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The Birthplace of Your Miracle

Easter is all about a cross, a cave and a resurrection. Easter is all about the birthplace of a miracle.

When Jesus triumphantly emerged from the tomb that was a cave, He was the ultimate declaration of a Biblical principle that touches the life of us all. Jesus is the resurrection and the life! (John 11:25)

As the sun was darkened and the cruel reality of the cross seemed to annihilate His ministry and His call, it seemed like it was all over. And then came the darkness of the cave.

  • For Elijah, the cross was the persecution of a woman named Jezebel. It drove him into a cave. (Read the story in 1 Kings 19)
  • For David, the cross was the murderous pursuit of Saul. It drove him into a cave. (1 Samuel 22)
  • For Lazarus, the cross was a fatal illness. It drove him into a cave. (John 11)

But, my friends, it was not final! When you serve the God of resurrection, your cave becomes the birthplace of your miracle.

  • Elijah emerged from the cave as one who appointed kings.
  • David emerged from the cave as a man ready to rule as king.
  • Lazarus emerged from the cave as a man who had conquered death because of the command of the King.
  • Jesus emerged from the cave as the King of Kings!

Let me encourage you: the next time you find yourself in a dark place or a cave, look up with anticipation. It is the place where kings are forged! Why? Because it is not final!

As you respond to Father with a fully surrendered heart, the darkness of that cave becomes the birthplace of an infinitely greater season. For many of you reading this, this is resurrection morning. This is the birthplace of your miracle!

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!

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.’ (Isaiah 43:19)

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.

Woman with two hands full of fruit

One Handful or Two

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 says, “Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”

God asked me one day, “What do you have in your hand?” 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.

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 His 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 (The Living Bible) “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.”

Sun rising over the promised land

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.

It says in Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it (the cross). Matthew 28:18 tells us, 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

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 over a peaceful lake

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.  The loving heart of the Father ministering 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 soon, for I know how much I value mine.

 

 

Bible

Your Confession

Father knows your thoughts, your inner desires and dreams, your unspoken words of prayer. That personal and intimate conversation that is for His ears alone is precious and powerful. But the Angels and Demons do not know the silent whispers of your heart! They are only impacted by what you say with your mouth!

Atmospheres do not change with the meditation of your heart; they change with the confession of your mouth. Your praise does not shift the armies of Heaven unless it is verbalised.

Your worship and adoration, which is for HIS ears alone, can be silent, the beauty of a heart overwhelmed in His presence. It is a beautiful thing and HE LOVES such moments. We should have more of them. But it is in the confession of our lips that our spiritual authority (an internal reality) is expressed and brings His will on Earth as it is in Heaven (an external manifestation of that reality).

There is the world of difference between worship and adoration (which can be verbal or silent) and praise. Praise has a two-fold objective: to bring joy and gladness to our Father and to silence the Accuser and be a witness to the Heavens. For that to be so, it must be verbalised! As long as it passes your lips in an audible manner, the quietest whisper can thunder across the Cosmos and change the course of that day. It can intimidate the armies of darkness and it can empower the armies of light.

My every verbal expression of love and gratitude to my Father destroys the lies and intents of my enemy (humiliates him) and causes celebration in the Heavenly hosts! And, most importantly, that whisper (or shout!) is heard by your own ears….and enters your heart…dispelling doubt and creating faith.

Scripture is adamant: for there to be a transaction in the Heavens, the word has to be in your heart (a sincere, authentic, conviction) and upon your lips (a faith-filled confession). Here are some scriptures to meditate upon…please take time to read them…the Word is creative. Don’t lose by default, empower your day and your future to be in harmony with Gods intention.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Proverbs 12:14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, and the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him.

Deuteronomy 30:14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Tree letting go of last autumn leaves

Trust and Let Go

It is winter and the cold, crisp mornings awaken the senses and chase the fog from one’s brain.  As I yet again gaze out of my office window, my eyes take in the conifer still lush and green and the deciduous whose nakedness is so stark in contrast.  There is one tree in particular that I have been looking at each morning, awaiting an event that seems determined not to occur.  It has lost its leaves completely except for six small reminders that stubbornly refuse to release the Autumn in which they flourished.

My first thoughts are those of admiration as I think of their ability to hang on and to persevere. What is it that gives them that capacity to cling to the branch when no others can.  It has been many days now that they have defied the elements of this season’s harsher days.

But this morning another thought came as I looked to find them still there: as amazing as their resilience is, is it not misguided? Is it not also true that whilst they occupy that one small spot on that tree, that nothing new can grow in their place.  In their magnificent endurance they are unwittingly postponing the coming of Spring.

For now, that is acceptable for the time appointed for Spring has not yet arrived. But it will come. My friends, seasons are so important.  There is the season of perseverance, to cling to the loyalty of that which has been; and there is the season to recognise God’s awakening to a future promise. When that moment arrives, the act of greater courage is not perseverance or endurance but the trust that allows you to relinquish. Because there is a time for everything – including for uprooting and letting go. (Ecc 3:1-2)

Finally letting go of that which was once filled with promise but now lies dead and cold is often heart-rendering and traumatic.  But it is vital to make way on the branch for the coming of the new buds of Spring.

In the simplicity of trust and an unreasonable faith in the Father’s Love, open those hands and let go.  For a fleeting moment you may feel a wind of insecurity caused by a vulnerability of the unknown, but it will pass. In its place you will find a new awareness as the Holy Spirit whispers fresh thoughts of new days of promise.

Spring is on its way a little while from now and the Gardener of our souls beckons us to make way for it with an open heart made ready by the relinquishing of the Autumn now gone.

You can dare to trust and let go for He is worthy of that trust. Read more about making hard decisions in your life.

Pocket watch in the sand showing time

God’s Timing

Have you ever dared to dream a dream but wondered when? Has God said that it is time for change, but you are wondering when? Have you ever been challenged to take a new horizon in faith but wondered when? What does God’s timing really look like in our lives?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that there is an appointed time for every purpose. God has an appointed time! But history tells us that, on many occasions, God’s people missed that divine moment. All heaven was anticipating with great excitement only to see man missing that opportunity; procrastination, human logic and selfish complacency robbing them of their destiny.

In Exodus, God delivers Israel from Egypt in order to take them into the Promised Land in a matter of days. Right on cue the day arrives, but unbelief and a lack of trust causes them to miss their moment. The result was a wasted generation – 40 years spent in regret. They failed to seize the moment! Oh, the tragic consequence of failing to seize the moment!

Contrast that with World War 2 and what would become D-Day. In the middle of a week of horrendous weather came a brief window of opportunity. It was so brief that the German High Command did not believe anyone would attempt anything. But Churchill and Eisenhower were men that seized the moment. They launched that invasion and the tide of world history changed.

In Luke 19:41-44, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. Why? Because, “You did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (verse 44) They failed to seize the moment of God’s opportunity.

Friends, we live in urgent days. In each of our lives, God is challenging us to greater horizons of faith, deeper levels of trust, greater intensities of commitment, zeal and passion, bolder steps of initiative. But will we seize the moment? Or will we procrastinate and lose the promise? I believe that our Father is looking for an attitude: My people shall be willing in the day of My power!

Now the question arises: How do we know if it’s God’s timing or not? Here are my thoughts on that:

  • God is a God of order
  • Psalm 37 declares that the steps of a righteous person are ordered by the Lord
  • Philippians 3:15 tells me if my heart and motivation is right, that should I ever leave the path of God’s intention, the Holy Spirit will let me know
  • God is not the author of confusion

Therefore we can deduce that:

  • If it isn’t clear, it isn’t the right time
  • If I have a check in my spirit from the Holy Spirit, it isn’t the right time
  • If my spouse or spiritual oversight have a conviction that it is not the timing, it isn’t the right time
  • If I’m not living as a man or woman of purity, prayer and friendship with God and His people, then I shouldn’t trust my own instincts

However, if:

  • I am a man or woman of prayer
  • I am in a right relationship with my oversight and the people of God
  • I am pure in my motivation to serve God and His Kingdom
  • The fog has cleared and what God has said to do is clear

Then, start taking steps of obedience and faith! Do it now!

Let me encourage you to be bold and courageous in your response to Father’s invitation and see that new day drawn out of the realm of promise into the realm of today’s experience.

Embracing the future of our Father’s intention for God’s timing in our lives.