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We don’t need to understand it all

January 19th, 2018

“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We may make our plans by what we think we want to do, but it is the Lord who directs our steps. With this in mind, we don’t need to understand everything in complete detail along the way.

One of the great truths of the Bible is that God holds us in the palm of His hands. When we walk with Him, His guidance, protection and help are all par for the course. It is part of being His child.

So we don’t need to worry about the future. What we will do, what we will eat, where will we go are in God’s hands. We just need to focus on His Kingdom and be obedient each and every day. God will take care of the rest.

Prayer

Dear God, I thank You that You hold me in the palm of Your hand. Help me to put my complete trust in You and seek Your Kingdom each day. Help me to understand that guidance, protection and supply are mine as Your child. Amen.

Foolish and angry at God

January 18th, 2018

“People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This is so true. People go their own way like the Prodigal son (Luke 15) and mess up. Then they shake their fist at God and blame Him for all the bad things in their lives.

The key is to follow God and walk in His ways. It is gives wisdom, direction and help in daily life. Walking with God is always better than walking in the ways of the world.

Prayer

Dear God, please help me to follow You and walk in Your ways. I commit my life to You and to following Your wisdom from the Bible. Help me to live for You. Amen.

ODB: Dealing with delays

January 18th, 2018

I really enjoyed this devotion from Our Daily Bread today. It touched on patience and how God get us to where He wants us to be. Please enjoy…

Dealing with Delays
By David C. McCasland

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God (Genesis 45:8).

A global computer system outage causes widespread flight cancellations, stranding hundreds of thousands of passengers at airports. During a winter storm, multiple auto accidents close major highways. The person who promised to send a reply “right away” has failed to do so. Delays can often produce anger and frustration, but as followers of Jesus, we have the privilege of looking to Him for help.

One of the Bible’s great examples of patience is Joseph, who was sold to slave traders by his jealous brothers, falsely accused by his employer’s wife, and imprisoned in Egypt. “But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him” (Genesis 39:20–21). Years later, when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, he was made second in command in Egypt (ch. 41).

The most remarkable fruit of his patience occurred when his brothers came to buy grain during a famine. “I am your brother Joseph,” he told them, “the one you sold into Egypt! 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. . . . So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:4–5, 8).

In all our delays, brief or long, may we, like Joseph, gain patience, perspective, and peace as we trust in the Lord.

Father in heaven, in all of our delays may we trust Your faithful hand of guidance and experience Your presence with us in every situation.

Confidence in God enables us to live out our faith patiently.

RGB highlights

January 16th, 2018

One simple thing I do when reading my iPad Bible is to highlight the text as I go. This is especially helpful in the Book of Proverbs.

I use three main colours – red, green and blue. I use red for a warning that I should not do, green for a positive statement to apply to my life and blue for verses that are nuetral.

In the attached photo from Proverbs 18 so you can see what I mean. Verse 13 is negative so it gets a red. Verse 14 is nuetral, hence blue. And verse 15 is a green positive.

When I finish I read back over the green and prayerfully ask God to help me apply these things to my life. It is a simple thing, but I find it helps me apply Scripture to my life.

God Bless,
Dave

Our God is a fortress and refuge

January 14th, 2018

“The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This is a great comfort to know. The name of our Lord is our strong fortress. Psalms tells us that He is our refuge and strength and we can run to Him (Psalm 46:1). When we need help or we are afraid, we can run to Him for protection and safety.

Prayer

Thank You Lord that You are our refuge and strength. Thank You that we can run to You for safety when we are afraid or need help. Amen.

A compassionate and gracious God

January 13th, 2018

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6).

In Roman and Greek mythology the gods were easily angered. It is the same with most ancient religions. Often the people lived in fear and had to offer daily sacrifices to appease their gods.

But our God, the God of the Bible, is slow to anger and abounding in love. He is also compassionate, faithful and gracious.

We are told we become His adopted children when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. He is for us and we don’t have to live in fear any more. We are accepted.

Prayer

Thank You God that as Your adpoted children we do not have to live in fear. Help us to remember that You are compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love towards us. Amen.

 

Testing those who claim to speak from God

January 11th, 2018

“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.” (1 John‬ ‭4:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

We need to test those who claim to be prophets. The key test is what they believe about Jesus. Did He come in a real body? Is He the Son of God? Is He the only way to salvation? Did He die on the cross for our sin and was He raised to life? He physically raised to life, not just spiritually? Is Jesus eternal?

These questions help us to test what a person believes about Jesus and if they are from God. Two other time related tests will help too. What is their daily walk with God like? And have the things they have said actually happened?

Testing the spirits or testing a person who claims to be from God is important because what they do and say has the power to lead God’s people astray.

Prayer

Dear God, please help us to be wise when new people who claim to be from You come into our midst. Give us wisdom and discernment to know if someone is from You or not. Amen.

Bi-vocational country Pastors

January 9th, 2018

I returned to my old job at our local hospital yesterday. I will be working 2-3 days a week in a supply role purchasing medical equipment and supplies. I will also do 2-3 days a week for my role at church.

There are a number of things I like about being a bi-vo country Pastor.

1. It gives you an understanding of the people who volunteer at church

Volunteers juggle work and church all the time. Sometimes they can’t fulfill a church role due to work commitments and that is easier to understand when you have those pressures too.

2. It gives a better work/life balance

It is easy for me to work full time hours as a part time Pastor, so having another job helps me to be more focussed in what I do. It also gives me time away from thinking about church, sermons and upcoming events too.

3. It takes pressure off the church finances

Working in another role means it frees money up for the church to use finances for other things. Rather than paying the Pastor a full time salary, the money can be used for outreach, building maintenance, missions and more.

4. It forces community involvement

It is easy for a Pastor to go from home to church, to church members homes and home again. It is easy to not connect with people outside the church. Working as a bi-vo Pastor means you are with people outside the church at least a few days per week. This helps to form great connections and friendships.

Being a bi-vo Pastor is a great thing to to. Especially in country areas where it enables you to be a part of your local community.

If you are in the city region, I would encourage you to consider being a bi-vo Pastor in the country. There are always jobs available and churches are crying out for Pastors.

God Bless,
Dave

 

Looking after your voice as a Pastor

January 8th, 2018

Over the years I have heard Pastors and worship leaders talk about the importance of looking after your voice in ministry. This is because their voice is their instrument to bring honour to God and encourage others.

I have never really thought about it much as a lay preacher. Preaching 5-6 times a year it is not really an issue. But this year I really noticed my voice or throat getting worn out as the year went on. Especially during spring when I suffer hayfever.

As a Pastor I preached 35 sermons in 2017. This may not sound like much, but if you include lots of singing, doing communion talks, leading Bible studies, and talking with people after church and during a home visits, it adds up.

I think this year I will have to pace myself a bit more. Some times in 2017 I preached six weeks in a row. Not only is that mentally and spiritually taxing, but I felt it physically in my voice. Maybe in 2018 I might limit myself to three weeks of preaching in a row?

If you are thinking about entering ministry as a Pastor or a worship leader I would encourage you to consider looking after your voice as something you need to think about. After all, it is your instrument.

God Bless,
Dave

Jesus is the light of the world

January 5th, 2018

In the Bible light is used in a number of places to describe the things of God and the good things of this world.

In the beginning God said, “Let there be light” and there was light in Genesis 1:3. Psalm 18:28 tells us “You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.” And in Psalm 119:105 it says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”.

One key verse for me is John 8:12. In this verse Jesus described Himself in this way, “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Jesus is the light of the world. He lights our way and He fills our life with His light. He said His light leads to life.

As I reflected on this today for my morning devotions I remembered Jesus’ death. When Jesus was on the cross being crucified it says darkness came over the earth.

Matthew 27:45-46 says, “At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?”

Not long after these words, Jesus gave up His Spirit and died.

I find it interesting that Jesus came into the world to be light, and when the world rejected Him and crucified Him, the lights went out. Darkness fell over all the earth in the middle of the day.

For us as Christians we need to remember that Jesus is the light of the world. He is our light and our hope. And He calls us to let our lights shine to those around us (Matthew 5:16).

Prayer

Dear Jesus, I thank You that you came into this world to be light for us. I pray that You will help us to reflect Your light to those we come in contact with each day. Amen