I was reading through Proverbs and I read again one I’ve read many times and often quoted:

Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

But I asked the question, “How do I keep my heart with all diligence?” The answer was simply get in the Word of God and allow the Word to penetrate deep in the heart and build faith. Here’s the point, I need to build a reservoir of faith in the wet season so when the drought comes I have great reserves of faith for breakthrough and deliverance. If on the other hand I wait for the hard times, the droughts of life to try to build a reservoir of breakthrough then the reservoir will never fill.

Pharaoh had a dream, in that dream seven years of a severe famine was destined to come, knowing that, by itself serves no purpose. It was the wisdom of Joseph that saw Egypt rise to prominence in a time of severe famine and what did Joseph suggest? In the years of plenty, in the season of abundance and blessing, in the wet season, build a reservoir od food that will sustain in the famine. What an amazingly profound and equally amazingly simple answer. Collect in the good times so there’ll be plenty to draw on in the bad.

Simple and profound but how often when things are going well we feel we don’t need God, we don’t need prayer and we don’t need the Holy Spirit’s power, God warns against complacency in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 8:11-14 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

It is when things are pumping that we need to build that reservoir that will carry us through the hard times.

David was bemoaning the prosperity of the wicked and says he came close to falling away, but it says he went into the Lord’s house and things turned around, or David had built a reservoir of faith around the tabernacle of God and was able to draw from it.

Build faith in the good times so you have something to draw on in the bad.

Just a Thought.

God Bless

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And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

This is a powerful truth. It is something that as parents we understand but when it comes to God, our heavenly Father, at times, we just don’t get it. God says two things, firstly Jesus is beloved Son and secondly He is well pleased with Him.

As parents we love our kids and, imperfect as our love is we like to think it is unconditional, we know that is the expectation of parents, ‘to love our kids no matter what’. However, we are not always pleased with them, whenever we have to discipline them, no matter what form that takes, at that point in time we are not pleased with them. We love them but we are not pleased with them.

When the prodigal son demanded his inheritance and then went and squandered it, I am sure the father was not pleased with the choices he made but it is clear he still loved him.

When Peter denied Jesus I am sure Jesus was not pleased but He still loved Him.

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Urriah murdered, it is clear that God was not pleased with him but He still loved Him.

When Adam sinned, God was not pleased but the fact he sought Him out showed His love for him never waned, it was unconditional.

What’s the point?

Ephesians 1:6 says, “He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

Like natural parents, God’s love is unconditional and has nothing to do with our pleasing him.

Romans 5:8 says, “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God demonstrates His love for me in that while I was a sinner, not pleasing to Him at all, His love for me compelled Him to send Christ to the cross. God loves me unconditionally, but there are times I don’t please him, I want to please Him, it is my hearts desire to please Him but there are times I know I don’t please Him, but He never will stop loving me. I am accepted in the beloved, and God says, “this is Graham my beloved son” I want Him to add, “in whom I’m well pleased”, that comes down to the choices I make, but He never stops loving me. The problem is we fail to differentiate between God’s unconditional, unending and massive love for us and our choice that either please or displease Him.

God never falls in and falls out of love with me. He loves me and he accepts me. My prayer is God help me live a life that pleases you.

God Will Grant Me the Desires of My Heart.

Psalms 37:3-4

Often we quote the last part of verse 4, saying, “God loves me, He only wants to do me good and He’s going I to give me the desires of my heart”. That is so true and I believe it passionately but is cannot be separated from the rest of the phrase. There are conditions, the good news is it is still by grace.

CONDITION #1 -Trust in the Lord

Trusting God in all situations is believing that God loves me and that He is bigger than the biggest obstacle I face in life.

If I can believe those two basic truths, trust becomes easy.

CONDITION #2 – Do good

Hebrews 12:28 says, “…let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

Grace has empowered me to live right, so I should, leaning on the grace give me, I am to live worthy of the call he’s placed on my life.

CONDITION #3 – Dwell in the land

The promised Land is a type, a picture, of the Kingdom. The third condition is that I be kingdom minded, lay hold of the kingdom promises of God, described by Peter and exceeding great and precious promises.

CONDITION # 4 – Feed on His faithfulness

When we feed on anything what we are dong is drawing energy from one source to energize ourselves. The faithfulness of God, when embraced energizes our lives.

CONDITION # 5 – Delight yourself also in the Lord

Just enjoy God, believers that are not full of joy have never fully comprehended all that has been done for them. God loves me and I should live delighted!

There are 5 condition, the number of grace, none of which are onerous, I must trust God and that comes from knowing Him more, commit to knowing God more and more because those that know Him, trust Him (Psalm 9:10), secondly, let the grace of God work in me so as to do good, next, lay hold of all the great and precious promises of God, then, allow the faithfulness of God to energize me and finally simply enjoy God and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Behold the Lamb of God

Posted: May 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

One description of Jesus happens to be the declaration of His cousin, John the Baptist, who declared to all those who came to him to be baptized, “Behold! The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

The word translated take away litterally means take up, so we can say that Jesus takes up (onto the cross) the sins of the world. The next thing I am amazed by is that the fact that the verb is present and active, he takes every sin comitted in the past, every sin being committed right now and every sin that will be committed in the future has been dealt with on the cross.

What staggered me was that it was the sin of the world that Jesus took up on the cross, it wasn’t just the sin of the Christians, it wan’t just the sin of those who pray the sinners prayer, it is every sin, committed by every person, that has been dealt with on Calvery.

The issue is not how good or bad we are, every sin has been dealt with. The worst sinners sins have been dealt with, Pol Pot, Hitler, Gadaffi, Bin Laden’s all have been dealt with on the cross.

Having said that, here is a day of judgement coming, but on that day only one issue that will be dealt with is this, what have you done with Jesus? Have you believed and accepted what He has done?

John 3:18 puts it this way:

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John says we are either saved or condemned by our response to the goodness of God and the light of Christ.

What’s the point? Simply this, it is pointless justifying ourselves by measuring ourselves against others, all their sins, like all of mine, have been dealt with. The question is what have done with the grace of Christ extended towards me?

He also…

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Romans 8:30 NKJV Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

There exist in the verse an amazing progression and in each case the predestined become the called, the called are then justified and finally the justified are glorified.

Here is what caught my attention, the verbs called, justified and glorified are all in the 3rd person, they are actions taken by someone else, in this case God. But more significant than that they are aorist verbs. An aorist verb is a verb that denotes a single action that took place in the past.

Those he predestined, that he knew would accept him as Lord and Savior, he has called them, each and everyone of have been called to action, we have been created in Christ for good works. There exists in all of us a call of God, we do not need to be called we need to discover the call in us.

Those he called, God has already justified, by the sacrifice of Christ as an act of grace accepted by faith. We can never be more justified and made right in God’s eyes than we are now. Religion says I am no good that I am a filthy sinner needing to get right with God. Christianity says I am already in right standing with God.

Those that are justified, he has glorified. This is mind numbing, God has glorified his children. That word means to honour and to render it excellent. Our small thinking makes this hard to accept, but its what the word says. It also says:

As He is (as Jesus is), so we are in the world ~ 1 John 4:17

And Jesus is the glorified son of God.

God thinks good thoughts towards us, it is time we think good thoughts about ourselves!

Don’t toss your Birthright

Posted: September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hebrews 12:14-16 NKJV Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:  (15)  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;  (16)  lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

We are encouraged not to fall short of the Grace of God and that those who fall short of the grace of God are like Esau who sold his birthright. We need to understand that the birthright is a classic illustration of grace. The birthright means the firstborn male receives double the inheritance of all other children and this is decreed before the child is born, before he has done anything right or wrong, it is not earned in any way.

Esau had that birthright but listen to what he said:

Genesis 25:29-34 NKJV  Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary.  (30)  And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom.  (31)  But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”  (32)  And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”  (33)  Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.  (34)  And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Why would Esau have reacted the way he did? Why say, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”

The answer is found in previous verse, verse 28:

Genesis 25:28 NKJV  And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Here is legalism verses grace.

Isaac loved Esau BECAUSE, there was a condition attached to his love of Esau. Planting in the heart of Esau the idea that he needed to perform for the father’s love, this in relationship to God leads to the need to ‘keep laws’ to be accepted.

Esau had never experienced ‘grace’. So placed little value on the untimate expression of grace, the birthright.

On the other hand Rebekah loved Jacob FULL STOP!

Rebekah’s love for Jacob, despite the fact he was a thief and liar, was unconditional, she loved Jacob. In relationship to God this leads to a picture of grace and it was Jacob, not Esau that got the blessing, the birthright and the name Israel – the Prince of God.

Having never known ‘unconditional love’, Esau falls short of grace and loses his birthright and the blessing.

Jesus put it this way, the one who is forgiven much, loves much. He who experiances grace values the rewards of grace, the one who never knows graces places little or no value on it’s rewards. The context of the Hebrews passage is that having experianced grace, unmerited favour, live life as a reflection of the grace bestowed.

Just a thought

See you in church!