Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Understanding your time

There is a cool phrase recorded in Chronicles I would encourage you to mull over for a few minutes....

From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take. 1 Chronicles 12:32 New Living Translation

This statement was made at a pivotal time in Jewish history.
The kingship was changing from the house of Saul to the house of David.
These people in particulate recognised this was the right thing to do, in part because it was more in line with what they had found in their scriptures.
In fact looking after God's Word and studying it was apparently part of this tribes responsibility.
People recognised this group as having Godly wisdom, Godly understanding, Godly confidence.

So how do you understand your time?
How do you discover what in fact is your "the time is now" for yourself?
I think we can learn something from these Issachar dudes...

They actually made studying what God says a priority.
It was far more important to them to look into God's word than to simply look at opinions and data. It helped them make Godly interpretations.
They didn't fall for trends and the pressure of what was considered fashionable and cool.
For you - may this encourage you to set aside time to study scripture for yourself. Maybe it could be good for you to take a break from endless information sources and dive into scripture. Study like someone from Issachar - study it for yourself...

They expected God to show them what to do and when.
Their confidence was built on what God said and expected. They remained focused on that and let that guide them, let it build their confidence.
While their attention seemed narrow possibly to others, it was actually more helpful in reality.
For you - may you choose to have a narrower focus on what really matters. May your confidence in God build as you focus more and more on Him.

You can be known as having the same qualities and abilities as these people!
Act like them and you end up being like them. Then others will recognise you as growing in Godly wisdom, Godly understanding and Godly confidence.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jesus aint looking for parrots

Why do I say that?
Because whenever I read about people interacting with Jesus, I am struck by the fact many times He seems frustrated when people simply parrot back what He just said or did...

Here is an example I read this week...

36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied. Luke 22:36&38 niv

Jesus is in the middle explaining something really important. It is very close to when He is about to give himself up to that Cross. All they can reply to something important is "look Jesus - we have some swords"

On a boat trip sometime before something similar happens...
Jesus is warning His disciples to not get sucked into the religious junk teaching of the time and equating it to yeast. They wonder if all He is talking about is bread? Who was supposed to bring the bread?

When Jesus teaches something, the last thing I think He wants is us to parrot back to him what He said.
He is also not looking for us to respond based on worldly thinking and principles.
I believe He wants us to figure out what it means for us as individuals. What is He saying directly beyond even what He is saying?
He wants us to apply what He teaches based on how the Kingdom of God actually wants to function.

Jesus wasn't asking them to do a stock take of swords.
He was asking them to be prepared. To get ready for action in the Kingdom of God.
He was asking them to prepare for a spiritual battle that was coming their way.

As you look at what He teaches you this week, may it stir you to ask questions?
Ask yourself what He is trying to do in your life...what needs to change or what does He want you to do?
I firmly believe Jesus loves it when we live out in a real and powerful way His word...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Come vs Carry

I read a verse recently that smacked me in a good way...
"...whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple". Luke 14:27 niv

I have heard it said many times, and sometimes have said it myself, that all we need to do is "come to the cross".
I still think it is the place we start.
The place where we recognise what this Jesus actually did for us.

But where to from there?
The where to from there is actually simple.
I really don't think Jesus is actually hard to understand. I have heard many say He is confusing and kind of 'out there'. Others like to paint the picture of Jesus being all nice and cuddly all the time.
The only times I have found Jesus hard to understand is when I don't want to do what He says...
When His teaching grates me, irritates me, challenges my understanding of things and how they should work.

Jesus never asked us to come to the cross and then park.
Or come to the cross and wonder what to do next...
He asks us to 'carry our cross'.

I firmly believe for your "christianity" to make some sense and to truly have all the power it can have for you, you need this component.
You need to come first, but then carry - you need to follow!
Carrying our own cross speaks to me of many things...
It speaks of sacrifice and resurrection.
It speaks of laying down to take up something even better.
It speaks of the old going and new coming.
If you only 'come' and not 'carry' you miss out. You get left in a spiritual limbo.

This is challenging I know, but I firmly believe this is how it works...
May Jesus speak to you personally on what this means for you today.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Ditches

Guess what? God wants to do some fantastic things in your life!
His agenda is to bless you, to grow you, to change you - but is that what you would really like?

One of the fantastic promises we have in scripture is this...
Come near to God and he will come near to you (James 4:8)
My personal opinion is that God is always ready, willing and able!
Our faith mixed with desire and action opens the door to so much in God.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

This is why I have been encouraging those around me lately to dig a little deeper and to see what God might do in this new season.
Revival comes to those who go after it, never those looking on from the sidelines of faith.

This theme actually occurs many many times in scripture...
- There was no oil until the gathered the vessels for it (2 Kings 4)
- There was no healing until the leper dipped 7 times (2 Kings 5)
- There was no harvest until the ground was broken up (Hosea 10:12)

What is God asking you to do for His blessing to be released over your life right now?
If you don't know, take a moment to pray right now...
See what He says...
Act in faith on it!
Maybe he is asking you to dig a ditch as some translations put it? (2 Kings 3).

When we do the little we can do - God always does what only He can do!

Something to think about...


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