Romans 7:18 “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
There’s no such thing as self-help in God’s kingdom. If self-help was as effective as its promoted to be, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus Christ to die in our place and rise again conquering sin, Satan and death. We all can identify things in our minds, hearts and lives that we’d like to change. Many of us search for answers in the strategies of human reason than the power of the Holy Spirit. The reality is our will is limited in its ability to bring sustainable and permanent change to our hearts. Stop trying to change yourself by your own will and just start following Jesus. When you surrender to Jesus as your Lord, and you start to follow him out of relationship, transformation is a natural byproduct of the work of the Spirit’s power in your life. Paul said to the Romans, “If you live according to the flesh you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (and daughters) of God.” Selah!
Romans 4:20-21 “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
The Apostle Paul writes of Abraham’s relentless faith in the face of contradiction and delayed fulfilment of God’s promise to him. God was more than able to do what he had promised Abraham but for Abraham to receive the fulfilment of the promise, he had to hold steadfast his conviction in God’s goodness. God doesn’t promise you something if he doesn’t intend to bring it to fulfilment. If you’ve received a promise from God, hold steadfast to your conviction and do not waver. Press through the obvious obstacles in faith and keep giving glory to God, being fully convinced of his goodness toward you and his faithfulness to His word in your life. Selah!
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!
Psalms 2:8 “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”
We fail to possess because we fail to ask. God is the giver of not just good things but extravagant and abundant gifts. God delights in doing exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think. There are things available to us that we’ve missed out on simply because we haven’t asked for it. We have thought to ourselves that ‘I’m not worthy enough to ask’ or ‘God wouldn’t give that to me’. But the Psalmist prophesied God’s heart, “Ask of me and I will give you the nations as your heritage and possession”. Everything in the kingdom is received by faith, not by us performing for God. Dare to ask God for what reason says is impossible. You don’t have because you don’t ask. Selah!
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!