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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.”

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.

Nothing Is Impossible

Have you ever felt God was asking you to do something completely unreasonable? Something that was glorious and wonderful in its potential but utterly impossible in its execution? Why entice me Lord, if there just isn’t any possibility of it?

Well, just imagine being Joshua! The Jordan is a raging torrent of water that forbids the Israelites from going into the Promised Land. It was simply impossible to cross! And yet the promise could not be fulfilled without crossing it.

I want to assure you that God has an increased adventure of faith for each one of us. However, I also have the conviction that if we are to possess HIS ultimate intention, it will involve embracing that which is impossible. We will know what it is to stand at the edge of Jordan: we will sense the imminent revelation of a commission that will be not only extraordinary in its potential but utterly impossible in its execution.

Can you just imagine Joshua?

The first question must have been: “But Lord! Where is my rod?! I believe you can part the waters because I have seen you do it before. But I need the rod! Moses had a rod! The Miracle Power to part waters comes with the ROD anointing! Lord, where is my rod?”

But this time, there was no rod.

“Lord, how can you expect me to part the waters if you take away from me the very anointing that one needs to part waters?!”

  • How can I build without brick and mortar?
  • How can I achieve without finances?
  • How can I travel without a healing?
  • How can I produce a book if cannot write?
  • How can I succeed if the business had to close?
  • How can I start another campus if there is no venue?
  • How can I achieve more for your Kingdom if the very thing I have always used to achieve it with has now been taken from me?

I can just imagine the perplexity in Joshua’s mind: “My God, why have you taken the rod of Moses from me in the time when I desperately need it?!!!”

But the Lord’s method this time was to be so very different. This time no rod was necessary. This time His presence alone would part the waters. As the priests who carried the Ark of His Presence stepped into the waters, without the rod, without Joshua giving any miracle commands, just in simple obedience and faith, the waters parted!

God was taking them to an even greater level of trust and obedience. It wasn’t His neglect that removed the rod, it was part of His greater intention: He wanted them to know that they served “A God for whom NOTHING was impossible!”

Friends, as we put our hands up and volunteer for the supernatural adventure of life, what do we need to hear?

Matthew 19:26 says, But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  • “With GOD” (Just him! His power, His presence, His person!)
  • “ALL things ARE possible!” (A totally unqualified statement!)

It is time to live a MIRACULOUS LIFE! Not just believe it intellectually or include it in our preaching! But to live it!

I invite you to join me in volunteering for a life of unqualified surrender, a life in which we say to Father; “Whatever You ask me to do, Lord, I will do it!” Nothing is impossible! Let the new adventure begin.

Man on rocky cliff thinking about difficult decision

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.

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 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.