Don’t Miss Your Miracle!

IMG_1483Genesis 28:16 ‘Surely, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it. How awesome is this place.’

Too many of us are always thinking about what we lack rather than what we already possess. It’s so easy in our culture to allow lack and discontentment to rule our lives rather than thanksgiving and gratitude.

Could it be that you are right in the middle of your miracle unfolding before you but because you are so distracted by your perception of lack, you are, unfortunately, missing out?

In the bible, Jacob, son of Isaac, was on the adventure of his life but it took a dream from God to wake him up to the fact that he was in the middle of a miracle, the Promised Land.

What does God have to do in your life to wake you up to the truth that his presence is with you and that your miracle is unfolding before you? Never judge your life by circumstance alone but realise that there is more happening behind the scenes than what you can see with your natural eyes.

The Oracle!

Follow the Cloud, Not the Crowd!

white-clouds

Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

Wow! I love this verse of scripture. Here is a beautiful picture of God leading his people through night and day seasons by going before them in a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. The people weren’t left without a witness to follow and this must have been so encouraging for Moses in his leadership of what sometimes was a group of very difficult people to lead.

In our lives, we can too easily get distracted by the opinions and voices of the crowd. The crowd can have far too much influence in our lives than what God wants or intended. There will always be someone out there who thinks they know best for you and who has a wonderful plan for your life.

It’s in these moments, that you and I need a conviction that heaven has spoken and that God is going before us to make a way in both dark and light seasons of life.

What about you? Are you following the crowd or the cloud? God loves you and wants to lead you in such a significant way. Stay focused on the cloud before you.

The Oracle!

From Decision to Disciple!

Follow-JesusAll of us at some point make a decision but don’t always see that decision through. The decisions we make are significant because they shape our lives but there are some decisions that define our lives more than others.

One of those defining decisions is answering the call to follow Jesus as one of his disciples. It should be life defining and yet I’m observing a trend in the church that has been consistent throughout the ages. People put their hand up to make a decision but don’t necessarily follow through to actually becoming a disciple. Jesus didn’t call us to make converts but disciples.

You can make a momentary decision to follow Jesus but never actually discover what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus said, ‘Many shall come in that day and say Lord, Lord, did we not preach in your name and cast out demons in your name and I will say depart from me, I never knew you.’

In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus gave three examples of people who seemingly made a decision to follow Jesus but didn’t actually follow through to becoming a disciple. When the cost of discipleship presents itself, some people simply cannot pay the price and follow through.

There are stages of spiritual maturity that we must navigate if we are going to move from decision to disciple.

  • Comfort – When we decide to follow Christ we grow quickly and we are excited about everything in God’s kingdom that we come across. There is an element of initial comfort attached to the new discoveries we are making about God.
  • Connection – We start to connect with other like-minded people in Christian community and lifestyle changes are starting to take shape.
  • Cause – We become aware of the cause of Jesus and respond in 1 of 2 ways: Either we commit to the cause or we retreat to comfort and connection. Our revelation of the cause is a line in the sand that defines whether we move from decision to disciple. Unfortunately, some church attenders go backwards and forwards between  the first 3 stages of spiritual maturity.
  • Commitment – If we respond to the cause with commitment we become aware of our gifts and call and we’re moved to action. We start to serve in the life of the church as a priority.
  • Crisis – Once committed to the cause life will always present us with a crisis. This crisis can range from disappointment, loss of a loved one, broken relationship or financial pressure to name a few. In this stage we start to question our theology and we have a choice to make, do we respond Godward or man-ward?
  • Conviction – If we respond positively to the crisis we form internal convictions that shape our ideas, beliefs and actions in line with God and his Word.
  • Consistency – If we get to this final stage, we mature to a pattern of consistent testimony. A life driven by convictions results in a lifestyle of consistency. Consistency is measured by your stickability to what God has purposed in your heart and what you’ve learnt along the journey.

I exercise and train my physical body early each morning. I run, bike, swim, lift weights and  stretch. Some days I move my body quickly and efficiently and other days more like a turtle, very slowly. But the one thing that makes a difference in my fitness is not the initial decision to get up in the morning and train but the consistent showing up, day in and day out and actually doing the training.

Consistency demonstrates maturity and ultimately victory. What about you? Do you tend to make decisions but don’t follow through. Break the pattern today. Move from a decision to a disciple and watch what happens in your world.

The Oracle!

A handful of flour and a drop of oil!

HANDFUL OF WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR1 Kings 17:12 “And she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour and a drop of oil in a jug.”

Too many of us look at our lives through what we don’t have rather than what we do have. Many hero’s in the bible went straight to their perceived lack, when God called them to step out in faith. The widow of Zarephath was no exception.

When the prophet Elijah asked her to bake him some bread before she fed her own son, the widow responded with panic at the supposed injustice of the prophets request. On the surface it would seem totally reasonable that a handful of flour and a drop of oil left in the whole house wasn’t enough to feed three people, let alone sustain them for any lengthy period of time.

When God asks us to take a step of faith, do we look at the little we have to offer and shy away or do we place what we do have into Gods hands and let him turn our little into much. Little is much in the hands of God.

Everything in the kingdom of God begins as a seed and multiplies into something significant when entrusted to God. The little boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fish had one meal for himself but in the hands of Jesus it became a meal that fed 5,000 people. When we take a step of faith towards God with what we have in our hands, we create space for the miraculous.

What are you desperately holding onto that God is asking you to let go of? Get God’s perspective on your little and let God turn it into much. Take a step of faith and watch for God to produce the miraculous.

The Oracle!

Don’t esteem the past more than what God does!

past__present__future_by_xnotperfectbutrealx-d3exrqhIsaiah 43:18-19 ‘Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it.’

Too many of us give too much power to our past and not enough power to our present. Past failures and past successes don’t have to dictate your present reality. If you give too much weight to what God did or didn’t do in the past, you’ll miss what he wants to do in the present.

There’s a reason why your rear view mirror is smaller than your front windscreen. Where you are heading is more important than where you’ve been. If you linger too long on where you’ve been, you’ll crash and miss the turn off to the direction God wants you to head in.

An interesting fact to consider is that when you look up into the sky at night at all of the beautiful stars, you are actually looking at the past. You see, most of the stars in the sky have already died and you are simply looking at the afterglow of them. Too often we look at the past with stars in our eyes and miss what God is wanting to do in our lives right now.

As you head into 2013, I want to encourage you to learn from the past, get healing from the past and celebrate the past but honour what God is doing right now in your life.

The Oracle!

Do what God asks you to do!

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

I could talk about this subject all day, not just because there is so much teaching in the Scriptures on it but because I am a walking illustration of both the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience. You need to understand something really critical to your walk with God. Obedience does bring a blessing and disobedience does bring a curse upon your life.

The Holy Spirit spoke into my Spirit one day, “I will not bless you at the expense of disobedience.” In other words God’s blessing isn’t cheap. God also said to me one day, “If I ask you to do something, it isn’t law, it’s my will for you that I want you to obey me in”.  

Don’t call Jesus your Lord, if you aren’t going to do what he tells you to do. I think we are kidding ourselves if we think we can follow Jesus but not do some of the things he asks us to do. The chief indicator of Christ’s Lordship in our lives is our obedience to his commandments. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments”. Even the Great Commission outlines the process of making disciples includes, ‘teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you’.

For several years God has asked me to get up at 5am every day and spend quality time with him. While I’m a morning person, I have never taken this seriously enough to warrant a change in my lifestyle to action what the Spirit of God is asking me to do. I saw this as ‘Law’ rather than obedience and so procrastinated on it and dismissed it . However, God has repeatedly asked me to obey him in this area and went so far as to inform me that my disobedience was bringing a curse upon me and my ministry. I can tell you that when I began to hear the word of the Lord, a healthy fear of God came upon me. I asked God, “Why are you so intense about me getting up at 5am?” He said to me, “I want you to know that apart from me, you can do nothing. I want you to know that the blessing and success I give to you hasn’t got anything to do with you but comes from me and my grace in your life. If you are going to bear much fruit, you are going to do it my way, not your way.” Needless to say, I’m now a regular riser at 5am because I know the issue isn’t about 5am, it’s about my obedience in the context of my relationship with Jesus.

Too many of us are concerned about the outcome of our lives (results, fruit, success) rather than our obedience to Jesus. God said to me, “Obey me and the results will take care of themselves.”

What has God asked you to do that you have been procrastinating on? Stop bringing a curse against yourself and just do it. The blessing of God follows obedience. This isn’t a teaching of ‘law’ but a fundamental part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Either Jesus is Lord of your life or he isn’t.

Insight!