God is at work in your circumstances

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Taken from the Word4U2day publication:

One author writes: ‘We manage time, waste time, spend time, and save time. We wish it would come…we wish it would pass…we see time fly…we feel it drag. We watch clocks and carry calendars…yet God controls time. He created time, and His creations are fenced by His time, directed and guided by His loving hand.

We’re surprised by unexpected developments, but God is never surprised by even the most disastrous turn of events. And your outlook on life changes dramatically when you know that at this very moment God is working within you “to carry out His purpose.” Think about how you’d live if you were absolutely certain God was at the end of your deadline. That even if there were mere seconds left, you believed with certainty He was working through your circumstances.

Believing God is there and about to provide is the essence of faith. “Jesus…is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NLT). Time can’t diminish His love or His power to work within your life. He was there in the past; He’s present in the now, and He’ll be there in the future. The truth is, He has “all the time in the world…a thousand years or a day, it’s all the same to [Him]” (Psalm 90:4 MSG). And His ultimate goal is to bring you into eternity, not just get you through to the end of the week.’

In every situation ‘His power…is at work within us…to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly…above all that we dare ask or think…beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams.’

Sow the good seed, and God will make it grow

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I’ve been delaying this post, because I knew once I write it I will need to do it as well, and that scared me a bit.

There are times when we need to point out to someone that what they are busy with in life is wrong, but when it is family or friends it becomes more difficult because they are so close to you, and you are scared to come across as judgemental. But Jesus tells us to point these things out with love and not with judgement (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15). So when we’re trying to help someone improve, let’s do it with kindness, understanding and empathy.

But then again you might not get the reaction you were hoping for when you point this out to someone you care about. We all probably have a friend or family member who we are continuously praying for and hoping that they will change their ways. It can make us feel like all the time we’ve spent trying to win them has been for nothing. I have even felt like I maybe haven’t been spending enough time with them, sharing Jesus with them and that I should have done more. But patience reminds us that, ultimately, we’re working to God’s schedule, not our own. All that God asks of us is that we faithfully follow His will and then believe He’ll provide what we’ve asked for.

If we allow Him to guide us and we’re praying and asking in line with His will, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, He will answer our request. Maybe not in our timing or in the way we thought, but we will get an answer. And since sharing the gospel and praying for others is what God wants us to do, we can be sure that He is at work in the life of the person we’re trying to bring to Him. ‘God our Saviour…desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2:4 ESVUK). 

Then I read the parable of the sower in Mark 4 and verse 26-29 clearly spoke to me:

Then Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps—harvest time!”

What I need to do is sow the seed and then give over to God to manage the growing process. In God’s timing, I will see the harvest, and it will be more beautiful than I can ever imagine.

I recently read the following:

We have the power to influence people with our words, actions and beliefs so let’s make sure we’re doing it in a positive way. Paul wrote ‘Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.’ When our faith is strong, we help strengthen others. When we speak words of encouragement rather than criticism, we build people up rather than bring them down. The Bible says ‘Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift’ (Ephesians 4:29 MSG). It’s also worth remembering that sometimes we have to tell others when they’re heading off God’s path, and they need to tell us too. Proverbs 27:17 says ‘You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another’ (MSG). We need each other. We need relationships in our lives. But we need to make sure that we’re affecting others in a positive way.

 

May you never give up on that person you are praying for. May you sow the good seed and trust God to do the rest in His timing. 

Blessings,

Stephanie

Take a real rest with Jesus

 

Being 6 months pregnant I’m really now struggling to get a good night’s rest, and with so many deadlines at work I have been putting in more hours at the office too, and all of a sudden it has taken its toll on my body. I am extremely tired, yet I’m still struggling to get enough sleep at night with this belly in the way and legs cramping all night.

As a new born Christian would do, I turned to prayer… asking God to give me enough strength each day, to just keep me awake and help me to still be productive and not think about how tired I am all the time.

I was probably yawning this morning as I passed a billboard, right there next to the freeway on my way to work… on the billboard the words of Matthew 11:28…(I still wish I had taken a picture of the billboard before it was replaced) 

How more clear did I need God to speak to me? 

The Message translation of Matthew 11:28 describes it the best when Jesus says:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I realised I don’t need sleep, I need to go into the REST that Jesus is talking about, I need to be still with His Word and in His presence for a while. I need to realise that He is my strength and that I need to shut down when I can, I need to get away with Him and recover my life.

Shut down technology for a bit, forget about Facebook or your favourite TV show for one evening and spend it with the Lord, go into His rest and recover your life with Him by your side.

May you find rest in the Lord, may you become revived and be re-fueled by His presence

Blessings,

Stephanie

 

It’s a decision we make

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I recently read a part in Romans 1 that slapped me right in the face, and all of a sudden the state that the world is in made sense to me.

Romans 1 from verse 18 says:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

From the very beginning, we can see God’s hand at work, the creation itself speaks of the wonders God can do. In the old testament the Israelites were always aware that God was with them, he provided for them while they were in the desert and even spoke to them directly, but then Moses leaves them for a while to go up the mountain and when he came back they had made a golden calf and worshiped it. Years later they demanded that they wanted a king whom they can see, and whom can lead them. They have seen God’s wonders, yet they still decided that they wanted an earthly (physical) god/king.

It is the same in today’s world, almost everyone knows of the wonders that God has done, yet they decide to turn away from that and follow the worldly way living (hence the state that the world is in today).

In the end, it comes down to a decision. We have seen God’s wonders, either in our own lives or in the lives of those around us, so let’s make the decision to take those wonders and make it part of our being and turn away from the worldly way of living.

May we build our faith on the wonders we have already seen, and may we be excited for the wonders we are trusting God for.

Blessings,

Stephanie

 

 

My hope is in You Lord

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So often we place our hope in people, organisations, governments, or we just try to fix everything ourselves. From my own personal experience, I find that the hope we place in earthly things/beings, just end up in disappointment.

Every day I find myself in conversations where people admit that they have lost hope, they have lost hope in our country; they have lost hope in our government; they have lost hope in humanity – well isn’t this just more reason to place your hope in God??

Look at Abraham – he didn’t know where he was going when he packed everything up, but his hope was in the promise that God made to him, a promise of many children and a promised land. Genesis 12

Look at Moses – God told him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses never entered the land that God promised, but Moses still places his hope and faith in the Lord. Deuteronomy 34

Look at Paul – A man who once murdered anyone who believed in Jesus Christ, then Jesus himself changes Paul’s life. Paul ended up in prison for proclaiming the Gospel. But Paul always urged people to keep hope in the Lord.

One message from Paul that stands out is Romans 5 where he says:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

You see, hope is when we have an expectation for a positive outcome, we have a hope for something that we cannot yet see.

Romans 8: For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Let us place our hope in God! Even when we run into problems and trials, and even when it seems as if there is no hope left when we look at the world, let’s remember that God is, and has always been in control, and in that we can have a confident hope of salvation.

May you be filled with the Holy Spirit to be a beacon of hope where there seems to be no hope left.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Place Your Life Before God

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You might remember a previous blog I did on Romans 12, and today I am doing one again, but from a different angle…

I have read Romans 12 a few times and each time it tells me something new. This morning was no different, except this morning I read it from The Message and ‘surprise’… it had a new, very powerful, meaning to me. May it have a wonderful impact on your day as well!

This is how The Message tells Romans 12:

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

How well do you represent Jesus?

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Recently I saw an incident on social media where someone claimed to be a preacher and even used the hashtag #Christianity along with her post, all while her post was filled with judgement and hatred towards a certain celebrity. This caused my heart to break because #Christianity certainly does not leave room for judgement or hatred.

To me, Christianity means representing Jesus Christ here on earth, to strive to be like Him, to act in love and kindness every single day, and to (eventhough you don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle or beliefs) always show love, caring and respect.

We had a speaker at our church a while ago and he described it perfectly. He said that he has a favourite band, but when someone sings their songs and doesn’t do it justice, he won’t stop listening to that band just because someone else represented them in a bad way… Unfortunately it doesn’t work the same when it comes to Christianity.

So many people have left their churches, or even became non-believers, because of someone who hurt them by being a bad representation of Christ, someone maybe judged them or discriminated against them, and that caused a lot of hurt towards Christians.

It is so important that we know what is expected from us as Christians, we have a huge responsibility. Jesus gave his desciples one new commandment before He was crucified: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” ~ John 13:34-35

One thing that I’ve been struggling with for so long, is wondering if I represent Jesus as well as I should.

In one of my previous blog posts I wrote about this.  I was constantly wondering what impression I am leaving behind, and I realised that I wasn’t trying to please other people… I am trying to live up to God’s expectations of me. I want people to see Christ in me.

This broken world is hungry for love and as Christians, we have so much love to give!!

May you find your true identity in Christ, and may you go out to the world and share Christ’s LOVE wherever you go. May the world see Christ in YOU!

 

Blessings,

Stephanie