In quietness and confidence shall be your strength

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Isaiah 30:15 says, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Verse 16 is probably our natural human response:”And you said,  No, for we will flee on horses” But the Bible says, “Therefore you shall flee! And,we shall ride on swift horse-Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift”

As humans, many times we don’t like inactivity. We want to feel in control and want to feel that we are doing something about our problems. We might want to run away rather than facing our problems or trusting God with them. But it won’t end well.

The world values natural prowess and people seen as go-getters. But the Bible says about God that, “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior.”

Our natural strength and ability is useful – but it can only take us so far

Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord”

When we are tempted to run, God’s telling us to return to Him and rest. Let Him give you strength and victory.

The race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the strong. Gideon’s army was small (Judges 7) and God reduced the size further so only God could receive the glory for the battle.

Judges 7:22 says, “When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah by Tabbah”

The battle belongs to the Lord. Stop striving! There are battles you don’t have to fight. They are God’s battles. Only rest in Him. Be confident – you’re on the winning side.

God says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Romans 12:19) God will repay the wrongs done to you.

In Joshua 6 we see how the Lord said (verse 2)”See,I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its King and its fighting men” Joshua had to be obedient to God by circling the city seven times – he had a part to play but ultimately it was God who gave the victory.

 

 

 

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The Word of God discovers our condition

Hebrews 4:11-13

 

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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.

 

 

When God says “No!” Part 2

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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.

 

Eagles circling Part four. There’s something stronger than a terror network – a prayer network

There is something stronger than a terror network and it’s a prayer network. We need to be united and we need to pray. Prayer changes things. DSC_0049

Eagles have powerful vision. They can see very clearly from a great distance. They also have two sets of eyes- their natural eye which they use when they’re in resting mode, and a second set of eyes which comes in on them when they start to take flight on these strong wind thermals. This second eye then enables them to fly in the strong wind thermals without damaging their original eye – a protective covering. As Christians we have two sets of eyes – our natural vision and spiritual vision. It is God Himself literally allowing you to see things from His point of view and perspective.

Read 2 Kings 6:8-20

This is Holy Ghost intelligence. Verse 12 “Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

Our fight as Christians is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, principalities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

God knows what is going on in every house and every bedroom and He will reveal it to His prophets, if we are listening and open. Then, we must intercede.

Verse 17. Elisha’s servant saw an army surrounding the city with horses and chariots and he was very afraid. In the natural, fear will try to take over.

Elisha said to him, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”

There’s something more powerful than a terror network – a prayer network

Elisha prayed for his servant to have spiritual vision – to see into the supernatural realm.

And what Elisha’s servant then saw was AMAZING – a mountain full of horses and chariots all around Elisha.

We need to ask God to open our eyes to see what is really going on, and how to pray.

More to follow.

Eagles circling Part Three

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Eagles normally fly alone, but in my vision they were circling together, all in the same direction and all in sync.we may find it hard to work with others but God is saying we need unity. Psalm 133:1, “oh how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.” God loves it when His children are united. One eagle can cover a vast territory – so how much more territory can lots of eagles cover. We need each other, especially in these last days.

There will be no denominations in Heaven – only believers.

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Jesus – the supplier of human need.

John 6:14.  The feeding of the five thousand. In verse 7 Peter said, ” Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” Our human understanding says, “This is too expensive.” It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a piece. This was a lot of money.

So Andrew said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many.”

There is only so much we can do – we have to rely on God to do the rest. The little we give can be multiplied by God. He only needs our willingness to be involved.

Verses 12 and 13 – Twelve baskets were leftover. God supplies abundantly more than we ask or think.

In Matthew 14:13-21 we learn that before this miracle, Jesus had just found out that his earthly cousin, John the Baptist, had died a cruel death (he had been beheaded).

Matthew 14:13 says that when He heard this, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place. We all need this time to withdraw to a solitary place away from the demands of life to refresh ourselves in God. If you have troubles, run to Jesus. He is the One who can help you. No matter what demands you have on your time or pressures of ministry etc. you sometimes need to withdraw yourself so God can deposit more of His power.

Jesus had to launch a boat out to get time away from the people. Sometimes we need to use extreme measures to spend time with God.

Yet the crowds still followed Him on foot, waiting for Jesus to land His boat. And when He did, they were still waiting for Him. They were desperate.

Matthew 9:36-38 “But when He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.””

The harvest is still plentiful today and workers are still needed. There are still sick people , hurting people and sheep without a shepherd in our towns today. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Will we have compassion on these people and speak to them when we’re busy, when it’s inconvenient, when we’re grieving, tired or hungry?

Jesus’ cousin John had just been cruelly beheaded and Jesus was obviously upset, but He was still able to show compassion for sick people. The circumstances seemed unjust – why did a good person like John have to die and other people probably not as deserving have life breathed into them. It didn’t seem fair, but God was still in control.

(to be continued)

 

 

 

Cast all your cares on the One who cares for you

1 Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

In 1985 I attended the Billy Graham crusade in Sheffield, England, with the youth group of my Church . There, I recommitted my life to Jesus. I was given a sheet with some important Bible verses to learn and this verse was one of them.

One definition of “to cast” is ” to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction.” eg. a fisherman casts his fishing line into the river or a boy casts stones into the water.

God cares about you and nothing that worries you is too insignificant to Him. God can handle any anxiety you have and here you are invited to give everything that is worrying you to Him – in fact, throw it on Him, He will catch it!  He already knows what you are going through but He’s waiting for you to talk to Him.

You were not created to shoulder all your burdens by yourself – give them to God. Let Him handle them.

I can’t count the amount of times that I have given my concerns to God in prayer and He has answered. But more than that, as soon as I have unburdened myself I feel peace. I am confident that God has heard me and He is undertaking on my behalf. People say, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” When you know that Almighty God has the problem in His hands you can relax. You are in safe hands. Turn your cares into prayers.

Philippians 4:6,7 says, ” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Are you feeling anxious today? Are you worried about the future? Are you sick? Do you have financial problems or relationship problems? Are you feeling suicidal? Are you feeling upset? Cast your care upon Jesus. He loves you so much and wants to help you. Exchange your cares for His peace.

Pray for the police

It’s half term and we have had time to watch one of our favourite TV programmes, “Police Interceptors”. All the family likes this programme and we enjoy watching the police embark on high-speed chases, uncovering drugs hauls, arresting drunken drivers and the like. We have watched them break people’s doors down and use the “stinger” to stop speeding cars. We have been amazed at how cool and collected they are when faced with violent and abusive criminals. They are highly trained and skilled professionals.

In 1 Timothy 2:2 the Bible tells us to “Pray for kings and all those in authority, that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Law and order is important, and the police are the enforcers of this. They are doing an incredibly difficult job and need our prayers. Of course, they are not perfect and may make mistakes, but that should not be our concern. Our concern should be to do as God commands – to support them and pray for them.

 

The Shade of God

Isaiah 25:4 says, “For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.”

When the sun is overpowering, oppressive and beating down it’s nice to be in the shade – it’s cool, refreshing and protective. It’s the safest place to be in the heat of the day.

“I am shading you”, says the Lord. “You won’t be overwhelmed, I have caused my shade to spring up.”

Let’s look at the story of Jonah. Jonah had just finished reluctantly preaching to the great city of Ninevah. First he had run away from the calling of God, ended up being swallowed by a great fish (a whale) and then was spat out onto dry land. Eventually he decided to follow God’s command and the people of Ninevah, having never had a preacher like this at all before and no doubt astonished by someone probably bleached white in appearance by the gastric juices of the whale, all repented.

Amazing! Yet Jonah was not very happy. He knew this would happen! He was obviously the most reluctant preacher ever. Most preachers would be happy that the whole town repented – not Jonah! He went into a massive sulk! (Another example of how God uses even the weakest of us to accomplish His purposes) So Jonah went out of the city and he made himself a shelter so he could sit and wait and see what would become of the city.

God, in His mercy, provided Jonah with a plant that would provide a shade for Jonah. Jonah was very grateful for this plant.Even in his impetuousness and anger God was there to provide for His needs. How good God is! How kind of Him to look after us even on days when we are not all we should be. He is a faithful God. Jonah was a fallible human, very prone to change and very moody, but God still used him and took care of him.

In 1 Kings 19:4-18 Elijah had had a mighty victory , having executed all of the prophets of Baal. Now he was running for his life and was extremely depressed and discouraged. He wanted God to take his life. But God hadn’t finished with him yet! An angel provided some food for him. The angel said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you”. Then, in the strength of that food he was able to travel forty days and forty nights.

God knows what we need and when we need it.

Maybe you have got so fed up of the things that have happened to you that you have asked God to take your life. Yet God has not done that. Instead He has prepared a shelter for you, a little comfort and encouragement. It might be all you’ll get for another forty days, but in the strength of God’s Word take heart that He has not finished with you yet. If He was, He would take your life. We don’t get to tell God when our purpose on earth is finished. Maybe you feel you have really messed up (and maybe you have) but God is merciful. He can turn a mess into a message. He can turn a trial into a testimony.

God sees your trial and He has prepared a shade for you. You are not facing an onslaught by yourself – you are shaded from the heat by Almighty God. If God is on your side, who can be against you.

A New Name

Names are very important. In Old Testament times a name expressed the essence or identity of a person. Isaac’s name means “he laughs”, describing the response of his mother Sarah when God told her she would give birth in her old age; Moses’ name is from the Hebrew meaning “to draw out” after he was pulled out from the River Nile; Jesus (meaning saviour)  was so-named because He would save the people from their sins.

My name means “a song of joy”.

There are many instances in the Word of God where God changed a person’s name to reflect a new status. For example, Jacob became Israel; Saul became Paul; Abram became Abraham.

Revelation 2:17 says, ” To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it”

Isaiah 62:2 says ,”You will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will bestow.”

We will all receive a new name in glory, a token of what the Lord sees in us.

To some of us, our present name might be horrendous or we may have had nicknames linked to our name which made us feel bad. You may have had a label put on you by other people or had things spoken over you. You might even have thought these things about yourself. For example:

“You’ll never make it”

“Too old”

“A foreigner”

“Stupid”

“Ugly”

“Swot”

“A failure”

“Rejected”

“Fat”

“No mates”

We cannot internalise these names.

The only label you have to live up to is the label that God has put on you:-

“Child of God!”

“Victor!”

“Redeemed!”

“Not forsaken”

“My delight is in you!”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

“Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart”

“Beautiful”

“My child”

“Brave”

“Honourable”

“Noble”

I believe our new name in Heaven will be a constant delight to us and it will be a token of our acceptance with the Father. It will be known only between us and Him. Perhaps it will reflect some very personal and deep things that God has done in our life. It will reveal our character.

In Hannah Hurnard’s book, “Mountains of Spices” Pride and Superiority became Meekness and Lowliness-of-Heart; Much Afraid became Grace and Glory; Umbrage became Bearing-with-Love or Forgiveness; Tit-for-Tat became Acceptance with Joy; Spiteful became Compassionate and Craven Fear became Fearless Witness.

Often God takes our biggest weakness and makes that a glorious strength in our lives.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness”