Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Towers

I have been thinking lately about certain objects that appear in scripture, some reoccur many times, and what that mean for my faith today...

As I was thinking and praying about this weeks Simple Thought I remembered a scripture about towers. It in turn reminded me of a song we sang at Church when I first went - don't worry - not about to bring it back to ya - but the message of it is very powerful.

Check it out...

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 nkjv

I hope reading the scripture causes you to ask a few questions. Questions like:

How can a name be a strong tower?
I find it intriguing the writer don't talk about a place, but a name, as the tower that is strong.
When we think of towers it is always an imposing structure with maybe a spiral staircase and a lookout. Here we are told to look at the name of the Lord as our tower.
Here is why I think he did that...
Firstly if it was place we would all at some point head off on a pilgrimage to it. If it was in Taupo for example, all the Christians would come running. But God can be your strong tower where ever you are.
Second the name of Lord is the highest place. Scripture tells us there is power in His name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is Lord.
I don't know about you, but I want to be associated with that name!
That is the best "name drop" you can have!

Do I need a strong tower?
At some stage you are going to face a moment or series of moments where you are going to need God in this way. Where life has happened and you are needing a rescue, needed to be lifted up.
If you look at the Hebrew for tower you can translate it as tower. Nothing staggering there. But a tower is actually a place that lifts you off the ground. Lifts you above the circumstances. Now that is an image you can grab. An image of Jesus being the safe place and lifter of your life above whatever you are facing.

Why are the righteous needing to ran to it?
The righteous are running to it because that is what the righteous do.
We always come running to Jesus. We make the most of the best and safest place to go.
When things happen I am unhappy about or I find challenging I simply run to Jesus.
I consider that my best option out of all the options open to me.
You can trust the name of Jesus. You can be safe!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Coins

If you are like me, then on most days you can put your hand in your pocket and find those little round metal disks we call coins.
I generally remember them when I am getting changed and they fly all around room.

Now if you think about these things called coins, there is something they all have in common.
While they may be of differing sizes, colours and with different inscriptions they all share something.
They have value...

Jesus talked about the value of the coins that the widow put in the offering. She gave all the value she had, God noticed, and God honoured her for it.
Jesus talked about the value of giving to God what belongs to Him and to the systems we live in, what belongs or what we owe them.
Jesus another time asks one of His friends to catch a fish. This particular fish was discovered to have coins in it. Value enough to pay something Jesus and his friend needed to pay.

And then Jesus shares another story...

8"...suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10 niv

God sees value in you!
If you are lost He does all that is needed to find you and rescue you.
In fact God loves and cares for you so much there isn't anything He won't do to find you and to restore you.

Jesus mentions a lamp. Why?
God will light up the darkest places to find and rescue us because of the high value He places on each of our lives.
Jesus is also described as the light of the world. He lights a lamp of His Son to come and seek us out.
Isn't that awesome?

Maybe today you are feeling a bit lost or left alone in the dark?
Please know that is not where God wants you to feel left! Let Jesus light up your world and circumstances and have a revelation of your value to Him.
If you are lost - please know God is looking for you right now.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fixated on the fuel gauge


I have a very clear recollection of travelling in our cars as a kid. Wherever we went I was always, and I mean always, watching the fuel gauge. Watching, analysing, considering our options for how far we could go before vapours were our only fuel source? Wondering where we could next fuel up and calculating whether we could we actually make it that far?
I was it seems, pretty paranoid about the capacity of our fuel tank.

Now I leap forward a lot of years and I have realised the car fuel tank is not the one we should be most interested in...it is actually our own fuel tank.

I firmly believe that each of us has a capacity.
A level where we can each function well and keep on running our race.
There are always times and seasons where we run a little harder or a little empty, what I am talking here is our 'normal' or maybe 'average' capacity.
The trouble is that we don't realise many times there is an issue until we have run out of gas or are dangerously close to it. We have natural and spiritual gauges we can and should be watching.

The end of another year and the run into Christmas seems to do it for me.
It reminds me to look down at my Locky dashboard and just calculate my tank.
For me in the last few days, I have begun to look at the load I am carrying and I have begun to make some decisions for my journey. You see I want to make it to my destination. I don't want to run out of juice and be left on the side of the road.

The Bible encourages us to do some things around this issues:
To shake off whatever is hindering us
Do you need unload something that while it might be good, just might not be right for you to carry?
Maybe you have a habit, an issue or even a sin that just needs sorted because it is draining your tank?
To take onboard God's burden designed for your God given capacity
Jesus tells us to not wear any other burden (yoke) other than the one He has personally designed for us. Are you and I wearing the right one? Are we wearing someone else's because we want to impress? Are we wearing one at all?

Romans 12:2 says makes this call statement...
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

You and I need to throw off the patterns of the world and its expectations, values and business, otherwise we will indeed burn ourselves out.
If we don't we lose focus on what is important to God and to us.
It makes it harder to decide what we should and shouldn't do with our capacity.

"When we overdo with what God didn't ask us to do - we lose all our peace!"
Maybe you need to take a moment today - look down at your dashboard - reflect and then respond to what you are seeing?

Something to think about...



Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Response

With all that is happening in yours and my world right now, can I suggest that our response is the most important aspect of it?

Jesus said that "out of the overflow our heart actually speaks".
He is essentially saying that our chosen response is what dictates the position of our heart, the level of our maturity, even our level of spirituality.

For me that means at times I have to review my responses to different situations and use them as a litmus test of my life.
It is actually a handy tool to have. God uses my circumstances to help me really know my level of maturity and spirituality.
From there I can seek change to what needs changing or at least makes moves in the right direction...

Have you ever responded badly and said things like "where did that come from?" or "that wasn't me?" - I am afraid to say that it came from your heart and it probably was you...
The good news here is that God is in the business of helping us with our heart. Helping us to ultimately respond better to life and the things that come.

Maybe you could ask God to help you this week if this is an issue for you?
Ask Him to give you a new heart or a better heart just like King David did?
Please don't pray that He reveals your heart without expecting your responses to be tested...you have been warned...

You will know you are on the right track if you are honest with God.
And you will know you are on the right track if your responses are more and more like salt...flavouring the world for the better.
Let God help you to become more and more like Jesus.
That is the goal I have for myself!

Something to think about...

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Live Like This

I shared some thoughts on this recently and to be honest I just can't shake it, can't stop meditating on it and its implications.

1 Peter 2:12 starts with this phrase...
"Live such good lives"

Peter is passionately imploring us all to live lives that are above the level of those without Christ.
In fact scripture tells us again and again we are not to act like those around us, but to be more and more like Jesus. Told to copy Him and how He deals with things. To copy Paul and how he navigated life and faith at the same time.

I feel so challenged to look at how I live.
To make sure I am living life the way Christ would want me to, on display in front of the world.

When I drive I am on display.
When I shop, buy a coffee, order a meal, again I am display.
When I coach the kids touch rugby team.
When I preach.
When I go for a run or ride my bike.
When I post things on Facebook.
When I like what someone else posts on Facebook.
When I go to a movie and people discover what movie I went to see.

Heaven is watching my life and faith in action.
My family is. My Church is. The town I live in is.
And the people I interact with around the world are.

Maybe you could join me taking this scripture from an idea into a practice?
Let's live such good lives among the world watching us, that they see God at work in our lives.

Something to think about...



Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:12 niv

 Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
1 Peter 2:12 message

Be careful how you behave among your unsaved neighbors; for then, even if they are suspicious of you and talk against you, they will end up praising God for your good works when Christ returns.
1 Peter 2:12 the living bible

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Fact Check

There is no denying it now I guess, with all the technology and the ensuing platforms for communication it has created, it is actually getting a little tricky for people to find truth...

Today I just want to stir the pot a little with your thinking.
Why? Because the world you and your families are navigating for information is so full of half truth, propaganda, and filtered presentation. We no longer live in a world where you can trust what you read or watch.
For years America has had political leaning media, partisan ownership of news outlets. They understand that concept. We don't.
Our human nature loves to discover scandal and intrigue. Juicy stories trump truth to entertain our souls. Then add to the mix that we are very cynical, you have a recipe for confusion.

I have heard people say many times "that you shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good story". They you should not worry about the delivery or truth, as long as your intended result is achieved.
The Nazis did that last century and look where that got us!

Here is my advice...

Think twice before sharing or reposting information online.
Just because it looks exciting or even fits your personal beliefs and agendas, don't be too hasty to share it with others. I fell for this a couple of years ago when I shared picture of several leaders meeting with a terrible character in world history. Someone contacted to let me know it was photoshopped. A quick check of other sources showed it was indeed a fake...

What is the hurry?
I think it is worth those around you to take a few moments to check sources, ask around some people more clever or learned than you. If it is true it will prove itself. The quickest aren't always the wisest.
Again and again I have said when a news story breaks, wait a few moments, even days, so more of the truth comes out before blasting your opinion.

Is it going to help others on their journey of faith?
This is a great question to ask yourself. Sometimes sharing things, while seemingly interesting can actually be a huge distraction to someone else or at worst, hurt their faith. Not everything is beneficial to be shared. Apply some filters to your communication.

Be a picky eater.
I have learnt that even though my desire is to be always learning, I am being more refined in my sources of truth and information. Less is more as they say. I would rather eat less information and stay on course than have a buffet of the stuff and get sick...

Acts 17:11 niv
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

There is nothing wrong with doing your own research. I have always encouraged people who listen to me to check out what I have to say.

God actually offers to help us by giving us wisdom.
This wisdom is there to help you with all this stuff.

James 1:5 niv
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Be prayerful as you navigated the 'truth' presenting itself to you.
Compare it what God says. Look for truth is actually back up with more truth.

Something to think about...


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