Friday, 24 April 2015

Stop, never again - Part 10

In closing:

Only you can renew your mind. It is your mind and God will not force you to change it. You may be challenged to change your perception, but ultimately it is your choice in every situation how you will react - in faith or - in the flesh. 
Many people miss a mighty move of God in their lives as they refuse to overcome their “never again list.” Stopped permanently in front of these road blocks instead of advancing past them and allowing God to use them. 
I want to testify, but I am scared. I want to win people for God, but what will my friends think of me? If there are things standing between you and God then YOU are keeping them there. God has given us His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But only you can choose to live for God and to overcome the roadblocks on the road of your life. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Stop, never again - Part 9

I am frustrated

Isaiah 26:3 “You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” GNB

See also Confused.

I am sad / needing comfort

John 14:16-17

“16 And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, 17  the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.” MKJV

The Holy Spirit is the comforter. Comfort food is wrong! Paul says that for some their stomachs are their god. God wants to be our comforter, not for us to turn to food for comfort!

I read this on someone's Facebook page recently “Jesus wants you to cry on his shoulder when people turn their backs on you.”

James 5:13 “Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing.” MSG

Psalm 42:5 “Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God.” GNB

Jeremiah 15:16 “You spoke to me, and I listened to every word. I belong to you, LORD God Almighty, and so your words filled my heart with joy and happiness.” GNB

Troubles try to get us to take our eyes off God, and fix them on the problem. The longer we look at the problem the bigger it seems.

Psalm 30:11 “You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy.” GNB

I am afraid of the future

People fear the unknown, we cannot see the future so we do not know what is going to happen. We get insurance, and take other pre-emptive strikes against the future, but we are not in control of the future, only God is.

We need to look to Him to help us, not only right now – but in the future as well.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

“9  But as it is written, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard," nor has it entered into the heart of man, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10  But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.” MKJV

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ESV

God has plans for your life, we must not look to the stars or to people to tell us what the future holds. Let us turn rather to God!

Am I going to have petrol in my car tomorrow? What am I going to do during the meeting at work tomorrow? How am I going to … ? Know that you do not control the future and trust God to do what only He can. God wants us to have peace and if we spend all our time worrying about tomorrow, we sow the seeds of worry and they sprout and choke out peace, joy and love.

Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” GNB

I am facing troubles

John 16:33 “I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” GNB

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

“8  We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; 9  there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.” GNB

Romans 5:3-5

“3  We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4  endurance brings God's approval, and his approval creates hope. 5  This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.” GNB

I am too poor

2 Corinthians 9:10 “And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity.” GNB

Isaac sowed during a drought. He trusted God with all he had (his seed) and God gave him a bountiful harvest. God gave him a 100% return when Isaac trusted Him (Genesis 26). When God tells you to do something you need to listen to Him.

Elijah is sent by God to a widow (without welfare widows where basically very poor people). Elijah asks her for some bread (food) and she tells him that she has no bread. She is about to prepare a final meal for her and her son and then they will starve to death. Elijah says something alarming, he asks her to first make him something to eat. He is basically asking her to give him her last meal here.

She knows that Elijah is a man of God and in faith she does as he has asked her to do. Let us see what happened:

1 Kings 17:16 “As the LORD had promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil.” GNB

God performs a miracle and multiples the food! When God asks you to move, do not say, “Lord I have nothing to give”, God wants to give you a breakthrough – but you need to sow / give to activate it.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Stop, never again - Part 8

I am discontent

Philippians 4:11 “And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have.” GNB

These words are quite different from what we see in advertising today. If you buy this for your kitchen, or if you use this product or – if you drive this car then you will be happy / content / fulfilled. Instead of feeling restless or discontent. We promise happiness that you can buy!

This is called consumerism and people who follow it are never happy because as soon as you have bought the latest phone, a new one comes out the day after and you now have to have the latest one. It's a viscous cycle which keeps people poor and always wanting more.

People get more credit cards and rack up more debt so that they can buy more stuff. Many times this is to try to impress people, and often these people are not even people that we like.

What matters in this life is not what other people think of what or how much we have, but that we are thankful to God for that which He has entrusted to us.

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” KJV

Psalm 42:5 “Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God.” GNB

I am choked by debt

Romans 13:8 “Don't run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along.” MSG

Debt will ensnare you and choke the life out of you. Debt makes you a slave, and takes away your freedom. God won't ask you to go into debt if He has asked you to do something.

Proverbs 11:15 “If you promise to pay a stranger's debt, you will regret it. You are better off if you don't get involved.” GNB

For every vision, there is provision. God will provide, if He has called you to do something.

I feel unworthy

2 Corinthians 5:21 “Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.” GNB

You and I are unworthy, but praise God! Jesus sacrifice on the cross has made us worthy of the love of God! We were dirty and sinful, but the blood of Jesus is a free gift and it has washed us.

Ephesians 1:6-7

“6 Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! 7  For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God,” GNB

God treats us better than we deserve, he removes our sins as far as the East is from the West!

Psalm 103:10, 12

“10 He does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs. 12  As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us.” GNB

Christianity is about about you and I having to earn God's love or forgiveness. It is about us believing what Jesus Christ has already done and living in the grace and mercy (God treating us better than we deserve) of God.

So what happens when we sin? Does God reject us?

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us have confidence, then, and approach God's throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.” GNB

We can approach God confidently, when would we battle to do that? When we have sinned! But Paul says here that we can trust that God will accept us with open arms and that we are to come before God boldly! Doesn't this make you excited?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Stop, never again - Part 7

I am in bondage

John 8:36 “Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” MKJV

Jesus does not do anything half way. When Jesus sets you free, you will be 100% free because God does a complete work in us. It might be a process, and it might take time to get there – but God is with us every step of the way.

Romans 8:37 “In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us.” CEV

2 Corinthians 2:14 “I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume.” CEV

We stand and fight in God's strength, not in our own that is why victory is always possible!

Psalm 146:7b “The LORD sets prisoners free” CEV

God is not the one who enslaves us! God makes us free if we turn to Him and place our trust in Him.

I am worried

1 Peter 5:7 “God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.” GNB

Psalm 55:22 “Pile your troubles on GOD's shoulders-- he'll carry your load, he'll help you out. He'll never let good people topple into ruin.” MSG

Matthew 6:25-26
“25 This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn't life worth more than food? And isn't the body worth more than clothes? 26  Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren't you worth much more than birds?” GNB

John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” TLB

I am feeling condemned

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” MKJV

When you are born again the only one who will condemn you is the devil. Do not listen to him!

Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.” GNB

Colossians 2:18 “Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels. For no reason at all, such people are all puffed up by their human way of thinking” GNB

I am lonely

Matthew 28:20b “And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.” GNB

These where Jesus last words to his disciples. What is the value of someone's last words? It would have to be something special, something important.

John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever.” GNB

Isn't that amazing! If the Holy Spirit is always with us then we are never alone!

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” GNB

We don't need to frantically pursue money – God has said that He will never abandon us. Street children are abandoned and live without a home or family. Often turning to crime as they have no other way to get by. God wants us to know that He will never throw us away, He sent us Jesus to reconcile (bring us back) to Himself. We might not always feel His presence, but He is always with us!

I am cursed! / suffering from bad luck

Galatians 3:13-14
“13  But by becoming a curse for us Christ has redeemed us from the curse that the Law brings; for the scripture says, “Anyone who is hanged on a tree is under God's curse.”  14  Christ did this in order that the blessing which God promised to Abraham might be given to the Gentiles by means of Christ Jesus, so that through faith we might receive the Spirit promised by God.” GNB

We are not under a curse, Jesus took the curse upon Himself and paid the penalty for our sins. Sin separated man and God when Adam & Eve sinned and Jesus bore the punishment for sin, not just some of our sins, but the total punishment for all of our sins.

If you believe that you are cursed then it is a lie! Ask God in prayer to reveal Himself and his forgiveness to you and to show you how blessed you are!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Stop, never again - Part 6

The enemy is too great

1 John 4:4 “But you belong to God, my children, and have defeated the false prophets, because the Spirit who is in you is more powerful than the spirit in those who belong to the world.” GNB

John 10:10 “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life---life in all its fullness.” GNB

Romans 8:38-39
“38  For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, 39  neither the world above nor the world below---there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.” GNB

I am too old

Isaiah 46:4 “And I'll keep on carrying you when you're old. I'll be there, bearing you when you're old and gray. I've done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back, saving you.” MSG

You might want to tell God that you are too old for what He has called you to do. Did you know that Moses spent 40 years as a shepherd and another 40 years with the Israelites in the desert? He was an old man by the time that they came to the promised land. Moses could not use the excuse of, “I am too old to do this Lord”, as God gave him the strength to do it.

I am feeling defeated

2 Corinthians 2:14 “I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume.” CEV

Psalm 136:17 “Our God defeated mighty kings. God's love never fails.” GNB

Psalm 27:6 “God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down. I'm headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof! Already I'm singing God-songs; I'm making music to GOD.” MSG

Are there people trying to pull you down? There is only One who can help you and hold you up! We need to bring our troubles to God and trust Him to hold us up as He is the only One who can protect us.

John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.” GNB

There are times when we do not walk in His light and so the darkness can hurt us. But for as long as we walk in Him and in His glorious light then nothing can harm us. You might have lost a few battles, but take courage in knowing that God has already won the war!

I am lacking wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:27, 30
“27 God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 30  But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God's holy people and are set free.” GNB

James 1:5 “But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.” GNB

God wants to give you wisdom, the question is - “Do you want it?” We need not only to desire godly wisdom, but also to use it when He gives it to us. Otherwise our situation cannot change.

Proverbs 3:5-7
“5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. 6  Remember the LORD in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. 7  Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the LORD and refuse to do wrong.” GNB

How easy it is to forget that we do not know everything. God knows and if we trust Him, He will help us through the difficult times. We need to stay humble before God and to trust his judgement instead of our own – especially when we do not understand why God wants us to do something. Do not let “why” stop you, trust God and follow Him!

I am too frail / sick to do it

Isaiah 53:5 “But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him--our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.” MSG

Matthew 8:17 “He fulfilled Isaiah's well-known sermon: He took our illnesses, He carried our diseases.” MSG

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Stop, never again - Part 5

I am feeling weak

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ESV

Joshua was Moses' successor. He had some pretty big shoes to fill as he had to lead the millions of Israelites into the Promised Land. This was no time for Joshua to feel weak – he had to step up to the challenge before him.

Joel 3:10 “Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.” KJV

Everyone, even the farmers will need to be warriors.

Psalm 54:4 “You will help me, Lord God, and keep me from falling;” CEV

God is the One who is holding our hand, like a father holds his child's hand while they cross the street together. God will not let us fall if we trust in Him to hold us up!

Psalm 119:116 “Give me strength, as you promised, and I shall live; don't let me be disappointed in my hope!” GNB

God has promised to be our strength, we cannot do this on our own. Realize your dependence on God and draw near to Him.

God has promised to be our strength. We need to ask every day for that strength which only He can give us.

Ephesians 3:20 “I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen” CEV

How big is your imagination? If Paul says here that the power of Christ in us can do more than we dare ask or even imagine, then you must know that we truly serve a great God. God's thoughts are not our thoughts and He is not limited by our knowledge or shortcomings, if we will put out trust in the everlasting God then He will strengthen us and deliver us.

I was an accident / mistake

So because I was not planned, God can't use me.
I was born at the wrong time!

Ephesians 1:4 “Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us
holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love.” TLB

Did you know that God chose you to be His very own? You are so special to Him. He gave the life of His Son so that we would not have to die. And more than just being special, He has made us holy we are covered in His love right now! You do not have to try to perform to be a better Christian. You have the power of God in you right now if you are God's child and He has already covered you in His love! You already have it. Let everything that you do be motivated by this, knowing that you are already loved, not that you need to perform to be loved.

Ephesians 2:10 “God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That's why he sent Christ to make us what we are.” CEV

God loved us so much that He made plans for us. God was not surprised when you were born, neither did He wonder what to do with you after He had made you. You did not catch God by surprise, like a sculptor He started forming you knowing what He wanted before He made you. God made you who you are for a reason.

Psalm 139:13-16 (feel free to read the whole of Psalm 139)
“13  You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother's womb. 14  I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart.
15  When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother's womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there--- 16  you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began.” GNB

This is one of my favourite Psalms. God formed us personally. He even wrote about us before we were born, recording all our days in His book.

I hope that this makes you feel more special to God. You were not a mistake or an accident and you certainly did not surprise God if He was the One who formed you. Why don't you ask Him what His plans for your life are?

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Stop, never again - Part 4

Now, on to the list

So now that you have seen Moses' never again list, we can get into our never again list to see a list of things that we should not let stand in our way from serving God.

I can't

Philippians 4:13 “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” GNB

Philippians 4:13 “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” MSG

I am afraid

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” MKJV

Romans 8:15 "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." NIV

Psalm 63:8 “I cling to you, and your hand keeps me safe.” GNB

Hebrews 13:6  Let us be bold, then, and say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?" GNB

Deuteronomy 31:8 “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." NIV

I am having doubts

Mark 11:23  “If you have faith in God and don't doubt, you can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will.” CEV

James 1:6  “But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm.” CEV

Mark 9:23-24

“23 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” ESV

I am not ready

Philippians 3:13-14

“13 My friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.” CEV

If you wait until you are perfect before you step out and do something for God – then you are never going to move!

Christ in us is our strength and in our weakness His strength and ability is revealed.

 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” NIV

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Stop, never again - Part 3

Moses' list:

There is a story in the Bible that I feel goes very well with the Never again list. God wants to deliver His people, Israel, from Egypt where they are slaves and suffering. God chooses to work through a man (praise God that He uses people and that we have the opportunity to be a part of His plans!

He could have used angels, but now I am deviating from the story). So God wants to take the Israelites to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk & honey (Exodus 3:8) where they can be his people and He can be their God. There is just one problem, Pharaoh likes having slaves and does not want to let them go.

In Exodus 2:11-13 Moses sees an Egyptian beating an Israelite and he kills him and hides his body in the sand. He thinks he has made a clean getaway, but the next day when he tries to break up a fight an Israelite asks him if he is going to kill him also. Moses becomes a fugitive and runs away. He becomes a shepherd, which is a far step down from being Prince and God calls him to deliver Israel from Pharaoh.

Moses does not want to deliver! 

He uses every excuse he can think of. The following is Moses' Never again list. These are his list of excuses that he used to try and convince God that he was not the right person for the job.

Here is where Moses' list of excuses start, the following quotes are from the ESV from Exodus Chapters 3 & 4:

3:11  But Moses said, "Who am I to go to the king and lead your people out of Egypt?"

Moses doubts his identity. I don't have the status to do this. I am too insignificant to do this.

3:12  God replied, "I will be with you. And you will know that I am the one who sent you, when you worship me on this mountain after you have led my people out of Egypt."

3:13  Moses answered, "I will tell the people of Israel that the God their ancestors worshiped has sent me to them. But what should I say, if they ask me your name?"

Moses claims ignorance here. The people will not follow me if I represent someone they do not know. 

3:14  God said to Moses: I am the eternal God. So tell them that the LORD, whose name is "I Am," has sent you. This is my name forever, and it is the name that people must use from now on.

4:1  Moses asked the LORD, "Suppose everyone refuses to listen to my message, and no one believes that you really appeared to me?"

They are not going to listen to me, I don't have what it takes to influence these people.

God gives Moses 3 signs that he can use to prove that God is behind this.

4:2-5 God tells Moses that He will change his staff into a snake as a sign.

4:6-7 God makes Moses' hand leprous, and then heals it as a sign.

4:8 God tells Moses He will turn water from the Nile to blood as a sign.

4:10  Moses replied, "I have never been a good speaker. I wasn't one before you spoke to me, and I'm not one now. I am slow at speaking, and I can never think of what to say."

I am not eloquent enough to deliver this message God, how can I convey this message? I have been a shepherd for 40 years, talking mostly to sheep all day, I am not used to talking to people like Pharaoh. Moses might even have a speech impediment like a stutter or a lisp?

4:11  But the LORD answered, "Who makes people able to speak or makes them deaf or unable to speak? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Don't you know that I am the one who does these things?

4:12  Now go! When you speak, I will be with you and give you the words to say."

4:13  Moses begged, "LORD, please send someone else to do it."

I don't want to do this.

4:14-15 God gets irritated with Moses and tells him that He will send Aaron, Moses brother, to help him.

The Bible does not mention what Moses said to God next, but there is a silent compliance here.