Joshua 1:13 “..The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.”
Modern life is becoming increasingly complex and in part, it’s our own fault. We are besotted with the notion that ‘more is better’ and so we lead frantically busy lives accumulating more than we need and searching for the next experience or achievement that will satisfy the void in our hearts. There must be a better way to live. There is, it’s found in the person and presence of Jesus. For Israel, thousands of years ago, their place of rest was found in God’s promised land of Canaan. God had promised the land to His people and in it they would find rest from their slavery in Egypt and nomadic wandering in the wilderness. For us, while holidays in Noosa and the Caribbean are wonderful but temporary places of rest and recreation, true rest is found when we cast our burdens on the Lord and spend time being still in his presence. The powerful reality about God’s presence is that you don’t have to jump on a plane to experience it, you can dive into his rivers of living water wherever you are, at any time of the day. While practically stopping and resting is an important and necessary part of the weekly rhythm of our lives, Jesus has made every provision for our hearts to find its rest in his lavish grace poured out for us on the cross. Instead of running to accumulate more, walk into God’s promised land of rest for your life by faith in Jesus Christ. Selah!
Genesis 3:6 “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.”
In a culture of shallow spirituality and surface level living, it’s easy to be deceived by the appeal of the glitter and sparkle of vain things. Our original mother, Eve, found herself in a conversation with Satan on such matters and listened to the voice of deception, rather than the voice of discernment. She looked at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and approached the fruit in 3 ways: 1) She saw it was good food for her stomach; 2) It was a delight to her eyes and 3) It was a fulfilment of the desire of her heart. Eve failed to trust in God’s goodness to provide all three for her, took matters into her own hands and acted independently of God. If we aren’t discerning of the lies of Satan , we will end up distrustful of God’s goodness and grace in our lives, and become victims to the deception of sin. Not everything that glitters is gold. Ask God for greater discernment in your spirit and sharpen your spiritual awareness through God’s Word, and you won’t fall prey to the lies of the enemy. Hebrews 4:12 says, “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Selah!
Numbers 24:12-13 And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak’?
In Israel’s journey through the wilderness, Balaam the prophet was asked to prophesy a curse against Israel by Balak, the king of Moab because the king feared God’s people. The king believed that Balaam’s prophetic declarations had power to change natural circumstances and if Balaam would prophesy destruction against Israel, it would come to pass. The king offered riches to Balaam to prophesy a curse and the context of the story suggests Balaam wrestled with the request in his heart. However, for Balaam, silver and gold wasn’t as important as obeying and honouring God’s will both for his own life and for Israel. Everyone of us will face moments in our lives where we will have to decide between following our will or God’s will. Temptations will come to compromise on the conviction of God’s will in our own hearts. There is something greater than silver and gold and more important than satisfying the desires of our own will and that is living in the centre of God’s will for our lives. I want to encourage you, no matter what the temptation, the next time you wrestle between obeying God’s will or following your own will, stay true to what God is calling you to do and let God take care of your rewards. Selah!
Numbers 20:8 “Take the staff and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”
The nation of Israel have congregated at the waters of Meribah and there is no water to be found for them or their livestock to drink. They complain to their leaders, Moses and Aaron, regretting they ever left Egypt. Moses and Aaron are humble men of God and they throw themselves on their faces and cry out to God for his intervention. God directs Moses to speak to the rock, with a promise that water would gush out from the rock for the people to drink. Instead of obeying the voice of the Lord, Moses is fed up with Israel’s complaining and he reacts in anger and frustration, striking the rock with his staff and cursing the people as he did it. God does intervene, the rock does yield its water and the people do drink, however, Moses and Aaron are brought under God’s judgement for their disobedience and eventually die in the wilderness. Like Israel, everyone of us face circumstances that threaten our peace, well being and survival. It’s easy in those moments to panic, make rash judgements and question God’s faithfulness to us. If we humbly seek God, he will provide strength and sustenance through his word. We must be careful to obey all that God’s word calls us to, not only for our sake but also so that we don’t misrepresent God’s heart to those around us. Notice a fresh supply of water didn’t automatically gush forth, Moses had to partner with God in the process of the miracle. This takes faith and without faith, it’s impossible to please God. Moses took matters into his own hands, showing he didn’t have faith in God’s word. God in his grace, intervened but God’s holiness and character was misrepresented to Israel. My encouragement to you is the next time you seek God for intervention into your challenging circumstance, follow his instruction carefully. Don’t allow your own emotions to dictate your response. Not only will you receive God’s gracious blessing but you’ll have witnessed to the world around you of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Selah!
Acts 9:33-35 Peter found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralysed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
The Apostle Peter was on the move, preaching the gospel and ministering healing and freedom in Jesus name, wherever he went. In the town of Lydda, Peter encounters a paralysed man, bedridden for eight years. The reality of the situation is intimidating for anyone of us but Peter doesn’t appear to miss a beat. He pray’s a simple but powerful prayer of faith in Jesus name and commands the man to get up. The bible records the man immediately rose up from his paralysed state and started to walk. I’m challenged by Peter’s faith and simple prayer. I’m confronted with the fact that although, I too have seen miracles in other’s lives through the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name, and yet I hunger for more of God’s love, grace and power to flow through me into the lives of other’s, helping them to be restored into a place of freedom, healing and purpose. Where is the power of God? God’s power is found in a revelation of the name of Jesus Christ. God’s power is found in the expectation of faith that believes God will move in any given situation, no matter how intimidating the circumstances. God’s power is found in the daily pursuit of relationship with Jesus where a greater portion and awareness of his presence grows with each prayer and step of faith. I encourage you to not settle for the comfort zone of your life but to seek God and step out in faith, releasing God’s power into the lives of the people around you. Explosive Insights!
Acts 3:6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
The context of this event in Scripture is the profound momentum of the early church. Souls are being saved, lives are being changed and miracles are a common occurrence. Two key church leaders, Peter and John are walking to the temple at the hour of prayer when they encounter a lame beggar, asking for money. Peter responds, (paraphrase) “I don’t have any money on me but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.” Peter acknowledges what he doesn’t have but simply gives out of the 4 things he does have: 1) A revelation of the name of Jesus Christ; 2) The anointing of the Holy Spirit; 3) Faith for healing; 4) A love for people. Peter possessed something far more valuable than riches, he owned a tangible faith in Jesus Christ. Money would have sustained the beggar temporarily but what Peter passed on transformed this man’s life forever. You can only pass onto others what you own for yourself. Frustration arises when we try to pass on what we haven’t cultivated in our lives. Too often we see needs around us but lack the resource material or spiritual to help the situation. Rather than letting these moments go by passively, we need to adopt a posture of personal growth in God to become a solution to someone else’s problem. You can’t lead others where you haven’t gone and you can’t help bring transformation in others where you haven’t grown in authority to do so. I encourage you to grow in a revelation of who Jesus is and what his name can do in people’s lives. Spend time in prayer and grow in a greater measure of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Increase your faith through hearing God’s Word and be ready and willing to reach out to others through practical demonstrations of God’s love. Explosive Insights!
1 Timothy 3:14-15 “I’m writing these things to you so that you may know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”
The Apostle Paul identified the church as a ‘pillar and buttress of the truth‘. If there is any group of people on the planet that needs to know and represent the truth of Jesus Christ well, it’s the people of God. Representing the teachings of Jesus well doesn’t mean selecting a few verses out of the gospels that suit your position on the latest social issue but requires understanding the whole context of the bible, including the Old Testament, the epistles, as well as the historical and apocalyptic literature that make up the New Testament. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a shift away from truth as the bible reveals, within the church, because of pressure from the surrounding culture. The antichrist spirit is gaining momentum across the media and culture at large, making it easier for fence sitters in the church to choose the broad pathway that leads to death instead of the narrow pathway that leads to life. More and more believers are using Jesus name to justify ideologies that aren’t even in the ball park of what the Scripture teaches. This demonstrates poor exegesis and a growing ignorance of the fundamental teachings of the Word of God. It appears that some believers are basing their beliefs on feelings to suit their conversations with family, peers and voices in the media rather than on the solid rock of God’s Word. It’s becoming a case of the blind leading the blind. The universal church, by and large, has held onto essential orthodox beliefs for 2,000 years because the truths underpinning these beliefs have been painstakingly clear in Gods Word for 2,000 years. It’s only been in recent times that we are now seeing such liberal views of Scripture infiltrate the church on a mass scale. This is a time for the church to be revived in its passion for God and truth, and not only for people and grace. This is a time for the church to be revived in its belief in the authority of Scripture, interpreting it and applying it in a way that honours God first and foremost, whether it’s popular or not. Explosive Insights!