Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Watch out for the vacuum effect

I have long been a very keen observer of things.
Watching carefully the effects of short and long-term decisions and actions.
And I have seen something called the "vacuum effect" playing a key role in our lives personally, our Churches, and our nations.

Worldwide there is this idea that you should outright do everything you can to remove a problem.
Be aggressive in your approach. Unrelenting in your resolve.

Now this passion achieves something, but something always replaces something.
A vacuum is always filled. Both in the natural and the supernatural here on earth.
In the animal world this is aptly demonstrated.
If you remove a species for any reason, something always will take its place.
In the world we live this is aptly demonstrated.
If you remove an issue for any reason, something always will takes its place.

Right now we are battling racism (and we should).
We are battling disease (and we should).
We are battling sexism, slavery, hunger, homelessness (and we should).
Exhausting thinking about isn't it?...

But what will replace the space from which something is removed?
Obviously I have an agenda. I don't mind admitting it in the slightest!
We need to pour light into the darkness.
Because simply removing a darkness only just lets another darkness take its place...

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

Remember we are light and if we withdraw it just becomes darker.
Darkness doesn't force out light, it isn't that powerful. 
Light is the decider on how much darkness or not there is.

It is time to shine.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Don't have a favourite Bible Verse

I think I am real guilty of this...
During the course of my life doing all I can I help others follow Jesus, we have regularly asked the question "what is your favourite Bible verse?". Asked people mostly in group settings, to share with the said group, what their personal favourite might be.
Some are ready real fast to answer.
Others have a look of horror clearly on their dials, as though they didn't realise they should have one. And others just say "mine was the same" hiding the fact they have drawn a blank.

Now I am honestly wondering whether it was such a wise move?

Please bear with me as I explain...
And I welcome you replying with your own thoughts anytime!

My reason for this possible conclusion today is based on the concept of "camping" on one verse or passage. The idea of where you base your faith, ministry or outlook on life on a key favourite verse.
We have a natural proclivity to stick with what we know and what makes us feel good. While this can provide comfort at some point, I am not convinced it is conducive to continued growth.
While the verse "for God so loved the world..." (John 3:16) is super cool and important. It is not enough. There is more to learn and grow in my friend.

I am fully convinced that God's Word is as advertised by heaven itself.
It is so real, so alive, so relatable to each of us on a personal level (Hebrews 4:12).
It won't tell you what colour car to buy or what style of sunglasses to purchase, but in regards to anything personal and what is really most important - it has got you more than covered!

Here are some simple examples...

I have heard people in good faith say they only give to God when it makes them happy. Because as God's word says "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7)
What else does God's word say about giving?
The same chapter talks about not being reluctant, which to me is not always the same as cheerful.
It talks elsewhere about being generous. It talks about sowing seed.

I have heard people say that God loves them just the way they are.
1 John 4:16 explains passionately about how God loves us. It is awesome!
What else does God's word say about God and our relationship to Him?
God disciplines those he loves (Hebrews 12:16)
That He is also a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29)
Personally I believe firmly that "God loves you just the way you are and also loves you too much to leave you that way".

I also love how the Apostle Paul summarised his life and ministry in one of his amazing letters.
For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Acts 20:27 NIV

When I marry this sentiment with what the Word of God says it is, the last thing I want is a mere favourite!
I want all of it.
I want to swim deep in it.
I want to chew it completely over.
I want it to speak to me in any way I need.
I want it to change me more and then some more again.

I want to encourage you most strongly today and especially in this season of time, to maybe consider moving on from a mere favourite one verse to embracing all the Word of God, one piece at a time.
Because when you approach it like this you will not limit God in your life and you will not hamstrung your faith.

So what do you think?
Has this been an issue for you?

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Opus vs Event

If you want to make me cry just sit me down to watch a movie called Mr Holland's Opus.
I'd better make it clear that that wasn't an invitation.
But I am known for "leaking" during its screening, I have witnesses, and I think I am ok with that...

The premise to the story is based around a man, his name Glenn Holland.
His dream is write what is termed in music an Opus. And not just any opus, one that is defining for him, not just another piece of music but one that people will truly love.
The story essentially is that he thinks every event and moment in life was conspiring against him when in fact the opposite was true. Having his time to write taken away to do extra jobs to pay the bills, helping raise other peoples children as a teacher and raising his own deaf son, all build a growing tension in his soul.
The finale in the movie is Mr Holland's moment of revelation.
That his life has actually written an Opus on every other heart he has come into contact with.
His life made a difference!

So today I want to ask you this...
Are we living to create an Opus 
or living just for the next event?

In our culture we tend to live for the moment.
Live for the next event good or bad that is happening to us and around us.
We are looking forward to the weekend.
We are looking forward to a special event like a birthday etc.
Maybe a holiday, a romance, a new car, the next instalment in a movie franchise.
We base our lives on event stepping stones, hoping we don't slip in some way.

I want to encourage you that God has a plan for your life that is not just based on events, but is more like an Opus.
There are all the "movements" of a great composition.
Highlights and low. Moments of passion and moments of quiet.
And finally the glorious finale.

My friend can I encourage you to enjoy the good moments of life?
Cherish them. But don't live only for them.
Please see your life as something beautiful like a piece of great music that God is writing.
Let Him conduct. Let Him weave his glory throughout the piece.
Your life, my life, can and should be an Opus written by heaven.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Their intentions verses Gods plan

One of the biggest frustrations for fellow believers expressed to me over the years is that they sometimes have been truly hurt by the words and actions of others of faith.
We rightly have high expectations of each other.
And those expectations are very easily bruised along lifes journey.

To be honest it happens to us all at some point.
Has happened to us personally again very recently.

But can I attempt to encourage you with a few simple words today?

Joseph was hurt by the words and deeds of his very own family.
They hated him for being a "dreamer" and conspired to initially kill him before settling on selling him to slave traders. Not a cool moment it would seem for the "family of faith".

Listen to the most powerful words he ever spoke.
They express the power of hope.
They opened the door for the dream to be fulfilled.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20 NIV

He had every right to be offended.
Every right to want to exact his revenge.
And yet his outlook on the worst moments of his life is starkly different to our human inclination.

If your hope is in Christ today may you derive comfort from these words.
God is so for you and not against you that no matter the worst anyone offers up against your life.
God is working to a far bigger playbook. His Will prevails.
The worse your enemies rage, the bigger your victory!

Don't hope for harm to befall you, but if it does or has recently, please know God knows.  He will use it for His glory.
Just hold on to the hope you have even if your hope is being sorely tested. This painful moment will bring about salvation not just for yourself but many others.

Please be encouraged today!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Watch out for the oil level!

I am not always excited on a human level to write Simple Thoughts like this one. The reason being is they are not traditionally very popular. And in our social media, likes based value system, you have to reconcile that before you publish some things.

God loves to see each of us encouraged in our faith. Built up. And growing. And as part of that growing process sometimes we need to be challenged, not just encouraged.
Just being honest with you before I continue this train of thought...

I really felt to write and remind us to watch out for something very specific in this season.
To watch out we have the oil we need to navigate our life and faith properly. Because we live in amazing times with some major change, drama and excitement, it is easy to forget about the most basic and needed components to faith in Christ.

Jesus shared a parable one day that goes like this...

Matthew 25:1-13 TPT
1“At the time my coming draws near, heaven’s kingdom realm can be compared to ten maidens who took their oil lamps and went outside to meet the bridegroom and his bride. 2–4 Five of them were foolish and ill-prepared, for they took no extra oil for their lamps. Five of them were wise and sensible, for they took flasks of olive oil with their lamps. 5When the bridegroom didn’t come when they expected, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, they were awakened by the shout ‘Get up! The bridegroom is here! Come out and have an encounter with him!’ 7So all the girls got up and trimmed their lamps. 8But the foolish ones were running out of oil, so they said to the five wise ones, ‘Share your oil with us, because our lamps are going out!’

9“‘We can’t,’ they replied. ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. You’ll have to go and buy some for yourselves!’

10“While the five girls were out buying oil, the bridegroom appeared. Those who were ready and waiting were escorted inside with him and the wedding party to enjoy the feast. And then the door was locked. 11Later, the five foolish girls came running up to the door and pleaded, ‘Lord, Lord, let us come in!’

12“But he called back, ‘Go away! Do I know you? I can assure you, I don’t even know you!’

13“That is the reason you should always stay awake and be alert, because you don’t know the day or hour when the Bridegroom will appear.”

This parable is purposefully shared by Jesus to get you to think.
To think about your own readiness for eternity right now.
To get you to check your oil level right now.
When you read this I hope that is exactly what it does...

To all those of who have read these Simple Thoughts over many years or maybe just recently and from all over the globe, I want to spend eternity with you!
Keep working on, making time for and developing your relationship with Jesus.
Keep asking for the Holy Spirit to fill you each day.

I want to be ready. Are you ready?

Something to think about...