Crossing Rivers Together

Now we cannot live a life of faith on our own. We cannot move forward in isolation. We cannot take this land unless His Church stands together.  That’s the beauty of God’s Church; when we are united together, with the same courageous faith, we will see miracles happen for God’s glory.

In the Book of Joshua Chapter 1, we see the Israelites preparing to take Canaan the Promised Land. God’s command gives us some very important principles we must follow. In verse 2 he commands Joshua that he and ALL the people should get ready to cross the Jordan River into Canaan and then He will give them every place they set their feet.

All the people, all the Church must be prepared to cross their own Jordan Rivers. When God speaks to his Church, he invites the whole church to follow him. He wants each one of us to taste His glory, stepping out in faith to enlarge God’s Kingdom in this land. That is why it is so important for each one of us to encourage, inspire, disciple and love one another so we are ready to respond to God’s call.

Together we stand to take back the land

God informs Joshua that they will receive the land when they set their foot in that land. The Church will only achieve this if we stand together, step out in faith and claim the land. Jesus is not a passive God, that expects us just to listen to his word on a Sunday morning and do nothing with it for the rest of the week. Like Joshua we must listen to God’s voice then move into action.

Together we stand as we step out in faith

In verse 1 God tells Joshua three times to be strong and courageous. Why does he tell his servant this? Because taking the land for God’s purposes is never easy. However we are comforted by the fact that God tells Joshua in verse 5 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We are also comforted by the fact that God never expects his people to be alone, but standing together in spirit and truth.

Together we stand as we remain strong and courageous

Be inspired as Joshua and the rest of the Israelites, trusted God, remained courageous, and stepped out in faith to take the Promised Land. What is our Promised Land that He is asking his Church to take back? Whatever it is, we know that God will be opening up miracles for us, as he did for the Israelites, stopping the water flowing as they crossed the Jordan River.

Together we stand as we cross rivers together

 

Don’t waste a minute

This week I had the great privilege of helping a man, with his debt problems. However I didn’t realise that this meeting would have such a profound effect on the way I need to live my life. This gentlemen was indeed a gentleman and his warmth, respect and humility towards me was quite overwhelming. He never focused on himself and gave me his full attention and listened carefully to the advice I was giving him.

 How do we become men like this? What do we have to learn from life to really show people that they matter?

Twenty years ago, this gentleman suffered a near fatal car crash in France. The consequences of this accident would change his life.  He broke his back in a number of places and became paralysed from the neck down. He has been tied to a wheelchair ever since, suffering from excruciating pain every minute of day. On top of this the consultants have stated that he has about another three years to live.

He never let on to me he was in pain until I asked him. He never once threw a pity party. I asked him, “What keeps you going through such suffering and hardship?” He replied, “Owen every minute of life is valuable, you must cherish it and not be held back by what is thrown at you.”

We often read about Paul in the New Testament describe that suffering leads to perseverance and character and nothing can take us away from the love of God. However to see and here this first hand brings the gospel to life.

“Christians learn first and best about Jesus from the people in the Community they serve”

From my own personal experience I have learnt more about Jesus in the last 5 years than I did in the previous 10 years, for the simple fact that I am engaging with the community around me.  My call to all my friends is not to waste a minute, treat it as precious time from God and continue to listen to our community to be more like Jesus.

Thankyou to my new incredible humble friend.

Holding the Hand of God

When does Jesus become real in our lives? When does his Holy Spirit dwell in our hearts? When do we come face to face with him? All these questions are valid to many Christians who sometimes ask, “Lord where are you.”

When we hold the hand of a broken person we hold the hand of God

When we look at the life of Jesus it should not surprise us that all the power and miracles of God came when he was in the presence of broken people, whether that was physical or spiritual suffering. Therefore if we want to see the power of Jesus and for him to become real in our lives, we need to be connected to this broken world. That means breaking out of  the straight jacket of religious conformity into a world where faith has no boundaries.

I visited a lady this week who was held captive by severe debt. However when I listened to her life story, I realised the debt was only the tip of the iceberg. She was totally broken from what life had thrown at her. Her heart had hatred instead of hope. She wanted to eliminate her life instead of living a life of eternity. All she could see was total darkness, no future, a life ruined by failure.

The simple act of holding a hand opens our eyes to Jesus 

I held her hand and felt the Holy Spirit descend into every area of the room. I held on tight knowing I was holding the hand Of God. Matthew 25 tells us that when you do these things for the least of these you are doing it for Jesus. At that moment all barriers are broken down, all past mistakes are laid down at the foot of the cross, a hateful heart is replaced by a hopeful heart and a new life begins to emerge.

When you hold the hand of God, you begin to see Him more clearly 

When you hold the hand of God, you see his power at work

When you hold the hand of God, you see new life

 

 

We are Conquerors

This morning during my bible reading I was drawn to Romans 8:37 “In all these things we are more than conquerers through him who loved us.” When we read scripture like this we feel something jump in our heart and feel inspired. However the hard bit comes when we ask ourselves, do I really believe this for my life? Am I a worthy enough person to actually believe it, claim it and use it.

Paul goes on to say in Romans 8 that whatever persecution or hardship we may suffer nothing can ever seperate us from the love of God. Now God wants you to really meditate on this verse. He is telling us that no mountain, no enemy, no past, no present difficulty can seperate us from God’s love and protection.

Another important point to grasp is that God tells us in all these things we are more than conquerors. This means every aspect of your lives you can be conquerors.  In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul tells us that we become new creations in Christ. This means that God wants total transformation over every aspect of your lives.

God wants to replace the hopelessness with hope. The brokenness with renewal. darkness with light.  

God also tells us that we are not just conquerors but more than conquerors. With Jesus in our hearts we go beyond what the world sees as our limits.

God’s view of our life is limitless

Jesus’ death and resurrection is proof of his unconquerable love and that we can live our lives without limits. Your potential is immense. And nothing can stop Christ’s constant presence with you.

The more you conquer in your life the stronger you become in Christ.

Chair of Discomfort

I always find it very amusing when the most simple observation in life brings out a profound gospel truth. This happened to me recently when I was on a crowded bus travelling from Florence to Pisa. I know life could have been worse, but God still speaks and we need to be listening at all times.

My friend who was sitting in front of me was very tied and wanted to recline her seat backwards, infringing on my already cramped leg space. She wanted more comfort at the expense of my comfort. My friend now has a choice. Does she choose her comfort over my discomfort? Or does she travel in discomfort so I can travel a little more comfortable?

All this tension between comfort and discomfort brought me to the gospel of Jesus. The simple truth is that when we sacrifice a little comfort in our own lives so someone else has a bit more comfort, we are living out the Will of the Father.

I have discovered that discomfort means that we are on the right course in following Jesus

Everything about the gospel teaches us that we sacrifice ourselves and our life for the life of others. In Matthew 20  Jesus tells us that if we want to be great we must become servants, for even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.  Jesus also tells us in Matthew 16:24 if we want to become his disciples we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily.

These are not fluffy comfortable commands that Jesus is talking about. But a lifetime of working towards letting go of our old selves to be more like Jesus. Picking up our cross is heavy, inconvenient, hard work and very uncomfortable. However we know that this discomfort helps others to see the beauty of Jesus.

Jesus never said that following him would be easy and a walk in the park. He did say that when you discover discomfort to serve others then the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Remember if you are feeling a little discomfort in your life to give a little comfort back to others, you are probably closer to the Will of the Father, than when you are feeling comfortable. So rejoice and praise God for the discomfort you may be feeling as you continue to deny yourself to serve the lost in our world.

Prayer: Father help me never to forget my chair of discomfort. When I am feeling too comfortable give me the strength to understand this is not the place you want me to be. Give me the courage to serve more, sacrifice more, give more and deny myself more. Thankyou that the discomfort of carrying your cross gives hope back to another life.