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A United Voice

A United Voice

A united voice is powerful, whether it is for good or it is for evil. The Bible gives us a clear and contrasting example of both.

THE TOWER OF BABEL

In Genesis chapter 11 we read the story of the Tower of Babel. The starting point for this story was that ‘the whole world had one language and a common speech’ (vs 1). This was God’s intention and it was a good thing. But then man’s desire for self perverted God’s intention.

Genesis 11:4 (NIV) Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

There is so much power in a united voice, as we can see by God’s response.

Genesis 11:6-7 (NIV) The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So, God stopped the building of this tower by confusing the language of the people and scattering them all over the earth.

However, the New Testament gives us a very different and wonderful example of the power of a united voice.

THE DAY OF PENTECOST

On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were all together in one place out of obedience to what God had told them to do. This is such a different reason for their unity than the people at the Tower of Babel. And so God blessed them with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:4 (NIV) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The people at the Tower of Babel were trying to build from earth to heaven to make a name for themselves. The people on the day of Pentecost had heaven invade earth, and it was for the spreading of the good news of the name of Jesus Christ!

Everything that happens on earth finds its origin in language, whether it is for good or it is for evil.

In the times we live in, certain people are taking over legislative rule because they have one language and are standing together with a united voice. These people have the same spirit that we see at Babel which means confusion by mixture. The result is an increasingly confused society that is stepping away from the plans of God.

However, it is the church of Jesus Christ that is called to have the greatest united voice. The sad reality is that the church is at risk of losing the battle for influencing society because we have gone quiet and we do not have a clear united voice. If nothing was impossible to the united people at Babel, how much more for the united people of God?

It’s time for the church to find her voice again; a united voice of uncompromising truth! This is what the Holy Spirit yearns to do in us as the Body of Christ.

Listen to Steve’s message on ‘A United Voice’ on Apple Podcasts

 


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Dreams On The Shelf

Dreams On The Shelf

I have a bowl of coins sitting on the shelf in my cupboard. The coins have value, and I could easily use them, but I stopped carrying them in my purse because they were heavy. I didn’t want my bag to be weighed down. So, there they sit, unused, waiting for someone to pick them up.

Just like these coins, we may have dreams on the shelf or gifts that we have placed on hold. While there are seasons in the Lord when He directs us to wait for certain things to come to fruition, we need to be honest with our hearts. Has God shelved that dream, or have we? Is God asking us to be patient, or has the fear of man, fear of the cost, or other worries and distractions caused us to put God’s calling on the shelf?

Some of you have put aside a dream because it feels too heavy to carry. Perhaps there are gifts and callings that are on hold because it appears they cost too much to use. The responsibility seems weighty, but the Lord says that His burden is easy, and His yoke is light. There is sacrifice involved in carrying out Father’s purposes, but when we lose our life for Christ’s sake, we will find true life in abundance.

Matthew 11:29-30 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The Lord declares that it is time to partner with His will and intention. It is time to act. If your gifts are sitting motionless, remember that they have no ability to move on their own. Now is the moment to pick up that gift and allow the Holy Spirit to breathe life into it. Prophesy to those dry bones and see them take form.

One of those coins on their own might not seem like much. But when combined with other coins, there is weightiness and worth. Don’t put those prophetic promptings aside because they seem of little value. Don’t believe the lie of the enemy that what God has for you is only a small thing. God has good and abundant gifts for every believer, and value must be measured in light of eternity, not from a temporal perspective. The worth is not in what we can do; the value is when we surrender as a vessel to be used for His glory.

Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Peter said to the lame man that he didn’t have any silver or gold, but he gave everything he had. He carried the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and saw a miracle take place. As believers, we have each received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Don’t discount what seems to be insignificant. With only a mustard seed of faith you can move mountains!

It is time to take that dream off the shelf.


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The Year To Build

The Year To Build

2021. A new year dawns and with it the promise of new beginnings.

For those of you for whom 2020 was a most difficult year, I want to declare the absolute certainty of a fresh start as you receive Father’s wonderful love and grace, releasing you from any disappointments of yesterday.

For those of you for whom 2020 was a year of fruitfulness, I want to declare that this is a new year with new horizons and that it is not a year to ‘maintain’ but a year to build!

1 Corinthians 3:10  (NKJV) According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.

Friends, God holds us responsible for the lives and the destinies that He has given to us.  He requires faithful stewardship of our calling, marriage, family, finances, energy and ministries. The question is not IF He wants you to build, but WHAT He wants you to build.

So… how and what are you building this coming year?

Possessing your God-given destiny is all about building successfully as the responsive partner in your partnership with Him. He is the Divine Architect, you are the executor of His plan and purpose.

  • My friend, do you have an anticipation of the future?
  • Is today pregnant with potential because of the Master Plan to which you walk?

Take time to listen, take time to hear Father’s commissioning voice clearly, take time to plan and strategise, as He directs. Take time to put values and boundaries into place that will keep you rested, fresh, energised, and sensitive to Holy Spirit’s whispers.

And take time to be filled with a renewed revelation of your authority as a royal son or daughter. Let that so fill your heart with increased faith that the mundane will flee and the excitement of new conquest will burn brightly within you.

As you listen to His voice anticipate a new and bold future of enlargement, increase and adventure! There is a new destination waiting for you.

2021 is not a repetition of last year, it is a year to build on all that Father has already accomplished in and through you.

I pray that every day will be filled with His wonder and your own inner delight at bringing Him celebration and joy.


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Transition

One of the most challenging things in life is being confronted with the need for change. Transition can be so difficult – yet it is common to us all.

The world is filled with disillusioned and broken people that did not understand the nature of transition and the changes that it brings. We all experience transition, but understanding the nature of change is critical to us continuing to run this race with honour and a sense of destiny.

Billy Graham once said: “Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.”

A valley is but a place of transition between two mountaintops. It is that necessary terrain that takes us from the height achievable yesterday to the greater height achievable tomorrow. And yet, as we pass through it, it is there and there alone that the strength, the preparation, the enlargement of heart and spirit, the forging of deep inner strength necessary to scale that greater height is gained.

The definition of transition from the online dictionary is movement, or change from one position, state, subject, season, or concept to another.

It is in the transition of the valley that the fruit is grown, and the spirit of conquest is forged that empowers that person to scale the greater height. They do not scale that greater height in spite of the valley but because of it. That transition is a vital insert of time that empowers them for their future task. To be thankful for it is to gain from it that for which it was designed, to resent it is to gain only disappointment. Transition is empowering when embraced.

The Insecurity Of Change

Transition often means days of questions, of feeling insecure, days when you desperately need to refocus on God’s faithfulness and God’s integrity.  Your trust in Him must go to a new level in times of transition. Why? Because transition takes us from the familiar to the unknown, from the secure to the vulnerable. Psalm 23:4 tells us that God is with us, even in the darkest valleys and the most difficult times.

The reason why so many avoid transition rather than embrace it is that transition is scary! But transition is inevitable if we are to grow.

Transition touches all our lives at various moments and can touch every area of who we are and our personal world. It must. It is about the preparation of your heart for the new season of God. It is about your enlargement of spirit and faith, the creation of a deeper well of potential within you. Transition is about increasing your capacity for life!

If your season seems to have been unduly long or hard and you know that you have walked in intimacy with God and integrity with others, be encouraged with the knowledge that it is only longer because the commission is greater. It is not a time to allow discouragement but to look up with an expectant heart for the new chapter that God has been preparing you for.

Remember, the One Who holds your future, now directs your path. The Author of your change will also become your empowerment and sufficiency for that change. Your loving Father does not lead you there to see you struggle but to reveal Himself to you in a unique way. As you turn your gaze from the perplexity of the questions to the security of His love, you will find there is always that grace available for each new day.

 

Ambassadors For Christ

Ambassadors For Christ

This world desperately needs to see Jesus as He really is. And this is where you and I come in! To be ambassadors of Christ. An ambassador speaks of a representative who will reflect the official position of whoever (or whatever) they are representing.

At David McCracken Ministries, we have a passion to see the Church Triumphant accurately and powerfully representing the Lord Jesus Christ in every nation.

As His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) we are the ones that God has chosen to declare His Son to this world. As His Church, we are not called to demonstrate a religion nor an organisation, we are called to be a supernatural people, living a supernatural life, declaring a supernatural Christ. We are called to declare a Message that declares His absolute authority over sin, sickness and every Satanic oppression.

In Matthew 24:14 we are given our Commission to take this Gospel of The Kingdom into ‘all nations’.

The objective is not just to make converts. It is to bring a ‘witness’ of Christ to that nation. That means raising up a body of believers that are true ‘Ambassadors’ of the King. It means we represent Him in everyday living, in our families, in our vocation, in our recreation, in our corporate gatherings, in our involvement in society. Our calling is to live like The Christ, talk like The Christ, act like The Christ. We are called to be ambassadors of Christ who are empowered, significant, and relevant.

For such a community to be established in ‘all nations’ (literally in every language group), the whole Body of Christ must be involved. An ‘all nations’ commission demands an ‘all saints’ policy of involvement. Why? Because, as Ambassadors, His agenda must become our agenda; His heartbeat must become our heartbeat; His passion must become our passion. And His passion is for ‘all nations’ to see Him accurately and fully represented.

Friends, if we are all His Ambassadors, then we will share His vision, His heartbeat and His passion. His vision is that in every language group on the Earth, there shall come the living witness of an all-conquering, miracle-working, compassionate, redemptive Christ that has all authority to set them free and give them a new life.

True humility is seen in our worship, our adoration, and obedience to the Supreme King of our heart and in our accurate representation of who He is, and in carrying out of His will on the Earth as it is in Heaven. Let’s honour Him by fulfilling the royal commission He placed upon us: to be His ambassadors who exercise His spiritual authority to ensure His will is done on the earth as it is in heaven!

In such a Cause we are all called to serve. This is the call of God on our lives!

Let this be the year you discover your own personal role in seeing His Vision for ‘all nations’ become a reality.

 

Beyond Understanding

Beyond Understanding

As human beings, we are naturally curious. We like to know things and understand them. But is our ability to understand everything essential for spiritual growth and the development of spiritual gifts? No. In fact, a sign of spiritual maturity is an acceptance that there will always be things that are beyond our understanding.

Job 36:26 (NIV) How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.

A willingness to not understand is a sign of humility.

God knows everything, we do not. It’s good to remember that Gods ways and His thoughts are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). It’s also good to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3). Humility is more necessary for spiritual growth than understanding is.

Humility is equally required in our spiritual gifts. Even when Father reveals something to us, we only get a part of the picture or story.

1 Corinthians 13:9 (NIV) For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

A willingness to not understand is a sign of trust. 

Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Completely understanding something often eliminates the need for having to trust in someone. God wants us to trust in Him completely, yet too often our greater trust can be in our ability to understand something.

When it comes to receiving a prophetic word from God for someone, we don’t always understand what it means. This can be a scary step of faith, because if we had a little more understanding, we could be a bit more confident. But the truth is, these are the very times when our trust in God is to be greater than our trust in our understanding.

If there is an item of technology that you completely understand and you know from experience it works, your confidence is in the item. However, if you don’t understand an item and you don’t know if it works, your trust in it is connected to who tells you about it. If you trust the person, you can trust the item.

When God speaks, we can trust Him completely. If we don’t understand what He says, we can still trust in Him because He is always trustworthy.

A willingness to not understand keeps us from distraction.

Many people have spent many hours trying to understand something. While understanding in and of itself is not a wrong pursuit, the problem is when the time given and the thing pursued is taking you away from time with Father and what He wants to show you.

When the disciples asked Jesus about the times and seasons, He redirected them to His present commission to be His witnesses (Acts 1:6-8). If the disciples had stayed focused on what they wanted to understand, they would have been off track with what Jesus was initiating.

It’s important to note that the disciples weren’t asking a question about something grievous to God. The question itself and the desire to understand the times and seasons was not wrong, but it was not Jesus’ focus at that moment. Their ability to move beyond understanding did not distract them from the powerful day of Pentecost and the birth of the early Church.

A willingness to not understand is an invitation into deeper intimacy.

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

When it comes to knowing God and walking with God, there will always be an element of mystery. There is both the reality that God is infinitely larger than our natural minds can ever comprehend, and the invitation to search for Him more intimately.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Finding God on deeper levels is not connected to natural understanding but to divine wisdom and revelation. This is about finding God in our heart and our spirit, not just in our minds. It is knowing Him as Abba Father. There is something beautiful about knowing someone, and because of what you know, your desire to know and love them further grows stronger over time.

A willingness to not understand is an invitation into deeper peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We often bring our requests to God because we do not understand something. Our way of doing things would be for God to give us the understanding to our requests and that peace would be the result of understanding. But this is so often not God’s way and it is for a very good reason.

If understanding is the ultimate goal of our prayers and it is the guaranteed outcome, our peace is attached to our understanding. But when we are growing deeper in intimacy with the One who loves us unconditionally and completely, our peace is found in Him and it is experienced even deeper in the absence of understanding.

Beyond Understanding

Job 37:5 (NIV) God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.

We should desire to know God better and to understand His ways more. But this understanding is a spiritual revelation from the Holy Spirit, not an accumulation of facts from studying books or from life experience.

So as we lean into God more and desire what is on His heart for us and for others through us, we are called to be faith-filled people who have a confidence in God and a willingness to live beyond our understanding.

Abba Father

Abba Father

The word ‘father’ brings to mind different meanings and memories for each person. For some, a father evokes positive or happy thoughts. For others, the memories of a father may be difficult—for any number of reasons. But what is our perception of God the Father?

I believe that it is God’s desire that everyone receive a personal revelation of God, not only as our awesome God (and He is) but as our warm, loving, caring Father!  A Father that wants us to talk with Him daily. A Father that desires us to live a life of intimacy and deep affection with Him; a life that will embolden us to become men and women of significance in our world.  The scripture describes our loving Father in this way:

Romans 8:15 (NKJV) For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption and by Him (the Spirit) we cry Abba Father!

This phrase ‘Abba Father’ is a term of endearment or affection. The Passion Translation of this scripture describes God as our ‘Beloved Father’.

In Galatians chapter 4, the apostle Paul writes that when we become believers, we move from slavery to sonship. The word ‘sons’ used throughout this chapter is not a reference to an exclusively male invitation, but a reference to the nature of the relationship that God offers: that of full, total adoption. This spiritual adoption is available for each person, both male and female.

Galatians 4:6-7 (NIV) Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

God is indicating the type of the relationship that He intends us to have with Him by talking about the tradition of the day. It was the custom of full adoption, in which an adopted person took on all the rights, privileges and authority of his new ‘father’ as his rightful heir. It was an awesome moment in a person’s life when whatever limitations previously part of their life were replaced by their whole new identity of power and authority granted to them by their father. With that full adoption moment came an amazing new life with freedom and potential never dreamed of previously.

When we have a personal revelation of true fatherhood, we have the security of knowing that:

  • We are totally loved
  • We are unconditionally accepted—and never have to strive for that acceptance again
  • We are a recipient of the Father’s provision
  • The authority of the Father now fully rests on us as His heir
  • Father is guiding the steps of our lives
  • Father is always and only motivated for our good
  • Father is the all-powerful Creator of Heaven and Earth—and He is greater than all of life’s opposition.

Friends, the marks of one living with a revelation of having God as our personal, intimate, affectionate Father is SECURITY! An impregnable, unshakeable security. We can go through life totally assured of His love and acceptance. 1 John 4:18 declares, “Perfect love casts out all fear!” The revelation of God as my affectionate, protecting Father conquers all fear. My intimacy with the Father is what empowers me.

When we are secure, we don’t compare ourselves with others or become intimidated by others. A revelation of Abba Father dares us to dream impossible dreams because our God is not restricted to our humanity. We become capable of bold initiatives because our driving force is to please Him and bring Him honour. It is never too late to experience a new and intimate relationship with Father.

Spiritual sonship is God’s intention for all of us! Father gives an invitation to enter in to such a relationship. He now offers you a life of far greater intimacy and potential than you have previously known or dreamed of. Ask Him today for a revelation of His heart and get to know Him as your personal, affectionate Abba Father.

End Times

A Word About The End Times

People love to speculate on the End Times. I have heard many opinions from different people. Some have fought for the truth of their convictions, while others hazard a guess at what might possibly be. Many predicted dates for the End Times that have since come and gone… and we are still waiting.

Does God have anything definitive to say about the End Times? Is there a prophetic word of encouragement for us all today?

While having my own devotional time with God recently, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to go to a certain scripture reference that I did not know by heart. In obedience, I turned to it and the following is where He led me. I believe it is God’s perspective for us about the End Times.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 NIV Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

God’s word to you for the End Times is “Live ready!” God is not going to make the date of Jesus return clear to any person. It is a mystery and it will remain a mystery. Our responsibility is not to work out when, but to live ready now.

When Jesus says “Come” are you ready to go? Here are three things the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Each point is relevant for every person that wants to be ready when Jesus triumphantly returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

  1. Live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 is often quoted when it comes to receiving the Holy Spirit, and it is a very powerful verse. What is not often stated is the preceding verses which give the context to which Jesus spoke. Let’s take a look together.

Acts 1:6-8 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The disciples of Jesus wanted insight into the Father’s timeline of when certain things would happen. Jesus response is to be our focus today. In effect He said, “Don’t focus on trying to work out when my Father will do what He said He would do. Rather, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and through Him, be my witnesses all around the world.”

The instruction hasn’t changed. We are all called to live full of the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses of who Jesus is. The Father will do what He said He will do and He will do it in His time, but this is not to be our focus.

  1. Live with your bags packed.

When we go away to another place where we are going to stay for a while, we pack a bag. In it we take what we need for where we are going. We don’t pack things that we need in our present location. We pack what we need for our intended destination.

This life is not our final destination. Yes, God provides for our needs here on the earth, but they are physical things that we cannot take with us. They are important in this moment, but they are not the most important.

The things of the Spirit and the things of the Kingdom are most important. Doing the will of our Father now is what we are to pack into our bags for our ultimate destination. Living for the glory of God now is an item worth packing for eternity. Passionately loving God and selflessly serving people will also travel well – we should most definitely pack these!

Here’s what the Bible says:

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 16:24-27 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

Is your focus on accumulating what you want for here and now, or is it on having what you need for all eternity?

  1. Live with your affairs in order.

We are called to live right with God. We are also called to live right with people. One of the things that empower both of these principles is our commitment to keep short accounts. 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to ‘keep no record of wrongs’. When it comes to relationships, don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.

We have today. In fact, the only guarantee we have is right now. Therefore, the focus of the One who holds the times in His hands and who knows the beginning and the end is for us to live ready now. Jesus is coming again – of that we have no doubt. When? Well, this is what Jesus said:

Matthew 24:36 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Let God do what He said He will do, and let us do what He has called us to do. It’s time to live ready for the return of the King!

The Call of God

Don’t Postpone the Call of God

The call of God is anything God asks us to do; it’s God’s will.

There are general calls: come to the Father through Jesus, talk to God in prayer, discover God in His Word, love people like Jesus loves us, be gentle, patient and kind, be self-controlled, live life according to God’s Word etc.

Then there are specific calls: God may have asked you to go somewhere in particular, call someone to encourage them, forgive someone who has hurt you, or change careers. Father may call you to go to Bible school, lead a home group, get involved in youth ministry or children’s church, give a certain amount of money to a specific cause, stop something you have been doing for a while, or start something new.

Do you know what God has asked you to do? What is your commission? And are you postponing the call of God?

The word postpone means “to cause or arrange for something to take place at a later time than that first scheduled.” (Lexico online dictionary)

The first thing I notice is that when we postpone, there is an intention to do the thing which is asked or planned. Many people have the thought that they will do what God has said…but just not right now. There’s a thought of “I will do it…one day”. However, the longer we delay, the more likely we will disobey.

Why do we postpone what God asks us to do? Might I suggest that it’s because we don’t really trust Him. I’ve learnt that to know the Author is to trust the Author. God’s Word shows us that when God calls us, He enables us to fulfill that call. Therefore, I’ve learnt I can always trust Him!

GOD IS A GOOD GOD:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

GOD IS A GOD OF INVITATION:

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.

GOD IS ALWAYS WORKING FOR MY GOOD:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

The enemy tries to convince us that by postponing the call of God we are protecting ourselves from bad things. The truth is, when we delay obeying God’s will, we are keeping ourselves from God’s best. But we need to understand that obeying the call is not always easy.

God’s Will

God’s will comes at a cost – to God and to us

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”

  • God’s will doesn’t come at a convenient time – to God and to us

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Luke 9:59-62 He said to another man, “Follow Me.” But He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

  • God’s will in our lives will be contested

God’s will is contested through contradictions (Joseph and his God-given dream)

Genesis 45:5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

God’s will is also contested through disappointments (Job lost almost everything)

Job 1:21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

I have a conviction that we cannot lose when we do God’s will at the time He asks us to do it.

On your way to discovering God’s specific will for your life, commit to being faithful with God’s written will which is found in His Word. We have a call to be about our Father’s business: “Not my will but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42) We also have a call to be a part of God’s family: “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9) We are adopted as sons and daughters, dearly loved children, friends of God.

The Lord speaks to us in the book of Jeremiah about His wonderful will for our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11) God’s will is always the best place for us. God will always bring His good work in us to completion. There comes a time when we must make God’s will and His call our first and greatest priority.

A New Destination

A New Destination

Father wants to put fresh, new spiritual destinations in your heart, along with a compelling purpose for pursuing them. God has a new destination for you – this is a time to be listening!

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

The Hebrew word ‘wilderness’ means, ‘a vast open field where cattle are driven’, ‘uninhabited land’, or ‘large tracts of open land and pasture’.

The picture is of someone herding cattle like a drover and discovering uninhabited, vast plains of land that are virgin territory. However, the thought is not that of dryness. Quite the opposite! ‘A road in the wilderness’ speaks of a place where there is an abundance of food for cattle. Settlers can come and prosper in a new land. The ‘wilderness’ speaks of new territory. Expansive new territory – a new destination!

Father clearly spoke to me one morning a number of years ago and said: “I want the rest of your life as a blank sheet of paper.” I was amazed, as I sincerely considered that was the case already. However, over a period of a few weeks He showed me how subtle the nature of our desires can be. Indeed, our view of the future can be influenced by our knowledge of the past. I had to discover a place of complete surrender, with no qualifications attached. What an incredible sense of anticipation then flooded my heart!

So, if you feel as though you are facing a wilderness, take courage. The promise of God is that He will give you a ‘road’ that will cause that wilderness to become accessible and a place of great fruitfulness.

Can I encourage each one of you to take some time aside to present yourself afresh before the Lord to hear from Him.  Bring your own blank sheet of paper to see what exciting new things He would write upon it for your future. Of one thing I am certain: He has a remarkable and fruitful new era for each one of us, if we dare to embrace it.

Influence or Success

Influence or Success

God is calling us to be people of greater influence. We are all called to be godly influencers, regardless of our calling or title. We cannot make disciples without influencing others! But we can easily lose our focus on influence and instead look towards success.

The world’s focus is on success, and this focus is on self.

Success means: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, the attainment of popularity or profit, a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

One of the evidences of success is growth; you have more of something and its bigger and better. This was not Jesus’ focus nor His example to us. It says in John 6:66, “From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.”

Jesus had many disciples and when He began to share some challenging thoughts, many left Him. His many followers got whittled down to twelve. Of those twelve, one repeatedly cursed and denied knowing Him, another was characterised by doubt, others were known to argue with each other about their importance and who would get the best seat in heaven, one was stealing from the organisations finances and ended up betraying Jesus and committing suicide. At His point of greatest need, they all deserted Him. He was not, as man would define it, a person of great success!

However, God’s focus is on influence, and this focus is on others. Consider these scriptures:

Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Mark 8:36 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Matthew 20:28 “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Influence means: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself, the power to shape policy.

While success equals gain, influence equals change. Jesus came to influence people’s lives, not to be a successful person. Leadership and influence are about us adding to others by giving, while success is about us achieving for ourselves by getting.

Jesus saw the problem in people’s lives, and He added the solution!

Jesus saw death so He came to add life. Jesus saw worthlessness so He came to add value. Jesus saw fear so He came to add love. Jesus saw worry so He came to add peace. Jesus saw hopelessness so He came to add hope.

Jesus literally changed environments, cultures and people’s lives by influencing them – by adding to them by giving.

The woman caught in adultery was feeling condemned. Jesus saw this and added acceptance, and by doing so, removed condemnation. The Samaritan woman at the well was feeling unworthy to be loved because five men had left her. Jesus saw this and added love and honour, and by doing so, subtracted unworthiness. After denying Jesus three times, Peter felt disqualified and unworthy. Jesus saw this and added acceptance and a fresh commissioning.

Like Jesus, we are always adding to or removing things from people’s lives. So, what are you adding to people’s lives and what are you subtracting? There were times in difficult conversations with others that I added frustration, anger and careless words, and by doing so, subtracted honour, respect and value. The reason I did this was because I felt I was right; therefore I focused on achieving for myself by getting the upper hand. I wanted to be successful in this argument.

But there have also been times when I added gentleness, honour, patience and respect. When my focus was on adding to others and selfless giving, I removed anger, frustration and hurt. I wanted to be influential in this conversation; to love them like Jesus does.

God is calling us all to be people of greater influence. So, in your everyday life, when you see a lack in people’s lives, add the opposite. When you see criticism, add some encouragement. If you recognise hopelessness, add some hope. Look to be influential, rather than successful. When you go up – that’s success. But when you help others go up – that’s influence.

One Handful or Two

One Handful or Two

God asked me one day, “What do you have in your hand?” Not literally in my hand, but what was I juggling in my life? And when I answered the question honestly, I realised that it was not just one handful that I was carrying, but actually I had both hands full. And my hands were full to overflowing. I was so busy doing things for God that I had been distracted from chasing after God himself.

I have found myself at times chasing many things. And they may have been good things – related to family, ministry, or church life. But as a bit of an over-achiever, I can easily find myself with too much on my plate. I say yes out of enthusiasm to help others, which can result in feeling worn out or depleted.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

When I was younger, my Dad used to have a bit of fun when offering us certain foods – such as a slice of cake or slice of cheese. He would ask whether we wanted a one-handed slice or a two-handed slice. Of course, if my friends were around, they would always ask for a two-handed slice – it sounded like it was going to be so much bigger and so much better! But in fact, a two-handed slice was so thin and fragile that it needed to be held with both hands. It would crumble at a moment’s notice. The one-handed slice was the one you really wanted – it was thick and stable and easily held in one hand.

When both our hands are so full of stuff in our lives, it is like that two-handed slice. Life seems like it will be so much better when we have two hands full – but in fact, too much and our lives feel thin and as if things would easily crumble. We end up chasing after the wrong things, and it takes all of our energy to ensure that things don’t fall apart. But we don’t want to drop the ball or let people down, so we keep straining to juggle our many responsibilities. As a result, our life feels unstable and uncertain.

When I chase after many things that are not in God’s plan, I lose my tranquillity. I forfeit that inner state of being calm and settled. I end up toiling and working so hard I lose my joy. And if we are honest, amidst the many good things in our lives, we can end up a slave to what seem to be good things. But too many seemingly good things are not always right if they are not in God’s plan.

Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Jesus teaches us not to worry about tomorrow, and to seek Him first. God’s ways are always higher than our ways. If we stick to one handful of the things in life, we have the other hand free – to hold God’s hand. To allow Him to lead and guide us. To ensure that we have the margin and space in our day to hear His voice and be led by the Holy Spirit. With one hand full, our lives are stable and secure in Him. And with just one hand full, we also have the other hand free to help others along the way as He directs.

So, allow Father to speak into what you have in your hands. Don’t get caught up in meaningless toil – live your life with one handful, not two.

Philippians 1:6 (TLB) And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.

We Shall Reign

We Shall Reign

Although entering the Promised land was a wonderful, long-awaited day for Israel, there was one snag; the giants were still there! Why?

Was there a reason God did not destroy these giants after seeing His people wandering in the desert for forty years? Why risk yet another generation being turned back by their intimidation and size? Surely God knew of the battles that would have to be fought, the constant challenges to faith that His people would be presented with. The sword and the spear seemed to be such a contrast to a “land flowing with milk and honey” as promised.

This is where we must understand God’s objective, for it is the same today with all of us. From the very beginning of time, God has always had the power to destroy the devil and his hordes. There has never been a time when the Lord and His angels could not have hurled every demon into the lake of fire and left them there. Our God is sovereign, and His authority is absolute.

Why then has He tolerated this sin-infested world and the demons that so ravage it?

The answer is found in knowing God’s ultimate intention for those of humanity that have chosen to serve Him as undisputed Lord. If we are ever to be the overcomers that we all desire to be, that will not be because the Lord has removed the potential of conflict from our path. It is quite the opposite. It is the very process of being confronted and having to decide to exercise our God-given authority in prayer that develops that spiritual dominion within us.

Consider the clear declaration of these scriptures:

Revelations 5:10  And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.
Revelations 20:6  …and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
2 Timothy 2:12  If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.

The capacity to reign, the spiritual authority to rule, is not a gift; it is a developed spiritual muscle. It is only as we exercise it that it matures. If we see this clearly, we realise why it was so necessary for those giants to be left alive, awaiting God’s people. Let me declare it simply and plainly: Our adversaries exist to be conquered by you and I! They are our fuel for growth.

It also tells us why Jesus did not remove all evil from the Earth at the time of His triumph at Calvary. There is no dispute that Our King utterly annihilated Satan’s legal rights to rule and express evil on the Earth.

Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

It is in the next statement in Matthew 28:19 that says it all: “Go ye therefore”! In other words, Jesus is saying, “I paid the price to purchase all dominion and rule, but you must now enforce that and see it acknowledged on a daily basis by the enemies of the kingdom.” The legal document that guarantees us our potential victory over the flesh and the devil is the declared Word of God. It alone is the truth.

Our past failures and the accusations of the enemy can be highly persuasive, and they are often very convincing lies. But the tragedy is that everything that is human in us reaches out to accept their logic and the apparent reasonableness of their suggestions.

At times it can be a major challenge to believe in God’s integrity and that of His Word, turn your back on all that persuasive human reasoning, and declare: “we are more than conquerors through Christ!”  (Romans 8:37) and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens [empowers] me.”  (Philippians 4:12-14)

Does it take faith? Absolutely. But He has already placed that faith within you. It is by your decision that you must draw upon that faith and determine to live by it. It is as you cry out to Him in prayer and claim the power of His Word that faith is released. Such an overcoming life is not for a few elite superstars but for everyday followers of Jesus like you and me.

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!

Just Three Words from Jesus

Just Three Words From Jesus

God is speaking all the time. He speaks in parables and stories, in statements and prophecies, in mysteries great and unsearchable. But Father also speaks with clarity and precision. And just three words that God speaks can be the very declaration that we need to hear right now.

We are all called to live a prophetic life. And the description of living a prophetic life is to hear God clearly and communicate Him accurately. But when we consider the prophetic, are we missing what God is saying because we are overlooking what God is placing right before us? Are we looking for a great and mighty prophecy and missing His voice because we mistakenly believe that the lengthier something is, the more impacting it will be?

Some of the most powerful moments in Jesus’ life were summed up in just three words. At the start of His ministry, Jesus finds Simon Peter and Andrew fishing, and with just three words His command changed the direction of their lives: “Come, follow me.” While being tempted in the wilderness, Jesus rebukes the enemy with just three words, “It is written” and uses the power of the Word to overcome temptation. When a man with leprosy comes to Jesus to ask if He will make him clean, Jesus says just three words, “I am willing” and then heals him. While the disciples are freaked out by the wild weather which has blown up on the lake, Jesus calms the storm with just three words, “Quiet! Be still.”

Upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus, who was giving up his perfect, sinless life for the salvation of humanity, says just three words, “It is finished.” Peter, wonderful impulsive Peter, who loved Jesus so much and yet who also disowned Him before He was crucified, was given his calling and purpose for life in just three words, “Feed my sheep.” And many of the simplest, yet most profound commands we hear from Jesus are summed up in three words: “Love one another”, “Remain in Me”, “Do not judge”, “Watch and pray,” “Do not worry”.

Focusing on just three words is not a principle to be followed or a rule to measure whether God is speaking or not. Jesus spoke for three chapters non-stop in Matthew when delivering the Sermon on the Mount. The entire Bible, all 66 books which are inspired by the Holy Spirit, is God speaking to us. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The length of how many words God says to you in a particular moment is not the point. The point is that God is always speaking – through His Word, through the Holy Spirit, through other believers, through creation.

When it comes to hearing God’s voice, He will speak to us with exactly what we need. Never underestimate the power of what God is saying because of the length of the words or the vessel that it is delivered through. In fact, the simplicity of just three words can burn in your heart and come back to your mind time and time again when you need encouragement in your faith.

Whether it is three words, a paragraph, or a chapter – Father is always speaking. So, when the Holy Spirit whispers something to your heart, don’t discount it just because it appears simple. When a phrase is highlighted to you from the Bible, meditate and press in to hear His voice. When you receive a word of encouragement or a scripture from a friend, listen to what God is saying. Bigger is not always better. Longer is not always loftier. God knows best – let’s allow His Words to change our lives.

Stillness and Silence

Stillness and Silence

Sometimes when the pressure of decision is very real, there is a place that I like to go.  It’s a place in which stillness and silence reigns, where the beauty of God’s handiwork is seen so clearly.  It’s so easy to love a place like that for so many reasons: the quietness, the beauty, the serenity of nature’s touch.  But most of all, for me, it is a place where I find my Father’s heart.

Psalm 23:2 is such a well-known scripture – He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

His silence is still golden. In an age where the pressure of decision seems to be an ever-present adversary, we need to know a place where we can find our solitude.  A place uncluttered by the affairs of man and the tension of the time clock ticking our moments away. A place where we can hear God clearly.

In my quest for such a place over the years, I have often found some beautiful and wonderful spots.  Places that still linger and minister to my mind.  But not always so.  There are times when such a place, is not to be found.  For reasons many and varied, our search for solitude remains an unfruitful one.  For too many this moment becomes a time of crisis.

It is in such moments that the reality of the Holy Spirit is such a comfort.  I have discovered that we can find a place of haven, wherever we are.  It’s not a place of trees, and soft waters in the natural, but rather a place where our minds are at peace and our hearts are ministered to by His love.  The Bible says that the love the Lord Jesus Christ can give is a love “beyond all understanding”.  He speaks of a peace which is above all ability to reason or comprehend.  It’s a peace which knows no limits and has no barriers.  It’s a peace not borne out of the efforts of man, but has upon it the sweet touch of the Divine. A place of stillness and silence where the loving heart of the Father ministers to us by the Holy Spirit.

When people question me concerning the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, there are things I can refer to.  The miracles, the healings, the transformed lives, the sheer joy in our services from people who have previously only known despair.  But perhaps one of the greatest evidences of all is that ever present peace which is greater than my understanding.

The peace of which I’ve written, is a peace freely available.  But will never be found in the strife and struggle of physical or intellectual endeavour, for it is spiritual in nature. By coming to the Lord Jesus who is its Source and Supply we can receive in a moment that which may be the quest of a lifetime.

My prayer is that you will find your haven of stillness and silence soon, for I know how much I value mine.

 

 

Man praying on a beach about God's will

Not My Will

There are times when we desire something different to what God wants.

Jesus was perfect and sinless, but He also had times of desiring something different to what His Father’s plan required of Him. At times, Jesus had a conflict of wills with His Father. Now this might sound wrong and terrible, but I need you to keep on leaning in with me.

By its very definition, a conflict of wills simply means ‘opposing desires’. Let’s look at this well-known verse: Luke 22:42 (NIV) “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus always wanted to please His Father, and spiritually He wanted to do His Father’s will, but He had moments where naturally He wanted to do something different.

Jesus wouldn’t have said, “Not My will” If His will was to do what His Father was asking Him to do. This is not something metaphoric; Jesus desired something different to His Father in this moment. What does this mean for us? Jesus had to submit His will to His Father’s will, which means, there were moments when His will was different to His Father’s will. We want a removal of an opposing desire, but as we see from Jesus’ example, it is about submitting an opposing desire and saying NO to it, and about saying “Yes” to our Father’s desire. Oh how this is so important to see clearly!

Too many times the enemy who is a thief throws accusations at us to do with opposing desires to God’s will. Our struggle is “How could I want that if I love my Father!” Jesus wanted something different (an easier, less painful way) to what His Father required. Sure, we put degrees on it and say, “Yeah, but that wasn’t a temptation to sin; a desire to do the wrong thing”.

No, in this case it wasn’t a desire to do something wrong…or was it? Isn’t sin ‘missing the mark’? And isn’t ‘missing the mark’ simply doing something different to Father’s perfect will? If so, Jesus was tempted to sin in this moment, just like you and I are tempted at times. It might look different, but at its core, it is an opposing desire to Father’s will; that is a temptation to sin.

And this was not the only time Jesus was tempted to sin.

Today I want to encourage you to not condemn yourself for being tempted with an opposing desire to God’s desire. It’s what you do with that desire that is the important thing.  Having an opposing desire to God’s plan is not the problem! This is what temptation is, and temptation is not wrong. Giving into the opposing desire is the problem!

Lucifer had an opposing desire to God’s plan, and he gave into it. Adam & Eve had an opposing desire to God’s plan, and they gave into it. King David had an opposing desire to God’s plan, and he gave into it. Peter has an opposing desire to God’s plan, and he gave into it. You and I have opposing desires to God’s plan, and sometimes we give into them.

Jesus had opposing desires to God’s plan, but He never gave into it! “Oh, but Steve, that was easier for Jesus because He was perfect and He was the Son of God.” Jesus wrestled so much that He sweated drops of blood; this is how anguished He was over His decision and what was required of Him!!!!

The truth is, you and I can always say YES to God and NO to temptation. Like you, I don’t “feel” like I can, but that’s not the truth of God’s Word. Not my will, but God’s will.

Read more about surrendering to God when we need to trust and let go in the seasons of life.

Present Possession

We all want to walk with freedom in our lives. But do we really understand our present possession in Christ?

Jesus is our present possession as true Christians. Sometimes as Christians, we live too much in a future anticipation for what Jesus has legally provided for us now. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, then we have received salvation (Ephesians 2:8).

Our spiritual address has shifted from death to life (Romans 6:11). Our spiritual identity has changed from slave to son (Romans 8:15, Galatians 5:25, John 15:15). This has happened! It is done! It is finished! It is ours now!

Yes, there is a work of sanctification and renewing that continues to take place, but the legal requirement has been met in Jesus, and salvation is our present possession in Him! Jesus is our present possession.

Jesus is also our future salvation: One day, Jesus will bring freedom from the penalty, power, presence and pleasure of sin. What Jesus accomplished on the cross was not incomplete or insufficient, but we still live in a world where the enemy is at work and his influence is seen and felt by many.

But one day, this will change! The enemy’s time is short! He is a defeated foe, and one day he will also be banished!

Then, our present possession will take on an even deeper level of completeness as evil ceases to be present in our reality and where there will be no obstructions or obstacles in any form!

Revelation 21:4 says, And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (NKJV)

Glory, majesty, awe, wonder, and the deepest, purest form of worship and intimacy will be our eternal joy and pleasure!!! Oh what a glorious day! Praise God for our present possession of salvation! Praise God for our future salvation!

I encourage you to take a few minutes to thank God for what He has done for you.