Your invitation to visit the King

Esther 4:11 (NLT)

“All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.”

Esther 5:1-2 (NLT)
On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter.

This is symbolic of the inner sanctuary in the Old Testament. The Priest had to be very careful that he did everything according to the Law or his fate was death.

In the New Testament however, the curtain of the temple was torn giving us direct access into the Holy of Holies which is the most intimate place of worship with our King.

So whether you feel invited or not, He holds out His sceptre toward you.

Any time, any place, you can visit the King and ask of Him what you wish. God is waiting for you to come ‘boldly before the throne room’.

Esther was not sure of her outcome. She risked death by coming before King Xerxes.
But God sent Jesus to give us that direct access. The Gold sceptre is held out for us and all we have to do is touch it like Esther did and receive intimacy with God.

You cannot receive it from outside, you must enter in. The King is waiting on his throne for you to come to Him today.

Christianity is not a drive through: facing the ‘Esau syndrome’ head on!

Hebrews 12: 16-17 (MSG)

Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.

This is a warning we must take seriously. The Esau syndrome will affect your life forever. Crucial decisions that you make for an immediate gain can affect the promises and blessings involved in your future.

The ‘Esau syndrome’ may present in such a subtle way, slowly dragging you off the path leading to God’s blessing. Or like Esau, it might cause you to immediately surrender the precious gift of your inheritance.

Either way the enemy we are facing here is the frantic spirit of impatience. It is the complete opposite of the spiritual gifts of faith and patience.

‘By faith and patience you will inherit the promises of God’ (Hebrews 6), NOT by impatience. Some of us just need to say “If God’s not ready for me to have it, then I’m not taking anything that’s not the whole thing. No counterfeits or substitutes to get me by”.

It doesn’t matter how hungry you are for the things of the world don’t be sucked in, cling to your heavenly inheritance and you will be rewarded with something so much greater if you would only wait.

Don’t climb the fence

John 10:1-10 (MSG)

“Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

Have you ever been in a sticky situation but haven’t thought to pray? Too often we try to do things in life without going through Jesus.

We need finances but haven’t even asked Him or healing for a friend but haven’t asked Him.
This is in fact ‘climbing the fence’, trying to find a short cut without accessing the Lord Jesus to get it.

It might appear easier to climb the fence but it is a trap. It appears like a short cut but it’s a wilderness walk when it’s without the Lord.

Is there something you have resorted to climbing the fence to access? You can walk right up to the gatekeeper today and He will open that gate for you. It is the quickest and easiest route. Seek Him and you will walk right on in.

His Word is enough

John 8:12-16 (MSG)

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.” Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father.

The Pharisees could not come to a rational understanding of what Jesus was saying so they therefore demanded proof by proclaiming “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on”.
They were unwilling to trust Him.

We may find ourselves in this situation of doubting what He has told us, due to lack of understanding or faith.

Jesus is highlighting a far better response of heart that focuses on the largeness of God, the sheer divinity of our Father. He challenges them not to make judgements out of experience but rather through the Word they have heard.

Out of relationship with Jesus we have a different response than the Pharisees. Be assured He is who He says He is!

Oh, it may not make any sense to us whatsoever, but we are to fully put our trust in His Word! Jesus proved Himself faithful on this occasion and He will for you today.

It’s not a competition

John 4:1-3 msg

Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people. So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.

Baptising is one of the most glorious events to be a part of whether it’s in water or the Holy Spirits baptism. But it can become easy to fall into the trap of keeping score. Salvations, healings or breakthroughs can all be tallied and counted (or at least attempted to).

But we can see the very sad thing that happens here is that the disciples decide to count their baptisms on behalf of Jesus, verses Johns baptisms, as if his were somehow not from Jesus.

The result is great division amongst the people. They are then seen as two very different teams competing against one another.

Jesus response when He becomes aware of this ‘score-keeping’ is interesting. He becomes so ticked off that He has to depart from the area altogether.

We need to make sure that we do not take any of the credit when we are doing work for the Lord and ‘do it all for the glory of God’ 1 Corinthians 10:31. It’s important that we don’t compare what God has told us to do with the work of others or one church against another. We are all one body.

If we continue with a competitive spirit the Holy Spirit will depart from our area of work very quickly just like Jesus did. We are a big team working with Jesus to ‘make disciples of all nations’.

Let your promise be like Isaac

Galatians 4:23 (NLT)

“The son of the slave-wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfilment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfilment of His promise.”

Sometimes we try to bring about God’s promises by our own human effort. Is this because we lack faith that He will bring it to pass? Or is it simply impatience?

As we begin to understand God’s Sovereignty over our situation we will enter into a deeper spiritual level.

Why settle for a portion of what God wants for us when we can have abundant, overflowing blessings?

So, how do we step into all God has intended for us? The first step is to make a heart decision to follow God’s ways and not our own.

We may think we have the answers and the ability but this will only produce an ‘Ishmael’. God has a much better plan: an Isaac. Human short cuts do not glorify the Lord.

Secondly, we must discover any area in our own heart that may be hindering God’s work. Is it lack of trust? Unforgiveness? Selfishness? Lust? Or disobedience? Once we seek the Holy Spirit to discover any blockage, we need to repent so it can be purged.

Thirdly, by fasting, prayer and meditation in God’s Word we gain greater clarity in the spirit. When a situation, a physical thing or a relationship becomes the dominant factor in our thoughts and actions it must go.

“Seek the kingdom of God above all else,” Matthew 6:33 NLT. Fasting from physical things allows God’s Hand to move as we purge ourselves of fleshly desires.

Lastly, don’t resist God’s discipline. Continue to allow Him to grow and change you. Seek the Spirit and obey His voice.

Thank you Lord for the character-building work You are bringing about. We expect our breakthrough to be like Isaac: God’s own fulfilment of His promise!

What is in your barn?

Luke 12:16-21 (MSG)

“Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ “Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’ “That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.”

This man thought he had it made and could just settle down in retirement with his large barns full of grain.

However, God severely rebuked him for these actions. The problem was that this man was so absorbed with self, keeping far more than he required and wanting to ‘have the time of his life’ with no thought of having a rich, productive relationship with God.

By doing this he ultimately surrounded himself in his idol of ‘self’. Self ultimately desires temporal pleasures that are fleeting, whereas a life lived for eternity has vastly different priorities.

There are many things we can fill our barns with in this life. A barn represents a place of storage and there are many things that should not be stored in a temple of the Holy Spirit.

We see in the construction of Solomon’s Temple that there were storerooms attached to the side of the main rooms (See 1 Chronicles 28:11, 1 Kings 6:5-8). These hidden chambers were to store things that would honour the presence of God which dwelt inside the Temple.

What could be filling your barn that is limiting God’s place in your life? Just check: Are you storing things or thoughts that are pleasing to the Holy Spirit? Selfishness, greed and momentary pleasures were all traps that this man fell into and caused God to be grieved.

If you are filling your barn/life with temporal concerns, it will inevitably draw you away from God and bring about destruction.

May all our pursuits be centred on living for eternity and loving our Saviour who graciously died on the cross so we can live with Him forever.

Today is your day

Luke 19:1-7 (MSG)

“Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.

When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”

Zacchaeus had positioned himself up a tree out of desperation to see Jesus through the crowd. He needed to do whatever He could to just get a glimpse of this Messiah and that involved going to a higher level.

Zacchaeus’ reaction to Jesus’ invitation was one of excitement and honour showing that he knew who He was that was coming to dine with him.

Can you imagine the thrill of being told by Jesus that He is coming to your house as a guest? Zacchaeus had done some pretty bad stuff but Jesus chose to come to his house! Not only did Jesus come to his physical house but in return, he was also invited into Zacchaeus’ heart.

Jesus also wants to come and be a guest at your house. He wants you to open up the doors of your heart to Him no matter what you have done.

He is calling you down from your tree where you may be seeing Him at a distance and He is coming to your house. He has spotted you up there, called you out of the crowd and wants to intimately share a meal with you. Today is your day to dine with Him.

Let Him drive

Luke 9:23-27 (MSG)

“Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?

Jesus is saying here that when you accept Him as your Lord and Saviour, you must allow Him full control of your life. You can’t run your life on your own and call Him “Lord”.

He wants you to follow Him and He will show you how to manage things, make decisions, steer away from sin and embrace suffering for His name if necessary.

He shows us these things when we read His Word (the Holy Bible), pray, fast and listen for His still quiet voice within our heart.

He wants us to let Him be in the drivers’ seat where He has control over our destination. We give that control over to Him by letting Him take the wheel.

It’s so easy to want to drive our own life and think we can help ourselves but Jesus desires that you take the passenger seat and let Him drive.

What areas are you yet to surrender to Him? Why not give up control of those areas today? You will be in for the most exciting ride of your life! Beep beep!

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