Australia on fire

As I watch these ferocious fires sweep across our land, my heart goes out to not only my family who have lost properties, stock and machinery, but the thousands of Australians who are displaced, afraid and grieving.

This is a stark reminder of just how precious every life is and how short our time here.

It’s also a reminder that material things we value can be burned up in an instant and to check our reliance upon such things.
1 Timothy 6:7
After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.

It’s easy to get distracted by glamorous houses, fancy cars and special conveniences while subconsciously making idols of these things.

Anything that takes our time and focus off Him is an idol.

Psalm 135:15 (TPT)
The unbelieving nations worship what they make. They worship their wealth and their work. They idolize what they own and what they do.

As we reflect on the situation around us let’s gather together in prayer and declare…
By your mighty power I can walk through any devastation and you will keep me alive, reviving me.
Psalms 138:7a (TPT)

The place of no longer relying on yourself

Paul shows us how his hard times and overwhelming circumstances helped him to move beyond his own strength and human ability into being forced to rely upon God to deliver him.

2 cor 1:8-10 (MSG)
We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.

What a great place to be in when we are way over our heads like Paul was. When our faith is stretched to such a level we cannot be tempted by our flesh (which will fail us) but put our trust in Him.

When we come out the other side of affliction and hardship, we will discover that we have learnt a great lesson in drawing near to God, trusting Him and relying upon Him.

Maybe we too will realise and declare that it was ‘the best thing that could have happened!’

What pleases God…

Hebrews 11:5-6 (MSG)
By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.” It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

FAITH is what pleases God!

Believing in Him and believing that He cares for us and wants the best for us is what He desires.

Imagine if you had the ability to help someone, told them you would, but they didn’t believe you were kind enough to follow through with your words.
Ouch right?

That is why God is so pleased with us when we believe Him. We connect with Him by showing Him love through trusting His beautiful generous nature.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Ephesians 3:12 (NIV)

A special blessing

Luke 1:45 (NIV)
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

There is a special blessing awaiting those who believe that what God has said will come to pass.

Mary’s response showed her faith and because of this childlike faith she is called “blessed”!

Blessed is defined by strongs as ‘supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off’.

So it is through your faith in what God has promised that will attract blessing and favour in your life!

Praying bold prayers

James 1:5-8 (MSG)
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

God desires that we be direct and up front when we ask Him for things. He wants us to come straight to Him when things start to get crazy.

Too often we try other options before going to to Him (I know I do). We speak with our own ideas and solutions and carry on like He is not even there. Or if we do pray, we worryingly cry out not expecting Him to come through for us.

But He is just waiting to calm your storm, to bring peace and speak into the problem you are facing right now.

Try it! Come boldly and with faith, expecting an answer.

Living in the Spirit

Romans 7:6 (NLT)

‘But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.’

This scripture makes it very clear that we are to serve and please God by living ‘in the Spirit’.

We are no longer bound by rules and regulations but we are to be guided by the Holy Spirit. What great freedom we have!

The Holy Spirit will reveal truth, vision and purpose for our lives. When we are not living in the Spirit we will lose direction, vision and faith.

By continuing in relationship with Him through the confessing of our sins and allowing Him to reveal things to us, we live in the Spirit.

It is by staying in faith and rest that our fruit will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.

Let Him unlock your heart

Romans 11:32 (TPT)

‘Actually, God considers all of humanity to be prisoners of their unbelief, so that he can unlock our hearts and show his tender mercies to all who come to him.’

We are prisoners whenever we do not believe what He has promised us. We are held captive in bondage to that unbelief.

Mistrust and lack of faith are blockages we all must overcome in order to see His tender mercies.

Let Him unlock your heart in that area you are struggling to trust Him in. It may look like it is too big for Him. It may even seem like a physical impossibility. But give Him your heart and watch Him unlock the truth and bring you back into faith.

The key is in your hands.

The essence of your salvation

Isaiah 30:15 (MSG)

God, the Master, The Holy of Israel,
has this solemn counsel:
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
Your strength will come from settling down
in complete dependence on me—
The very thing
you’ve been unwilling to do.

This scripture gives us an outline of what our salvation requires.

Repentance, which is turning from our sin, doing a 180 and coming to the Lord is the first step.

In this case it states: ‘turning back to Me’, which signifies that they had turned away from God, (the Israelites had), and God is coercing them back.

The second condition and by no means less important is the act of rest.

Rest is a simple dependence upon God. The Israelites struggled with this and wanted to do things their way.

This is a common problem in this era with the temptation to live independently of God and consequently resisting the patience that the Holy Spirit gives.

How many do you know who have fallen into this trap and are no longer following our Lord?

Your salvation depends on your ability to rest on God, to leave things to Him, to literally place your situation in His hands.

He is the most trustworthy and He is far more able than you are, so trust Him today.

When facing your Red Sea…help is here!

Hebrews 11:29 NLT

‘It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned’.

Are you facing a Red Sea moment? Are you feeling hemmed in on every side, surrounded by the taunts of the enemy, deep water, mighty cliffs, huge waves and rushing winds?

The closeness, the sheer magnitude and ferociousness of such a situation can be overwhelming. Where do you go when you are blocked and restricted?

Don’t fear. This is a good place to be! You have nowhere to look but up. God now has the ability to do a mighty miracle through you.

As your faith rises up and the waves get closer God will part the sea right before your eyes. You won’t know how, but suddenly, what looked impossible will be transformed by the very miracle working power of God.

So come toward the raging sea and allow God to part it for you.

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14

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