spend her time. In asking that question, she also recognises that her Dad plays a huge part in what her day will look like. 

Have you ever asked yourself, “where am I going in life?” Or even more importantly, “where am I going to spend eternity?” The Bible is clear that the only way to have eternal life is to repent of your sins and invite Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Saviour of your life. Receiving salvation is life changing, you will never be the same again. However, just because you have been saved from your sins and have a confidence that heaven will one day be your permanent residence, you still have responsibilities here on Earth. You can’t just wait around, doing nothing until your earthly time is up. You need to maximise every day you get to live on this side of eternity.

We all have our own ideas and plans for our life but what’s God’s plan? Like Lilah you should wake up each morning and ask your Heavenly Father “where am I going today?”  “What can I do to make you smile?” “How should I spend my time?” Giving God permission to be your ultimate guide is going to allow you to experience life in its fullness. Divine doors will open, supernatural miracles will occur, favour in everything you do.

How incredible would it be if you knew that everything you did today was exactly what God wanted? You may not have a clear direction of where you want to go, but if you stay close to Jesus, listen to His voice and do your best to walk in His ways you will end up on the adventure of a lifetime.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the purpose you have for my life. I give you permission to disrupt my plans so that your will shall be accomplished.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The weight of your words
02 March 2020

Psalm 141:3
‘Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips’

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One of the most powerful muscles in your body is your tongue. It may be small in size but it sure can pack a punch. Similar to the heavyweight boxer, ducking and weaving while looking to land a knockout blow, the same can be said of the tongue. It can both defend and offend. It can build people up or knock them down. It has the ability to whisper out lies as well as proclaim truth. It even has the power to speak life or death. Lots can be said about the tongue. If it is not used wisely, it can create a lot of damage.

There is a well known saying: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. This is simply not true. Words carry weight, and that is why we must be careful as to what comes out of our mouth. It’s not always easy to tame the tongue, especially when dealing with offence or pain. However, if we get caught up in the heat of the moment and use our words to cause hurt, it may be something we live to regret.

The book of James says that a fire in a forest is caused by one small spark. Don't allow your words to cause destruction to those around you. Don't be known for the negativity you speak. Don't let your tongue be the small spark that causes a scene of devastation. Instead be the mouthpiece that is known for its words of faith, hope and wisdom. If you’re going to cause a scene, let it be because of your unconditional love, unrestricted forgiveness and unlimited encouragement. Of course it is difficult to restrain from saying things at times, especially if you’ve been hurt or you know you’re in the right. God knows that, and that is why he sent His Holy Spirit to help you.  

Today, ask God to guard over your mouth and keep watch over the door of your lips. May the weight of your words lift people up and not knock them down.

Prayer:

Dear God,

I am sorry for all the wrong things I have said. Help me think before I speak. Watch over me and give me the right thing to say to the right person at the right time.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The power of vision (part 2)
24 February 2020

Habakkuk 2:3
‘…This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.’

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When you have a clear (God) vision of where you are heading then nothing can stop it coming to pass. This verse from the prophet Habakkuk is so encouraging. It assures us that what God has birthed in you WILL happen, no doubt about it. However, you mustn't miss the emphasis placed on timing. A God vision happens in God’s time, not yours.

Living in a world that wants everything yesterday, this verse serves as a great reminder that God doesn't work like that. There is an appointed time for your vision to come into existence. You may not be able to speed certain things up, but you can slow things down. 

God won’t deny you what is yours, but he will delay you if you’re not ready to handle what He has for you. This is why it is important to maximise everything you put your hand to today. Be faithful in every area of your life, both seen and unseen. Have the best attitude in the room. Stay committed to the path, whether it’s a sowing season or a reaping one. There are no shortcuts to fulfilling a big vision with meaningful success. Navigate the immediate road you are walking on and you will discover that each small step you take, is a step closer to seeing your vision become a reality.

God is a certain God. He doesn't make mistakes. Whatever He speaks comes to pass. Hold onto that today. Your vision may look out of reach. Where you are today may not look as you thought it was going to look. You may be in a pit instead of a palace. Wherever you are do not forget God’s words: “…wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for reminding me that your vision shall come to pass at the right time. Help me recognise what I need to do to ensure that all you have breathed in me will be fulfilled.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

 




The power of vision
17 February 2020

Habakkuk 2:2
'Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets…'

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Having a vision of who you are and where you are going is powerful. When the prophet Habakkuk records what God says about vision, he lists some very helpful and encouraging insights. “Write it down and make it plain”. In other words keep it simple and always in your line of sight.

Having a vision in your heart is where it begins, but writing it down helps bring clarity to what you want to achieve. It reminds you each day of why you get out of bed, why you make those sacrifices. Why you live the life you do. I know from personal experience, being able to see my vision in black and white helps me through those difficult days. The days I doubt myself, the days I question God, the days I want to quit. A simple written vision serves as a compass, constantly nudging and pulling me in the right direction no matter what storms I run into along the way.

Maybe you did have a vision but you’ve gone off track. It could be that the vision for your life looks so unachievable you’ve given up on it. Other people’s words could be the reason you've stopped pursuing that vision. Whatever your thoughts are regarding vision, take out a pen, open up your laptop and start to write. Print it out, cut it out and stick it on the ceiling above your bed so that when you open your eyes in the morning it is the first thing you see. Make sure it’s simple but big too! Remember you are a child of God that has direct access to His unlimited power and resource.

Today, take some time to write out your vision. A written vision will inspire you, motivate you and drive you forward. If God said write it down, it’s because He knows there is a tremendous benefit in doing so. It will help you achieve what God has called you to accomplish. So what are you waiting for, get writing!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the vision you have given me. As I write it down, please bring it to life. May it remind me each day of the great plans and purposes you have for me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The smile of God
10 February 2020

Genesis 1:31
‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…

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My three-year-old girl Lilah has recently started gymnastics classes. Not knowing how she would respond to the various activities that she would part take in, I was pleasantly surprised at what I observed. Not only did she adapt well to the challenges, she did it with a smile on her face. Watching her smile did something to me. I was filled with a great sense of joy, pleasure and pride. “That’s my girl”, I said inwardly as I watched the pure delight radiate from her face.

That’s how God looks at you.  He made you in His image. He set you apart to accomplish great things. He blessed you with gifts and talents to ensure you fulfilled the unique calling and purpose on your life. He's not mad, sad or feeling bad about you. He loves you and cares deeply about who you are becoming. He smiles at you as you engage and conquer the challenges that arise on your journey.

Many people believe that God is never happy with them. He is seen as a harsh judge that watches and waits for a mistake to be made before sending some sort of punishment our way. How wrong that thinking is! Of course, the Bible makes it clear that if we sin, there will be consequences. However, it also highlights clearly that God is a loving Father - that once we turn towards him and accept his forgiveness then we become a child of God, an heir of Christ. Everything He is and has is now available to all humanity in a personal way.

Change your thinking and stop believing this lie that God isn't pleased with you. Every morning you wake up and get out of bed, you need to know that God is cheering you on. He beams with pride as you do your best to follow in his ways. He takes huge delight when He sees you loving and serving others. He thinks inwardly and shouts loudly: “that’s my boy”, “that’s my girl”, as you take the necessary steps of faith that present themselves to you each day. So today shake off that sadness, turn your frown upside down, for you have the smile of God upon you.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the air I breathe. How comforting it is to know that you’re smiling down on me. Today I want to rejoice for all you have done and use my smile to be a blessing to someone who needs it. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Chase the chariot
27 January 2020

Acts 8:30
‘Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet’

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In the book of Acts we read about a remarkable interaction between a man named Philip and an Ethiopian man. One day as Philip was heading along a desert road, an Ethiopian man passed by him in a chariot, reading some scripture out loud. Philip, unsure of whether this man understood what he was reading, then started chasing this chariot. Before long, Philip was sharing the good news about Jesus Christ with this man, which he gladly received, getting baptised by the side of the road and going on his way changed forever - and all because Philip was brave enough to chase the chariot!

Every day presents us with opportunities to share our faith in Jesus with other people. Every day presents us with opportunities to activate our faith, step into the unknown and experience the breakthrough we desire. Every day presents us with an opportunity to hear the voice of God and be obedient to His commands. Every new day we wake up to has the potential to be the best day of our existence. The question is; are we brave enough to chase down and maximise those moments that come our way?

This story about Philip is inspiring because it could be you. Philip wasn't concerned about how silly he would’ve looked chasing after a chariot. He wasn't worried about what people would have said about him. When he finally came alongside the Ethiopian man, he wasn't intimidated by the questions that came His way. He knew if he played his part by running after the things of God, God would start running his life - that doors of favour, influence and provision would open. That God would use him as a vessel to bring change, healing and hope to others.

I wonder what you are chasing down today that is going to change somebody’s tomorrow? Are you chasing down people you love? Are you chasing a life that exemplifies Christ? Or are you too busy chasing everything else in this world; fame, money, approval from people you don't even like?

Make a decision to run after all God has for you today. Don't hold back, don't leave it to someone else, don't talk yourself out of it. Have the same spirit of Philip. It may not make much sense right now but trust God that He is up to something bigger. Time is slipping through your fingers, there are people waiting on you. So get up! You have a chariot to chase, a purpose to live for and a mission to complete.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the opportunities that will come my way today. As I run after you, help me shake off any anxiety, fear or worry that may stop me fulfilling what needs to be accomplished.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




True treasure captures the heart
20 January 2020

Luke 12:34
‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’

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What do you value in life? We all have treasures but sometimes we place too much emphasis on earthly treasures like our material possessions. We become transfixed on wanting a bigger house, a faster car, a larger bank balance…the list goes on. We look at the treasures this Earth can provide us, hoping it will give us some sort of satisfaction, meaning or sense of accomplishment. The reality is no matter how much ‘stuff’ you obtain you will never be completely fulfilled, not this side of Heaven. 

In this entire passage Jesus gives a stark warning not to get too concerned with some of the smaller things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Life is more than just the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the promotions you gain. It’s about walking intimately with God, allowing him to capture your heart in the process. How beautiful it is that the Creator of Heaven and Earth is madly in love with you? Having a revelation of this truth will change your entire perspective on what you class as treasure.

Today, don’t spend the valuable minutes you have worrying about what earthly treasures you do and don't have. Instead take a firm hold of what is eternal. Put your complete trust in a God that loves you beyond your finite understanding. Look to Him, lean on Him, listen to Him. If God can feed the birds and clothe the lilies of the fields then how much more will He do for you? If you want a full, flourishing and fruitful life then surrender everything you are completely to Jesus. If Christ is your treasure, then truth has captured your heart. If truth has captured your heart then you have nothing to worry about, both now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Help me realign the ‘treasures’ in my life. May you always be at the centre of everything I do. I want my existence to be a true reflection of my relationship with you.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The promise is on the way
13 January 2020

Genesis 17:17
'Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man 100 years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of 90?”'

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Abraham was 75 years old when God first told him that he would be blessed with his own offspring. When roughly 10 years passed and his wife Sarah had still not fallen pregnant, they decided to take matters into their own hands by having Abraham sleep with one of their maidservants called Hagar. It worked, Hagar conceived! However this was not God’s plan and brought about a lot of pain and complications. At 99 years old God reminded Abraham again of His promise. It now looked even more unlikely to come to pass as a further three decades had nearly gone by. It sounded so ridiculous that Abraham fell to the ground and laughed! The following year, at 100 years of age, God fulfilled His promise and Isaac was born.

When God has given you a promise then there is absolutely nothing that can stop it coming to pass. You may have been waiting a long time for it already, but God hasn't forgotten what He said to you. While you wait on God to bring his Word into fruition, it is important that you stay close to him, follow his commands and not fall into the temptation of trying to make it happen before its appointed time. This is where Abraham and Sarah went wrong. You can totally understand that with their biological clocks seemingly run out in the natural they didn't want to waste any more time. So they tried to force this promise into existence through their own strength, causing a further delay to God’s intended plan.

A God promise should take time, give you a nervous laugh and drive you to your knees in prayers due to its sheer size and impossibility. The only way a God-breathed promise will come to pass is with his help. So stay patient, keep praying and trust in His process. Without question, God can answer your prayers. He can supply all your needs and wants. He can defeat your every enemy. The promise He has given you may make you smile, but never forget that what He has spoken shall come to pass.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for the plan, purpose and promises you have for my life. I’m sorry for trying to speed you up in bringing things to pass. Help me to stay patient as you prepare me for what is to come.

In Jesus' name,

Amen




It's a new day
06 January 2020

Luke 5:37
‘And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.’

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As another year begins I wonder what direction you are heading in? When God is in control of your life, you don't need to wait for the beginning of a new year to recalibrate, rethink or reposition yourself. His grace and mercies are new every day! However, a new year often causes us to reflect on what has been, and dream again for what is ahead. You are reminded again of those ambitions, goals and prayers you desperately want to see come to pass. 

When Jesus is teaching this parable in Luke 5, He draws a clear illustration that new wine must be placed in new wineskins otherwise everything will be ruined. In other words, to fully embrace something new, means completely letting go of something old. A new way of thinking and living is available to you, but a shift is needed. If you continually hang onto the old you will never step into something new.

As you step into a new decade, God is going to do a new thing in you. It will be fresh, different, unattached to anything you have ever done or experienced before. He is ready and waiting to pour new wine into your life. New wine requires new trust. Tasting something fresh awakens the senses. It reminds you that you don't know everything, that God’s ways are above your ways, that there are still more surprises in store for you.

Don’t go into a new year with an old mind. Time isn't slowing down but nor is God’s desire to develop you into the individual He designed you to be. Today is a new day, a new time, a new life. Where you have been doesn't need to dictate where you are going. So get ready, make some space in your spirit, prepare that new wineskin and be filled with a new wine that goes beyond anything you have encountered before.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you that you are doing a new thing in me. Help me to keep a good attitude as I let go of the old, as I embrace a new way of thinking and a courageous way of living. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




For unto us a child is born
23 December 2019

Isaiah 9:6
‘For unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given’

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Look around today and we see a world that is broken by the effects of sin. The Bible tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Sin simply means being separated from God. In other words we, mankind, have turned our back on God and have chosen to live life our way instead of His way. 

The Bible also declares however, that despite this separation, God still loves us. He yearns to forgive us and bring us back into relationship with himself. So God made a way to fix this separation. A way that staggers the human imagination. He sent His son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins. He took the judgement of God, that we deserve, upon himself as he was nailed to a cross. However, three days later Jesus Christ would rise from the dead. Breaking the chains of sin and the bonds of death, He opened up the way to eternal life! His resurrection confirms that He was indeed the unique Son of God. 

As Christmas approaches, let’s be reminded that Jesus came from Heaven to Earth to save us from our sins. ‘Us’ means everyone.  Jesus belongs to all people; every race, every nation and every tribe.  Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, young or old. He went through the most barbaric death and victorious resurrection so that we could all receive His love and walk in total freedom. Not just some of us, all of us! 

This Christmas, don't forget all He has done for you. God sent His greatest gift, His son Jesus Christ, so that you could have a life changing relationship with him. You are not an accident, a mistake or a coincidence. You’re God’s masterpiece, handmade in His image and set apart to do marvellous things. So lift your head high. You are forgiven, accepted and deeply loved. Christ’s birth, death and resurrection wasn’t just a good idea, it was a gift given to the world so that you and I would never be the same again. For unto us a Child is born.

Happy Christmas!

Prayer:

Dear God,

My words can’t express the gratitude I have for you sending your son Jesus to Earth for me. Thank you for His birth, His death and His resurrection. I joyfully receive the greatest gift given to all humanity! 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




The Saviour of the World is with me
16 December 2019

Luke 2:11
‘This very day in David’s town your saviour was born - Christ the Lord’

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Today, when we think of someone saving the world, we think of our favourite superheroes: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman - the list goes on. We see them wearing a cape, their bodies carved from marble and exhibiting extraordinary abilities and powers. That’s our idea of a saviour, but God’s idea of a saviour was different.  

Born of a young virgin in a stable, Jesus would draw his first earthly breath in a dark, damp, dingy barn. He would be surrounded by cows, donkeys and sheep, watched on by some shepherds and a few wise men. There would be no palace, no guards, no big celebrations. To make matters worse, Jesus was born on a hit list! With King Herod wanting to kill him the moment he opened his eyes, Mary and Joseph had to escape and hide Jesus in Egypt. Talk about humble beginnings!

Jesus walked the Earth just like you and me. At times he faced temptation, experienced emptiness, understood weakness and endured tremendous pain, so he could get a feeling of what it’s like to be you, and you could get a clear revelation of the compassionate, loving and forgiving heart of our God.

Christmas isn't just about how much time you can get off work, how much alcohol you can consume or how much turkey you can eat. It’s about a birth, a death and a resurrection! It’s about a God who is so in love with you, that He was willing to leave the comforts of Heaven so he could see the world from your perspective - so he could feel your pain, understand your challenges and ultimately carry your sin upon his shoulders. 

Batman can’t bear your burdens. The Hulk can't heal your heart and Wonder Woman won’t listen to your woes, but God can, He will and He does. This Christmas, amongst all the festivities and excitement, don't forget that the Saviour of the World is with you, is for you and is madly in love with you. No matter what obstacles you may face, they are not bigger than Jesus, your saviour.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for sending your son into the world to save me from my sins. With you as my saviour I have nothing to fear. 

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Calm in chaos
09 December 2019

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




I have good news
02 December 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Driving out distractions
25 November 2019

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Let your light shine
18 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




He stands by your side, always!
11 November 2019

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

 

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Waiting well
04 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Win your world
28 October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Make the change
21 October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




It's not a wasted journey
14 October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,




I will not be intimidated
07 October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




Hope in dark places
30 September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




My dream shall come to pass
23 September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen




What happened to gratitude?
16 September 2019

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear God,

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

In Jesus' name,

Amen