Matthew 12:34 “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Jesus’ teaching is simple and yet deeply profound. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees about the connection between what’s in their hearts and what’s coming out of their mouths. Our words are a direct reflection of whatever is going on in our hearts. A tree is known by its fruit. Whatever the condition of the tree, so shall the fruit of the tree be. Our words are the fruit of the health or sickness of our hearts. It’s no use trying to control our tongues (James 3:8) if we first aren’t allowing the Holy Spirit to change the condition of our hearts. If we want the quality of what we say to improve, the health of our hearts must become our primary priority. This requires us to become heart conscious, not just word conscious. Many of us attempt to keep up appearances with our words but neglect the weightier matter’s of the heart. Ask God to change your heart and your words will take care of themselves. Explosive Insights!
Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Happiness is overrated but JOY is underrated. JOY is beyond happiness. Happiness is circumstantial, JOY is an intentional posture of the heart that the Holy Spirit works into our nature as we abide in him. JOY-filled people are a pleasure to be around. We generally want to hang out with a person genuinely JOY-filled. JOY releases strength into your heart and body. Research has shown the medicinal effect laughter and JOY can bring to a sick person. I’ve heard of a terminally ill patient stopping his treatment in hospital, checking himself into a hotel room and watching comedy after comedy, laughing himself towards wholeness and well being. As a communicator, I’ve observed the power of laughter to open peoples hearts to your subject matter and release tension in the room. Nehemiah says, “The JOY of the Lord is your strength.” JOY releases strength and confidence in your spirit, soul and body for you to live your life to the fullest. There are many tribulations in life that attempt to steal our faith and JOY but we’ve got to guard our JOY and feed it with the life of the Spirit dwelling inside of us. JOY is connected to our faith in God. A heart at rest in God, trusting his goodness and love will be able to access JOY. God is in a consistently good mood and He’s always full of JOY. Run to his presence, drink his cup of JOY and allow it to heal your wounded heart and lift up your crushed spirit. A life saturated with JOY is not only possible but it’s a necessary pursuit of life and is only truly found in the presence of God. Explosive Insights!
The late Bob Jones describes an experience of heaven he had in the 70s due to a fatal sickness, where for several minutes he was clinically dead. He recalls standing in a long line of people, waiting to enter paradise and Jesus asked every person one simple question, “Did you learn to love well?” What’s on the Fathers heart is often very different to what is on our hearts. How tragic would it be to spend life focusing time and energy on things other than what truly matters to God. Many of us think we know what it means to love well simply because we can explain it. Just because you understand something enough to explain it doesn’t mean you’ve experienced it. All of life’s dysfunctions find their root in a lack of experience of Gods love. Loving God, ourselves and others well is the true fruit of spiritual maturity. We will not grow into true spiritual maturity until we experience Gods love in us. Gods goal for your life is for you to love well more than achieve well. Explosive Insights!
1 Corinthians 13:13 “These three remain: faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love.”
Many books, sermons and insights have been shared over the centuries on the force of faith. But the Apostle Paul highlights to us that Love is a greater force than faith. If a mustard seed of faith can move a mountain, how much of a greater impact can a mustard seed of love make? In fact Galatians 5:6 says, “Faith works through love.” Love is the signature of Christiantiy. Jn 13:13 says, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another”. The culture around us has distorted the idea of love by equating it with feelings and tolerance. Love is a choice, not a feeling and love doesn’t tolerate everybody’s preferences and behaviors just because society says we’ve got to be politically correct. Love is defined by the truth of Gods Word (1 Cor 13) and not the shifting sands of culture. Without the plumb line of truth, Love becomes whatever we define it as. We are not self-governing autonomous agents but human beings created in the image of God. We are therefore accountable to God for how we define love and steward love towards others. Choose love as God intended it, knowing that love makes its greatest impact when freely given for those to whom we find the most unlovable. Explosive Insights!
Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. I ran from Sydney to Melbourne and raised $160k for my local church in 2008. It was a monumental challenge and was not helped by my little toe on my left foot turning black and getting pancaked for 1,172km. It didn’t matter how fit I was, the tiniest thing became my biggest issue. The same principle applies in life. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference and if you don’t pay attention to them, they will take you out. The challenge is many of us think we can take shortcuts with the little things and get away with it, however, you ignore them at your own peril. What are the little foxes in your world stealing the fruitfulness from your vineyard of life, work and health? Identify them and catch them before they spoil your vineyard.
Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Many of us want to increase ‘much by much’ but for the majority of us, this isn’t the reality of how we grow. Most of us experience increase in life one increment at a time. It’s the day in and day out of pursuing the basics that brings ultimate increase and fruitfulness to our lives. Little by little may not be sexy but it works. As the old adage says, “you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” Break your big goals down into small steps and tackle them little by little. Whether it be a financial goal, like purchasing your first house or a fitness goal, like running a marathon, you have to begin with the end in mind and then work backwards, tackling your goal, little by little. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish by doing little by little, day in and day out. You will build momentum and what may seem slow at the start will eventually become an avalanche. Don’t be hasty and don’t be impatient. Focus your energy on building your life little by little!
Daniel 1:8-9 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself.. And God gave Daniel favor in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.
It’s the things that people never see that sets you apart. Everyone of us have the opportunity to make choices about what we will do in our personal lives. We can choose to go with the flow of the majority or choose to be set apart, whether anybody sees us or not. You can be sure that when God gives one of his kids favor publicly, there has been a history of personal victories in that persons life. We can choose to compromise or choose to conquer but the fruit of our lives will speak for itself. What do you need to have fresh resolve about in your personal life? Be encouraged that what you overcome in the secret place will be rewarded in the public arena by Gods grace and favor. He sees every sacrifice you’ve made and not even the littlest thing goes unnoticed.
Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
A new year brings with it new hopes and resolutions. The truth is by Feb 1 most people’s new year resolutions are discarded for the onslaught of everyday demands. Don’t let this be you. The bible exhorts us to put off the old self and put on the new self, patterned after Christ. If you are going to embrace the new you in 2015, you need to pay attention to your thoughts. Where the mind goes, the body follows. What is your mind predominately preoccupied with? Faith, hope and love or doubt, fear and hate. The bible exhorts us to focus our minds on the things that are above and not on the things that are below. Millions of people are unhappy and unfulfilled because they only ever look horizontally around them at the things this world is preoccupied with but God is inviting us to get a vertical perspective on life by looking heavenward and seeing life from Gods perspective. Don’t struggle in your strength to put off the old self but ask for Gods help to empower you to be the new you in 2015!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:3)
The great god of our age is ‘THINGS’. Our fallen nature covets THINGS at the expense of God. God gave us THINGS to use and enjoy but instead we use God to obtain and worship THINGS. THINGS are anything other than God himself. THINGS aren’t bad, they are just not God and they can’t satisfy the craving of the human heart for God. God made us for himself alone and our hearts are restless until we come to a place of self-surrender and rest in God. The Self-Life is what gets in the way of our pursuit of God. Anything to do with life that emanates from self = self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, self-admiration and self-pity, to name a few, will make the pursuit of self the holy grail rather than Jesus. What is the cure for such a malady? The cross. Denying self and allowing the cross of Jesus to kill off in us a desire for THINGS will redeem our affections for God and his glory alone. After the cross comes resurrection. The new creation in us will rise again to a place where God becomes our everything. We may have many THINGS or few THINGS but no THING possesses us except our love and devotion to Christ alone!
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Cor 3:6)
God hasn’t made you responsible for the outcome. That’s his responsibility. But He has made you responsible for the process. Often we work harder at trying to control the outcome rather than just putting the right ingredients into the process. Paul was the initiator of the process by planting and Apollos continued the process by watering what God had initiated through Paul. Planting and watering in all it’s forms made up the process but God was the agent who gave the growth. When you stop trying to control the outcome, you are freed up to give your best to the process and maintain peace along the way. Having to control the outcome is stressful and not in our job description. God says, “Trust me with the outcome by not leaning on your own understanding and focus on the process of what I’ve asked you to do and watch what I do with the outcome.”