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Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
the word or concept of “gift” communicates the idea of no obligation, no paying back, no strings attached
think of kids and how they receive gifts on Christmas day – joyfully, openly, willingly, with no compulsion to pay the gift back
what do we do to try and repay God’s free gift?
being good and nice
trying hard to be a good christian
* yeah how pathetic is this list!
but remember, none of those things sway the balance of God’s grace towards us. there is no amount of helping or being nice that can earn the love of God. it is a gift. realizing it that God’s love and grace are a gift lifts the burden of “doing” off us, freeing us up to respond, willingly, to receive His love. it washes over performance anxiety and takes us into relationship. the gift of God’s grace is such an undoing concept. there is nothing i can do to rescue myself or improve myself, but Jesus loves me regardless and died to set me free and restore me.
Romans 5:15-16 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God
Why do we typically feel the need to earn someone’s gift to us, or at least pay him or her back for it somehow?
What’s God telling you today about His free gift in Jesus?
"in the future you will walk out in the fruit of your faithfulness" kim walker smith
finding your devo time hard, stuck in Leviticus?
KEEP GOING and KEEP COMING BEFORE GOD – keep being faithful and storing His Word in your spirit – because one day you’ll walk out in the fruit of your faithfulness…..
as we draw near to God, he draws near to us, this is his promise – James 4:8
sometimes we can feel our quiet times, our personal devotional time, that it doesn’t have any significance. we come and read the Word, we come and pray and worship and talk to God but sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re connecting much. sometimes we really feel His presence and encounter Him and He speaks, but other times it can seem like He is silent and that we’re just reading and not being transformed spiritually.
We live by faith though, not feelings, not by sight.
each time we come and spend time with God matters, for us and to Him.
as we are faithful our relationship with Him grows.
one day we will walk and live out the fruit of our faithfulness. we will live in the fruit that comes from spending time in the Word, in spending time in prayer, in spending time in worship.
our quiet times are not waste times, they’re not dead space.
when He speaks something comes alive in us – His Words bring life to our spirit. They water our soul. They satisfy our heart. They bring strength and hope to our lives. They guide us and help us to navigate temptation and the war waging in our flesh.
God is speaking always in our quiet times, and in a way – its like our spirit IS receiving His word in even the “dull times” and the times when He seems quiet and there is no great revelation and no great power.
don’t give up.
don’t give up.
don’t give up.
the time you spend with God matters.
and it matters because HE loves to have that time with YOU.
you are His beloved child.
He delights in YOUR presence, as a Father delights in their child.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:16-21
Growing in truth is connected to you practicing what you already know
Let us live up to what we’ve already attained
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:1-8
Follow those who set the example
Our faith although personal is not meant to be private
Find someone who is strong where you are weak
The WHY to give us purpose and perspective to continue forward
Eyes were here on earth, temporary things, leading to destruction
Eyes fixed on Jesus and eternity
Live with eternity in our hearts
All there will be will be the story of our great king and the heroes will be those who followed him
How do you do that in real life?
Now and not yet KINGDOM
Let God chisel me, hard times are gifts to remind us that this isn’t home
Where are your sights set?
Fixed on that day
Towards following wholeheartedly
we all make plans about things that are important to us
How and when
Just do it
MAKE TIME FOR GOD. Now walking with God and knowing God isn’t about trying harder or about meeting a must have must do checklist – it’s about RELATIONSHIP. Its not religious activity but relationship. The amazing thing is God starts the fire – just as He started the fire in the tabernacle and solomon’s temple – supernaturally boom – He starts the fire in our hearts. And then we choose to respond and fan that flame. The priests were instructed to keep the fire burning 24/7, they had to add the fuel to maintain the flame.
- Make Time To Rejoice
- Make Time To Remember
- Make Time To Pray
- Make Time To Read The Bible
- Make Time To Worship:
Worship reinforces what matters most, reminds us of truths we forget and renews our desire to live what we believe. Rick Warren
Worship REMINDS us who God is, His greatness, His goodness, His power, His grace
It REFOCUSES our attention on Him, His greatness, His goodness, His power, His grace
It REFRESHES our heart and CONNECTS us in RELATIONSHIP
It is an expression of love, adoration, surrender
I like my worship loud – I don’t have a quite time, I have a loud time. On Tuesday I was listening to our God reigns by Jesus Culture the other day – it has 3 words in the whole song, repeated. Our God reigns. Over and over again. I can tell you by the end of the song my whole being was like, Yes, He reigns. My God reigns. He reigns. On the inside I was jumping round like I had just won an oscar or a gold medal! It’s the same with the worship song How He Loves Us… I just have to put that on repeat for a few times and boom, I know He loves me…
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
In the Bible the word most often translated “wait” in the sense of waiting on the Lord is the Hebrew qavah. Qavah means (1) “to bind together like a twisted rope” (2) “look patiently,” and (3) “hope, expect, look eagerly.”
The picture here is like a braid in the hair, there are three pieces, but they become so intertwined that it is hard to tell them apart. Don’t you love that picture?
Isaiah 40:31but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
What a great picture of living an uncontained life. Soaring like an eagle.
Waiting on the Lord develops intimacy with God – it intertwines our heart with His, it teaches us to become sensitive to His voice and Spirit.
And interesting when you apply that thought to Jesus command to the disciples after his death – wait for me in Jerusalem – and they waited and then were filled with the Holy Spirit and went out from there, looking like Jesus, doing the works of Jesus, representing Jesus to the world.
Anyone here on tank water? Bet you’re desperate for rain. When I lived in edendale we had a tank, and when it got dry you couldn’t water the garden, wash the car, have long showers, or flush for number ones. When the tank is filled the limits are removed. When we are full we live more uncontained. let it RAIN on our lives today!
Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said.Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?"Yes, go," she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother.Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him.When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water." Exodus 2:1-10
what a mother of faith! she is even recorded in the great chapter of heroes of the faith – Hebrews 11:23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
it must of taken a lot of courage to hide a newborn and then to place that newborn into a basket and into the river. we often have quite a sanitized picture of this in our head but as the mother of 2 i know babies are loud, sometimes hard to please, smelly and time consuming. i also, after watching a doco on egypt on tv, know that the river Nile has crocodiles and other creatures in it that could have overturned the basket and drowned (and eaten!) the baby. yikes!
but i love how God works.
God enabled this mother to care for her baby in secret.
again this is one of those life moments where the odds look impossible. there were few options available to moses’ parents. but they made a choice of faith. they made a choice to follow the nudge of God to save their child.
and then God guided this baby in a basket through the dangers of the river to the one person in all of egypt that could pronounce safety over him, the princess.
God had a plan and a purpose for this child and so He orchestrated his safety and his circumstances.
when i am facing obstacles and impossibilities i want to be like moses’ mother, resolved to find a way and resolved to trust God. i will let God and let God. sometimes that is the best course of action as God can guide the currents of my life and my circumstances to the right direction, forward into destiny.
God is awesome in his power to preserve and protect.
God is awesome in His ability to help us in our times of crisis. God is at his best when our circumstances are at its worst.
God is awesome in his ability to accomplish His will, regardless of the circumstances.
“True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His Promises.”
“The challenge is to make sure that faith remains faith even when we experience delay. We must not slip the car into neutral and begin to coast. We must keep the gear of faith fully engaged, especially when we encounter unexpected curves in the road”. Terry Virgo
oh that is good!
that is very very good…
for me i define faith as trusting God – simply believing that He is who He says He is, and that that can be trusted.
that is why reading the bible is SO important! how can you know the promises to stand on if you dont know the promises you can stand on?
God is God. good, all knowing, all wise, all powerful, all seeing, all good, all loving, compassionate, gracious, loving, good, glorious, powerful, radiant, creative and so much more. there arent enough words in all the languages of the world to describe how awesome God is.
He is always at work in our lives.
He is at work refining and shaping us.
He is at work encouraging us.
He is at work teaching us.
He is at work leading and guiding us.
He is at work using us and demonstrating His love and grace through our lives.
faith says we will trust God in all situations and at all times and trust that He is good and God and at work. it leaves our lives in His loving hands. it believes that He is at work expressing His love and grace and power in all situations.
faith allows for hard times and difficult situations because it trusts that God is with us and will never lead us and also trusts that God is working because He has said he will refine us and test our faith and make it stronger and faithful.
faith doesnt look AT the circumstance but at the Lord of Lords and King of Kings who is always on the throne and is the mighty creator of the universe and our Heavenly Father.
faith keeps driving.
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there." So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 1 Kings 17:2-6
i love this passage. Elijah steps out into a national prophetic ministry and then of course is caught up in the circumstances of it – drought. But God leads Him to a place of safety and there provides for him in strange and remarkable ways.
in that place as a stream with water.
and ravens brought him bread and meat morning and nightly. i always half smile at this. ravens. God used RAVENS to bring provision and sustenance to Elijah. and the ravens got the bread and the meat from “somewhere”. Where? someone’s window sill? someone’s kitchen? the markets? it doesn’t say. but ravens came faithfully every day to bring food to Elijah. without devouring it on the way themselves.
i always think also how odd it is that God used ravens. my impression, or judgement of ravens, is that they are scavengers aka dirty birds. they are in fact considered unclean according to the law: "And these you shall have in abomination among the birds, they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, the kite, the falcon according to its kind, every raven according to its kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk according to its kind, the owl, the cormorant, the ibis, the water hen, the pelican, the carrion vulture, the stork, the heron according to its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat" (Leviticus 11:13-19 RSV)
God can provide and meet your needs in amazing unique creative ways. He is GOD. be it manna from the sky, fish and bread from a small boys lunch, or food delivered by ravens. Any which way, God is able.
God can also use whoever He wants. Despite the judgements of men – my judgements – the ravens were heroes in this passage. You may feel unworthy, unqualified, unspiritual and unusable, but if God can use a raven, then God can use you.
Did you notice the start of verse 5: So he did what the Lord had told him.
An unfailing mark of a true servant is obedience. When Elijah was bidden to hide himself by the brook Cherith, "he went and did according unto the word of the Lord," and now, commanded to go to Zarephath, "he arose and went to Zarephath." This simple and unquestioning obedience justified his statement that he "stood" before the Lord God of Israel. The very term servant implies subjection to the will of another; and on this very account we have the presentation of the Perfect Servant in Him who came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him. And it should never be forgotten that obedience is the sign of power. If asked to specify the greatest display of power in Elijah’s service, many would refer to the scene on mount Carmel, wherein he challenged the priests of Baal to prove the existence of their god, and, when on their failure, after Jehovah had vindicated His servant by sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, he commanded them all to be put to death. But true spiritual power, silent and constant, is far more conclusively demonstrated to the spiritual eye by obedience to the will of God. The Widow of Zarephath
Elijah learned to trust God. In the season of drought he learned to trust God. God had led Elijah to Kerith Ravine and provided and protected him there. BUT THEN. the brook dried up.
there are seasons where it seems like the one avenue of provision and protection dry up, seasons which are difficult and stretching. Where there seems no way out.
God led Elijah to this specific location.
and then the brook dried up.
David said to Saul, Let no-one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him. Saul replied, You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth. But David said to Saul, Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. Saul said to David, Go, and the LORD be with you. 1 Sam 17:32 – 37
David’s attitude of faith becomes even more evident when he gets an audience with the king.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
Faith grows when we feed it with the Word of God. The Word is always correct and always true and always real and always the highest authority on any and every subject. You must submit your feelings and opinions to The Word and let the Word change you from the inside out.
Basically if God says it. It is. You have the power to CHOOSE to believe it. You make a CHOICE to overcome the perhaps natural inclinations to doubt by making a choice to trust God. Do whatever you can to change the way you think and go with what God says about Himself and who He is and what He can do.
Don’t give into the feelings of doubt but pray and take the thoughts captive. You have control of your mind and how you think. Don’t let a doubt or a fear spiral out of control. Its like the Gremlins. They started off as cute furry little creatures, harmless… what’s one little gremlin… but if you feed and water them they manifest into nasty nasty nasty creatures. Doubt and fear may seem like a small harmless thought but if you feed it and water it, it will manifest into a nasty in your life.
The Word of God is both an offensive and defensive weapon. Ephesians 6 describes it as a double edged sword. With it you offensively – you attack – the doubts and fears and obstacles. Use your sword (or machine gun as Isaac showed us in his day in the life) to challenge and change your attitudes. The Word gives you faith – and Ephesians 6 describes your faith as a shield to block the fiery darts and attempts of the enemy.
Remember – Jesus used the Word as a weapon to defeat the devil when He said “IT IS WRITTEN”
throughout history, game changers have stepped forward in the faith to affect the way people communicate god’s truth in the culture in which they live. @stickyjesus
David was a game changer. He believed God. He had a history with God.
To David, the Word of God was that God was always with him to deliver him and overcome. God had delivered him from the bear and the lion and God would deliver him from the giant. There was no second guessing God. No but if. No doubt. David was unshakable in his faith in God. He had built up a history of seeing God at work in his life and a history of believing and trusting in God. He had a holy confidence because knew God was faithful.
Take the opportunities around you now to learn faith. Take the opportunities now to overcome doubt.
Build a life long history with God. You can look back through your life and see the evidence of God’s reality in your life. Tony was saying the other night at housegroup that when he got made redundant this year he was feeling stink and unsettled, until he changed his attitude and looked back at the times God had come through in his life and how God had been our provider and had never failed us. He looked back at his history with God and began to stir up thankfulness and look at the good things in His life that God was doing and it brought breakthrough. Tony had met with bears and lions before and so had strategies to tackle the giant with.
David’s skirmishes with the bear and the lion taught him to fight a giant and deliver a nation. What are the bears and lions in your life? Get spiritual muscles and warfare tactics by overcoming them so that on the day you hear the giants insults you’re ready to swing your sling and win!
“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” ~ Oswald Chambers
It’s not wrong to feel fear. It IS wrong to let that fear have the last word in your life. The people who accomplish the most astounding things for God’s glory aren’t the people who feel the least fear. Often they’re the ones who deal with the most intense fear. But instead of letting that fear disable their dreams, they start increasing their capacity for faith. Steven Furtick
It’s all about perspective i think. How BIG is God to you? How POWERFUL is God to you? The BIGGER He is the more we will trust Him and the more we will step out. The more it’s all about Him and His power empowering us the more we’ll step out and be a jar of clay for Him to demonstrate His love and power through. The more we realize that it’s His power through us the more we’ll step out in faith to do the works He has called us to do. The more we trust Him and have faith in HIS ABLENESS the more we’ll really live the adventure we’re called to live.