High places of Responsibility.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 3.08.18 PMHabakkuk 3:19

 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

 

The Lord has used this verse a few times in my life to encourage me. For one, when I am afraid, HE is my personal bravery, as it says in the beginning of the verse. But I want to share about what I’ve learned from the last word in this verse in the amplified version. He makes us to walk upon our high places of responsibility.

In my own life, I’ve been seeing that as I’m getting older, and more and more responsibilities are being placed on me, God is faithful to help me in those areas of my life where I need to be responsible.

One time in particular stands out when I was looking for a job. I had no work for a month, and was trying my best to get one. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get one. Eventually, I went on a prayer walk, and simply asked the Lord to help me to “walk upon my high places of… responsibility.” Two minutes after I prayed I got a call from the boss at my previous job asking if I could come to work the next day, and for the next 5 months, I was up to my ears in work!!! I even had extra jobs for people lining up on weekends. God really answered that prayer.

Whether it’s the expectation to be at work on time, or to look after children… whatever the task may be, God can help us to “Walk…upon our high places of responsibility.

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Sing to the LORD a new song!

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.50.58 AMThese days it can be easy to become discouraged when we look at the world around us.  There is the threat of terrorism, unpredictable climate, new diseases, financial crises, and that is just the beginning.  We also know that things on the world stage will not get any better but will actually worsen before Christ returns.
And yet…..God!  He is there.  He knows.  He has a plan and He is not swayed by world events.  God knows every little detail of what is going on, no surprises for Him.  So when we put our trust in the LORD as the people of Israel were told to many times, we can indeed sing to Him a new song.  The song can be one of hope for what the future holds.  The song can also be of rejoicing because of the One who is indeed holding the future.

We have something to offer in this dark and troubled world.  Let us live in such a way that we are seen as a people of hope and joy.

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Choices

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 3.29.52 PMThroughout life, there are a numerous decisions to make. Everything from the small ones to the big ones. Sometimes they can be subconscious, like flicking the light off to go to bed, or sometimes they can be seemingly impossible. One thing that I feel like God has put on my heart recently is about exactly this. How do we, as Christians, make our decisions. Do we sit down and think about? Do we ask other people for advice? Do we toss a coin? What does God instruct us to do?

In Philippians 4:6 (NASB) it is written, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” God wants us to to ask Him. He wants us to come before Him and ask for His advice. This is really the first thing we should be doing. If we truly believe that the outcome of any given situation is in God’s hands and we are giving it to Him then we should be relieved of all anxiety and stress. God is good and He is all knowing so He will make sure that when we ask Him for help making decisions He will open doors up for us. His way is really the only way.

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Servanthood

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-2-15-38-pm“[Christ] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,  He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8 (ESV)

What does servanthood look like? Well probably a lot like the Lord Jesus when He lowered Himself from equality with God to be as one of us. And if we would follow in His example of servanthood at all, it will take a life lived by the Spirit, because the flesh will want no true part in it! Christ’s obedience went to the point of death, and if we would truly humble ourselves below God I don’t think it would be much different for us, although perhaps it would not include a physical martyrdom. 

Christ being given a physical body found it then imperative to serve. In Hebrews 10, Christ’s words are, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;…Behold, I have come to do your will, O God…” His body was prepared for the direct purpose of fulfilling God’s will, which meant offering it once for all as a sacrifice for sins. Now it is in the blood of that sacrifice where He offered Himself through the eternal Spirit without blemish to God that we have our conscience purified from dead works to serve the living God. (Heb. 9:14) Merely wanting to serve God and to follow the example of Jesus is not enough. It takes the sanctifying work of Christ by His blood in our lives, otherwise we will be left in the deadness of our works trying to make up for our sin. As God’s servants, we should not operate from a position of debt paying, but from a cleansed conscience in loving obedience. 

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God equips the called.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-12-09-51-pmRecently I have joined full time staff here at Capernwray Harbour! When considering being on staff during the summer, I looked at my inexperience, and became a little fearful about the job I was getting into. I knew God was clearly leading me to be on staff, so I brought my concerns to Him in prayer. He spoke to me as I read His word the next morning, and I was really encouraged by what I read.

Exodus 3:10-12

 Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.

 And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?

 God said, I will surely be with you; and this shall be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain [Horeb, or Sinai].

The Lord gave Moses a job to do: Deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh. God had given him a number of promises and made it clear that He would act on Moses’ behalf. God made it clear that it wasn’t Moses’ abilities or strength that would deliver the Israelites, but God said, “I will surely be with you”.

A man named John Henry Jowett wrote:

“ There need be no “buts” in our relationship to God’s will. Nothing will take the Lord by surprise. The entire field has been surveyed and the preparations are complete. When the Lord says: “I will send thee,” every provision has been made for the appointed task. “I will not fail thee.” He who gives the command will also give the equipment.

This quote greatly encouraged me that morning. I can see this principle throughout scripture. We are just like Moses! For whatever task God has given us, HE is the one who will equip us for it.

Philippians 2:13

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

It is God who gives us not only the desire, but the POWER to work for His good pleasure.

Hebrews 13:21

Now may the God of peace… Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). Amen (so be it).

  God Himself equips us, and again, works in us. HE accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, Through Jesus Christ!

Another time I had another experience like this. The Holy Spirit brought to mind a familiar verse, and a good reminder for when we are faced with things we feel inadequate for:

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

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Man does not live by bread alone

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-10-02-12-amThe Lord has been speaking to me about the deeper meaning of these words, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3.
Jesus responded to the devil with these same words when He was tempted to turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger.
God provides for ALL of our needs at all times and in an abundant fashion. When Moses spoke these words to the Israelites, he reminded them of God’s faithfulness during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
I must live my life in a state of constant dependence on the Lord, but also with unending thanksgiving! He indeed IS everything that I need. He IS the Lord, I can’t make Him Lord. I can’t MAKE Him anything.
What I can do is acknowledge Him, obey Him, and thank Him.

 

 

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Patience Through Difficulty

13307470_644378264674_4868038915905368514_nBeing back home after spending a year at Bible school definitely has had its challenges. It’s like being submerged into a place that you once fit into and coming to the realization that it’s a lot different. It’s almost like looking at the same world you’ve always known  through a pair of tinted glasses. Anyhow, I’ve been working through some stuff and in the process I went to a service at my church on Sunday. The sermon that was being preached was that of Patience. Specifically patience through difficulty’s. It is so important that we wait on God and trust him through everything. Impatience can actually be seen as distrust in God. When we trust in God we know that He has our entire life in the palm of His hands. We know that everything He does in our life is for a reason and we need to trust Him because of this. He loves us and He will take care of us. We just need to be patient.

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Repentance

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-04-19-am“Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, declares the Lord Jehovah. therefore, repent and live.” Ezekiel 18:31-32

Being repentant is not merely the better option to choose out of a collective of alright choices. Really, it is the only viable choice if we would rather live than die. And it is made clear here that God truly does want us to repent, because His pleasure is never in our death!
This repentance is the choice of throwing out the garbage we have made in our lives; tearing down the old structure of things, and completely rebuilding according to God’s instructions and plans. When we look at our lives as Christians, are they built upon the truth of God’s word, or is the way we talk, think and act more characterized by the world?
If the Holy Spirit is convicting us of areas of improper building, renovation is not just a good idea, it’s an imperative!

“Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd, but reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.” Proverbs 19:25

If we are people characterized by naivety in regards to knowing God and His word, when disciplined we are likely to simply figure out ways to avoid consequences. Yet, if we are people characterized by an understanding of God and what He says, when reproved we gain knowledge, because the reproof contrasted with what we already understand reveals the horrid nature of our rebellion towards God’s ways, and so if there is a change in our ways it is because first there was a change in heart.
When stopping our bad behaviour out of simple-minded self-preservation, we change what we do because what we do hurts us. However, when in understanding we throw out our bad way of thinking – that brings about our bad behaviour – we stop our bad behaviour because we recognize that what we do hurts God. Repentance is not merely a change of the outward action, but first a change of the inward attention; from what hurts me to what hurts God. The correction in our lives is not simply to bring us to correctly adhere to rules, but to correct our often wayward mind.

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:6-9

The nature of light is that it brings exposure to whatever it shines on, whether it is beautiful or grotesque. So if we are to walk in the Light, we must be prepared for our lives to be exposed in such a manner, and that takes  a repentant heart! If we are not ready to agree with God about our sin as He bears to light what we would rather hide, we are hardening ourselves to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and so are walking in darkness. If we walk in darkness we are hiding ourselves for who we really are from God and from others. If we are hiding who we really are, we are keeping ourselves from true sincere fellowship (with God and with others). Therefore, if we want to live in true Christian fellowship, we must live in an attitude of repentance.

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What I learned this past summer: God will help us!

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-11-33-57-amWhile working at Capernwray in the summer, amid all the tasks set before me, I learned practically that God is faithful to help me with each one as I depended on him.

“After that I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse [appeared]! The One Who was riding it is called Faithful (Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, Steady) and True, and He passes judgement and wages war in righteousness (holiness, justice, and uprightness).” Revelation 19:11

After giving my different tasks to the Lord, committing them to Him in prayer (Psalm 37:5) I saw over and over again that He is totally faithful. Whether it was planning a game for kids, writing a rap, or playing drums, He was faithful to use whatever task I gave him for His glory.

What stood out to me about this passage in Revelation is that Jesus is CALLED “Faithful”. As we learned at bible school, God’s names show his character! While reading scripture, it’s easy to find verses about God’s faithfulness… but this was the first time I saw a verse where He is called “Faithful”!

In many of my preparations for games and lessons for the children during the summer, I would pray, and seek Him in His word, and the Lord would encourage me.

1 Samuel 12:22 says:

“The Lord will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake, for it has pleased him to make you a people for Himself.”

God has promised over and over again in scripture not to forsake his people. If we are his children, made right with him by believing in Jesus, and he gives us a job to do and we depend on Him, committing the task to Him in prayer, he is faithful… He won’t forsake us!

“For the Lord will not cast off nor spurn His people, neither will He abandon His heritage.” – Psalm 94:14

Again, God isn’t going to abandon us!

Another promise I’ve seen in scripture, concerning doing things or praying about things for HIS glory is in Isaiah 41:10,13, and 44:2

“Fear not (There is nothing to fear)… I will help you…”

“For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!”

“Thus says the Lord, Who made you and formed you from the womb, Who will help you: Fear not…”

I’ve seen it again and again, how God is faithful to help us as we depend on Him, committing the tasks to Him, trusting Him, giving it all to Him in prayer. He will not forsake us! He will help us!

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Prayer Is Essential

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 4.55.13 PMPrayer is something that I’ve never seen to be as crucially important. I’ve never had a problem doing it but I simply didn’t see the importance of it you could say. God has been continuing to teach me over the last couple of months how very important it actually is. There have been instances where I’ve prayed for a unique situation that I maybe wouldn’t originally pray for and my prayer would be answered within a couple days. Now, to be clear, I’m not saying that God tangibly answers all prayers within a couple of days because I don’t believe He does. He answers prayers in His own time and in His own way that may be very different then what we would expect. I do believe, however, that God really does want us to be in constant prayer. As Philipians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” It’s been my experience that I feel God prompting my heart to talk to Him about all things, especially things that I find important to me. I think it’s important to ask ourselves, who are we going to first when we have something that needs tone dealt with? Other people of God. We need to always bring it back to God. He’s the only One even capable of dealing with the situations or challenges we find ourselves in. Why shouldn’t we go to Him? We’re not called to lean on our own understanding but to lean on Him. This all leads back to prayer as this is the way we communicate with Him. Prayer is not overrated. Prayer is essential. Our souls hunger and thirst for communion with God and we’re really robbing ourselves if we don’t take part in prayer.

James 5:13-16 reads, “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven of him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous manna accomplish much.”

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