Fear at Election Time

Exodus 1:8 Then a new king to whom Joseph meant nothing came to power in Egypt. “Look ” he said to his people ” the Israelites have become far too numerous for us.  Come we will deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave our country.” So they made the Israelites’ lives bitter and were ruthless with them.

The King of Egypt saw the people of God flourishing. Instead of seeing it as a blessing he was filled with fear. Why? Instead of embracing them and understanding them and their God, he wanted power and allegiance to himself. He feared their relationship with God would be damaging to him.

But those who truly love and follow God and his ways are the best thing that ever happened to this world. These people are are the best friends. The best citizens. They are filled with the God’s love and grace. Their world view is to love God and love others.

The King of Egypt missed out on the blessing of God and all He had for Egypt and instead became cruel and ruthless because fear began to control him. He became so confused and distorted that instead of reaching out to God and receiving blessing from his people he eventually faced judgement.

What if he had embraced God’s people and their God? His kingdom would have flourished but instead it faced plagues dreaded and horrible things . What a lie! Fear is a liar.

With elections about to take place in the US and Australia in the next few months, I am wondering if fear is keeping both countries from the blessings that God has for it because the leaders don’t understand and see that God is good. There will be a blessing if God’s way is exalted. Let’s pray for a greater revelation of God’s love in the heart of the leaders up for election because perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18

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This Great Battle

OK I don’t know about you but I am starting to realise that as Christians we are in a battle much greater than I once imagined. We are citizens of heaven living in a hostile land and so much of what we encounter in our world is drawing us away from God.

It is like we are standing up for Jesus and there is a a huge heavy waterfall descending on us trying to push us down and away from the things of God.

But 1 Peter 2:9 says we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of  darkness into his wonderful light!

We have so much good news to share. We have hope and love and life because we have Jesus. We are not citizens of this world. The end of our story is not here.

Psalm 60:4 But you have raised a banner for those who fear you – a rally point in the face of attack!

So when the enemy comes in like a flood we look up for the banner… the rally point.  God has a place of comfort for us.  We are not alone. Let’s rally. Let’s draw near to God and stand together and bring love and light and hope to this world!

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The Voice

Although I am not an avid Voice fan I managed to watch a few episodes. My kids reminded me that it was the final night and we turned it on.

As I was having a time alone with God this week the words the VOICE popped into my mind as I was thinking about all the different voices I have in my life. There’s my voice, my husband’s voice, my children voices, voices from the workplace, friends, the church, songs, TV, billboards, Facebook and the list goes on and on…

But in my heart God was saying to me, “You just need to tune into MY voice. You need to listen to me like those judges in that show. Their chairs were turned away from distractions, their posture was bent over intent on listening to only one thing at that moment ….the voice.” “

I need to do the same. I need to take time to turn away from those voices. I need to hear the one true voice. God’s voice is out there but also very close. It is strong clear and true but in our culture it is being drown out as we let so many other voices have center stage in our lives.

Let’s remember the words of Jesus in John 10:1-16 He explains that He is the Good Shepherd. He says that his sheep follow Him because they know HIS voice. Let’s be challenged today to not listen to the voices of this culture which are only a disguise for the thief who wishes to steal, kill and destroy but listen to the VOICE of the Good Shepherd.  Let’s turn away from what the world is shouting at us and listen to the one true voice full of love that spoke our lives into being.   Take some time to read John 10:1-16 and just listen…….

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A Gift that Keeps Giving

We are well into the new year in Australia and our new school year is starting soon. The excitement of Christmas and the New Year is past. I wonder how many of the Christmas gifts we  yearned for, for so many months have been forgotten or become outdated already. Have you ever noticed there is always another new thing coming out we are tempted to like better than what we already have?…Hopefully not! But somehow that does seem to happen….. we long for more……. I think it is human nature!

As we are about to begin February, I am reminded of the perfect “Gift” we got the very first Christmas when God came to this world. It is a gift that doesn’t grow old and there is always more to it. There are  a lot of aspects to God’s “Gift,” but the part I am reminded of this post-Christmas season is the fact that when we have given our lives to Jesus, we forever belong and are loved by God!  The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:9  For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.  And verse 10…Once you had no identity as a people now you are God’s people. John 15:9 I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. V 16 You didn’t choose me, I chose you.

We don’t have to wonder if we  are accepted and loved because God accepts and loves us. He showed us this by coming to earth Christmas morning to eventually die for our sins and bring us to relationship with God. What a “Gift…”

In this world we are constantly tempted to search for love and acceptance from others who just can’t be completely faithful and love us unconditionally…As much as the friends and family and people around us try, they can, at times, let us down. But when we reach out to God for acceptance and love, we become confident and unshakeable which is amazingly attractive to others and peaceful for ourselves. What a “Gift”!

The best part about God’ s “Gift” is that for the rest of our lives we can keep unwrapping another part of it. Acceptance and unconditional love is just one part that “Gift”.  God’s “Gift” is one where there’s always more! (Which is a good thing) God knew we needed a gift that keeps giving. So let’s move into February with grateful hearts and a desire to be continually unwrapping and receiving more of God. Relax and enjoy that amazing gift that Jesus got for you. You belong. You are accepted. You are loved for who you are. 

 

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Growing Strong

I was teaching year 4 this week about how a plant grows and explaining there is a difference between a plant that is growing and a plant that is flourishing. The plant that is growing is alive and getting bigger but the plant that is flourishing is bright green, flowering, growing rapidly and reproducing. 

 My thought for you is how are you growing as a person… are you puttering along….alive and just getting older or are you in a place where you are vibrant, flourishing and full of life?

 One of the reasons a plant is flourishing is because all of the conditions for growth are right. There is water and light and fertilizer and the plant is not planted in the wrong place or planted at the wrong time.  Sometimes it’s just one or two of these conditions that are not right. But if they are attended to, the plant goes from just existing to flourishing.

 I was thinking about our lives.. maybe there are one or two things that we need to change or add to our lives to bring a change that will move us to a better place…One of the most important parts of flourishing as a person is having our spiritual lives on track. God made us and knows the best things for us. When we allow Him to be our “gardener” we have the support we need and He will show us the areas we need to change in order to flourish

…Here are some ideas…..Pursuing a new friend or an old friend, moving away from a bad influence, taking up a new hobby or revisiting an old one , keeping up with a church group, making a daily habit of reading the Bible, forgiving someone, studying a little more, finding a fun way to exercise, saving some money, spending some money, helping someone, being kind to an enemy, praying about your problems, getting help or advice from a trusted friend if you need it, de cluttering your home, being kind to your extended family, deciding life is too short to hold onto an offense…….

 

There’s so many changes we could make but let’s ask God to show us the things that will make a difference to bring us from a place of existing to a place of flourishing!. Or…. if we are flourishing let’s be encouraged and maintain those things that will keep us growing so well.

 

John 15:1-17  Jesus said….”I am the true grapevine and my Father is the gardener……

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Tie Dye and Treasures

Worldiness… like the dye  when we tie dye…. It is ever searching to influence us and impact our lives. How are you being influenced this moment? Have you been flooded with thoughts like, “I’m the only one who…”  “Nobody really understands me…”  “Everyone else is going so well. Why can’t I get it together?….” “How do they manage to afford or achieve that.? I wish I could…”

It says in Ephesians 6:16 that the enemy sends arrows of thought and I believe it is worldly thinking that saturates our lives through almost everything we see and do, that capitalizes on it to bring us down.   Down to “Me” thoughts… “me” world… Oh how bumpy the ride is when it is all about “me.”

I noticed Moses  the other day in a new way as I was reading Hebrews 11:26. It says “He thought it better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt for he was looking ahead to his great reward.” I never really realized what Moses gave up. He was part of Pharaoh’s family. Worldiness would have been saturating his life. Living a relaxed, live it up life would have been tempting. But his heart  and eyes were on God’s people. He treasured what God treasured. What a part he had to play in God’s plan.Wow! But it wasn’t about him, it was about what God had in mind. Moses had his eyes on God and not himself.

I believe God is calling Christians to a closeness with Him that  means we treasure what God treasures and find joy in what He finds joy in, rather than in what the world proposes as “treasure.” It is a challenge. Hard to see… practically invisible in the swirling sounds of the world around us. We need to see things with God’s eyes. What do you think God treasures? Can you comment below? Let’s  help each overcome  worldliness in a practical way! Pass this on to others  who may comment and let’s enjoy fellowship and open out eyes to the beautiful things God is doing in this world.

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Tie Dye

Swamped….immersed… saturated…. as technology and various forms of media become so affordable, convenient, prolific, and visible, are there any parts of our lives left untouched by worldly thinking?

I am reminded of the fun I had with my children doing tie dye. We wrapped up the shirt.. band after band…twisting it and folding it in different ways and then finally lowering it into a bucket of dye. The dye was searching for every place it could go into that fabric… seeping in close to the bands.. digging deep into the fabric trying to change it completely…. making it conform to the new colour. The fabric drank in the dye willingly, thirsty for even more… EXCEPT for the places where the bands held tight. The places where there were folds and twists and the shirt was protected. Then the moment of truth finally came… the  unwrapping… How excited we were to see what our shirts would look like. Did the bands manage to hold out enough of the dye to make a beautiful pattern? Or did it all just blend through?

How much are we like the fabric? We are swamped, immersed, saturated by all sorts of worldly thinking and philosophies  without even realising it. Technology and media are the like the dye searching to influence us. We will willingly absorb  unless we carefully and intentionally wrap our lives in Jesus. He is the way, the truth and  the life that we long for deep down, but we will be wrongly influenced if we are not careful, watchful. Like the shirt where the bands held tight, may our lives be the parts that stand out untouched making the world more beautiful. Let’s take a moment right now to connect with Him and  make it clear to Him and to the enemy who we want to live for and follow today.

Lord, thank you for your word that says You are the way, the truth and the life. We willingly and eagerly draw near to you. We choose  to wrap your word, your love and your life around our lives today. Alert us to and protect us from the thoughts and worldliness that try to saturate our lives and drag us away from the life that is really life. Open our eyes to your arms of love that seek to hold us tight. Amen

Verses for Meditation  1 John 2:15-17 and John 14:6

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