What Are You Looking At?

Hebrews 12:2

God has a thought about everything and His thoughts are always glorious. He’s not grumpy about anything, He’s not sad about anything. Even when people are framing up on Him He is not upset. It must be because He knows things that those people don’t know. And it makes Him laugh! He knows the end right at the beginning.

When we go to God a lot of times we are stimulated by what we are hearing or what looks ominous or awful ahead of us. We are stimulated by those things to run to Him. But what we see is that He’s not even scared!

I have found that sometimes. When you look at the situation around you, you can get scared. Then you come into the Throne room and start worshipping Him and you look at Him and He’s relaxed! And you say “Don’t you know what’s going on down here? Don’t you know what’s happening?” Yes He does but He knows something else!

Whatever we look at, if we look long enough, we will begin to look just like that. We start looking like what we are looking at. Our face becomes a reflector of what we are looking at. Is it any wonder that we are encouraged to “look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”?

In troubled times, when times are strange we can always look at Him! The more we look at Jesus, the more our face becomes a reflector of Him! When we look at God, we begin to reflect not only Him but His thoughts as well. Then God’s thoughts become our thoughts and His thoughts are indeed glorious and make us glad. Ecclesiastes 7:8 says that the end of a thing is better than the beginning. When we know His thoughts we see the end of the situation and the end is GLORIOUS!

Oh God, help us to look at you!

Hebrews 12:2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.

Good News in Bad Times

It is a great stabilising truth that the Body of Christ can, and will, prosper and grow even in times of great national and political uncertainly.

We received this update from our dear brother in Nepal, Pastor Deu K, who takes care of the Hope For Children Home and also pastors a church in Kathmandu.

He writes that the Constitutional Assembly in Nepal is dissolved and elections take place in November. The interim government is shaky and law and order is “now very loose”. There is trouble in the nation and the economy is also seriously affected. He says that prayer has changed Nepal in the past and they are believing it will happen again.

But, despite all this, the church is growing “like wild fire” and as the situation in the nation grows worse, people are looking to Jesus like never before. They are seeing that humans will fail them, but Jesus never fails.

Pastor Deu K asks us to join with them as they sense a great responsibility to pray for their nation.

We believe, as in 1Timothy 2, there is a vital connection between praying for those in authority and God’s great desire to have all people saved. Let’s join with our brothers and sisters in Nepal and indeed, all over the world to pray because God wants everyone to come to the knowledge of the Truth!

1Timothy 2:1-4 (GNB)

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people; for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence toward God and with proper conduct.

This is good and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth.

 

Help! I’m a Mother!

 

Tony and I got married when I was 31. Until then I had taken care of myself and things just worked out fine. When we got married, Tony took such good care of me. He loved to cook, knew how to clean and could manage my finances too.  When I became a mother three years later, things changed suddenly! Not only was on my own as mother to my child, but we also moved to Italy and I was totally alone. There was no-one to help me be a mother. I didn’t know anyone; I didn’t speak the language and our neighbors were strangers to me.

I was now my child’s mother! I realized that if my child was going to be fed, changed or cleaned, I would have to do it. If my child needed help, I would have to help her. I had no external help to be a mother, but I found some help from another source. My great need made me look to the Holy Spirit.

As a mother, I often needed help and comfort for myself and The Holy Spirit was just that for me. But He also helped me to help and comfort my child. He helped me in practical ways. There were times when I didn’t know what to do for my child. Thank God for the Holy Spirit and the prayer language of praying in the Spirit. Many times I just prayed in tongues and answers came to my heart; practical answers to help me care for my child’s soul, her body and her spirit. Many times the interpretation of what I prayed came to me and I knew what to do.

I found out that if I followed Him in everything I did for my children, I got it right. Other people may be able to give you ideas about how to be a good mother. But no-one knows your child like God and, by the help of His Spirit, you can have help that is personal and precise for you and your children.

John 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.

 

 

Four “L’s” in Evangelism

 

Christianity is the only religion in the world that is based on the saving power of a living God.  Jesus has risen and He is alive today. That is Good News!! And because He is risen, we are to go into all the world to let them know that we have a living Saviour. We want to make sure that everyone gets into heaven.

LOVE

We are not to motivate people with guilt or put pressure on people. What motivates us is the love of God. When we know how much God loves us, we want to take His love to the world. God loved the whole world and He sent Jesus. Jesus was moved by compassion and He healed them all. We too, when the compassion of God moves in us, can minister to people with great power.

LOST

Sometimes we can forget that people are actually lost without Jesus. Don’t ever forget that people are lost! There are people who look like they have it all, but they are still lost. Without Jesus not only are they going to hell, they are living a life without purpose and meaning. Jesus came to save the lost and we are to bring to people that Good News.

LISTEN

In Acts 8:27 we see Philip who led the Eunuch to Jesus.

Philip listened to the Holy Spirit and also listened to the Eunuch. If we are going to preach a risen and living Christ, we don’t need to make up our own agenda. Listen to what the Holy Spirit says about a situation and listen to the person who is lost. People often have a hot question they need answered to they can receive Jesus and the Holy Spirit can help you answer those questions.

LEAD

Our job is to lead people to Jesus and the saving work He completed at the cross. We are not to try to convince people to conform to our opinions or ideas.  We cannot convert people. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. Unless the Holy Spirit does the work of converting, no one could ever be saved.

But we can lead them to Jesus and trust the Holy Spirit to do His part in revealing the truth of Jesus.

Let’s celebrate the fact that we serve a risen Saviour, but let’s also take that Good News to all the world!

 

 

What’s so good about Good Friday?

Good Friday – it’s a title that appears to contradict what actually happened on that day. That Friday was anything but good for Jesus.

Jesus suffered torment in the Garden, was betrayed and denied by His friends, abandoned by His followers, scourged and beaten and burdened with the cross. He was counted among criminals and carried the weight of the sin of the world. But worst of all, He was separated from His Father just before He died. How could such a hideous experience be called in any way ‘good’?

Then take a look at the day ‘Friday’. In the Jewish calendar, Friday was the 6th day of the week; the day before the Sabbath. In God’s work of creation in the beginning, man was created on the 6th day. It was the day before God rested from His work – the work of Creation.

On Good Friday – the 6th Day – man was recreated by the work that Jesus did – the work of Salvation. Then, after He said “it is finished”, He rested. His work was done and He rested completely in God’s ability to raise Him from the dead. And He was not disappointed; He was raised!

Maybe you need the same life-giving resurrection power of God to be in your life. You may know that it is available and are striving to do all you know to have it manifest in your life.

You know you need faith and you know that faith is a rest. Hebrews says that we are to labour to get into the rest, but whose labour is it?

We labour to enter God’s rest by going through Jesus’ labour. What He did was all that was needed for our total redemption and salvation.  In order for us to experience the resurrection power of God in our lives we must rest in what He did.

That makes Good Friday the best work day in the history of mankind. God has the power, Jesus did the work, we simply rest in that.

May this Easter be a time of great rest for you. May you too, know the resurrection power of God in your life and you can celebrate that every day!

Isaiah 53:11  Out of the suffering of his soul he will see light and find satisfaction. And through his knowledge his servant, the righteous one, will make many righteous, and he will bear their iniquities.

 

It’s not your grip on God that keeps you safe – It’s His grip on you!

When we lived in Italy, it was a novel idea for the Italian Mamas to carry their baby on their hip. But it worked so well for me! With one arm I could hold on to my child and have another arm free to carry other things. Even though I was busy with life’s chores, I held that babe securely and safely.

I remember when my little girls were old enough to hang on to me like little koalas. The grasp of their tiny arms around my neck was so sweet. But even though they could hold on tightly, I couldn’t rely on their hold on me to keep them from falling.  I never relaxed my hold on them.

God is such a loving and responsible Father, even more than we. Even though we try so hard to keep a hold on Him and hold fast to His word, His hold on us is what keeps us safe and secure. Our faith in our own ability to keep hold on Him is misplaced. Our ability to hold on changes from day to day, but God never changes and He has promised that He will never relax His hold on us.

Trust His ability to hold on to you. He will never relax His hold; you can rest in that truth!

For He God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down, relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!

Hebrews 13:5

 

 

Guard the Access Points

 

Tony is very diligent to lock doors before we leave the house. That’s because we have some things of value in our house. You set guards on the entrances and access points to your house, so that if someone tries to come in uninvited, you have made every effort to prevent them coming in. If a thief comes in your house, they will take something of great value, not just a box of Kleenexes!

Your heart is the centre of your being and it has amazing value. You have to guard it!

The devil will try to steal things of value in your heart and that will affect all the issues of your life. You have to prevent him from having access into your heart.

You can’t say to a thief “Come right on in but don’t take anything!”  No, the thief comes to rob and steal. He comes to take what is of greatest value. That’s his job description!

Proverbs says that we must guard our heart. How do we do that? You guard your heart the same way you guard your house – you guard the access or entry points!

What you look at, what you listen to, and what you speak are all entrances to your heart. Everything that enters through these access points will affect your heart. What issues from your life is an indication of what has come into your heart. And the outflow from your heart affects every issue of your life.

You must be very picky about what comes into your life. Be very picky about what you look at, what you listen to and what you even allow to come out of your mouth. You have to guard your heart, for out of it flow all the issues of life.

Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flow all the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

 

Have you got issues?


There’s a phrase that people use a lot nowadays and that is “I’ve got issues”  Actually, you usually don’t say that about yourself; you probably say that about somebody else! “They have real issues!”  Well, this verse in Proverbs beat you right to that phrase. God says that out of your heart flow all the issues of your life.

Proverbs 4:23 says “Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flow all the issues of life.”

If those issues are negative, then what comes out is ugly. You and others will drink of that water and it can be a stream of something other than life!

Out of your heart – your spirit – comes every single issue of your life; not just church things but everything that pertains to your life. Issues with marriages, jobs, your mental and physical well-being – every issue comes from the heart.

If you just deal with the issue, you can get done with one issue and as soon as you do, another one will pop up.

Rather than pounding on the issues that come out, Proverbs 4:23 says that if you change the heart you can change the issues, or what comes out of your life. Often, a whole lot of work and effort is made on the issues and trying to deal with the issues. But if you deal with the heart, you can deal with every issue of your life.

God doesn’t just change the issues of your life; He goes to the heart of the issue – to your heart – and starts to deal with your heart.  It’s a smart move to use time and energy on your heart and it’s an even smarter move to allow God to change your heart.

Keep tender towards Him and guard your heart with all diligence so that what flows out is sweet and clean and you and others can drink of that stream of life!

 

Your life is a trophy of the work of God. Go ahead and tell somebody!

Judges 2:10  That whole generation also died, and the next generation forgot the LORD and what he had done for Israel.

 

This year is going to be a year of great opportunity but great opportunities also mean a great challenge.

If you walk with God however, those challenges and impossibilities are the making s of a miracle.

Every generation needs to know that our God is a God of miracles. If this truth ever gets lost, then we don’t ever really know God.

Our God can show off and one of the things He shows off on is a platform of impossibility.

Impossibilities don’t scare God – He works with impossibilities!

In the Old Testament, the Children of Israel were commanded to tell their testimony to the next generation.  Your testimony will prepare the next generation for a real relationship with a real God. They will be inspired and provoked by testimonies of what God has done in the past and what He wants to do in the future.

Testimonies will raise a generation’s expectation in the Lord that if it happened once, it can happen again. Without this expectation in God, the spirit of this world begins to settle and we look more and more to the world for our help, our encouragement and our source.

Your testimony is important not only for your life but is an important ingredient for the next generation.

Let’s not get tired of our testimony – what God did for you He will do for another.

Our God is a supernatural God and He has moved supernaturally on countless people – healing, restoration, and deliverance and simply to change them from being an ugly person.

Those testimonies of what He has done in the past become seed for a harvest of what He wants to do in the future.

Somebody wants to hear what God has done for you; somebody needs to hear of what God can do.

Your life is a personal trophy of the work of God. Go ahead and tell somebody!

 

Move with God

Tony and I have made some significant moves in our married life together. We moved from the States to Italy when our first daughter, Liliana was just a baby. We couldn’t take with us everything we owned but we did take things that we needed and that were important for us in that season of our lives.

Then we moved to Singapore when our girls were still young. Again, we had to decide what we were going to take and what we were going to leave. We brought some books, some clothes and our daughters.

Then, when we moved to Australia, what was important to our girls as little kids was not important to them anymore and we shed lots of things because what was important in Singapore was not going to be important in Australia.

In our walk with God as Christians, we can often accumulate stuff that is extra and additional to what is really important. They are like extra baggage that may have been important at the time but as we move from season to season, they become less important.

Just after Christmas, I spent some time talking to God about what was really important to me and what I wanted to take with me into this New Year. Something came strong into my heart. I have known God, and continue to know His presence and His person in a real and intimate way. But I want the God who I know to be the God of my children and of this generation. I want them to know what I have known, experience what I have experienced and more! And there is more! That to me is important in this season.

As we move into this New Year, ask God about what you need to take with you. Tony had a word from God for the New Year. He said “Clear the Slate”. Let’s shed those things that have hindered God’s move in our lives, even if they were important to us in the past. Let’s determine the way God is moving, and take with us only that which will help us move with God.

Hebrews  12:1-2 … let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.