Trusting in Him

Preparing for surgery is something I have never had to do. However recently I sat in on Diane’s specialist appointment to discuss her lumbar op. The specialist started with all the things that could go wrong and what could be the end result. Thankfully he finished with ‘but I don’t see these things happening with you and reassured us that it will be ok’.

His manner was reassuring and spoke of his experience which put us both at ease (just a little). He showed us the scan pictures and explained what he was going to do. I looked at the pictures and had no idea where the problem was, it looked like a mass of cabling and bones. I couldn’t see the problem, so I trusted in his knowledge and experience.

How would we be if our creator was the surgeon, there would be no need to go through a list of risks or explanations of the surgical procedure.

Hebrews 11:1 Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

I couldn’t see the problem on the scan pictures but I have seen Diane’s pain and discomfort. After nearly 2 years of pain it is hard to see the pain-freeness that we are hoping for but we trust in the surgeon.

My Prayer is to trust in Him more for all things. Yes trust in others like the specialist but put a bigger TRUST in Him. 

Psalms 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God

encouragement

 

 

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Please don’t ignore this warning… read it now!

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Today, as I woke up, I simply asked God to lay something on my heart to share with you. I believe He simply said, “Remember there was a serpent in Eden.” I guess today I am issuing a sort of warning. I prefer not to speak in a warning  tone, but if you walked past someone sitting in a house that was on fire, it would be the  loving thing to do to shout as loud as you could to them in no uncertain terms, “Get out of there, right now! You are in danger!” I don’t think that after escaping they would say to the messenger of their danger, “Could you not have spoken to me a bit more gently and kindly. You frightened me!”

It is always best to try and speak to people in tones of God’s kindness. At the same time it is interesting…

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Connecting you now.

I have a love/hate relationship with my cell-phone. It is something that I need to have and yet it is something that has become so intrusive in my life. It is something that goes everywhere with me, and has become my focus during the day. I was at a meeting with 10 others and we all had our cell-phones on the table, yes they were turned to silent mode but every now and then we would all look at it to check for missed calls, texts or emails. The mobile phone has had a huge impact on our society since it came into our hands in 1973. It is everywhere and on all the time. Sit in a cafe and watch couples, they are more likely to be using a mobile device than talking with each other.

In the 50’s Stan Freburg had a hit called ‘tele vee shun’ which showed the craziness of a television mad society. What would this satirist make of today’s attitude to the small sized device that fits into your pocket that is not only a phone but a tv, record player, library and many other ‘needed’ items for our lives.

Then in the late 60’s a cult movie appeared, 2001 A Space Odyssey in which a world became obsessed with a rectangular monolith which became a symbol of worship. Was Kubrick looking into the future. Maybe this monolith was actually representing the cell-phone of today.

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Is this vital device a distraction, for me it is a huge distraction that is continually taking my mind away from what it should be on. I can now be contacted 24/7 whether by a call or an email. I can be at the beach, theatre, restuarant or in bed and someone can contact me whether for business or personal reasons. And do I need it, definitely not but try leaving it at home when you go out or turn it off for an hour. This device has even become an accepted item in church, especially when you know that you have a range of Bible versions on hand. But the value of having the Bible on your phone is ammunition for another blog. In this one I want to focus on the distraction aspect. The mobile phone distracts me from my wife, my family, my work, people and God. Yes it is a useful tool but it has taken over our lives and has become just as important as a part of our body and if we were to have it cut off our lives would suffer terribly.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me…Jer29:12-13

It is something I will be doing is leaving my phone behind, leaving it off and ignoring it more and more. So if you are trying to call, text, email, skype, faceme and you don’t get an answer don’t worry I am just preferring to talk to God or my wife. So leave a message .

Prayer

Lord thank you that you reach out to us and want to commune with me. Help me to be disciplined to leave and ignore my phone, so that it doesn’t become something that I idolise and therefore ignore you and what you are saying to me. Thank you Lord that you do listen and that you are wanting to talk also, help me to hear you.

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Stones

Acts 2:1

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.

There are several things in Act 2 that I love:

Fire, Feasts and Holidays. Pentecost has all 3 of these. Pentecost or Shavuot is a festival of celebrating God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt and the bringing of the Word to His people on Mount Sinai. This past 12 months has been a time of many celebrations, 200 years since the first sermon in New Zealand, 100 years since the landings of Gallipoli, my birthday your birthday.

Exodus 19:16-20

On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

This was the first Shavuot or Pentecost. See the links to Acts 2 – Fire, Noise and God meeting with His people. And in Acts 2 3,000 people were added whereas in the Exodus event 3,000 were subtracted.

But I want focus on the festival side of Pentecost or Shavuot. There they were under instructions to wait in the Upper Room  for the Promise of the Father.

God gave us seven main festivals/holidays to remind us of who and what He has done for us. (See Lev 23)

  • Sabbath – Shabbat is about creation
  • Passover – Pesach – is about Salvation
  • Feast of Firstfruits – is about dedication to the Lord
  • Feast of Weeks – Shavuot – is remembering the word of God
  • Feast of Trumpets – Spiritual preparation
  • Day of Atonement – Redemption
  • Feast of Tabernacles, Tents or Booths – Sukkot – Joyful remembrance

3 of these are pilgrimage festivals – Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. God’s purpose in have these festivals is so that we will stop and remember Who He is and what He has done and doing.This past 12 months has been a time of many celebrations, 200 years since the first sermon, 100 years since the landings of Gallipoli, my birthday your birthday. We like to remember past things, some with joy like our birthdays and anniversaries, some with solemnness like Anzac day.

God wants us to remember Him. How quickly our memories can fade, look at the Israelits in Exodus while Moses was up the mountain with Fire and noise the people forgot who he was meeting with and decided to put all their gold earrings into the fire and this golden calf popped up out of it.

God wants us to not forget but He also wants us to share with others.

Joshua 4:1 –

When all the nation had finished passing tover the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

Check out this clip

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Memorials are important. Yes they can be about the past as in the Yom Hashoah clip but they are meant to be about the what He has done and what He will do again.

Joshua set up seven memorials.

  1. Josh4:24 Gilgal to remind us of God’s faithfulness
  2. Josh7:26   Valley of Achor. Also known as the Door of Hope.  A reminder of the consequences of sin
  3. Josh8:28 King of Ai. A reminder of second chance and restoration.
  4. Josh 8: 30 Mount Ebal A reminder of God’s word or instruction
  5. Josh10:27 Gibeon. A reminder of God’s grace
  6. Josh 22:34 Gilead. A witness to the fact that God is God
  7. Josh 24:26 Shechem. A reminder to what God has said to us, that His word is true

But its not just about setting up a stone and admiring it, otherwise it just becomes another stone in the pile of stones. We need to tell others the story of the stones, write them down and share so that they become our testimony.

Rev 12:11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,

Psalm 119: 46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame,

Prayer:

Lord we give thanks for who you are in our lives, thank you that you are Jehovah Jireh, El Sahaddai, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Ro’i, Jehovah Shalom in our lives. Help me to remember the works you have done in my life, but also help me to share with others your goodness. Give me boldness and courage to tell others about who you are and what you can do for them just as you have done amazing and miraculous things in my life.

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It’s Already in You

 And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:12 ESV)

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The wall rebuid in Jerusalem had been in Nehemiah’s heart for a long time, probably because of stories from his father about Jerusalem. He probably wasn’t fully aware of what he was to do, but when he heard stories about Jerusalem from the Book of Jeremiah he would have felt a stirring.

Susa was a long way from Jerusalem and life there was very different. But God had put a small ember in Nehemiah’s heart that became a blaze when he heard what was happening in Jerusalem over 1000km away. Because of that passion for Jerusalem he would find himself in a very short time going from being a cup bearer in a palace to a construction project manager in a run down city.

God puts desires in our hearts for His purpose and plan. I find it hard to filter the passions in my heart (and head) and discover what He has in mind. I am sure the same would have been for Nehemiah. There he was serving and testing the wine for the king and then suddenly someone comes in and talks about a passion that is deep inside him. Bang, he is off and before he knows it he is on a camel heading to the purpose that has been set down for him. He was waiting, ready, willing and then available. God made all this happen, he had been a cupbearer for several years and had been a faithful servant to the king and his God. I wonder if Nehemiah had thought that he would become a builder instead of a wine steward, probably not.

Prayer

Lord, what have you planted in me that is still an ember waiting  to be fanned into a full on blaze. My prayer is ‘show me and lead me to it’. Allow me to be ready for what you have for me and for me to move boldly towards it.

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Such a time as this..

O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king. Nehemiah 1:11

And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

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Ever wondered what God is up to, or is it just me that is baffled. A powerful scripture for me is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you……” I am constantly repeating this to myself and many times I have shared it with others who are baffled by what God is doing in their life. I wonder if Nehemiah had this verse over his life when he became a servant of King Artaxerxes and worked his way up the ranks to become his cupbearer, a position at the top of a servants career path. There he was constantly in the presence of the king tasting his wine, food and living a high and noble life. Art and Neh were friends, they probably confided in each other about many things, I mean Nehemiah was the safety gate for Art’s food and wine to ensure that no one was trying to poison him. Art would have lived in fear as his father had been murdered by his bodyguard. But he had a trust in Nehemiah…surely this was part of God’s plan for Nehemiah. Did Nehemiah recognise this though when he was assigned the job of cupbearer. Was he aware of God’s plan for him to go onto rebuild the walls or did he just have faith that God had a plan and purpose for his life.

Prayer

Lord help me to believe in the plan that you have for me, that it is for good and not evil and it will happen in your time. Give me faith to not push my timetable and give me the strength to allow you to manage it. Forgive me for trying on my own strength and continually remind me of the times where your plans have been great so that I may continue to trust in your perfect paln and wisdom for my life.

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Strengthen someone today

This year I set out my Bible reading plan for 2015. I am doing it differently this year as I have broken it down into various segments. It will be more structured but also allows space for the surprises.

  • Fast food. Whatever comes to mind during the day.  (evening reading)
  • Slow cooked food. Taking my time over a book. I have started with Nehemiah – not sure why, but just felt drawn to it. Ephesians will be next when I have exhausted Nehemiah.
  • Topical study – I will be contiuing collecting and digesting scripture on ‘Fear’
  • Proverbs – a chapter a day depending on the date i.e toady is the 30th so I will read Prov 30

So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. (Neh 4:21 ESV)

The broken down walls of Jerusalem are being rebuilt by Nehemiah and his well organised teams. It is going so well that the rebuild is being noticed by others and attacks were being organised against the city (vs7-8). But Nehemiah gives the call, “Our God will fight for us” (vs 20 and see last weeks blog). He then organises the working party of men to split into two groups, with one group holding the spears while the other continue the work on the walls and gates.

of them held‘ in Hebrew is chazaq, a word that also means to strengthen and encouragement. This act of having men around you holding the spears is true encouragement, it is active, a verb not just a word. The wall builders would have felt secure knowing that their backs were covered. I can imagine that the fear of the enemy would dwindle knowing that there were people around watching and ready to step in at the sound of the trumpets.

encouragement

This verse has challenged me to be active in my encouraging, to do rather than say or promise. My prayer this week is that when I come across someone that needs courage or encouragement that I will see a way to do.

Pray.

Father, thank you for your watching eye over me and I give thanks that you are fighting for me and my family and that the victory is already achieved. Lord help me to see the needs in the people around me and for me not to just give a word but to also back it up with an action of support. Also allow me to not be anxious when I am the one working on the wall, let me trust in you and the strength that you give me.

 
 
 

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Shhh, Stay, Hold

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Ex14:13-14

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Sounds simple, “you have only to be silent”. Some versions say “stay calm” or “hold your peace”. But the first part of the verse is that the Lord will fight for you. There was nowhere to go for the Israelites the enemy was just behind them, they could hear them coming and see the dust trail. As the prophet Frazer in Dad’s Army use to say “they are doomed”. And that is what the people were crying out, “what have you done to us”. But it is in times when our backs are to the wall that He shows off. The parting of the Red Sea was a major show off, if turning the Nile red along with 9 other plaguish miracles wasn’t enough, He then went and produced the amazing escape route.

I haven’t had my back to the wall regarding my life but I have been stuck in hard places that I see no way out. In fact I am in one at the moment (not sure if writing this blog is for others or myself). It is so hard to be still and wait especially when time is running out. How many times have you heard ‘don’t worry God is never late He is always on time’, easy to say when you are not in a troubling situation. Mose’s showed courage and boldness, he stood on the strength of what had happened to him in the past when he had come face to face with Pharoah and witnessed what God had done. We need to remember back to what God has done or look at what He has done for others. If He does it once He will do it again.

Rev19:10 For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Prayer:

Lord thank you that I am your child and that you are looking out for me. Your plans are perfect and though they are not my way of doing things, they are however perfect and will be better than what I could ever do. Keep my hands and mind still so that you can do what you need to do. Lord my trust and hope is in you and you alone. Lord I look forward to being able to share my story with others who find themselves in similar situations.

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Whole Armour

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Luke 11:21-22

Paul mission area was the Roman empire, where ever he walked he would have had the vision of Roman soldiers in their finery. These men were sure of who they were, they were strong and powerful, feared by everyone and fearful of no one.

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Paul instructs us to be protected and armed just like the Roman soldiers that held him under guard while he was in prison. He is telling us to be complete, as a soldier of the Lord’s army. A soldier was not fully dressed if he left off one of the articles mentioned (belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, sword), in other words he wasn’t a soldier. All these articles in Ephesians 6:11-17 are God supplied – truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, salvation, Word of God. The actual items of soldiers dress are good for fighting ‘flesh and blood,’ but we are fighting ‘the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.’ Eph6:12. I need to be complete in what God has supplied me with so that I can not only defend my self but also attack. There are days that I find myself ‘undressed’ in His armour and therefore ineffectual in what I am meant to be.

I need to be ready to run, hold tightly the truth, know that I live in righteousness, believe and trust in Him, take my salvation and Word of God into the battle. Just as a soldier would pick up his sword last after putting on his armour before getting into the Word of God we need to acknowledge (or put on) His truth, His righteousness, His Peace, His salvation and His faith so that the Word and my prayers can be effective in my day.

Prayer

Father, I thank you for your Word today in my life, and I put complete trust in you. Prepare me and lead me into what you have and what you want for me and my family.

Help me to reflect on each of the articles that a soldier needs, breastplate, belt, helmet, shoes, shield and sword and ensure that I am completely prepared for my day.

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Submit to Authority

 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,  or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honour everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the emperor. 1Peter2:13-17
I love election time. It is amazing how it polarizes us as people and we get boxed into a left or right camps depending on the colour of your shirt. What I particularly find interesting is hearing people’s opinions about the party that they support. This election I have noticed more comments on social media about political parties and people’s personal thoughts. Some of these comments have been very disparaging of people with different thoughts and ideas. It will be interesting to dig these comments up in 20 years time and see if the writers ties have changed colour, I suspect they will.
This election has been a weird one with most people being hijacked by the Dirty Politics book and the Dotcom fiasco. There has been very little new policies emerging and when someone did announce something new (good or bad) it was drowned out by accusations of lying and spying.
Today, I read on social media that NZ is doomed and that our PM and his government are corrupt and that some people will be leaving the country because of last nights result. I don’t share these opinions, I believe ALL our politicians are working for the betterment of this country and its people and that NZ is the best county in the world and will go from strength to strength. It will be interesting to watch the political scene over the next 3 years and I am hoping that we will see less polarizing of parties and maybe some left poloiticians will agree with some of the right’s ideas and vice versa, then we will see some amazing growth in this wonderful country.
I pray for all the politicians in Government that they will truly understand and believe the words of our National Anthem (Prayer) and put aside party differences and work together to make this country shine. I also pray for Christians in this country to support, honour and prayer for our leaders just as Jesus did with the Centurion’s servant (Matt8:5) who was part of the Government at the time but was from a very right wing camp.
Let us also pray “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, in New Zealand as it is in heaven.
  

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