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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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Understanding Seasons

Understanding Seasons

In the natural, we live life differently in summer than we do in winter. We are the same person, but what we wear, where we go, the sports we play, and the holidays we take are all subject to the season we are in.

As the natural seasons significantly impact our lives, so too do the spiritual seasons. The good news is, God doesn’t make the seasons difficult to recognise.

Psalms 1:1-3 (NIV) Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

This scripture tells us clearly that you can be a blessed person who meditates on God’s Word day and night, and yet only yield fruit in season. In other words, there are seasons when blessed and biblical people do not see the fruit that they have sown in the form of seed!

And then it goes even deeper by telling us that godly people prosper in whatever they do! Do you see it? You can be in a season that is not producing fruit, and still be prospering in every area of your life. God wants to change the way that we measure outcomes in our lives.

In the natural, a farmer only plants seed in certain seasons. That same farmer also only reaps a harvest in certain seasons. A farmer knows that you don’t plant seeds in harvest season, nor do you harvest a crop in seed time.

Proverbs 20:4 (NIV) Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.

If a farmer does not understand what is required in the different seasons, then frustration, disappointment and unfruitfulness is the result. How much more so for the people of God when it comes to kingdom matters! Understanding the seasons is made clear for us in His Word.

Not everything is budding and sprouting new life and growth all the time. Sometimes the season we find ourselves in is a season of preparing the soil, planting the seed, watering the seed and pulling out the weeds. The shift of measurement for many believers is this: These seasons are just as important as the seasons when we see the fruit, and we can prosper in God just as much in these seasons.

Is it possible that at times, the lack of fruit in our lives and ministry is because we have not ploughed in ploughing time? If we don’t plough, we won’t see a harvest. If we don’t plant seeds, we won’t see a harvest. If we don’t water and fertilise the seeds, we won’t see a harvest.

If we don’t become people of prayer, we won’t see a harvest of miracles. If we don’t become people of God’s Word, we won’t see a harvest of a transformed mind. If we don’t become people of faith, we won’t see a harvest of pleasing God.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Not recognising the season that we are in can be tragic. We all know that King David committed adultery and followed this up with murder. It is one of the most devastating stories in the Bible. But how did it start?

2 Samuel 11:1-2 (NIV) In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful.

David stayed home at a time when kings went off to war. As God’s appointed king, David was meant to be on the battlefield. Instead, he was at home resting. It was in this ‘out of position’ season that David was tempted and made some terrible decisions.

There are obvious indicators for us to recognise the natural season that we are in; we don’t have to strive to work it out. When it’s continually cold, it’s winter. When it’s hot all the time, it’s summer.

In the spiritual, God speaks clearly to those who position themselves to hear. People who humbly surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and continually saturate themselves in the Word will hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Those who have a posture of heart that declares, “Not my will, but yours be done”, will know what season they are in.

If there is any doubt, the greatest way to discover the season is to focus on God. It might take some time, but that is because God is enjoying the time with us and He knows the power of having our attention on Him.

It’s time to be wise discerners of the seasons. It’s also time to be diligent to do what is needed in the God-ordained season. Understanding seasons empowers us to honour God and to flourish in life.

So, what is it the season for in your life?


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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.

 

God's Design

God’s Design

The creation of the whole world began with God and His design. You and I also started with God’s design, and our significance was noted before we were born. We are the result of God’s intention, not just the plan of our human parents. We were conceived in the mind of God before we were formed in the womb of our mother.

My life is not an accident or the result of some chance circumstance. And neither is yours. Our lives are significant.

Psalm 139:13-15 For You (God) created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.

God created us. God knit us together. We are God’s design!

The phrase ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ literally means distinguished or different. Our lives are unique; we are one of a kind. There is something in us and about us that no one else has. Our uniqueness is based on the sovereignty of God’s design.

When David writes the Psalms, he shares his confidence in God. He is convinced that God made him, not as a casual afterthought, but as a beautiful creation. David had a personal relationship with the Lord, and states that he knows that all of God’s works are wonderful.

All of God’s works includes you and I as well, as everyone who has ever existed and everyone who is yet to be born. Do you know that you are created uniquely by God? Do you know that your uniqueness is foundational to your significance? Do you know and accept fully that God did a great job, a perfect job, when He created you?

God made us profoundly wonderful. As the Master Designer, He also has a plan for our lives.

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.

Our significance is connected to being a child of the living God. Our confidence comes from knowing His purpose, and then living the life God has pre-ordained for us to live. God’s purposes are to give us “a hope and a future” and his plans are to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11). It’s not just about us doing good things. It is about us doing the works that God has prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Every day is lived best when we understand our significance and when we know our purpose. But we cannot have either of those things unless we have relationship with God. To know Him is to hear His voice. When we hear His voice, we receive His heart of love towards us and we understand His purpose for us.

God’s design is never unintentional. We are called to live purposeful lives. Will you commit to living a significant life? The best life we can have is the beautiful life of God’s design!

 

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.

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!

Never Too Late

Never Too Late

There are times when we feel like God is too late. Our challenges have become overwhelming, and that answer to prayer still hasn’t come. There is a depth of experiencing God in pain and travail that transcends anything we know in times of rejoicing.  These are the ‘wells in the desert’; the ‘treasures discovered in darkness’. These are the moments in which all pretence and all insincerity are stripped away; and in a state of spiritual and emotional nakedness, we stand before God unashamed and desperate for His love.

The intimacy possible in such times does not depend upon emotional highs nor sensations of well-being; it is a deep inner awareness of being loved by our Father, of being held in His embrace of unconditional acceptance and care.

When no argument is convincing, when no evidence is apparent, there comes the assurance of an unreasonable faith: ‘My Father loves me!’ The beauty and depth of character forged in such times will remain with us forever and will become a well of life for others to drink from, others who are questioning their time of difficulty or transition.

Friends, all of life is made up of seasons, and seasons demand a transition from one to the other, that insert of scary vulnerability.  Perhaps some of you can identify an area in which you are undergoing such a transition right now: vocation, marriage, ministry, finance, relationships, or even in who and what God wants you to be. For all of you, I have a word of encouragement from the Lord; and I want you to keep it before you.

It is never too late! You are birthing a new day of promise! God has not forgotten you, and you are going from bearing fruit to bearing extravagant fruit. Your promise is on its way and it is God’s intention that it will come right on time.

Jeremiah 33:1-3 (NKJV) Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying, “Thus says the LORD who made it, the LORD who formed it to establish it (the LORD is His name): ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Now, for some of you that feel your difficult season has gone on for a little too long and the devil has suggested it is too late now for you. In John 11, we read about Mary and Martha’s grief at the loss of their brother Lazarus. They thought it was too late!

John 11:21 (NKJV) Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

It appeared that this was one transition that had gone on too long.  The subject had died! Martha is saying, “If you had only intervened earlier, we would not have gone through this death experience.” But Jesus declares that it is NEVER too late! Mary and Martha were about to witness a resurrection!

The Lord allowed this delay because Lazarus had not only a message to deliver but a message to become.  Jesus knew that when he came out of that tomb, he will be the message!  A message no one will be able to refute nor deny.

Friends, God always has a purpose.  We must learn to trust Him. It is never too late.

Woman reading her bible

Whatever You Do

Following the life and example of Jesus can be a hard act to follow. Or is it? Can we be so radically transformed by the goodness of God that whatever we do brings honour to the Father?

Colossians 3:17 says, And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

In this verse, I see two filters that should be applied to everything that we say and do. These two filters can be summed up in two statements. Firstly, it says, ‘do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus’. If we can’t apply Jesus’ Name (His reputation) to what we are about to say or do, then we shouldn’t say it or do it.

So, here’s the first statement that I find myself meditating on more and more: “If Jesus wouldn’t say it or do it, then I won’t say it or do it.” This is easy to say, but it is much more difficult to apply. We need the Holy Spirit to empower us. The good news is that He longs to do just that.

The second filter can be summed up in this very challenging statement: “If I can’t give thanks to God for what I am about to say or do, then I won’t say it or do it.” Everything that we say or do should be something that we believe Jesus would say or do, and something that we can give thanks to God for. You might be thinking, “But Steve, that’s too high a standard, and more than just a little too fanatical!”

Naturally speaking (and that is an important clarification), I agree. But we are not created and called to live by what we naturally think or what the world tells us is right and wrong! Let me put this thought and question to us all today: “If we think that comparing ourselves to Jesus is too high a standard, who do we compare ourselves to in order to get our standard validated?” Other people’s standards must never be the measure of my standards.

Jesus’ standards (evidenced by the life He lived) are to be the measure of my standards. And to do this, we need to care more about Father’s thoughts than people’s thoughts. If we are going to live like Jesus did, then we need to move past the fear of man. I am realising more and more, that the fear of man is not based on a guaranteed outcome. Many times, the fear that we have of other people’s opinions are not what they actually think. Therefore, the fear of man that is based on other people’s opinions is actually based on other people’s possible opinion.

And as I meditate on this, here’s what I felt prompted to write: “Other people’s possible opinions about me are nowhere near as important as Father’s stated thoughts about me!” Please read that again.

My friends, I want to see the grip of fear of what others may think be completely broken this year in all of our lives! May our confidence and security come from what Father has said about us! I want to leave you to meditate on these two statements and seek to apply them to all that you say and do:

“If Jesus wouldn’t say it or do it, then I won’t say it or do it.”

“If I can’t give thanks to God for what I am about to say or do, then I won’t say it or do it.”

May our lives, in whatever we do, bring glory to the Father.

God's Timing

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.

The Hard Decisions

The Hard Decisions

There are times in our lives when we have to make some very difficult decisions. Sometimes, in obedience to a very clear word from the Lord, we have to make decisions that tug at our emotions and defy our logic.

The challenge in such times is to not to look at personalities and circumstances, or even the human evidences that present themselves. The very simple answer is that Father sees aspects of the future that we do not. He not only sees His intention for you but for each individual involved. It comes down to trust. There are times in all of our lives that we must simply trust the One who is directing our ways and to Whom we have given that unconditional right.

When our decisions (no matter how hard) are the fruit of obedience, there will always be an abundance of grace for each one affected by that decision. It has been truly wonderful for me to see the Grace-filled responses from people over decades now who have been confronted with the need for change that they could not at that time see the reason for. No bad attitudes, no reactions. Just a wonderful commitment to continue as true friends of Jesus and their brethren, trusting Fathers wisdom as He now writes a new chapter.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

The truth is, that no one can take a step of faith and obedience without that step leading to a season of increased fruitfulness. That, I know, will be the outcome for each of you now in that moment of decision. We already celebrate with you in the anticipation of that which Father will now do for you.

My friends, I trust that this will encourage you to trust and let go in the times of your difficult decisions.

One thing is totally predictable: Our Father is always motivated for our good and always working to a strategic plan to reveal His faithfulness to us. Let’s continue to trust Father in the midst of the hard decisions.

A significant mountain range

Significance

Do you know that you are significant? That’s right: you are significant to God. Do you also know that God wants you to do something significant with your life? Significance speaks of substance and weight; it is about meaning, worth, importance, and impact… your life is significant.

You might say “Steve, that’s just not possible. You don’t know my situation. My family life is challenging and I don’t have any special gifts. I simply don’t have the opportunity and arena to be significant. I love God but my life will never be significant”. There are some of you that honestly feel that but I have some good news for all of us.

It all depends how you measure significance. Most of the time our thought of significance is doing something amazing! People might do something amazing and it might be significant, but it may also be insignificant in terms of importance and eternal value. True significance is measured by our obedience to what God asks us to do. This is great news for a couple of reasons:

  1. We can all hear from God, and we can all obey Him.
  2. God knows about my current situation and He knows what we are capable of.

Today, here is a good question we can all ask.
“God what would you like me to do with my life that is significant?” Then listen and obey. God might ask you to pray, to encourage, to give, to go, to listen, or to share. He may ask you to simply love your family and give to them sacrificially. Father might speak to you about changing direction or persevering in the same thing. If God asks you to do something and you do it, then that is significant!

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

We don’t need to be important before others; let’s measure our significance according to God’s direction and our obedience.