God directs our evil to good purpose!

THE STORY OF JESUS: 2 Kings 5-8:15
“Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” (2 Kings 5:15)
In 2 Kings 5:1 we read that God gave victory to Aram through Naaman.
Aram was not a God-serving nation, the king did not follow the God of Israel.;
And yet God is in charge of the affairs of the world, not just in Israel.
Think about the rulers and nations and world affairs of today – who is in charge?
In these chapters we read about human violence and intrigue, immorality and cruelty.
If God is in charge, is God responsible for all this evil?
NO!!!! God does not cause evil, but neither does He let evil have the last word.
God allows us our freedom, but He directs the results of our actions to His purpose.
We are responsible for all the evil in the world, but thanks to God it can only go so far.
God put us in charge, and look at the mess we have made of it.
God refuses to bypass human responsibility, but He does find a way to use it for good.
Ultimately God sends Jesus to set things right, to overcome evil with goodness.
And even though humanity tried to stop Jesus, God directed their evil to good!
Now, as with Naaman, God is giving hope and victory to the world through Jesus!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You have come to make things right again. You are the first human to rule this world properly. I will follow You as my King, and will trust Your leadership to the very end!

Filled with His Spirit!

“‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied.”
Elijah and Elisha were some of Israel’s greatest prophets, backed by God’s power.
The miracles attributed to them confirm that they have God’s Spirit and speak for God.
If God supports His old covenant messengers like this, how much more will He support us.
Jesus calls His followers greater prophets than the greatest OT prophet (Matthew 11:11).
We have received the fullness of the Spirit of Jesus, anointing us as His prophets.
The Spirit of Jesus will work through our weak efforts, to give them impact.
Elijah, Elisha, John, and us, we’re all ordinary servants of God.
But when we speak and act in Jesus’ Name, amazing things happen.
As a Jesus follower, are you feeling confident to speak and act for God?
We should not look to these prophets for examples of being God’s prophets.
Jesus has show us what a God-pleasing ‘servant of God’ looks like.
Not being pushy or arrogant, but humbly, boldly showing and sharing His love!
We have more than a double portion of Elisha’s Spirit, ready to work through us.
Are we as eager as Elisha to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus in our lives?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You have given us the Spirit of boldness and love, may we not let the spirit of doubt silence or stop us from being channels of Your grace!

Despite the smell!

What do you think?

God’s love shown through Jesus!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Mark 6:30-34
“When Jesus saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them.” (Mark 6:34)
Jesus is concerned for his disciples, and invites them to a quiet time of retreat.
Jesus is concerned for the desperate masses, and teaches them about God’s kingdom.
Jesus is concerned for you, for me, and for all people.
He is inviting you to experience God’s mercy, grace, hope and blessing.
God sent Jesus into the world to restore the lost and to heal the broken.
God sent Jesus to lift up the humbled and to stand up for the oppressed.
If only we could grasp how deep and how far His love goes.
By His Spirit, He is still teaching us many things… are we hearing Him?
Do you sense His deep compassion for you, for those around you, and for ALL people?
God hates sin, and He must condemn it; but He does not want to condemn us.
Through Jesus, see and hear the heart of God reaching out to you, and all people!
As a Jesus follower, you have been taught about God’s amazing grace.
If we have experienced God’s mercy and love, how can we not share it with others?
Today when you see the masses, will His compassion for them show through you?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, thank You that first and foremost I am loved and forgiven and restored – totally undeserved. Help me by Your Spirit to love others because You first loved me.

A new and better master!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Mark 6:21-29
“Because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.” (Mark 6:26)
Why do we do things we shouldn’t do, or not do what we should do?
How much does external pressure prompt our bahaviour?
A desire to be thought well of, or to save face, or improve our standing?
Herod was a strong leader in public, but weak in private.
People claim that they want to be free, but how much of our life is bondage?
We are not so free afterall; we are slaves to sin and to its consequences.
As Jesus followers, we have surrendered ourselves to a new master.
This sounds restricting, but it is actually liberating.
We are free from the pressure to do what others expect of us.
We are free from Satan’s accusations and enticements.
They still come, but now we can refuse them with Jesus’ help!
Herod did what he didn’t want to do, because he felt pressured to.
In Jesus we have the motivation and the support to do the right thing.
But only if we have surrendered to Jesus as our new master!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, there is no freedom apart from surrender to You. Any other master but You – including myself – will only make my life unbearable.

Is Jesus haunting your conscience?

THE STORY OF JESUS: Mark 6:14-20
“Herod said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!'” (Mark 6:14-16)
I have found through experience that a guilty conscience agitates the mind.
You become paranoid that others may know or find out.
Herod is flustered; he thought he had silenced guilt by killing John.
The Spirit of God is speaking to his conscience, setting him on edge.
The conscience is God’s Voice in our heart and mind, calling us back to Him.
But do we listen to His Voice in our conscience, and respond appropriately?
Paul speaks about consciences seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2).
These are people who have cauterized their conscience into insensitivity.
They ignore the warnings of guilt, and they refuse God’s call to return.
No matter how many signs, warnings or blessings God sends, they reject them.
As Jesus followers, we have heard and responded to God’s Voice in our heart.
This does not make us sinless but MORE aware of our guilt and shame.
Our conscience is a gift, and we ignore it to our own peril.
Is Jesus ‘haunting’ you about something, and if so, how are you responding?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, Your presence is only scary if I have something to hide. Help me not to silence Your Voice in my conscience, but to seek it and respond wisely!

Do I need to change the way I think?

“They went out and preached that people should repent.” (Mark 6:12)
Mark uses one word – repent – to summarize the message.
That word – metanoia – literally means ‘to change one’s mind’.
Change the way you think about God, yourself, the world, life, sin, etc!
How we live is an expression of how we think.
Think about how you think, does your mindset reflect Jesus?
Don’t just look at your professed beliefs, what about your practiced beliefs?
How we treat others, manage time or money, set priorities, how we deal with fear…
These are all reflections of how we really think!
God is offering us a better life, a life of grace, peace, goodness and hope.
But unless we rethink how we think and live, we will miss out on it!
The strict instructions for the disciples added seriousness to their message.
And the strong impact (healing, silenced demons) added authority to their message.
But the message then, and now, is ‘change the way you think.’
May the Spirit of Jesus penetrate the strongholds of our minds, and help us rethink!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, if I think that I don’t need to change the way I think, then that is how I need to change the way I think. You cannot help me until I admit that my thinking is skewed, and allow You to transform my mind.

His strength seen in me!

“In the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.” (Psalm 48:8)
What made David great when he stood before Goliath?
What made Jesus great when He was attacked by Satan?
What makes me great in the face of life’s challenges and struggles?
Not me, but God in/with/for me — this is what makes us great!
This song celebrates the greatness of Jerusalem, Israel’s capitol.
But her greatness then, and now, depends on her relationship to God.
The same is true for us, and for every ruler and nation.
Apart from God, we are weak, helpless, finite, doomed.
But we do not need to be apart from God; He desires to stand with us!
When our lives revolve around God, we discover a joy, peace and hope that energize us.
Just as the city inspired the psalmist, my life can do the same when I cling to God.
God is over me, God is with me, God is in me, God is working through me… this is amazing!!!
As I reflect on this, calmness and strength stir within me, and show through me.
As a Jesus follower, may others see in me how He is my strength forever and ever!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You are great, and I am weak without You. But in/with You, I have a strength and joy beyond what I could find myself. May others be drawn to Your strength seen in me.

Who is really in charge here?

THE STORY OF JESUS: 1 Kings 20-22
“I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven.” (1 Kings 22:19)
So who is really in charge of our world?
As humans, we manage God’s creation for Him, though we do it poorly.
Among us some humans use and abuse that power as leaders.
In these chapters we see kings using and abusing their powers over others.
Jehoshaphat and Ahab sit on thrones surrounded by prophets (1 Kings 22:10).
But Micaiah reminds them that behind this earthly scene is God’s throne (v.19).
Human rulers do their best and worst, but always behind them is God.
God works behind the scenes to make sure good and truth triumph in the end.
It was no random arrow that brought down Ahab, but the God’s judgment of sin.
Pilate thought he was in charge, but Jesus reminds him Who is really in charge.
“You would have no power over me if not given to you from above.” (John 19:11)
Trudeau, Putin, Trump and Kim Jong-Un, etc. rule under God’s discretion.
As Jesus followers, we are loyal to the throne above, and not to human thrones.
We serve leaders out of loyalty to Jesus, but only He deserves our full devotion!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, forgive us for being so caught up in the politics of this world that we forget what obedient to You means. Your throne trumps every other!

The desire to hear His voice!

THE STORY OF JESUS: 1 Kings 17-19
“And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12)
In these chapters we see dramatic signs of God’s power.
Yet the signs are still not enough to convince Elijah.
Similarly, Jesus performed great miracles, but people still doubted Him.
It was only in hearing God’s Voice through Him that some believed.
In everything that happens, big and small, the Voice of God is whispering.
Hearing God, being with God, knowing God — this is the goal.
Many Christians still clamour for signs, when God wants to give us Himself.
But God is not in the fire, nor the healing, nor the multiplied loaves, etc.
God is in you, He is whispering His love and wisdom into your heart.
Jesus is God in a body, drawing near so that we might know Him.
He is still calling gently, with a ‘still small voice’, calling you to come.
Listen with your heart, listen to your heart, eagerly desire to hear Him.
Feel, sense, and hear His assurance, ‘You are not alone, I am with you!’
Stop seeking miracles, seek to know God and Jesus — this is the true joy of LIFE!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, Elijah saw many miracles, but it was knowing You and hearing Your voice that ultimately satisfied Him. May I hear Your gentle whisper again today, its what my heart truly desires.