Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Avoid the Curse of...

Hopefully the title hooked you a little to read this?
Because while there is plenty of modern teaching on offence and how to potentially avoid it, deal with it, I just haven't seen much on how dangerous it can be to you spiritually.

There is an amazing and sobering warning given in scripture that I hope as I share with you today, causes you to avoid becoming offended. And if you are offended, you will be motivated to get rid of it as fast as possible...

King David was a passionate man for the Kingdom.
In fact he is so into it that God even refers to him "as a man after my own heart"!
That is a pretty flattering and lofty endorsement from heaven!

During his reign as King he finds the Ark of the Covenant and desires to bring it Jerusalem.
To give it a home in the spiritual and practical centre of his nation Israel.

As they are bringing it into Jerusalem it is recorded he is so excited and passionate that he removes his kingly robes to be like "any normal fellow" and dances before the Ark with everything he has got.
He doesn't care what anyone thinks.
All that matters is that he honours God as best he can.
As God looked on and honoured his zeal, it is recorded that someone else was also looking on...

16As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.
20When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
23And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
2 Samuel 6:16, 20-23 NIV

The crazy thing for me is she got offended by his passion for God!
I believe her offence stemmed from her own issues, her own insecurities, the visual conviction that maybe she wasn't on the same spiritual page as her husband?
So she gets offended.
That offence brought a curse.
And she missed out on what God wanted to do in and through her life.

Her story is a sobering warning for us who believe in Christ to not let offence in, to take hold, because if left unchecked, it can curse us spiritually.
It could rob us of the full measure of the Kingdom.

If you are offended today please ask the Holy Spirit to help you and heal you. Ask God to forgive you (which He will!).
And please let it go and move on.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dr John Dancing Machine

I remember one particular Sunday when I was leading a Delirious Song called I Could Sing Unending Songs. It had a fun kind of country feel which is not my normal go-to genre, but it was pumping along and people were really enjoying it.
Dr John seemed to be into it pretty passionately. And I don't know why, but we ended up inviting him onto the stage...

Due to his age and frailty someone thought it wise to place a chair for him to rest upon.
But Dr John wasn't having any of that! As the song kicked back into life, he leaped on top that chair and started dancing.
I started to freak out that in that moment we would witness the demise of this dear man of God. Failing off, breaking his hip, or maybe even worse?
You will be pleased to know nothing bad happened.
And it left an indelible mark on my memories.

You need to understand that Dr John was alive during the London Blitz of World War II.
Even though as the years passed and he seemed to be more frail, his love for Jesus never seemed to waver one little bit.
Every year his pants seemed to be higher and higher up his body. But every year he was just as passionate for God and the Kingdom as ever.
He spoke about it to everyone.
Was encouraging to everyone.
Turned up to every meeting.
Got involved it seemed in every opportunity.
He had a special impact on me as he always and I mean always had a story, a word of encouragement for me!

As I drove home last night from a meeting my mind drifted back to that worship time and his life as I considered what being passionate for the Kingdom looks practically like.
He so aptly portrayed an entire life lived it seemed to me for Christ.
He never lost his passion or what the Bible describes as "zeal".

If you are a believer reading this today I want to implore you to be passionate for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus showed how much zeal He had for it by giving His life for us, rising from the dead to give us victory over death, inviting us to partner with Him.
John 2:17 records Jesus disciples describing him as being full or consumed with zeal for the Kingdom.
Romans 12:11 tells us "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

Today throw off your doubts, disappointments and debts!
Get up on your chair on a stage and dance!
Don't worry if it freaks others out...their discomfort at your zeal could be the encouragement they need today?
Get up and be a dancing machine like Dr John!

Something to think about...

PS If you read this, dance and break anything including your hip - sorry! LOL

Monday, November 11, 2019

Measuring Cups

Measuring cups are extremely important to my family!
Right now if you asked me I could tell you exactly where they are in our kitchen, what 4 different types we have, and what graduations of each style.
I feel safe to say that we use them pretty much every day.
From my weekly pancake breakfast I make through to my wife's fantastic baking - measuring cups are a natural part of our family life.

I was thinking about them recently because I remembered something Jesus taught...
"...with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Matthew 7:2 NIV

Everyone of us right now is measuring out all sorts of ingredients into our world.
We are measuring out various amount of grace, love, acceptance, forgiveness on a moment by moment basis every single day.
In fact you are so used to doing so, you portably don't give it too much thought, most of us don't.

But here is what I wanted to encourage you to do this day, this week...
I want you to consider with me what ingredients you would like to offer the world around you. Because with the measure you use, it always comes back to you in some form.
This is not karma or the like, it is a Kingdom principle.
Maybe you are wondering why you aren't experiencing love?
Add a cupfull to those you currently have in your life and see what comes back...
Maybe you are wondering why others don't seem patient with you?
Add a cupfull to people you interact with...
You probably get me point?

My wife bakes great things!
Everything from banana loaf through to amazing cakes.
She knows in the natural she won't be able to create for herself what she is envisioning to create without the right measure of all the ingredients.
It is the same in the spiritual.
You need the right measure for the right result.

So my friend let's get baking together.
Let's pour out the right measure of everything into our world.
And let's live expectant to see what God can cook up with it...

Something to think about...

*Image Copyright Artisanal Kitchen Supply Measuring Cups*

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Where are you little cloud?

I sometimes wonder if we pray with a "I wish God would do _____" type mentality? When I think God wants us to pray big faith-filled mountain-moving type prayers...

In the last few days I have been reflecting on an account in the Bible where Elijah is moved by God to break the draught that ironically he prayed for three and half years earlier. (1 Kings 18)
Elijah sits on a mountain with his head between his knees and prays for what He believes God would like him to believe for. Then asks his servant to check for a sign of clouds, even rain, something to show his prayer had worked. Unfortunately he returns to say he can't see any indication God has answered his prayer, no cloud, not spits of rain, absolutely nothing.

So what does Elijah do at this point?
Does he then complain to God that prayer doesn't work?
Does he contact his closest friends for advice?
Does he give up and say "must have got that wrong" or "can't have been God's will"?

No he prays again and again until at the seventh attempt in one day his servant once again goes to investigate. And this time he comes back to Elijah with news of a tiny cloud on the horizon.
This seems to lift Elijahs faith and you can read about what happens supernaturally next.

But here is my point for you to think about today...
If James is correct and when he states:
17Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. James 5:17-18 NLT
Then what could happen if we don't give up, if we don't over think things, and keep praying again and again for what we are believing for?

To be honest I wrestle a bit with being equated with Elijah in any way, shape or form. Seriously I know who I am and I don't measure up to my imagination of him.
But scripture tells us we can pray, we can believe, and then we can see.
Jesus promised us that even with a small amount of faith mountains (seemingly impossible things) can move before our very eyes.

So what can you learn from this today?
I want to want to encourage you to avoid analysis paralysis, avoid rationalising faith, and join me praying for our own "I saw a little cloud" moments.

Something to think about...