thinking

Advent ~ day 5 ~ the prophetic word

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. (‭Amos‬ ‭3‬:‭7‬ NIV) I love prophecy. I love that God would speak to us and excite with His plans and purposes. As we have just read in Amos, the Lord doesn’t do anything without revealing his word to His servants the prophets. The birth of Jesus is no exception, in fact it is one of the best examples of the prophetic word spoken and then fulfilled. 1. Jesus will come from the line of Abraham. Prophecy: Genesis 12:3 Fulfilled: Matthew 1:1 2. Jesus’ mother will

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Advent ~ day 4 ~ The ministry of angels

Throughout these first few devotions we have been looking at Zechariah and his encounter in the temple. His angelic encounter is not an isolated event, in fact it is a frequent occurrence in the bible. From the Garden of Eden to Abrahamm, to Lot, Moses and Daniel, and this is to only name a few, angels have had a role in ministering and delivering messages from the Father. We can read more about their purpose in the book of Hebrews: In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” Are not

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Advent ~ day 3 ~ Trust in Him

Luke 1:18-20 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭18-20‬ NIV) Time can take its toll in holding on to

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Advent ~ day 2 ~ God has a plan

Luke 1:8-17 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him:

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Advent ~ day 1 ~ God hears

And so we begin the season of advent, the coming of Jesus, I begin a season of thoughts and meditations on Jesus’ coming and the promise that He offers. I love this time of year and find it an excuse to indulge in the riches that it holds. I will start the journey in the book of Luke. Luke 1:8-17 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

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The sovereign and intentional balance

We know that God is sovereign, and by that we think that he will intervene in our lives and move and make things happen that need to happen. Our response to this is that we sit back and wait, and wait and wait. We wait for God to move. But, I believe, He is often waiting for us to move. Yes, absolutely He is Sovereign, but there is a dynamic of responsibility and intentionality that we have lost. The picture comes to mind of a man sitting in his sitting room praying for a new car. God hears his prayer

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Reality TV

In the last decade there has been an explosion of reality TV shows, Big Brother, Towie, I’m a celebrity, Made in Chelsea, Gogglebox….and the list goes on. We have a strange addictive fascination with them, interested in their lives, intrigued to see what is happening…have you ever thought that’s kind of like heaven? There is crowd of witnesses that are watching our every move, not in a creepy voyeuristic manner but watching our decisions, our actions and the drama of our daily lives. On the edge of their seats watching you and I in those difficult situations, what’s he going

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Moving the Lord

In John 11 we have the story of Lazarus. It has brought me encouragement on many occasions and as I read it this morning I am particularly struck at how Jesus was moved. The situation that He saw his friends in moved Him to action, I find it encouraging that my situation can move the Lords heart. Yet there is balance between my distress moving the Lords heart and the Lord’s timing in the matter. Jesus could have gone immediately to Lazarus and healed him, but He knew there was a greater purpose. As soon as Jesus hears news of

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The seed

From the moment I saw you, I knew you were dangerous, but I had to keep looking, I had to keep thinking about you. I wanted to touch you, and be with you, yet each time I knew I was dying, atrophy set in. You would have thought that I’d stop, but each time I saw you I wanted more, I needed more, relentless pursuit of what I knew was killing my body soul and spirit. so gradual, so subtle, like I was caught in a daze, hypnotised by the enticing call, captured by the sirens beckoning me. Drawn in

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Stewarding God’s Grace

“if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NASB‬‬ In the British culture, Paul’s words could be viewed as verging on arrogant, but from what we know of his story that is far from the truth. He is confident in who the Lord has called him to be, he is confident in the grace he has been given. It is helpful to remind ourselves of what grace means. In my early days as a Christian I was given the definition of grace as: God’s unmerited favour or when

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Goodness

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing – Edmund Burke Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good – Romans 12:21 There is a rising of a tide of evil, it is lapping at the edges of our western shores, rising up upon our beaches, coming into our homes. We put out the sandbags and recoil from its murmurs, blocking our ears to the cries that get louder. For if we hear them we might have to do something and we don’t want our lovely world shaken. But

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EU Referendum

I was startled at the vote to leave the EU, and if I’m honest, a twinge of fear drifted across my screen when I heard the news. I quickly looked at Facebook account where there were many angry posts, all from my peers. They ranged from out and out abuse towards the ‘out’ voters to fear and scripture quotes about loving our neighbour. It was the quote about loving our neighbour that really got me, but not in ways you might imagine. It was the implication that if we loved our neighbour we should remain in the EU. I don’t

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The will of God

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬ As I was reading this morning the passage quoted above began to draw me in. I remember in my early days as a believer wrestling with the concept of the will of God, his perfect will and his permissive will. Asking God what His will as for my life. One of my pastors at the time would say it was a non-question, in that the bible is clear about the

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A dwelling place for the Spirit

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭22‬ NIV) It feels like a mystery, that God should dwell in us. That we should contain something of Him in our hearts. More so that as a people He is building us together and that His Spirit would dwell in us as a body. It realigns our thoughts of a personal walk with God to seeing it as corporate journey, we are together. We can grieve the Spirit on our own, but we can also grieve the Spirit

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Hope

To feel hopeless is hopeless, it is a spiral that feels like thee can be no return. In moments like this it is only the word of the Lord that can speak in and release freedom, and deliverance and ultimately hope. It is good to be wise to the enemy schemes, not that we focus on him, but that we understand how he works. He will cause us to draw conclusions from situations around us. Conclusions such as, God doesn’t care, if God really loved me he wouldn’t have let this happen, God doesn’t answer your prayers and so on.

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The cost

It is in 1 Chronicles 21 that we can read about David and how he purchased the threshing floor from Araunah. Araunah wanted to give the land to David but David insisted on paying. Somehow he knew that his payment was also an honour to the Lord, he knew the value of sacrifice and so he paid 600 Shekels of gold for the site. He wasn’t going to sacrifice to the Lord that which cost him nothing. Our offerings to the Lord cost us. If there is no cost involved it is not an offering, it has to involve a

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Treasure

There was a man who found some treasure in a field. He was so full of joy that he sold all that he had and bought the field. We are that field! Such is the joy of the Lord towards each of us. Maybe we don’t recognise the treasure in our own hearts, but it is there, and the Lord sees that treasure. In fact, he saw it ahead of time and gave all that he had that he could have that treasure. For though this is a parable about the kingdom and our need to value it and seek

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Grace in a time of need

The journey to the cross began the day Jesus was born, He was born to die. Maybe a bit of a dramatic start, but as we approach Easter my eyes are increasingly turned towards it’s events. I wonder how much the Lord knew of His journey in his early years? At which point was it clear that the cross was the way? As God, He would have had perfect knowledge, but in His limiting himself to walking as a man full of the Holy Spirit this knowledge would only come through revelation. Yet at whichever point it came He was

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The antithesis of insecurity

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;” ‭‭John‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭NIV Jesus always amazes me. He says the most profound things, be is not afraid to upset the apple cart, turn the tables. He doesn’t need to keep up appearances, He is not ruled by the agendas of man, though He does have an agenda. He is secure in who He is. Insecurity is defined as: uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence. Jesus is the antithesis of insecurity, the most secure person

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Hold on

There are lots of things that we seek after in life. Maybe it’s a new house, new car, a husband or wife. Maybe your expectation is that I am about to condemn them – no, I have no desire to. These things in themselves are not wrong. I do however want to point out this passage in Song of Songs that I often go back to, which for me, puts everything else that I seek into perspective. We live in a fragile world, things break, they don’t last and we ourselves eventually pass away. In the midst of this there

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revelation of the cross

As we approach Easter I am turning my thoughts again towards Jesus on the cross. As I start to think of the cross my concern is that I don’t consider the cross as much as I should or could and that I only focus on the cross and not the resurrection. Let’s face it, without the resurrection the cross was just a gruesome death. The one only makes sense and has reason with the other. Sometimes I don’t know where to start, do I focus on the seven last sayings? Do I think of the physical aspects of his death?

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Strength

Sometimes we don’t recognise our weakness. The first place to come to is to realise that we are weak. The second is to realise that we need help. The world tells us we can do all things in our own strength, that anything is possible, that we can overcome with our own strength. The bible however tells us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. There is a battle between the thinking of the world and the mind of God. As a believer, our minds are being renewed, turned from the earthly thinking, the futile thinking that

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Be still and know

We live in a world that is driven by targets, demands, quotas and expectations. Virtually every environment I have worked in is infected by these factors, including church. None of them are bad, but our insecure hearts and need for acceptance fuel them to become behemoths that rule our waking and sleeping. Yet in the middle of this the Lord asks us to be still. To pause and know. This does require stopping. It requires examining our time and making space. Not fitting in, working around but consciously and definitively making space to be still. Whatever your ‘today’ looks like,

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Knowing

As you read the gospels I am always suprised how many times Jesus knew what people were thinking or knew what was in people’s hearts. I have chatted with many people about this and there has tended to be the answer, well that was Jesus. That answer does not sit well with me. I know Jesus is fully God and fully man, but when he walked on earth he didn’t take advantage of his deity. He walked the earth as a man full of the Holy Spirit, without taking advantage of his deity in any way. So I therefore see

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Words

The wind as it whispers picks up the seed from the offering hands of the reproductively desiring flower. It is so gentle in its carrying of the seed, lifting it up and carrying it sometimes for miles, until it seems that the wind finds a place for that seed to rest and it lays it down in fertile soil. All the DNA necessary to reproduce is contained in that seed, though it is only a seed it has great potential to form the largest of tree or the deadliest of plant. I find words like seeds, they are formed in

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a vision of the cross

A number of years ago the Lord gave me a vision of the cross. Below is what he showed me. The Cross I came near the cross with some friends, I was talking with them confidently. I had on what looked like armour with feathers sticking out. As I looked around at others who were coming, some were dressed similarly. I was pointing at them and making comments to my friends, saying this was so and so – there was a real confidence and self assurance in my voice. It was bordering on arrogance and lacked humility. As I came

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Seasons

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven, says the writer of Ecclessiates. There was a time when Jericho stood tall and proud, there was a time when it was brought low. There was a time when Saul walked in honour as the King and a time when he fell and became bitter. There was a time when Adam and Eve walked in the garden and there was a time when they did no more. There was a time when Jesus walked on the earth, and now He sits in heaven. Times and seasons

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listening

If you sit still and start to listen there are lots of different sounds that you can hear. To begin, the most intrusive dominates the scene, but as you listen more carefully other sounds start to appear in the concerto before you. Maybe a voice, a distant shout, a bird song, a car door slamming or a plane in the distance. Every now and again I will do this to sharpen my hearing. I’m always amazed at what you do hear. As I think about this I am reminded of Elijah after his battle with the prophets of Baal and

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Distress

The Psalms are passionate and expressive, gritty and real. They are an instruction book for prayer and worship and fuel your vocabulary in talking with God. I find them a comfort, and a relief to my soul. In a recent time of feeling distress over a situation I started to read through the psalms, I saw again and again how the writers were also frequently in distress, but in all of the passages I read, God heard their cries, for example: “In my distress I cried to the LORD, And He heard me.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭120:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ This is one of

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Crucified with Christ

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭NASB‬‬ A weighty sentence from Paul, and maybe too much to chew in a thought for the day, but this passage has been going around my head for a while. We are co-crucified with Christ. I have to somehow reconcile being dead and that my new life is by faith in

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