Don’t go to mourn, go to the Lord

John 11:28-33 (NIV)

After she (Martha) had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Mary knew what she had to do. When she was in her deepest time of need she went straight to Jesus as quickly as she could. Those around her assumed she was going to the tomb to mourn. But amidst her doubt and sorrow, Mary went to Jesus, the source of comfort and hope.

Isn’t it interesting that whenever we are in a crisis situation, those around us decide that we must need to mourn.
They almost write us off as having to visit the tomb, visit the place of death, the place where our loss is buried. They assume that it’s normal to revisit your troubles over and over.

If things haven’t turned out the way you had planned, God has a better plan! The enemy wants us to stay in a place of mourning. But instead of heading toward death, we need to go after Life, the ultimate Light Source, Jesus Christ. He is available to meet us at our point of need and raise all our promises and desires from the dead.

Draw near

Jeremiah 29:12-14 (MSG)

“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.”When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—”bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.

God’s message is clear. When we come to Him He will come to us and He will listen. He’s waiting for us to make the first move.

The question is are you serious about finding Him? Do you really want Him more than anything else? His presence? His guidance? His forgiveness? and His peace?

It’s all available for those who will build a relationship with Him. Relationship requires time with God. This is simply speaking with Him in every circumstance, bringing your needs, dreams and hopes before Him.

Time spent brings about intimacy. As you do this the promise is clear. It’s inevitable. He will turn things around for you. Do you want things turned around? Draw close to Him and you won’t be disappointed. His word says, “You can count on it!”

You are a John the baptist

John 1:20-27 (NLT)

He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
“Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”
“Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”
Then the Pharisees who had been sent asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

John the Baptist was a very humble man. He clarifies that he is NOT Christ but opening up the doors for His glory. This was the very reason he was born, his very existence and his heart’s desire.

We have been given a role similar to John the Baptist. Our job is to point people to Jesus Christ. We are to set the platform and make way for His coming.

But just how do we set the path for Jesus?
By obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit, God will use His people to show the world who He is, what He is like and His characteristics. He will show us glimpses of what He wants to do so we can help Him get things ready.

In our workplaces, schools and communities, we are being John the Baptists for God. He is setting up miracles in your life and He is using you to prepare the way.

Like John we are here to glorify the name of Jesus and prepare for His coming.

The healing is just the crumbs

Mark 7:25-30 (NLT)

Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter.

Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”

“Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.

Have you ever been this desperate for a breakthrough for yourself or a loved one? She wouldn’t give in. She understood she was not of the chosen Jews, but knew the power and authority of Jesus.
In her humility, this woman asks just for the crumbs from under the table, just a taste of what Jesus has to offer her.

She knows her humanity and seconds Jesus’ reference to her as a ‘dog’ (the scavengers of the time and lowest of animals). By saying this she is admitting she is a sinner, a Gentile and an outsider. But inside she longs to be one of them, one of the chosen children of God like you and me.

If only we could be this desperate for a taste from Jesus and pursue Him even if it is going against our culture.

If just asking for the crumbs heals your daughter, imagine if we asked for the whole loaf. We are the apple of His eye and He has a whole assortment of gifts and blessings to lavish on us if only we would have the boldness to ask.

Do not be troubled

John 14:27 (NLT)

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

What a powerful message Jesus gives us before He leaves the people. He has just finished explaining and teaching lessons in preparation for His death.

But in one bold statement He says “Do not be troubled or afraid”. He knew in advance every situation we would encounter, every problem and every sorrow, just as He knew His disciples would face.

The world offers so many strategies for dealing with stress: meditation, massage, counsellors, shopping, coffee, television, ‘keep yourself busy’ or on the contrary ‘have some alone time’. But quickly we find no lasting satisfaction in all these things as Jesus was well aware of.

He makes a point of stating how the world will give us a counterfeit peace only.

One thing we can have as Christians that the world cannot offer, is the peace of the Holy Spirit. He left it for us when He left this earth so that no matter what we face we can be assured that it will all be ok, even if we cannot see a way out.

There might be a massive mountain in front of you but as you allow God into the situation, a feeling of relief, knowing that everything is going to be alright will envelop you.

Peace is such a precious gift, a glorious release of bottled up emotion and it is available to all who have the Holy Spirit inside them and to all those who are willing to call upon the name of Jesus Christ!

After a flood…plant!

Genesis 9:20 NLT

‘After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard.’

Noah had just come through the most amazing trial of his life. You would think he might just recover for a while but no, Noah does an amazing thing. He gets right into it and begins cultivating and planting.

This is exactly what we need to be doing. It is the perfect time to be planting seeds through prayer, forgiveness, generosity and kindness.

Plant them everywhere you go. God is looking for those who have experienced a flood to be extravagant planters into other peoples’ lives.

Crop specialist, Gene Johnson says “After a flood, the best thing you can do for the soil is get something growing in it again. Get some roots growing.” Read more here.

Just keep planting good seeds wherever you can and you will reap a great harvest. During this time your roots will grow down deep and help the flood situation in your life dry up quickly.

Keep planting and don’t give up. The flood that you’ve been through tried to steal your fruitfulness, but as you plant in fertile soils you will produce above and beyond what you thought possible.

Time to celebrate!

Nehemiah 8:11-12 NLT

And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.” So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.
Read full story here

The people were saddened as they read the words from God’s law because they became aware of their sins.

The law exposed their short comings. The word of God penetrates the heart and brings our dark areas into the light.

But both Nehemiah and the Levites encourage them to celebrate and be joyful. Why? Because they have discovered a wonderful thing. Their creator is having relationship and communicating with them.

When God teaches us and reveals things to us we should be full of festivities and gratitude. If we really value His Word and understand the power in it, we will move from weeping over our failures to being quickly affirmed by His love.

There is nothing more reassuring than receiving instruction and correction from the Most High. He wants to shape us, teach us and show us His ways. And if we want Him to continue to give us counsel and wisdom, then we need to reverently celebrate Him.

So eat and drink and encourage others to feast and find delight in Him.

It’s just what you learnt in the field

1 Samuel 17:34-37 NLT

But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

David spent many years training for what was ahead for him. He had fought off lions and bears, even extracting the lambs from their mouths. Nothing was too big for him out in his field. He had a confidence and authority that went way beyond his size and natural abilities.

David also had a dependence on a God that was sure to deliver him every time without fail. So when it comes to his big moment to shine, his experience in his field along with his faith in his God sends the giant crashing down with a single stone.

God has been training you and preparing you in your field right for this moment. While you have been fighting off enemies and practising your skills, you never would have comprehended how this has equipped you for a time such as this. Your faith has been stretched but your confidence steadily growing.

The field or area you have been developing in is simply the lead up to a great victory that awaits you.

This is the big one. So gather together everything He has taught you in your training time and accurately fire your stone at the forehead of the big fella.

The plan of the enemy to stop your prayer

Daniel 9:20-23, 27 (MSG)

20-21 “While I was pouring out my heart, baring my sins and the sins of my people Israel, praying my life out before my God, interceding for the holy mountain of my God—while I was absorbed in this praying, the humanlike Gabriel, the one I had seen in an earlier vision, approached me, flying in like a bird about the time of evening worship.

22-23 “He stood before me and said, ‘Daniel, I have come to make things plain to you. You had no sooner started your prayer when the answer was given. And now I’m here to deliver the answer to you. You are much loved! So listen carefully to the answer, the plain meaning of what is revealed…..

27“‘ for one seven, he will forge many and strong alliances, but halfway through the seven he will banish worship and prayers. At the place of worship, a desecrating obscenity will be set up and remain until finally the desecrator himself is decisively destroyed.’”

Daniel has a beautiful visitation from an angel Gabriel who’s purpose is to bring the answer to Daniel’s prayers. In fact, as soon as Daniel prays he receives the answer via the angel. God unravels perilous events of the end times to Daniel in this encounter. One of these catastrophic events is the eradication of prayer and worship. This is a horrific abomination to God and the events following show the effect that prayerlessness has.

One area the enemy is most focused on is destroying your prayer life: your communion with God. He knows if he can somehow interfere by preventing you from praying, then he can ultimately prevent your promises from coming to pass. He aims to stop you from entering into God’s best for you.

He will do whatever he can to break down your communication and intimacy with God. He does this by sowing doubts into your mind to question whether God has really heard you. He may also make you question God’s character and if He really wants to answer you.

Finally he will attempt to lure you away from your prayer time by making you busy or focused on your feelings concerning praying. Let’s face it: he wants to cut off your prayer life. So wake up and realise his plan. Shake off busyness, distractions and lethargy. Enter into your special prayer time now. The answer is nearer than when you first believed.

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