Pray like Jesus!

Matthew 6:9-13 “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we also forgive this who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen.”

The one thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to do was to pray. Traditionally, this has become known as the “Lord’s Prayer”. In fact, it should be renamed the “Disciples Prayer” because it was for our benefit, not Jesus. Jesus never committed any sin, so Jesus never had to pray for forgiveness but in the prayer taught by Jesus, he taught the disciples to ask for forgiveness. In addition, this prayer contains within it all the key ingredients needed for a powerful breakthrough in every area of your life.

Prayer is WORSHIP: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Begin with praise and worship of God’s goodness every time you enter into God’s presence. Worship lifts your focus off of yourself and magnifies God’s greatness over your life.

Prayer establishes GOD’S RULE: Your kingdom come means for the authority of God’s kingdom to be present in your daily life.

Prayer aligns with GOD’S WILL: Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Prayer releases the abundant resource of heaven into the earthly realm so that more and more of our natural reality looks more and more like the kingdom of heaven.

Prayer PETITIONS and RECEIVES by faith: Give us this day our daily bread. Prayer deals with the practical areas of our lives. God delights to give good things to those who ask in faith.

Prayer is REPENTANCE: And forgive us our trespasses. Repentance is turning away from self and turning towards God. In prayer God gives us the strength to overcome sin.

Prayer releases GRACE for RELATIONSHIPS: As we also forgive those who trespass against us. Because of the fall of humanity, our relational worlds are under the stress of brokenness. In prayer we receive grace to reconcile and engage in healthy relationships.

Prayer builds CHARACTER: Lead us not into temptation. In prayer we find the strength to become more like Jesus and resist the temptation of the enemy and our flesh.

Prayer is SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Deliver us from evil. One of the primary weapons to fight against Satan is prayer. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions and you’ll discover grace and power to be victorious over all the attacks of the enemy against you.

Prayer is DECLARATION: For yours is the kingdom. Prayer partners with the primary message of Jesus, the gospel of the kingdom. Prayer isn’t passive, it’s forceful declaration of God’s heart for his kingdom to be established in the earthly realm.

Prayer releases God’s POWER and PRESENCE: The power and the glory forever and ever, Amen. Without prayer, we have no access to God’s power. We need power top effect change in our lives and in the earth. In prayer we become aware of God’s glorious presence. Prayer manifests the glory of God. Selah!

Leave Your Nets Behind!

Matthew 4:19-20 And he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

We live in a culture where many people are trying to be first but Jesus call to follow him is an invitation to be second. Answering this call requires humility and a willingness to leave our safety nets behind. Before Jesus disciples could follow him, they had to let go of their nets. Some of Jesus disciples were professional fisherman, they earned their living from catching fish. Their nets represented their jobs and income. Jesus was asking them to put it all on the line because you can’t follow Jesus and still hold onto your nets. Everyone of us have have nets in our lives. They range from reputation to relationships to remuneration. What are the nets in your life, you need to let go of to answer Jesus’ call to follow him? Selah!

A Place of Rest!

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!

Not Everything that Glitters is Gold!

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!

Speak to the Rock!

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!

Darkness cannot overcome Light!

John 1:4-5 “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

God is the source of life. All things were made through him and for him. God’s life is the light of all humanity. God breathed his spirit into the void of man’s body and brought us all to life. The light of God’s presence shines so bright that no matter how dark it gets in the world, darkness cannot overcome it. The darkness of man’ sin and Satan’s agenda will try to smother the light of God’s glory and goodness but darkness can never overcome the light of God from the earth and all creation. This is a reassuring message at a time in the world when all humanity appears to be shaking under the weight of darkness. People are groping for meaning and life but unfortunately looking for it in all the wrong places. God is the source of light and life itself. Everything about him exudes and promotes the fulness of life. Whatever darkness you may be facing today, internal or external, run to the light of God’s grace, goodness and presence. You will discover like many others that the light still shines in the darkness. Explosive Insights!

Pursuing a lifestyle of JOY!

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!