Don’t get the thief and the Lord mixed up!

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.”

The thief in this passage represents the Devils agenda to steal, kill and destroy our lives. In contrast, Jesus said he has come to give us life in all of its fullness. Unfortunately, many people get the thief and the Lord mixed up. Too often we withhold from God our trust, availability and obedience because we think we are going to miss out on something. Instead we indirectly give to the enemy our best thoughts, resources and energies by believing lies about God and ourselves that ultimately rob us of the abundant life Jesus made available for us. When it comes to the issue of sin, the thief uses condemnation to destroy us but God uses conviction to promote us into our identity as sons and daughters of God. Don’t get the thief and the Lord mixed up in your life. The thief masquerades himself to be something he isn’t in order to steal, kill and destroy Gods purposes in our lives but God reveals himself as he is to bring us into the abundant life of his kingdom. Don’t get the thief and the Lord mixed up! Explosive insights!

Extreme Makeover!

We are a culture enamored with changing the external, thinking if we change our jobs, image and relationships that our lives will be happier. We have TV shows that promote this ideology and the web is saturated with images and stories of people who proclaim to be happier because they lost weight, made a million dollars or bought their dream car. Whilst being healthy, prospering and achieving life goals are admirable and meaningful pursuits by themselves, they might only make you 10% happier at best. Real change happens from the inside out. Romans 12:2 exhorts us to not be conformed to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As we meditate upon those things that are godly, excellent and life giving, our minds are renewed to think like our creator and our spirits come into alignment with Gods perspective on our lives. If you desire an extreme makeover in 2016, begin with renewing your mind with the truth of Gods Word and you will discover you’ll be happier far beyond anything this world can offer you. 

Put off the Old and Put on the New!

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!

First Hand Revelation!

machine city“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim.” (1 John 1:3)

John the Apostle speaks and tells us that he doesn’t borrow someone else’s testimony to inform his proclamation but he preaches from a first-hand eyewitness account of encounter with God. John, along with the other disciples were ministering out of their personal experience of Jesus and we should do so as well. I can’t be effective in someone else’s revelation but I can be authentic and effective if I am speaking out of something that I have personally encountered along the journey of my relationship with Jesus. Power is imparted to people when it flows from a first hand revelation, not second or third hand. Hearing other’s stories is inspirational and helpful but living an adventure and telling others your story is powerful. First hand revelation requires us to grow in awareness of what God’s saying to us and what we are learning along the way. We are called to be a witness of what God has worked into our lives so that others may come into their own personal encounter with God!

The Devil is a Liar!

From Genesis 3, back at the beginning of creation, the devil has been lying and casting doubt on the truth of God’s Word in our lives. His strategy hasn’t changed and he’s still undermining people’s faith with his constant condemnation, negativity and hopelessness.

Satan’s whole agenda is to steal, kill and destroy anything that resembles the life of God’s Spirit in you and at work in our world. Never has there been a more important era of human history than now to know, think and speak God’s truth about ourselves. We are bombarded daily with hundreds of mixed messages. Deciphering God’s truth can be a challenge without being intentional.

Satan is an anchor that is always pulling you back down from heading out into the adventure that God invites all of us onto. If you entertain the negative thoughts, words and opinions that weigh you down too long, it will become your new norm and limit your capacity to believe for God’s impossible to work in your world.

The challenge is if we haven’t undergone a renewed mindset then we don’t so easily distinguish between the lies of the enemy and our own thoughts. The truth of God’s Word really does set us free and we need to immerse ourselves in a daily diet of God’s truth so that we will not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Pay attention to the messages you entertain in your brain and heart on a daily basis. As you think, so you are. What negative self-limiting ideas have you allowed to preoccupy your thinking? It’s time to uproot and replace with God’s truth!

The Oracle!

Intimacy and Identity!

identity-manGrowing up I based my identity on what I achieved not on whom I was in relationship with. Whether it be in the sporting arena, the police academy or in the early years of my ministry, I valued myself on how I performed rather than who Christ said I was.

We live in a culture that’s obsessed with accomplishment and image because western society works on a functional paradigm rather than a relational paradigm. A functional paradigm is task oriented and purpose driven. We function together and what little time we have left over we connect and often very surface level.

Living in this functional paradigm can lead to tension and frustration. When we make life about something other than what God intended it to be, chaos is the end result. God intended us to live from a relational paradigm first, a functional paradigm second.

The kingdom of God operates on a relational paradigm. When Jesus was tested as to what the greatest commandment in the law was, he pointed to a relational paradigm, not a functional one (Matt 22:34-40). He said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and… love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ God’s will is first relational, second functional. We get saved through a person, not a task. Jesus said, ‘I am the way’, not ‘This is the way’. Everything God teaches us about life begins and ends with relationship.

Our identity flows out of our intimacy. Jesus is so attractive because he’s so secure in his relationship with his Father. Before Jesus ever healed the sick, preached a sermon, raised the dead or cast out a demon, he had his Fathers approval over his life (Matthew 3). Father God said, ‘This is my son, in whom I’m well pleased.’

We don’t attract God’s presence through performance, we are already attractive to him and he calls us into deeper levels of relationship with him. Intimacy is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. Out of intimacy God shapes our identity and it’s through our identity, that God shapes our destiny. What we ultimately possess in life is determined by who we become.

The more rooted our identity in Christ is, the healthier our relationships will be. The vertical relationship with God precedes the horizontal relationship with others. If there is conflict in our relationships with others, its possibly because there’s conflict within our own identity.

Your identity is inextricably connected to your identity. What do you value yourself by, achievement or relationship?

The Oracle!