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The PASSION Blog

The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life, the Bible and ministry. I also share our website and ministry updates. I aim to update this page every two weeks or so. Be blessed.


Perfect peace

Isaiah 26:3-4 - You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! 4 Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.

I like these simple verses above. It says God will keep in perfect peace those who…

1. Trust in Him

2. Thoughts are fixed on Him

That is a simple recipe to counter stress and anxiety – trust him and keep focussed on God and His Kingdom.

It also reminds us God is our eternal Rock. We can fully trust in Him.

Prayer

Dear God, help me to put all of my faith and trust in You. I pray that You will help me to keep my thoughts on You. You God are my eternal Rock. Amen.


The God who...

In my devotions this morning I followed the praise, petition, intercession and listen format that I often use.

This helps to focus on giving thanks, bringing my requests to God, praying for others and taking time to stop and listening to God.

In this listen section as soon as I prayed “Is there anything You want to say to me Lord?” Psalm 65:7 popped in to my head.

This verse and the verses around it really spoke to me at the moment. I thought I would share it today…

Psalm 65:5-8 NLT - You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our saviour. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. [6] You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. [7] You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. [8] Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.

I love the way it says a few things about who God is…

1. The God who faithfully answers our prayers.

2. The God who is the hope of everyone.

3. The God whose power formed the mountains.

4. The God who calms the oceans and the nations.

5. The God who inspires awe and shouts of joy.

This all reminds me of how big God is. He is all powerful and worthy to be praised.

Blessings,
Dave


Verses that help me not to worry

I have been a Christ follower for more than 30 years, which is over half my life. When I first came to Christ I was full of fear and worry.

Often when something happened my mind would race and not stop for days. I would get caught in what someone has recently described as in a loop.

Over time as my mind renewed as is talks about in the Bible I have learned to look to God and trust Him in all circumstances.

Here are some key verses that have helped…

1. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

2. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

3. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

4. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

5. “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” Colossians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

6. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

7. “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

8. “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Psalms‬ ‭116:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

These are just some of the verses that have helped transform me and my thinking. No matter what the circumstance I am faced with, I can look to God and trust Him.

As you read and memorise them I want you to remember these are not just motivational verses on a screen, but words guaranteed by the God of the universe.

If you are prone to worry, I hope and pray that these verses will help you as much as they have helped me.

God Bless,
Dave


Latest sermon and communion message

My latest sermon and communion messages are online. You can find them below.

Blessings,
Dave


Trust, commit and be still

Psalms‬ ‭37:3-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬ says, “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”

In this passage we see a number of things that God tell us to do and we see a number of positive outcomes.

1. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then we will live in safety and prosper (v3)

2. Take delight in the Lord. Then he will give us the desires of our hearts (v4)

3. Commit all to the Lord and trust Him. Then He will help (v5)

4. Be still in God’s presence. Then He will act on your behalf (v7)

In these points we see that if we look to God and put our hope and trust in Him, He will bless us with good things.

Prayer

Dear God, I give my life completely to You. I commit everything I am and have to You. Help me to continue to trust in You, take delight in You, and be still in Your presence. Amen.


God is the strength of my heart

I have been reading a lot of the Psalms that David wrote for my devotions recently. They have really been speaking to me afresh. I find that I relate in many ways to David, my namesake.

Today I read Psalm 73:21-26. It says…

“Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”

In this passage three things stood out to me today.

1. David realised he was in the wrong place and had wrong attitudes. He was looking honestly at his situation when he said…

  • his heart was bitter
  • he was torn up inside
  • he was foolish
  • he was ignorant

2. David looked upwards towards God and said…

  • I still belong to You God
  • You still hold my right hand (stronger hand used in battle)
  • You guide me with Your counsel
  • You lead me to my destiny
  • Whom in heaven have I but You

3. After making a statement of where he was at and who God is to him he declared…

  • My health may fail
  • My spirit may grow weak, but…
  • God remains the strength of my heart
  • He IS mine forever

God really was the strength of David’s heart. He was a man who did great things for God. He even did some bad things that echo down through history, but God still described his as a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).

I think the things I love about David is that even though he was a fallen human being, he knew where his help and strength came from. His faith and trust was solely in God alone.

Today in my heart as I type, I know I need to be more like David. How about you?

Blessings,
Dave


My passage for 2020

Every year God gives me a passage or a verse as a theme. This year for the last week or so Hebrews 12:1-3 has been bubbling up in my spirit. Upon reading it I knew this was my theme for 2020.

Several things jumped out at me as I read. Some things to strip off and some things that will motivate me/us.

Things to strip off…

1. Strip off every weight that slows us down – we all have things that slow us down of make us put our hands to the plow and look back (Luke 9:62). It might be bad habits, bad relationships or bad attitudes. It also could be poor health choices, feeding ourselves on the wrong things spiritually or looking backwards to the past.

2. Strip off the sin – all of us sin at times. 1 John 1:8 tells us that we are deceiving ourselves (and others) if we say we don’t. But the good news is the next verse tells us if we do confess it to God, he cleanses and purifies us. Then we ask for strength to stay pure.

Once we have stripped off the things that hold us back and slow us down, we can run with endurance.

When you think of a marathon runner they were light clothing and carry nothing. This helps them to run with endurance. They also need to pace themselves to last the whole journey. We need to pace ourselves too.

Things to motivate me/us…

1. The great cloud of witnesses. These are the heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11. They have run and won their raises.

2. Jesus as the author and perfector of our faith. He is always working on us and is never finished (Philippians 1:6). This gives me comfort knowing He loves me as I am, but doesn’t want me to stay this way.

3. The suffering of Jesus. He left the glories of heaven to die on the cross for our sin. He moved heaven and earth for us and suffered greatly.

As I type I think of a hot air balloon. It cuts away the sandbags to rise high into the air. It needs to do this to allow the wind to take it where it needs to go. It is the same for us. If we cut away our “sandbags” we can let the Spirit take us to where we need to be.

Blessings for 2020,
Dave


Christmas sermons

I am not preaching this Christmas, but I thought I would share links to several of my Christmas sermons from the past. The first two were peached in the church I Pastored. The last one was done at our community Christmas Carols. It has been slightly adapted for the website.

Blessings and Merry Christmas,

Dave


God’s blessings in the Beatitudes

I was reading through the beatitudes for my devotions this morning. They are found in. Matthew 5:3-10.

As I was reading through today I realised afresh how God blesses us in our lives. Here are some of my notes.

1. When we recognise our need for Him – He gives us the Kingdom

2. When we mourn – He gives us comfort

3. When we are humble – He gives us the earth as an inheritance

4. When we hunger and thirst for justice – He gives us satisfaction

5. When we show mercy – He shows us mercy

6. When we are pure at heart – He shows us Himself

7. When we work for peace – He allows us to be His children

8. When we are persecuted – He gives us the Kingdom

One thing I also noticed today was the bookmarks at the beginning and the end. When we recognise our need for Him or are persecuted, He gives us the Kingdom.

So many blessings. So much favour. So much comfort.

Be blessed by the Beatitudes today.

Dave


Love hurts at first sometimes

2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NLT – I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. [9] Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. [10] For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. [11] Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.

In this passage the Apostle Paul explains why he sent a strong corrective letter to the Corinthians. And why it was so harsh in its wording.

Although Paul felt sorry at first, he knew he had to speak the truth in love. This is because he wanted God’s best for the church at Corinth and for the individual people.

Sometimes we need to be told firmly and honestly. It may hurt at first, but it really is for our own good.

I have been on the giving end and the receiving end of harsh words. It pained me to be the messenger and it pained me to be the receiver. Probably equally for both!

But with God the ultimate goal is not our long term pain, it is repentance and a life dedicated to God and His Kingdom.

We all need to live in that place of surrender to God. And sometimes we need to a kick to jolt us back to where we should be living.

As I type I am reminded of two verses from Proverbs and Psalms…

“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Love can hurt at first sometimes, but long term it is worth it.

Blessings,
Dave


A key to staying pure

Psalms 119:9-16 - How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your word. 10 I have tried hard to find You--don't let me wander from Your commands. 11 I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. 12 I praise You, O LORD; teach me Your decrees. 13 I have recited aloud all the regulations You have given us. 14 I have rejoiced in Your laws as much as in riches. 15 I will study Your commandments and reflect on Your ways. 16 I will delight in Your decrees and not forget Your word.

In the above passage from Psalm 119:9-16 it gives us some clues to staying pure in a world that tries to contaminate us and shipwreck our faith.

These clues all revolve around God’s Word – the Bible.

1. Obedience – the writer wants to obey God’s commands. This is a great place to start in staying pure – the desire for obedience.

2. Staying – next we see the writer declares they do not want to wander away. They want to stay on track with God.

3. Hidden – the next key is having God’s Word hidden in the heart. This means to hold it deeply inside or to cherish it.

4. Teach – in verse 11 the writer asks God to teach them His decrees. There is a deep desire to learn, grow and be taught.

5. Recite – verse 13 then moves on to reciting or speaking out God’s Word. This helps to hear it differently when the Bible is read out aloud.

6. Rejoice – the next key is genuinely rejoicing over God’s Word. The Bible gives us so much. Our salvation alone is worth infinitely more than riches.

7. Study – studying God’s Word is so much more than reading it. The best investment we will ever make in time spent studying the Bible.

8. Remember – lastly this passage reminds us not to forget God’s Word. Memorising Scripture is key to staying pure. Jesus quoted Scripture when tempted by the devil.

There are a number of things we can do in this life to remain pure. Much of it revolves around digging in to God’s Word – the Bible.

If we love it, commit to reading and studying it, we will be strong in our faith. This combined with prayer and relying on the Holy Spirit helps us to remain pure.

Blessings,
Dave


What I am for, not against

Increasingly I am finding on the internet people are more than happy to tell you what upsets them or the things they are against.

People seem to want to continually tear things down if it doesn’t line up with their views.

I made a decision years ago to be a positive voice. I would rather say what I am for, than what I am against.

So today I thought I would share some of the things I am for.

1. The Bible – I believe the Bible is God’s Word to humanity. I think we should all read it, meditate on it and put it in to practice.

2. Prayer – I believe prayer changes things and it helps us to connect to God. I pray because I need to know God and I need His help and wisdom.

3. Family – I believe God wants me to be a loving husband and father (and son and brother). After my relationship with Him, I need to put my family next.

4. Fitness – I believe being physically fit and eating well is important. God has given me this body to live in and serve Him. I need to look after it.

5. Evangelism – I believe it is vitally important to share our faith in Christ. Jesus wants us to make disciples who become lifelong followers of Him.

6. Serving – I believe we all need to serve God by serving others. We should use our gifts and resources to make the lives of others better.

This is my list. It is not exhaustive. But rather than run other people or other things down, I thought I would share some of the things I am for.

Blessings,
Dave


Your unfailing love

Psalm 36:5-9 NLT – Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. [6] Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. [7] How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. [8] You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. [9] For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

I read this passage as a part of my devotions this morning. I had to read it over and over. I love the way it talks about God’s unfailing love. It gives us a picture of just how deep and wide and vast it is. It even says that all humanity finds shelter in the shadow of His wings and He provides for us all out of His abundance. I couldn’t imagine a world without God. I wouldn’t want to! He truly is the fountain of life and the light by which we see.

Prayer

Lord God, thank You for Your unfailing love. It is so precious to me. I thank You that You provide for our needs out of the abundance and I can find shelter under Your wings. You truly are the fountain of life and the light of my life. Amen.


A day is coming

Zechariah 14:9 NLT – And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD-his name alone will be worshiped.

This verse talks about a day when all false gods that people worship and all false religions will be no more. There will be no cults, no worldly charismatic leaders who deceive people and no doubt who the true God is. It will be a day when only He alone is worshipped and He will rule and reign over all the earth. As a Jesus follower I look forward to this day. How about you?

Prayer

Dear God, I thank You that You are the one true God who reigns supreme. You are far above all other false gods and worldly leaders. I look forward to the day when You come in power and glory and You alone are the one who is worshipped. Amen.


A triple-braided cord

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. [10] If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. [11] Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? [12] A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

I have found over the years it helps to have good people around you. Having family, friends, workmates who have your back makes a big difference. As today’s passage says having people around you can help you to succeed, help you up if you fall down, keep you warm in cold trying conditions, and even fight with you if needed. It reminds us of the importance of having good people around us by using the image of a triple-braided cord being stronger. Three interwoven cords are way stronger than a single thread.

Prayer

Lord, I pray that I will always have good people around me. I thank You for the good people who are now in my life. I pray that You will help us to help each other and as we follow You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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