The Blessed: Success And Blessings

11th September

How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying His commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.”

Psalm 112:1-2

Isn’t this verse such a wonderful promise. If we are faithful, fearing (revering His holiness) the Lord and obeying His commands, look at what blessings await us. Our children will be successful. More than our children, generations will be blessed. See God’s blessings for us, are not just for the here and now, but are generational. When we look back to when the 10 commandments were given to Moses, we also see there that God promised us, that those who do not bow down to idols, or worship false gods, those who obey and follow God’s commands, He will pour out His ‘lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations’. Do you see the power in these promises. Not only will our children, the next generation be blessed if we obey God’s commands, but the next generation after them, and the next and the next and so on…

Friends, these are God’s promises to us. It is on these promises that our hope lies. Promises of blessings, promises of success and promises of God’s unfailing love, for us and for generations to come. Let us be like the joyful believers and followers of God’s word that the Psalmist mentions. Delight in His ways, and you will be blessed. Know that your actions now affect generations to come. You have an opportunity to make it generations of blessings….

For Such A Time As This

7th September

Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther 4:14b

Is it possible that you too are called ‘for such a time as this’ in your workplace, school or even in your church? Esther’s ascension to the thrown, her obedient heeding of Mordecai’s words and her boldness to act on them, led to the Jews being able to defend themselves and be saved from annihilation. It was God’s perfect timing for Esther and perhaps where you find yourself is God’s perfect timing for you too.

We cannot see all that God’s wants for our lives, but we can be obedient in the small steps along the way. Your voice may be exactly what is needed. Your prayers may be more strategic than you can see. Your actions may change your environment.

Be attentive to the Spirit’s guiding. Trust that His timing is perfect. Perhaps you are called, ‘for such a time as this…’

Friends To Speak The Truth

6th September

Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther 4:13-14

The book of Esther is a wonderful demonstration of justice, bravery and God-appointed timing. Yet one thing that stands out above the rest, is the necessity of having a friend who is willing to tell you the hard truth, even when it hurts.

Esther, was chosen by King Xerxes to be his queen because of her beauty. The King loved Esther above all of his other young women in the palace. Yet Haman, one of the King’s highest officials, seemed to hate all the Jews in the King’s Kingdom. So he plotted to have all the Jews killed. Mordecai, Esther’s older cousin, found out about this plot and devised a plan to save the Jews through Esther’s royal position. The story continues and sure enough, the favour Esther had with the King, enabled her to risk her life and intercede to the King on behalf of the Jewish people, leading to the salvation of all the Jews. Yet this would not have happened, if Mordecai did not give the harsh truth to Esther: that if she didn’t speak, her people would die. It is because of Mordecai’s wise advice and strong truthful words, that Esther was able to have the confidence to enter the King’s presence uninvited. It is because of his words that Esther was able to intercede for her people. It is because of his words that the Jewish people were saved.

In our lives, we too can battle with our own crisis’s, of which sometimes may feel like life or death, at least spiritually speaking. Yet if we battle alone, the chances are we may give up and live in constant defeat. Yet if we invite Godly and wise friends to walk and fight alongside us, we can have victory. Sometimes their words might hurt and not be what we want to hear, but they could just save your soul, or even your life, just as Mordecai’s words saved Esther’s. Don’t battle alone.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

James 5:16

He Gives The Words

4th September

When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking – it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

Matthew 10:19-20

So often when we are in situations beyond our control, our natural ‘I want to be in control’ button is triggered, and we automatically think that we need to know what to do or what to say. Yet Jesus, when He sent out His disciples on their missionary journey, said completely the opposite. He encouraged His disciples, that when in situations beyond their control, i.e., being arrested and facing persecution, it is then the Spirit will give wisdom what to say and do. So it is the same with us, when we are in tune with the Spirit, our words will become His and play out like a Heavenly rhythm.

Time and time again throughout the Bible, we see this in reality. For example when Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost and boldly shared about Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Many people were in awe at his words, after all, he was only an un-educated fisherman. Stephen, when standing before the council, charged with blasphemy, amazingly shared the Gospel in full through the power of the Spirit. Furthermore, on Paul’s countless missionary trips, God always gave in the words to speak and many people came to faith through them.

God has a mission for us all; to boldly be beacons of His light and love, through our words and actions. Don’t be afraid. God will give you the words to speak. He has and is equipping us for the mission He has given us, even in the midst of a storm.

God Knows Us Inside Out: Trust Him

1st September

What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’

Isaiah 45:9

So often when things go wrong in our lives, we are quick to point the finger at God and blame Him, as if it was His fault. Perhaps, even as you read this, there are somethings that you are going through, that if truth be told, you can’t understand why it is being allowed or how you will get out of it. Although an answer cannot be given for those questions, what we do know for certain, is that God does know what He is doing.

It is like a parade along a winding street. You can see the start if you are at the start, but once the parade passes you, you can’t see what will happen after. The same if you are in the middle or the end. Yet the person flying above in a helicopter can see the whole parade. The beginning, middle and end. He has the whole perspective. The same is with our lives. We only see in part, but God sees the whole picture.

Bearing that in mind, doesn’t it seem kind of silly to blame God for something we can only see in part?! Much like the example given in today’s key verse, a clay pot doesn’t argue with its maker, because the potter knows what he is doing, and has the final image in his mind. The same is with God. We might not be able to see the finished work of our lives, or the immediate answer to prayer we so desperately seek, but rather than doing God’s job for Him, trust Him that He knows what He is doing. Trust Him, that He will take care of YOU His child and know that He is preparing great things for you. He has already seen the end, and the end is VERY GOOD!

Is This Idol I’m Holding In My Hand A Lie?

31st August

I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like Me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since the ancient times when I established a people and explained its future.

Isaiah 44:6b-7

Why do we put our hopes in things that cannot satisfy or even answer? As humans, we are always searching for hope, appreciation, support, guidance, provision and protection. We cry out to our Facebook friends, for appreciation, likes and adoration. We look to our social media networks to hear our cries for help as we pour out our hearts. We idolise singers and artists, as if they can fill the empty holes in our hearts. Yet all this, is simply false hope and trust in ‘idols’ that cannot help us. Perhaps we may feel a temporary peace, but it will not last.

The Israelites too, were battling with placing their hope in false idol worship, and their trust in images carved from human hands. God, through Isaiah’s words, challenged the people of Israel, as their Redeemer and King. ‘Who is like Me?’ God says. ‘Come forward to prove your power.’1 This was not an arrogant statement, but the words of truth and confidence. There is no one like our God.

The passage continues (well worth a read), from verses 9 – 20, highlighting just how ridiculous it is to place your trust in anything other than God Himself. The writer breaks down the process of how an idol is made. First the wood-carver cuts down the wood, selecting the wood for the idol he is going to make. With the rest of the wood, he starts a fire to keep himself warm, to bake his bread and to roast his meat. Yet “the person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?”2 Although this is a highly comical section of scripture, there is a hard hitting truth; isn’t it ridiculous when we place our hope in anything other than the ONE TRUE GOD?

Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”

1Isaiah 44:7 (paraphrased)

2Isaiah 44:19

Behold I Am Doing A New Thing

30th August

But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland..

Isaiah 43:18-19

As Isaiah continues to prophecy God’s words to the people held in captivity by the Babylonians, he takes a turn in his message, reminding them of God’s faithfulness and His mighty hand to deliver. He encourages them, that although they are feeling alone and abandoned, God had not forgotten about them. Although their sins are the reason for their wasteland wandering and captivity, He will forgive and restore His beloved people.

God, through Isaiah’s words reminds them in Chapter 43 of the time when He set them free from the hand of slavery in Egypt. He reminds them how He “opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea” after Pharaoh had let them go from captivity. Not only did He make a way for them to cross, but snuffed out the threat of the following Egyptian army. He reminds them that He is their Saviour.

But, when we reach verse 18, there is a dramatic twist in the narrative…. God says to His people, ‘BUT FORGET ALL THAT…IT IS NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT I AM GOING TO DO. FOR I AM ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING NEW….!!’ It’s like God was saying, ‘yes, you have experienced My hand of salvation from above, but now, I will send you a Saviour and Messiah, who will physically show you My salvation, and lead you into eternal freedom from sin’s bondage.

Friends, that salvation was Jesus Christ. The King of Kings. God did do something new and greater, because not only did He save the Israelites but He came to save all people, that includes us. He became humanities salvation. God made a way, in the wastelands of our lives, to shine His glory and set us free. He became our light and salvation. He freed us from sin’s prison. He has taken us by our hands and led us to freedom. Praise His Name forever.