Sunday 28 August 2022

How do you Navigate?

The Spirit of God equips us with eyes to see and ears to hear what God says is the right way. If there is no confirmation of God’s approval, then it might be better to look for another route
A couple of weeks ago, on Tuesday night, our Buddy Group were discussing the merits….or not….of that infuriating voice on the SatNav telling you to make a u turn.  All of you who know Dave, my husband, know how placid he is….but not when the SatNav tells him to make a u turn…..I always laugh and tell him he is sprouting horns which he of course totally denies. Our friend, Alan, has managed to set his SatNav to avoid this confrontation and that all knowing voice tells him to take the fourth exit at the next roundabout!

Most of the older folk agreed with another of our friends, Hilly, that maps are preferable and wondered if our children and grandchildren could actually follow a map!

The following morning my ‘Today Devotional’ from popped into my inbox and I was really surprised at the content and of course had to share it with our group. It went as follows…..

Trust Your Navigator
By Evan Heerema — Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Scripture Reading — Proverbs 16:25 
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. 
Proverbs 16:25
On family road trips we would use a map so that we could know where we were, how far we had gone, and how far we needed to go. Those trips provided opportunities for addition and subtraction problems (especially in trying to figure out signs like one on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania that read, “Mile Run – 2 miles”). 

Today GPS services and electronic maps make those old maps nearly obsolete. The mapping service gives us options for the fastest route and some alternate routes—with and without tolls. Travelers soon learn that there is often more than one way to their destination. And, who knows? The one you choose might just become your favorite way. 

The Bible shows that there are right roads and wrong roads when it comes to recognizing and following God’s way. A discerning mind will seek to determine if an opportunity honors God or not. That opportunity might look good at first, but it could end up at a dead end spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.

The Spirit of God equips us with eyes to see and ears to hear what God says is the right way. If there is no confirmation of God’s approval, then it might be better to look for another route.

God of wisdom, fill us with your Spirit so that the direction of our lives will stay on course with your will and way. Bring us home to you, for your glory. Amen. 

Written by: Evan Heerema

My prayer is Lord give me a teachable spirit to follow only You as we travel the highways and byways in this life.

Author: Linda Allitt

May God bless and enrich your life

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Saturday 20 August 2022

Where has the power gone?

If we’re fully surrendered, earnestly seeking, and looking up in expectation, then God is going to use His church mightily in these days
The power of the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth has been on my mind a lot lately, especially as you see very little of its power being used by the church today. As I pondered this, I looked at some scriptures to see if there was a reason.

Firstly, in Luke 1:26-32 I noticed that when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she was going to conceive of the Holy Spirit and have a Son and she was to give Him the Name Jesus, how significant this was as He was being given the Father’s Name. (See John 17:11-12). You can’t get a more powerful Name than that.

Then in Luke 4:14 after Jesus had been led by the Spirit into the wilderness and had been tempted by the devil it says, ‘Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit’. (NIV).

And in Luke 5:17 it says, ‘And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.’ (NIV). 

In Acts 10:37-38 Peter says ‘You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.’ (NIV). 

Therefore, although Jesus was God the Son, and had the anointing of the Holy Spirit, in His earthly state He still needed the power of the Lord to do miracles.

How much more then, do we?

Now we who are Born Again are the same as Jesus was when He walked on earth, in as much as He was fully God and fully human, as His Spirit was in His natural body, so He was connected to the Father through His Spirit. We in the same way are connected to the Father as we now have the Spirit of Jesus in our mortal bodies as one with our human spirit.

You could be forgiven then for thinking we should be able to do what Jesus did, and of course you’d be right in thinking this. So why aren’t we?

Well, here are some possible clues as to the lack of power in the church at the moment.

Jesus says of Himself in John 5:19 ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.’ (NIV).

And in John12:49-50 He says ‘For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.'

So, are we completely surrendered to Jesus as He was to the Father, and do we obey His commands, thereby doing what we see Jesus doing and saying what Jesus tells us to say? Doing this can lead others to eternal life.

In Acts 1:4-5 we have an example of this ‘’On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (NIV).

So, His disciples were followers of Jesus as we are, but had not yet gone out in the power of the Lord (Holy Spirit).

Then in Acts 2:1-4 it says, ‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.’ (NIV).
Then having been obedient to the Lord, they went out in the power of the Lord (Holy Spirit) and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:41).

The power of the Lord wasn’t just for that one day as we read in the next chapter and throughout the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament; One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:1-8 NIV).

Then Peter gave the Glory to Jesus in Acts 4:8-10. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. (NIV) (Underline added).

So, the next question is are we earnestly seeking God for His empowerment or even having the faith to pray for people to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and expecting it to happen? I believe that both have somehow lost their importance in many sectors of the church and yet without them we simply limp along picking up the few breadcrumbs that our lack of faith and God’s grace enables us to have.

I also think that not only have they lost their importance, but the church has lost its expectation of these manifestations of the Spirit and is willing to continue struggling under its own feeble strength, which is fine with the enemy, because he can run riot whilst the church remains in its stupor.

Well, I believe it’s time to get ready for another Prophet Joel experience like the one in Acts just after Peter proclaimed:

“‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Acts 2:17:21) (NIV).

We will never be perfect or indeed fully ready, whatever that may look like, but I believe that if we’re fully surrendered, earnestly seeking, and looking up in expectation, then God is going to use His church mightily in these days. It won’t be easy, and it will come with persecution. But then it seems to me that anything worth having never has come easily. 

But if we’re willing to follow Jesus wherever He may take us then our testimony can be like that of Pauls in his letter to the Romans. Wherever our Jerusalem and Illyricum may be.

Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:17-19 NIV).

Let me finish with this final scripture and a challenge.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NIV).

Can we say the same thing and are we ready and willing to higher our expectations, look only to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith and surrender all to Him? Brothers and sisters, we’re running out of time.

He sees us and He knows our hearts.

May God bless you child of God and give the heart of the Lion of Judah.

Author: Kevin Hunt

May God bless and enrich your life

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Saturday 13 August 2022

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him

When we spend time in God's waiting room, He's developing grace in us that simply can't be developed any other way
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him Psalm 37:4-7

One of the old sayings "You can't always have what you want", is not necessarily true, as it says in Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart.  

But sometimes the Lord requests us to wait.

Waiting is an act, if you wait two years you can achieve something you couldn't achieve today, however hard you worked at it, however much money you throw at it, however many times you bang your head against the wall.

There are things we can't have today that we'll be able to have in the future. So it doesn't make sense to drive ourselves crazy and put our life on hold, struggling to accomplish something now, that will be easy when the time is right.

James says don't try to get out of anything prematurely, let patience do it's work so we can become mature (James 1:4) But let patience have it's perfect work that we may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.

God allows certain things to take place in our lives to teach us important principles like:- A)  Developing new skills and ways of thinking. B)  Showing grace and controlling our responses. C)  Maintaining our faith when times get tough.

Paul writes patience is the power to endure whatever comes with good temper, be glad for all God is planning, be patient in trouble and prayerful always. Colossians 3:12 Therefore as elect of God, holy and beloved put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness long-suffering.
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. When we spend time in God's waiting room, He's developing grace in us that simply can't be developed any other way.

When He is finished we will come out stronger and wiser and will have the maturity to handle what God has in mind for us, so don't let the enemy rattle us or engineer circumstances that put us into overdrive, but rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him it will happen in God's time. 

"Therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you blessed are all they that wait for Him" Isaiah 30:18

We should not only understand the importance of our waiting on God but also realise something even more wonderful... the Lord waits on us.  And the very thought of His waiting on us will give us renewed motivation and inspiration to "wait for Him". It will also provide inexpressible confidence that our waiting will never be in vain. God knows He cannot gather the fruit until it is ripe, and He knows precisely when we are spiritually ready to receive blessings for our gain and His glory.

Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"

Galatians 5:5 "By faith we eagerly await through the Spirit, the righteousness for which we hope".

Waiting with hope can be very difficult, but true patience is expressed when we must even wait for hope. When we see no hint of success yet refuse to despair, when we see nothing but the darkness of night through our window yet keep the blinds open because stars appear in the sky, and when we have an empty place in our heart yet will not allow it to be filled with anything less than God's best - that is the greatest kind of patience/resting/waiting on God.

So my brothers and sisters in Christ 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths" Proverbs 3:5-6

Author: Inie Jean

May God bless and enrich your life

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Saturday 6 August 2022

Rest in Jesus

The Christian life is undoubtedly hard work, but it's by faith that we are justified
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest... (Hebrews 4:11 NIV)

I have often wondered how to understand this apparent paradox. The King James version renders it: 'Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest...'  And the ESV uses the word 'strive'.  All of these translations of the greek word 'spoudazo' seem to be the opposite of the concept of resting.

Perhaps we have an example these days as we have witnessed athletes pushing themselves to new levels of exertion and focus, but then resting in the satisfaction that they did their best.  

Entering into the Sabbath-rest that God offers also requires effort, determination, discipline and sheer hard work, yet the truth is that no amount of striving and self-motivation can earn us a place in God's Kingdom. Only faith in the grace offered through the work of Jesus Christ will do that.

Hebrews chapter 4, written to early Hebrew Christians, tells the story of earlier Hebrew people who failed to enter into that rest, the promised land, because of their disobedience. The nature of the disobedience is clearly stated as unbelief. Unbelief caused a whole generation of people to die in the wilderness. Only two men, Joshua and Caleb, believed God's promise and crossed the Jordan to take possession of the land. The difference was not how hard they worked but their faith. In the same book we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God, and that God rewards those who seek Him.
When the people asked Jesus how to do the work that God requires he answered: "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” The Christian life is undoubtedly hard work, but it's by faith that we are justified (put right before God), and it's faith that gives us peace of mind - rest.

Jesus gave an invitation to the common people:  

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Here is another paradox! We find soul rest by taking on another burden, the yoke that Jesus has for us. A yoke is a crossbar shaped to fit over the shoulders and lifted to efficiently carry heavy weights. Using the wrong shaped yoke is painful and counter-productive, but the yoke that Jesus has for us brings joy, comfort and peace to every task, however difficult, menial or arduous.

Life can be tough, but the Lord offers His people rest even in the midst of activity.  Through faith in Jesus we can enjoy being in God's presence now, and we will one day share in the everlasting joy that God entered when He rested on the seventh day.

Author: John Plumb

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