I’ve been reading this book by Brian Houston and am finding it really inspirational
“Whether you are searching for your calling or wholeheartedly pursuing your life’s purpose, Brian Houston’s transformative approach will help you navigate a faith path that is all your own and discover unique gifts tailored perfectly for your journey.”
Brian Houston is the Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church. Thirty-five years ago , when he set out to pioneer a Church with thirty people in a school hall, he had no idea that over time his Church would grow into the worldwide Hillsong ministry.
In this book, Brian Houston shares his own life-tested experiences and the powerful Biblical truths he’s learned that will enable you to live fully, love completely, and live boldly – the hallmarks of Jesus’ time on Earth.
Clicking on the link will take you to Amazon’s website. I may get a small commission for you doing this. (I’m in the experimental phase about this!)
Exam season is fast approaching, so I thought I would share a few Scriptures to help calm those nerves
It’s a very anxious time, students can feel overwhelmed, but can I just let you know that God is still in control and here are some Scriptures to help you.
1 Peter 5:7 “…casting all your care on Him, for He cares about you”
God cares about your wellbeing. You can entrust all your concerns and worries to Him.
Jeremiah 29:11 ” For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Your future is in the hands of God, not in the hands of any exam board!
God’s plan for you encompasses all aspects of your life. His plan for your future is not going to be hijacked because you couldn’t answer one question on an exam paper. God’s thoughts toward you are only good.
One of my other roles is that of GCSE examiner. I mark French examinations, so I know from personal experience that the examiners are not trying to catch you out – they are looking for what you know and what you can do. You have learned a lot over your years of study. You have retained more than you think.
God has said in His Word: ” I will never leave you nor forsake you, so we may boldly say “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”” (Hebrews 13:5,6)
What’s the worst that could happen? You might fail? You can retake the exam if necessary. Furthermore, you might not fail, you might do better than expected! What can man do to you? You aren’t going to be put to death for failing an exam.
If you think you can’t do this, the Bible says , ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13″ Ask God to help you.
You are not defined by the grades you get, you are defined by who God says you are.
You are His creation.
You are loved by God.
You are a person with a purpose.
You are not forsaken.
You are not alone.
Proverbs 14:23 says ” All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
If you have worked hard, God will grant you success.
If you haven’t worked hard, you still have a bit of time left to do some more revision. Use your time wisely!
But, having done all you can, the only thing left is to trust.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6)
God will perfect that which concerns you.
In Matthew 5:4 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Jesus promises comfort to all who mourn.
In John 14:15-18 Jesus said “I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him;but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you”
We have a helper – the Holy Spirit is our Comforter and He helps us to pray, even when we have no words to say. The Holy Spirit will never leave us. He will not abandon us in our hour of need.
Some things may happen in life that we can never fully understand this side of eternity, but one day, we will understand. No matter what happens God is good. He loves you and He promises to help you because He cares about you.
The Holy Spirit comes alongside us in our disappointment and grief and He shares our load. He says, “Come to me, all you who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Give your burden to God. He can handle your pain, your loss, your grief and He will help you through it.
The Word of God is powerful. When you read it, your life will be changed. It is not just an old, dusty book that has no relevance. As you read it, asking the Holy Spirit for revelation, He will speak to you through His Word. He will convict you about your sin and will give you direction about your life.
Joints and Marrow
The three parts of the inside of the bone are the marrow, surrounded by the actual bone cells (which is where the blood cells are) and the outside membrane.
This membrane is a very hard substance and is called the periosteum.
It would be very difficult to slice between the three parts because the three parts are fused together to form the bone. It could be done, but only with the very sharpest knife or tool.
In this passage, the Word of God (ie.the Bible ) is being compared to this, the sharpest of knives with precision cutting abilities.
God knows what He wants to accomplish in our lives and as we meditate on the Word of God He operates on us (spiritually) with the precision of a surgeon.
Let His Word transform your inner being!
Take a Gospill!
God knows our frailties and our weaknesses and He wants to do a work in our life.
The title of “When God says No!” is perhaps not a very catchy or appealing title but actually when God is saying, “No” to one thing, He’s saying, “Yes” to something else. God’s “No” to Bithynia at this time became a “Yes” to Lydia and Philippi.
Timing is crucial.If Paul had tarried in Bithynia he may have missed the meeting with Lydia in Philippi. This meeting was a divine appointment. The Bible says that Lydia was a worshipper of God. God had been preparing her heart to receive Paul’s message.
God prepares us for a people and a people for us. We just need to trust His direction.
Lydia was a seller of purple. She was a well to do agent of a purple dye company from Thyatira. Purple cloth was extremely expensive – it was a symbol of status and wealth. The dye for purple was made from a juice found in minute quantities in shellfish. It took thousands of crustaceans to make a yard or two of purple cloth. So, to sell this cloth Lydia will have been mixing with very rich and influential people.
Lydia is believed to be the first European convert and the Orthodox churches have given her the title of, “Equal to the Apostles” which signifies her importance and level of holiness.
The Lord opened Lydia’s heart and her and her household got baptized. Then she invited Paul to stay at her house. Later, when Paul had gone to jail and been released (Acts 16:30) he, along with Silas, headed straight for Lydia’s house.
So after the “No!” he received from God, Paul met this wonderful lady, Lydia, whose heart was responsive and open to the gospel who became a big part of the Church at Philippi – a Church that was a constant source of supply for Paul – financially and spiritually. This connection was extremely significant
God’s “No!” to Bithynia became a “Yes” to Philippi!
This happened because Paul listened to and obeyed the Holy Spirit
God has a plan for you. Don’t be discouraged if you sense a roadblock. God has a greater purpose.
God has good plans for you – to give you a future and a hope.
Compare 1 Peter 1:1 “To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatians, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
So, there was a Church there at some point in time.
Sometimes God’s “No” isn’t a “Never”. It might just be a “Not Now”.
Sometimes in our own understanding we might think, “It can’t do any harm to go there and encourage these people but the Bible says in Proverbs 3:5,”Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
God directs our steps and our stops.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel “, so it seems crazy that God would forbid Paul and his companions to preach the Gospel somewhere.
But sometimes what is good is not necessarily God’s will or God’s timing. The Spirit did not permit Paul and his companions to preach the Word in Asia at that time Maybe the people in Asia weren’t ready to hear what Paul had to say and /or maybe their journey would have been unfruitful – meanwhile God had people ready and waiting in Macedonia who were keen to hear the Gospel, like Lydia the Philippian jailer and the slave girl who had a spirit of divination and needed to be set free. Individuals are important to God and He knows the divine appointments He has set up for you. God’s timing is also significant
Never be disappointed when God says, “No !” If He does, it’s because there’s a greater, “Yes!” further down the line.
Philip the Evangelist left revival to minister to one person who was travelling.
Sometimes the “No!” may not make sense to you, but God does not waste His children. There’s too much invested in you for God to send you somewhere that’s not helpful to you or that’s not in His good plan for your life.