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.
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.