Reflecting on this scripture today, and put some thoughts down:
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Yesterday we were treated to an awesome, timely message by Pastor Brian (@brianchouston) – on “My life is going somewhere”. The core of the message was about conviction, how it directs the course of our lives. One of the points he spoke on was “Conviction is marked by certainty & resolve”. The Holy Spirit reminded me at that moment about the time in September 2005, when we received the results of a routine blood test, that I was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. This was a few months after I had received a word over my life from a visiting Pastor, which went into immense detail about the destiny God had for me (and my family), confirming much of which was already in my spirit & vision for my life.
The medical diagnosis I had just received was overshadowed by the conviction of God’s word, which brought certainty and resolve. So, most of yesterday I was thinking about this and began to realise that having faith on it’s own is not enough to take us through the tough times. Conviction, being convinced in Who we believe in, makes all the difference. We know His word is true, and our life is purposed.
Philipians 1:6 says, “I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus.” (GWT).
It is my conviction in God’s plan for my life, that I have purpose and destiny, that gives me the faith & confidence to press on each day. This is what defines me. Not disease, nor any other title or box that the world may place me in.
Posted in Devo Blogs
Tagged hillsong church sermons
Last night while driving home after dinner, we were listening to some music by a popular “worship band”. S said to me “their songs are good, but they don’t sing much about God”. It was close to 12.30am, and I said a quiet “mm yeah” – I wasn’t about to get into a discussion on worship or any form of scriptural significance at that point in the night…
A couple of k’s down the road however, I had a revelation on what we term should be “proper” worship music. A lot of emphasis is placed on (King) David’s influence on praise & worship in the Church today. Be it through the psalms, or other scriptures that influence our songs. But at some point, these were too an outpouring of a man’s heart to His Father & Creator, and it’s no different to how our worship is supposed to be today. I realised that worship is a unique & gifted expression of vocalising & exemplifying our love & adoration for our Father. For some of us, it’s through music – but religion (or tradition) has limited it to this predominantly. In recent weeks, I have seen many, many other expressions of worship, and the outcome of that worship in prophecy as well – through words of knowledge, through poetry, through art (painting), through the expression of love, and random acts of kindness., hey, even pouring out your most expensive perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus…. the list goes on, and is only limited by our ability to stop reasoning, and to start reasoning through the renewed mind, the mind of the Spirit.
So coming back to last night’s discussion in the car, I believe, through our actions, and our lives, we are the living works of God, bringing His Word & will to this life on earth, and His Kingdom. We need to break out of this structure of 3 fast, 3 slow, and all songs about Jesus, 1 song about the blood and we’re done. No, the Kingdom of Heaven, revealed on this earth, goes well beyond our Sunday setlists – it invades us to a point where we are stirred to create, and express our worship through whatever medium we are gifted in, so that we may know & see God & ALL that HE is & has said will be, exploding in our lives!
Stepping out into what God has promised is sometimes harder than the hype. Seriously, a million “what if’s” go through your mind.
I was reminded yesterday about my own father. I’m thankful to have a great relationship with my parents, especially my father. To this day, he goes out of his way to make sure we are blessed, comfortable and provided for. I know when my dad promises me something, he will deliver. I don’t sit there thinking “what if he forgets”, or “what if he was just joking, or changes his mind”. I know he won’t, so those thoughts don’t even cross my mind! Dad always comes through!
I realised my Father in heaven is even more so stubborn with his promises. (Yes, I called God stubborn.. stubbornly in LOVE with ME!), and if He has promised me victory, healing, prosperity (the P word – get over it please), goodness, blessing, protection, then without any worry or anxiety on my part, I know He WILL bring it to pass.
I was reminded of Jabez. This guy was named such because he brought great pain at birth to his mother. Can you imagine being reminded of that all your life?! In the same way, people speak words of condemnation, discouragement, failure, curse, over us each day. It’s tough to shake off. When bad news comes, we huddle up straight away and speak out the worst possible result of that news. Then we pray and ask God to avert disaster. So back to Jabez, he didn’t live according to his name, or let that get him down. There’s hardly anything mentioned about him, but obviously the two verses that are mentioned about him in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 are significant enough to be included in the Bible, that I believe we should take note:
9 There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez[d] because his birth had been so painful. 10 He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.
Basically, he just straight out asked God. “Bless me, be with me, protect me”. Wow. I’ve heard it said many times “God helps those who helps themselves” – whilst it’s not a scripture as many believe, I think it bears some truth, in that, we need to make the decision ourselves to trust God’s word, and His promises, to see our lives blessed. I heard it said recently that life is not about a faith/work/family/ministry balance. It’s about an integration of faith into our family/work/ministry. There’s a major difference – and outcome! And with that in my spirit, I’m stepping out!
An awesome truth, from my morning devotional. May your day, week & year be filled with Gods favour!
Sometimes, we think that the increase or success which we enjoy is the result of our own efforts or hard work. Now, I am not advocating laziness, but the truth is that God is the one behind our increase.
We see this truth when we read the story of Ruth, a young widow from Moab, who worked as a gleaner in a barley field from morning till evening. Now, we could attribute the entire ephah – a substantial 10-day supply – of barley she collected at the end of the day to her hard work. After all, she did work all day in the field.
But when we read about how Boaz, the owner of the field, had secretly told his reapers to ‚"let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean‚" (Ruth 2:16), we know that it was because of Boaz's intervention that Ruth ended up with so much.
I believe that Jesus, our heavenly Boaz, does the same thing for us today. He causes people to favor us and ‚"drop‚" blessings on us because He loves us. Then, He causes us to ‚"pick up‚" these blessings. Often, it happens so seemingly naturally we forget that it is the Lord who has blessed us with the increases.
A church member who runs a florist business shared that once, God caused someone who needed a lot of flowers to ‚"drop‚" a huge order with her. She also shared that she was hardly making any money even though she had been work- ing hard for many years. But when she became a Christian after coming to our church, she began to confess every day that God's favor was on her. Within a few weeks, that big order worth S$14,000 came in. Only God could have given her such a supernatural increase.
My friend, your hard work is not behind your increase. The Bible tells us that it is ‚"God who gives the increase‚". He is the one who is behind your increase and He delights in blessing you because He loves you!
Thought For The Day
God is the one behind your increase and He delights in blessing you because He loves you!
Just my thoughts after reading Romans 12:1-2 – and hearing many people wanting to know “God’s will” but yet clinging onto their own!
Romans 12:1-2 (The Message):
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
It requires a deliberate decision by me to leave the old ways behind:
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT):
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
If I want God’s perfect will (and his promises) in every area of my life, it requires a conscious decision to leave my “old ways” behind, for good. It’s not a case of putting it on the shelf, and come back to it when I feel like. The children of Israel did this, and the moment they faced any hardship, they would run back to their comfort of the past, even though their past was a life of hard slavery in Egypt!
We sometimes find it hard to let go of what we have become familiar with, to trust God that He is leading us to a new place of freedom by His grace. And, in that freedom we find the fulfilment of His promises over our lives, which is a place of victory.
The last two weeks has been tough for us, with many battles, and it seems non-stop. It’s been hard to hold my head up and say “I’m trusting God to see me through this” – just being honest. But there is a difference between being in a battle and being defeated. A BIG difference. We need to know, that we might be in a battle, but we have already won the war, through the work Christ did on the cross, so victory is ours already!
We change the way we think, act and talk, to change the way we live. If we want to live God’s way – the kind of life that Jesus said we will have in John 10:10 (MSG):
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
The Message (MSG)
25-27 “I’ll make up for the years of the locust,
the great locust devastation—
Locusts savage, locusts deadly,
fierce locusts, locusts of doom,
That great locust invasion
I sent your way.
You’ll eat your fill of good food.
You’ll be full of praises to your God,
The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder.
Never again will my people be despised.
You’ll know without question
that I’m in the thick of life with Israel,
That I’m your God, yes, your God,
the one and only real God.
Never again will my people be despised.
From an email newsletter by Ken Legg (Set Free Ministries, AUS). Hope it challenges & blesses you!
Every week, from pulpits across the world, images of God are being carved out in the minds of millions of people. Often those images are gross misrepresentations of what God is like. He is portrayed as legalistic, judgmental, vindictive, etc. People go home from meetings believing in a God who is a figment of someone else’s imagination. Just because they have heard an angry preacher they come to believe in an angry God. Naturally, they want to run and hide from this God.
There is a very important reason why God forbade His people from making images that were supposed to represent Him. It’s this – whatever image of God a person attempts to create they are going to get it so wrong! Man cannot draw from the polluted resources of his heart and the darkness of his mind and expect to come up with an accurate representation of God. But religious culture and church tradition have done exactly this and have played a major role in the distortion of the truth about God.
God is not known by human reason but by divine revelation. And that’s what happened at Christmas. God revealed Himself to mankind through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus, who is the Eternal Word, is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. He is fully God. But at that first Christmas the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father – full of grace and truth. John says, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him” (John 1:18). Philip once said to Jesus, “You’ve been talking so much about the Father – show Him to us!” Jesus replied, “He that has seen me has seen the Father!”
Because of the incarnation we are no longer left wondering what God is like. Jesus is the brightness of His glory and the exact representation of His image! That’s why we need to read the gospels, because they unveil God to us through the beautiful life of Jesus. We need the epistles to understand the Christian life; but we need the gospels to understand God. Jesus sets our thinking straight about what God is really like. For example:
– Worry about our future
– Can’t let go of the past
– Put our hope in man
– Try living to the expectations of others
We lose focus of the One, who created us with purpose, gifted us with talents & filled each day of our lives with beauty & joy. The “big picture” is painted one stroke at a time, but is already complete in the artists mind!
God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
The news we received this morning was sudden, but inevitable. Even though Steve Jobs might have seemed immortal to many, he wasn’t. But as I processed the news this morning, I began to realise just how much impact Steve Jobs has had in the world today, not only the greater world, but my immediate family itself.Just 3 years ago my parents, in their 60’s, would struggle to send an sms from their Nokia handsets. Today, my parents each carry an iPhone, they share an iPad and they rarely look at their windows laptop. Both pastors, the iPad has changed the way they see technology and it’s use in their daily life. I look at my kids, now 5, 6 & 8. I gifted my oldest son a mac mini when he was 5 years old. Other than some basic instruction, I set the parental controls up, and give him a canvas to do as he pleased with it. In the last year or so he has graduated to an iMac, and has taught his brothers the in’s and out’s of OSX, helps his grandparents with their iPad problems, and developed his creativity through tools like photo booth, iMovie etc. Over their school holidays, the three boys produced several videos, of them acting, short stories, just being kids, etc and emailed them to family, with such ease, you can’t help but nod and think Apple got it right. Being in the IT industry myself for the last 17 years, I realised that technology is not to add extra burden into our daily life, but to integrate, sometimes seamlessly, and enhance our lives for efficiency and productiveness, at all levels. The “i” products have done just that, from world leaders, to housewives, the iPhone, iPad and mac have changed the way we use technology. Our kids will not know the world before an i(something), but given the world we live in, that’s not always a bad thing. Kudos on a job well done, and life well lived Steve, you saw what can be, and against the odds and criticism, and many personal set backs, you pursued after it, and you have impacted many generations as a result!
Here’s a collection of 60 Inspirational Steve Jobs’ quotes: