Sunday, March 26, 2017

Out With Worry and Doubt - In With Boldness and Peace!

Hello everyone!  It's that time again, when I get to pour out my heart to you and pray that the words will be laced with God's supernatural grace and power and find their way directly to a special place in your heart.  A place where, in the midst of all you have going on in your lives, you are able to find a haven where God's Words of truth can refresh and restore and fill you with His wisdom, filling you with His peace.

Do you remember the words of Jesus, when He speaks of us being full of His peace?  John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" (Amplified)

I love the way He immediately links His peace with our tendency to worry.  I am ashamed to admit that this is an area that I can been quite skilled in.  Growing up, I clearly remember my Dad telling me, "Jenny, why do you always waste so much of your energy worrying about something that hasn't even happened?"  He was right.  I would somehow manage to get myself into a state of absolute despair over an issue that hadn't even materialised - except for in the confines of my own mind.  I wonder if I ever thought that worrying about something meant I was being responsible?  Did I think I could actually add some kind of value to my life by playing out all the possible scenarios that COULD happen, SHOULD something go horribly wrong?  Which reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:27, "And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?"

Well, no matter what our opinion on the subject of worry, God has made His very clear.  He says we mustn't give it the time of day.  And I know why, worry always produces doubt and unbelief and they both, are closely related to the enemy of our faith - fear.  Fear is a powerful spiritual force that will completely neutralise our faith, rendering it powerless.  It will destroy any confidence we have in the Lord and His Word and will make every prayer we pray ineffective.
Now this - INEFFECTIVE PRAYER - is really the heart of the matter I feel to share with you today.  So why all the ramblings on about worry and doubt?  Because according to the Word of God, they are the cause of double mindedness in the area of our prayer life.  Look at what James 1:6-8 says about this, "Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]."

There is a boldness and godly confidence we can have as children of God when we pray.  I'm not talking about an arrogance, or an attitude of entitlement.  I'm not even talking about a confidence we have  in ourselves.  No, it's a boldness and a confidence we experience by knowing and participating in an active relationship with God, and understanding the covenant promises from His Word.   It's this certainty we have in Christ that will drive out all worry and doubt and replace it with God's supernatural faith and peace.  What a difference this makes in our prayer life!

Did you know the Bible says it's possible to pray amiss?  It's true, James 4:2-3 says, "You have not, because you ask not.  You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss."  Praying from a heart of doubt and fear will cause our prayers to be ineffective.

There is so much to learn and share on this subject.  But an excellent place to begin, is to understand that our prayers ARE EFFECTIVE when we approach the Lord in bold faith and not worry, doubt and unbelief.  Scripture says that because of our RELATIONSHIP of right standing with God, we have an ongoing invitation to come BOLDLY to the throne of grace, to OBTAIN mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).  It's interesting to note that the  word OBTAIN means certainty to posses.

There is a direct connection between three important truths here.  Firstly, our RELATIONSHIP with God and His Word, that leads to... Secondly, a confident BOLDNESS in Him and His Word, that causes us to... Thirdly, OBTAIN exactly what we need.

Look at the Words of Jesus in John 15:7, "If you LIVE IN ME [abide vitally united to Me] and MY WORDS REMAIN IN YOU and continue to live in your hearts, ASK whatever you will, and it SHALL BE DONE for you."

Do you see the very same pattern? Jesus first emphasises us having a living relationship with Him and His Word; in order to have a confidence or boldness, to ask and obtain whatever we need from Him.

This is how it works: When we choose to actively spend time fellowshipping with the Lord, and keep His Word alive in our hearts, we begin to confidently trust and lean on Him and His Words with our whole being.  He becomes everything to us and His Word is a constant guide for all we do.   Since His ways and purposes become the dominating authority in all we do, and a pure delight for us to live by, they will have a direct influence on the way we pray.  We begin to pray what the Holy Spirit within us, leads us to pray, backed by the truth in His Word.  That's where the confidence and boldness comes from. There can be no doubt or uncertainty that what His Spirit and His Word have confirmed in our hearts to pray - is exactly what will become a reality in our lives!

There is so much truth packed up in that one paragraph isn't there!  So I'll stop right here, to give us time to really meditate on it and make it ours!  But I will leave you with one more promise to bring it all together, from 1 John 5:14&15, "And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.  And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him." (Amplified)

How do I know I'm praying according to His will?  Easy, ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide as you search the scriptures to see what God has to say on the subject.  When you have His Word on it, you have His will concerning it.  Let it fill you with peace and confidence as you pray!  And remember, don't give worry and doubt the time of day!

Love you,



Sunday, March 19, 2017

Starting Fresh

Overcome or be Overcome Part 2

There is always something hopeful about starting fresh isn't there?  It just seems to give us a new perspective on things.  Like shaking off the dust, or turning a new leaf, or cleaning the slate; either way, a new week, or day, or moment, means a new beginning. Sometimes, that's exactly what we need to overcome what lies behind as well as what lies ahead.

In last weeks letter, we spoke about the profound perspective Paul and Silas had adopted to overcome the terrible situation they had found themselves in.  They chose to shake off the issue of the injustice done to them and instead, dwell on a completely different one - the good and merciful character of their God - and the results were staggering!

Paul and Silas PRAYED and PRAISED.  That's a pretty good pattern to follow. Regardless of whether our trouble or conflicting circumstance is self inflicted or not, the fact that we are willing to take on a new perspective is the very best place to begin.  This new perspective involves surrendering everything to God and seeking out His wisdom and mercy.  PRAYERFULLY, laying an issue down before the Lord, even repenting, if necessary, of any self induced mistakes, is an excellent plan of action. Choosing His wisdom over our own lack of it, will change everything, and bring fresh, new hope in its wake.

When we pray, listening for His wisdom is essential.  God's Spirit and His Word will always give us the wisdom we need to overcome, every time. But sometimes, before we can hear or see it clearly, we need to wipe away the clouds of despair and worry that easily cause us to be overwhelmed and overcome.

That's where PRAISE comes in! Deciding to place our focus on Who the Lord Jesus is and not on our own brokenness, is what empowers us to overcome and not be overcome by our circumstances. We can choose to get caught up in the glorious hope we have in the person of Jesus Christ, as we praise Him from the depths of our hearts, in spite of the trouble or circumstances.

Since the presence of God inhabits our praises, our choosing to glorify Him, brings His glory and power straight into the heart of our circumstance.  God's power on the job, will overpower every fearful thought and supernaturally, turn our 'mourning' of the situation into dancing.  It will destroy the enemies power over our situation, and whatever was construed or set up as a trap for our downfall, will be turned around as an opportunity to see the glory of God in action.

Just like Paul and Silas, we will stand back and declare with all surety, there was no natural way things could have turned out the way they did - but the goodness and glory of God was ushered into the heart of the impossible situation that seemed to have no promise of a solution.  Like an earthquake in the middle of the night, it shook the very foundation of what was intended for our destruction and brought a victory that can be attributed to God alone.

Now that's what I call a happy ending!  It all begins with a decision to start fresh - with a new perspective of PRAYER and PRAISE.  We may never have to face the kind of life threatening ordeals Paul and Silas had to face, yet their perspective gives us wisdom to face every challenge the right way.  

This is a good week to start fresh!

Love you dearly,


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Overcome or be Overcome

Overcome or be Overcome
Part 1

Hello everyone, I'm so excited about this letter.  I found myself getting rather carried away with the content, that I had to break it into two letters.  I hope you enjoy reading every part of it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

We all know the journey of life can have some tough turns. At some or other time, each of us face hardships that seem to have the power to overwhelm and overcome us.  If anyone in Bible times knew the reality of troubled times it was the Apostle Paul.  In fact, he endured more life threatening challenges than any of us will see in our lifetime.  Yet, there was something so profound about the way Paul managed to go through each difficulty as an overcomer, instead of as a victim, overcome by his circumstances.  This has always intrigued me, and I just know there is a lesson in life for us to glean from it.  So, open your hearts dear ones, and let's trust the Holy Spirit to be our teacher!

I was reading the account in Acts 16, where Paul & Silas were severely persecuted for working the gospel.  I say 'working' because they were doing more than just preaching; they were confirming the gospel with signs, wonders and miracles, through the work of the Holy Spirit in them.  But their good work didn't find them favour with everyone - they were arrested, stripped of their clothes, beaten and thrown into the centre of a dark, damp and dingy prison.  And all of this because Paul cast a demon out of a young slave girl and set her free from its demonic oppression.  How unjust!

What amazes me the most in this story is the attitude of Paul and Silas throughout this ordeal!  The only time Paul showed frustration, annoyance and anger was over the demon who was abusing the young girl who was following them around for days, shouting and causing a commotion while they were trying to do their work for the Lord. Verse 18 says, "Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out,..." Yet, he showed no indication of irritation or outrage when falsely accused and persecuted for helping the girl.  He didn't even loose his cool when he and Silas were alone in the cold, dark prison cell, after been beaten and placed in those horrid stocks that were certainly not intended for their comfort - they couldn't even pace off their frustration if their sore and beaten bodies would allow them to.

How did Paul do it?  How did he manage to control his emotions and not get all riled up and anxious about what had to have been an awful and terrible ordeal?  How did he manage to not be overcome with discouragement?

Well, I went over this story several times, and I do think it had to do with perspective.  Somehow Paul had the kind of perspective in the heat of the moment, that clearly led him and Silas to keep their cool and focus on the very thing that would strengthen and encourage them through the ordeal; instead of focusing on the injustice and pain they were enduring.    They used a key to overcome instead of being overcome, and the result caused them to experience one of the most thrilling supernatural encounters of a life time!

In other words, Paul's perspective of the situation led him to control and focus his emotions and actions on the things he should be focusing on, which caused him to overcome instead of be overcome by his circumstances.

Wow, talk about a lesson in life, don't you agree?  Can you imagine that our perspective of any situation has the power to lead us to either overcome or be overcome?

So let's take a look at the perspective Paul and Silas had. The Bible says that in the heart of that dark, damp and dingy prison cell, instead of focusing on the terrible injustice of the whole matter, Paul and Silas chose to pray and sing.  Now, I had to chuckle at this picture, if it was me, the kind of praying and singing I would be doing would be completely contrary to what they seemed to offer up.  I can imagine my pity full whimpers, or soulful, heavy hearted, 'woe is me' cries.  Can't you? Perhaps even a prayer that would resemble, "Why me Lord, don't you love me anymore,  why did you allow this to happen, what have I done to deserve this?..."  No, not so from Paul and Silas.  Their prayers and songs were so completely different to what was expected from two men in their situation that it caught and captivated the attention of every other prisoner in that disgusting prison that night.  The Bible says that in the middle of the night all the prisoners were listening to them.

Here it comes friends, here is the perspective they chose.... even in their darkest hour, instead of moping and complaining, Paul and Silas chose to turn their attention on the beauty of Who Jesus is and got so caught up in His presence and glory, that it brought such comfort and peace to the most hardened of criminals, all around them.  Now, can you imagine what kind of praying and singing must have been going on?  Maybe something like, "Oh Lord, my God, you are so powerful, so glorious, so gracious and kind and merciful.  Your faithfulness extends forever and your love never fails.  Who or what can compare to your majesty and your matchless goodness.  You are my portion, you are my strength, you are my joy and my peace......".  Hey, you just sit there for a moment and begin to spontaneously, from your spirit, praise the Lord like that - I can guarantee that in no time at all His overwhelming presence will begin to overpower and overshadow and overflow inside every part of your being and into the very atmosphere around you.  I know this because I have tried it and found it to be TRUE!!!

Paul and Silas were not the only ones caught up in all that glory!  The other prisoners must have been so captivated by it, because even after the earthquake shook the very foundations of the place and flung open every door - they all remained just where they were - enveloped in the matchless glory that came from Paul & Silas's pure, sincere worship.   Perhaps the prospect of physical freedom was less appealing or captivating to them than the matchless, fulfilling freedom found from being in the beautiful presence of the Lord.  Or maybe they were too dumbfound by the supernatural earthquake they found themselves in the heart of.  There's even the possibility of angels being present at each of their doorways that kept them in their place - either way, there was no doubt the hand of God moved in that place on behalf of two praying, worshipping men.

Paul and Silas chose to focus on Jesus and His majesty instead of their own sorry state, and that changed everything!

Now there is a little more I'd like to share on Paul and Silas's perspective that caused them to overcome their hardships with such miraculous and ground shaking results.  But that will come in next weeks letter.  For now, I believe we have a wonderful opportunity to 'practice' our spontaneous praise and worship centring on Who God is in our lives - don't be surprised to see His hand move on your behalf when you do.

Much love,


Sunday, March 5, 2017

New Every Morning 

A brand new week is upon us! And with this week comes brand new opportunities. I say this because even though each day presents its own challenges and responsibilities that will demand our attention; the Word says that's not all we will be facing! God has promised to 'throw' in some pretty glorious help that completely overshadows and overpowers any difficult or tricky situation that will come our way this week - and they come freshly packaged and new - every single morning!

We can always expect His MERCY, LOVING KINDNESS and COMPASSION; and with their help, we CANNOT FAIL!

It is because of the Lord’s lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, Because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.

These verses makes me want to sing and dance, right on the spot! Now, when I looked up the Word 'mercy' I saw it means compassion, kindness and divine favour! I'm so excited about this because when I'm faced with anything overwhelming or challenging, I know that the Holy Spirit inside me, is poised and at the ready to release His compassion, kindness and favour into my life. That's not just His compassion towards me, but His compassion for me to extend towards others involved in the challenging circumstances. The same goes for His kindness and favour! Sometimes we can be put a little off balance by the things we face, and not have a clear perspective of the problem or what has caused it in the first place. Our own emotions can easily get in the way and cloud our good judgement. But when we have God's compassion and kindness dominating us, we tend to see things from a completely unique angle - allowing His wisdom and favour to flow!

Do you remember I mentioned the word OPPORTUNITIES? You see, the Holy Spirit is not going to force these awesome tools and gifts down our throats each day - He presents them for us to either reject or receive, and then appropriate - at our own will. Look at what verse 24 of Lamentations 3 says, "The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore WILL I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him." (Amplified) The Holy Spirit presents us with the opportunity to either face the challenges on our own and depend on our own expertise to navigate through them, or we can WILL to yield to Him and receive His limitless supply of mercy and wisdom to overcome each problem victoriously!   Did you notice I added the word wisdom to the mercy we have the opportunity to receive from the Holy Spirit each day? John 16:13-15 says, "But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into ALL the TRUTH (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honour and glorify Me, because HE WILL TAKE OF (receive, draw upon) WHAT IS MINE AND WILL REVEAL (declare, disclose, transmit) IT TO YOU ." (Amplified)

The Bible says that The Holy Spirit will lead us into ALL TRUTH . Not just enough to get by on, but all the truth needed to deal with each situation accurately and expertly. Remember that God is all knowing, and He has promised that if we ever need His wisdom for anything, we can ASK Him for it and He WILL GIVE it to us liberally and ungrudgingly (James 1:5). For instance, if you are a business or career woman, the Holy Spirit will present you with the opportunity to yield to His limitless wisdom on how to successfully increase your profits and reduce your losses. Or if you are a mom who needs to resolve any issue regarding your children or household, or a wife needing to be the strength and support your husband needs; the Holy Spirit promises to show you exactly how to meet every need and circumstance with His wisdom and mercy. The result will always be victorious with His divine favour all over it!

And this is how it happens: Lamentations 3:25 says, "The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and EXPECTANTLY for Him, to those who SEEK HIM [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and ON THE AUTHORITY OF GOD'S WORD]." (Amplified) First, we expectantly seek Him and His Word! God's Word IS His wisdom! Every morning His wisdom and mercy comes into our lives as we choose to expectantly seek Him and His Word! We lay it up in our hearts!   Now look at what John 16:26 says, "But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And HE WILL CAUSE YOU TO RECALL (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) EVERYTHING I HAVE TOLD YOU." (Amplified). Since we have laid up His wisdom in our hearts, as we are faced with difficulties or challenges, should we choose to yield to the Holy Spirit, He will remind us of the exact, appropriate truth we read from His Word. And that truth will be the perfect, most excellent wisdom required to turn that situation around for our victory and His glory! Come on friends, that deserves another great, fat "Yahoo!!!" right there! So, If you are facing a problem today, don't waste your time and energy trying to take care of it on your own! Rather, see every challenge as an OPPORTUNITY to yield to your limitless resource of God's mercy and wisdom that has been laid up inside of you - from His precious Holy Spirit Who is alive in you! He is most willing and ready to show you His way to success and favour!

 Love spending this time with you!