Friday, 20 February 2015

Lessons in the New Year: the 21 Day Plan from the You version, and Brian Houston

Have started the 21 Day Plan: 21 Days of Powerful Breakthroughs, while also following a plan 'A Right Spirit' from Brian Houston of Hillsong.

31st December, the cusp of the new year

Hebrews 13:6 The lord is my helper. I SHALL NOT BE AFRAID.
I CAN trust God.

James 1:12: God will reward me when I don't give up under trials

1 Chronicles 4:10 The prayer of Jabez
‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.

John 14:27, Psalm 23:1

January 1st
Philippians 4:6 - 7
Don't worry - PRAY
Be thankful -PRAY

Isaiah 26:3
The Lord givdes PEACE when I have frim FAITH
He will guard our hearts against all harm and danger - giving me PEACE

There are three stages in life (21 Day plan Day 3)
So don't wait ANXIOUSLY
stand on FAITH

Watch my faith move the mountains in my life.
- doubt
- fear
- insecurity
- indecision

January 2nd


Proverbs 3:25 - 26
DON'T BE AFRAID of sudden disasters or storms
GOD will protect me from HARM
The harm that may come when my faith is shaken and I doubt. (And yet, that makes faith stronger too.)
Daniel 3:27 saved from fire
Psalm 37:24 The Lord will hold my hand: if I stumble, I WON'T FALL.
Psalm 37:4 Do what God wants - He WILL give me my heart's desire

Brian Houston: Guard your spirit

Proverbs 4:23  Everything you do flows from your heart
Proverbs 25:28 Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls

"Never develop a wounded spirit"

Instead, have a RIGHT SPIRIT: Psalm 51:10 - 12
Create in me a clean heart...
Develop a GENEROUS spirit
"Spend myself - not counting the cost, if it is for Jesus."

Is my spirit free, or full of offense or hurts of the past?

"Human nature tends to want to justify mediocrity."
"If your spirit is not right, it is revealed in what you do because we 'leak' our spirit."

January 3rd: A right spirit and OBEDIENCE

1 Samuel 15:22  "To obey is better than sacrifice."
or arrogant, a know-it-all, proud, DEFENSIVE - not teachable.

Lord, may I have a TEACHABLE spirit.
Bring the RIGHT PEOPLE into my life who can speak to me with GODLY WISDOM and discernment.

Romans 6:16 Be a slave to God.
Hebrews 5:8 - learn obedience through suffering, as Jesus did.

Bible gateway verse of the day: Titus 2:11 - 12 The grace of God teaches us to say 'no' to ungodliness and worldly passions.

YOU version Day 5 WAIT, Yield to His word.
Psalm 27L14 Trust the Lord
Lamentations 3:25 - 26 It is good to wait patiently.

January 4th

Brian Houston: "Trusting God means we'll keep the kind of spirit where we can believe that God will open doors for us."

Be humble: "Promotion doesn’t come from other people or from what is going on around us, it comes from God. Trusting God means we’ll keep the kind of spirit where we can belie
ve that God will open doors for us.  Trying to find our esteem from what we do builds all the wrong things into our spirit."  (Brian Houston, Day 4 of A Right Spirit)

"there are people (I am) called to do life with and whose destinies are connected (with mine)...
Do you attend your church because you like the pastor, the worship or the children’s ministry? The best reason to go to church is because you believe God has connected you as a partner. Membership is not about signing a form but about having a spirit that understands the power of partnership and equal contribution." (
Brian Houston, Day 5)

"There is no reason to be concerned or worried, because God is in control. " (21 day plan Day 6) Philippians 4:4 'Rejoice in the Lord always and again I saw rejoice'
Psalm 56:3 "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

Psalm 46:10 "Be STILL and know that I am God."

This came to mind: "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." Psalm 139:23
My first port of call should be God first: to tell him about what is bothering me, before I share with other people.

January 6th. School starts. Deuteronomy 33:12 "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."

I long to feel secure in God. Secure, so that, when I make mistakes, as Brian Houston today talks about a Right Spirit and Failure, I can take full responsibility for them without blaming anything or anyone else.
Proverbs 9:10 "Respect and obey the Lord! This is the beginning of wisdom.
To have understanding, you must know the Holy God."
Ephesians 5:15 "Act like people with good sense and not like fools. Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people). Watch your step, use your head."
Romans 14:10-12 (Message)

Day 8 of the You version 21 Day plan really spoke to me: KEEP PRAYING!
"Keep praying no matter what

Luke 18:1 says no matter what, you have to keep praying. I can recall a time when I was deeply worried about a person lying about me to others. I prayed and finally decided I had enough, so I simply stopped praying about it.

Keep praying

One morning, God began to deal with me. He made it quite clear to continue to pray about the person. Not understanding, because of course, I had dealt with it for so long, I began to believe it was simply going to be this way for the rest of my life. Be careful not to believe the lies of the devil! But, out of obedience, I decided to pray about the situation once more. Do you know, shortly afterwards, God revealed this person's lies and evil intentions to everyone? He not only brought the situation to an end, but He led me to Exodus 14:13 and promised me I would see this person no more.

It will turn around

I am here to tell you things will and can turn around. The scripture says, "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:19 KJV). (In the Message: "Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do IN AND THROUGH me will be done."

It does not matter how it looks today or even how it feels. God promises in His Word through prayer, things will certainly turn around. We know this is true because in Isaiah 55:11 KJV it states, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

If there is ever a time to really pray and believe, it is when you have been counted out, a relationship looks dead, an opportunity seems too far to obtain or something seems hopeless! Make a commitment to keep praying!

Reflection: Have you been dealing with a situation for a period time? I challenge you to continue to pray about the situation and no matter how hard it looks, God will turn it around in His time."

January 7th
Reading about success today - to prepare for it, like the five wise virgins who took extra oil at, presumably, extra cost to themselves. They were then prepared to meet the bridegroom.
And Brian Houston talks about how, in success, we are to keep a right spirit:

To keep a right spirit in success:
Always give God the glory. The moment we start thinking our success is deserved, we have a poor spirit in that success.
Don’t become arrogant.
Be authentic. Continue to be who God called you to be and don’t forget from whence you came.
The You version talks about being prepared for success:

Many times when we set out on our journeys with hopes, aspirations and dreams we may all start at the same place, but only a selected few obtain victory because of simply preparing in advance.

So, what are you expecting from God today? Is it success on your job, a long and healthy life, a marriage, financial success or simply peace? You have to begin to not only believe, but also start preparing yourself today.

The devotional suggests I list 5 things I am expecting and then 5 things I can do to prepare myself to receive them.

I can think only of one: to prepare myself by keeping my heart humble before God.
By recognizing that everything comes from him - it is not by my own efforts.

January 8th
Romans 4 (21 Day plan, Day 10)
In the context of Jesus putting us right with God, through faith in him and that he has done so:

“Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.

4-5 If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.

 ,,,it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God...

...That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.
Verse 16: This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. ...

Abraham... became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

Brian Houston talks about not letting our spirits be sabotaged by negativity
"Father God, give me wisdom when it comes to dealing with the issues of life. Bring to mind wrong thoughts and perspective that might be clinging to me and clouding my vision. Teach me to live with a positive outlook that is refreshing to everyone that I encounter, causing people to see Christ in me.


verbs 4:23 (NIV) Above all else guard your heart, because everything you do flows from it.
Deuteronomy 4:9The Message Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.

January 9th 
21 Day plan, Day 11
begin to praise God for prayers you expect to come to pass! And suddenly, you will see God do a big thing in your life.
Paul and Silas praised God in prison and the walls were shaken, their chains fell off and they were FREE.  (Acts 16:25 - 26)

I want to be free of doubt and fear about our future.

AND THEN: You Version verse of the day "

We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.
Ephesians 6:12 CEV



Brian Houston says: "Who is ruling your spirit and taking far too much of your focus in a negative way? No mature Christian who is seasoned in the Word has any reasonable excuse to live their life offended.

Jesus told us that offenses would come. In John 16:33 Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation” but He also said, “I have overcome the world.” So if Jesus has given us the spirit of an overcomer, we have no real excuse to live our lives offended or as the victim of someone else’s opposition or pain; we are told to rule our own spirit well.

PRAYER: Jesus, teach me to live without offense. Give me an overcoming spirit that is confident in you and in your ability to overcome darkness with light
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Proverbs 15:24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent
to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.
1 Peter 1:6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

January 10th. A day when problems seem somewhat overwhelming...
You Version - 21 Day plan: Day 12 - Problems are temporary

Remain quiet during your storms

Many times when we go through trials, we tend to immediately pick up the phone, speak with a friend or update our status bar to determine what to do. Before long, everybody knows you are going through it. You are no longer walking around with zeal, but wearing a ton of problems on your face. You seek the help of others before seeking the help of God.
Keep your hope in the Lord

So often, we want to move at our own pace but fail to move at God’s. God makes it clear that whatever you desire of Him, if you keep your hope in Him, He will renew your strength. Sometimes waiting on God can be challenging. We are saying, “God when? God why? God, what are you doing with me? God, I don't quite understand it.”
It is not for us to know when, why or even to understand His plans for our lives. It is more relevant to understand He loves us so much He will not leave or forsake us, read Hebrews 13:5. He even loves us so much that He will not hurt us and He only desires the best for us. He will not withhold anything good from us, read Psalm 84:11. Isn't this great to know? God is like a virus protector. He will make certain it does not come your way!

There is hope
If you find yourself waiting on God today, stand
Whether it is a bad relationship, a loved one has been called home, or financial distress, there are certain to be moments in life where you ask God, "why?"

Being used for God
God could be using us to help someone else. There are many disappointments in my life that have actually turned out to be blessings for others and also for myself. Because of these experiences, I am now in a position to help others who may be experiencing similar issues and I am able to see them to victory, with God's help. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9. He reminds us, His grace alone is sufficient. So, no matter what you are going through, God promises to see you through - gracefully.

Only for a moment
I want to let you know you can rejoice, because problems are only temporary. The Word says affliction is just for a moment (refer to 2 Corinthians 4:17). Another scripture reads - joy cometh in the morning (refer to Psalm 30:5)! No matter what you are going through, you have to remain steadfast, trusting and believing God's Word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (refer to Hebrews 13:8). In His Word, He promises He will never leave you or forsake you (refer to Hebrews 13:5).
(I have just read this in a book by ALS sufferer Ed Dobson: "

"Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?"
Hebrews 13:5 - 6 The Message
Trust His strategy not your own
We all have our own plans. We all know where we want to be this time next year and know, if it is God's will, you will certainly be there, however if it is not, He will lead you another way - a better way. Sometimes we do not understand it, but lean not to your own understanding, but to His (refer to Proverbs 3:5). You must understand, life is like a long road, and your eyes can only see so far ahead. Isn't it good to know God can see all the way down the road?

So, when life takes you for an unexpected turn or things do not quite work out the way you envisioned, stand still and know God still cares for you. Lift up your hands and continue to pray because one day you will be able to say, God, I thank you for seeing me through this.

Reflection: Close your eyes and imagine your victory. Begin to praise God as if it has already happened! It will manifest.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "
My gift of undeserved grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. 
2 Corinthians 4:17  These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. 
Psalms 30:5  Sorrow will last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Hebrews 13:5  Don't fall in love with money. Be
Proverbs 3:5 With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment.

Psalm 118: When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
Brian Houston: A right spirit and the future
Failure, success, somebody else’s spirit, an unteachable spirit or whatever it is that tries to rule our spirit, can I encourage you to take responsibility for it because my spirit is my responsibility and your spirit is your responsibility.

As you continue on your path into the future with God, remember to always guard and protect your spirit. God has only good things for you, but remember you also have an enemy who will try to hijack your spirit and sabotage your future. Refuse to let that happen by taking responsibility for your own spirit because your future depends on it.
PRAYER: Father God, thank you for the reminder that you alone are the captain of my soul, the protector of my heart and that your Holy Spirit dwells within me. Teach me what it means to maintain a right heart and righteous spirit before you, and may the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart continually bless your name. Amen.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
1 Corinthians 2:9-16  But it is just as the Scriptures say,
“What God has planned
for people who love him
is more than eyes have seen
or ears have heard.
It has never even
entered our minds!”

God’s Spirit has shown you everything. His Spirit finds out everything, even what is deep in the mind of God. You are the only one who knows what is in your own mind, and God’s Spirit is the only one who knows what is in God’s mind. But God has given us his Spirit. That’s why we don’t think the same way that the people of this world think. That’s also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us.

Every word we speak was taught to us by God’s Spirit, not by human wisdom. And this same Spirit helps us teach spiritual things to spiritual people, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. That’s why only someone who has God’s Spirit can understand spiritual blessings. Anyone who doesn’t have God’s Spirit thinks these blessings are foolish. People who are guided by the Spirit can make all kinds of judgments, but they cannot be judged by others. The Scriptures ask,
“Has anyone ever known
the thoughts of the Lord
or given him advice?”

But we understand what Christ is thinking,
we think as Christ does.
We think as Christ does. How amazing!
Sy Rogers talk: is that really you, God?
Christ died to reconcile us to God - we are made to communicate with him.
Life is about communicating in community.
God communicates with us using Scripture, His people - prophets, dreams, visions, visitations, 'voices' in our minds.

Day 14 of the 21 Day plan
Keep your hope in the Lord

So often, we want to move at our own pace but fail to move at God's. God makes it clear that whatever you desire of Him, if you keep your hope in Him, He will renew your strength.

Sometimes waiting on God can be challenging. We are saying, "God when? God why? God, what are you doing with me? God, I don't quite understand it."

No good thing will be withheld from you

It is not for us to know when, why or even to understand His plans for our lives. It is more relevant to understand He loves us so much He will not leave or forsake us, read Hebrews 13:5. He even loves us so much that He will not hurt us and He only desires the best for us. He will not withhold anything good from us, read Psalm 84:11. Isn't this great to know? God is like a virus protector. He will make certain it does not come your way!

There is hope

If you find yourself waiting on God today, stand on His Word. He says there is hope in your future, read Jeremiah 31:17. Just hold on, knowing you will live a full life here on earth. Wait for Him and quietly place all your hope in the Lord, see Lamentations 3:26. In doing so, He will provide you with the strength to keep going and give you victory.

Reflection: If there is something you have been waiting for from the Lord, begin to declare right now God is working it out for you and it will come in God's time!

Hebrews 13:5

Psalms 84:11

Jeremiah 31:17

Lamentations 3:26

January 13th, Day 15 of the 21 Day plan

Psalm 139

I praise you because of
the wonderful way
you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
Of this I have no doubt.

"Often in life, you will hear the devil speak to you, saying things like you are too fat, too skinny, too poor, not smart or even not beautiful enough. You must recognize these voices are of the devil. But remember, God made you beautiful (refer to Psalm 139:14).

God had a plan for me

See, I understand what you are going through. I too used to listen to these voices and what is even worse, started to believe them. Although God already had a plan for my life, I mean a big plan beyond my thoughts. The devil knew if I believed the lies he had construed in my head, it would stop me from moving into the direction God already had for me. God knew my future and more importantly He deemed I would have success."

Jeremiah 29:11 - 13: "For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity...

Fight back with God's Word
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12 KJV).

When those voices come against me, I have to fight back with the Word of God. It is the most powerful weapon I will ever own. Therefore, it is important to memorize the Word and be able to recite it immediately. I may find yourself in situations where my Bible may not be accessible and in order to obtain success, I must quickly fight back with the Word.

COMMIT TO no longer allowing the lies of the devil to linger. Declare God's Word and I will win each and every time.

Whose report will I believe? Have I received any negative reports lately? Speak against these reports, proclaiming the powerful Word of God.

January 14th, Day 16

Trust Him even when you can't trace Him

Sometimes, we face life's issues and wonder why God has not stepped in to help. Perhaps He has already helped us, but we may not see it yet. Even more so, we do not know how God intends to work out our issues because it is not how we expected it.

Lean not to your understanding

When we don't quite understand what is going on in our lives it is important to put it in God's hands. Refer to Proverbs 3:5. It tells us, lean not to our own limited understanding, but stand confident knowing we can both trust and depend on God.

Do you believe He is working it out for your good? I promise He is. And when this trial is over, you will understand, with the help of the Holy Spirit, God's wisdom and knowledge for your life.

Trust Him no matter what
Begin today letting God know you trust Him no matter what it looks like. God knows when to step in at the right time and turn things around. Remember, He knows and sees all. Therefore, the direction you desperately want to travel, God may instruct you that it may not be time just yet. Or the person you are praying for may need a little growing first. Whatever it is, God knows best. God will remain faithful knowing He will bless you just when you put it all in His hands, but first you have to trust God.

Proverbs 3:5 With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment.

And the verse of the day:
Jesus then told the crowd and the disciples to come closer, and he said: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me and for the good news, you will save it.

Mark 8:34-35

January 15th, Day 17 of the 21 Day Plan

Asking God for wisdom and guidance - as if I haven't been doing this for months now!! *sigh

"Ask Him to lead you
It was laid on my heart today to ask God for His guidance and allow Him to lead me. Sometimes in life, we have an idea of how we want our lives to unfold, but God already knows what is in our future. Read Jeremiah 29:11-12. It reminds us, God already has a plan for our lives. We simply need to ask Him to reveal it to us, get on board and trust Him to be our source and light!

Reflection: If you are unclear regarding the direction of your life, ask God what does He desire for you. And whatever He reveals to you ask Him for His grace to do His will.

Jeremiah 29:11-12   "I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. You will turn back to me and ask for help, and I will answer your prayers." (CEV)
Day 18 and 19 January 17th

Just because it looks like nothing doesn't mean God isn't up to something
1 Kings 18:43-44. Elijah believed God would end the drought therefore, he continued to pray for rain. I bet people thought he was crazy because he kept believing when it really looked like a dead situation. However, he trusted God would stay faithful to His promise.

Persistence is key
We can apply this lesson in our lives today. Are we willing to be persistent and continue to pray in a land of drought? In this passage, we see persistence plus prayer is key. Elijah was not only persistent but he did not take “no” for an answer. Each time his servant came back to report there was no sign of rain, he instructed him to go back a total of seven times before there was even a small sign of cloud.

Many times in life we give up too easily – when the doctor says “no,” when we have one bad day, an opportunity falls through or our kids are acting a certain way. But, we must realize our prayers are providing a constant and powerful breakthrough. God sent Elijah a small sign – a cloud and soon after there was a heavy rain. Although I may not see huge progress today, God is forming small clouds on my behalf.
So is there an area in your life you have given up? Are you just another touch away from victory? Stand strong knowing God is forming clouds for you!

Praying about something and ignoring the small progress? Begin to thank God for the small victories in your life. These small victories will certain to bring about a big movement in the future.

Receiving the praises of God
John 12:43 "And besides, the leaders liked praise from others more than they liked praise from God". It speaks of receiving the praise of God and not of man. Most often as we go about our days, we may seek several likes on our social media page, hope to be retweeted on our status bar, or simply wishing friends and family would validate who we are. What is even worse, we also seek the praises from those we do not like, hoping for a "good job," "you are the best" or "I appreciate you," but instead, we should seek the praises of our Heavenly Father.

Follow His will

So, how do we get the praises from God up above? Begin by seeking and implementing God's will for our lives. Love doing what is right and follow His commandments. Let go of any idols you have placed above God. Knowing if we follow His will, we will not only have a fulfilled life, but we will obtain the praises of the Heavenly Father.

He has started a good work

"For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10 KJV). God expects us to walk into the good work He has already implemented in our lives. We have been created and designed for God's use.

Begin today listening to your heart, asking God how your life can be used to give Him praise. Cease to live a self-fulfilled life, and let God begin to use you for His purpose. Then you will begin to receive the praises of God.

Day 20

Psalm 27:9 - 10, The Message: "You’ve always been right there for me; don’t turn your back on me now. Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me; you’ve always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in."

2 Corinthians 4:17: "So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever."

Romans 8:26 - 28 "Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good."

Day 21 of '21 Days of Powerful breakthroughs'

He wants all of me

"For such a long time, I thought giving God most of me was good enough. I thought since I prayed, attended church and would attempt to do what is right, that was enough for God. The reality is, God wants all of our lives, not just a part of it. Mark 12:30 "
The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
Partial obedience = disobedience
What does it mean to give God your all? It means to stop clinching your fists and to stretch out your hands to God. For so long, I put things, people, relationships, and careers over God. I thought if I was a little obedient, or if I took a short cut, I would still receive the promises of God. But, when God says obey, He will not settle for partial obedience. For this reason, anytime I would step out of the will of God; I would immediately be convicted and corrected. But anytime I was obedient, God truly blessed me beyond my belief. Refer to Isaiah 1:19:
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;


When you decide to give God your all, it requires surrendering every area of your life to Him. Even when it does not make sense, I have learned to obey Him. You know what really amazes me? Every time I let go of something, He usually gives it right back, but with lagniappe. Lagniappe is a word often used in New Orleans, which means a little something extra!

Obedience is better than sacrifice

I love the passage in the Bible that speaks about Abraham preparing to sacrifice his one and only son. As soon as he prepares his son for sacrifice, God exclaims, "Do not lay a hand on the boy," He said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son" (Genesis 22:12 NIV).

The angel of the Lord proclaimed, "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars...your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me" (Genesis 22:17-18 NIV). God is no different in our lives. The moment you follow Him, surrender, and let go, God promises He will bless you.

I have to trust that God knows what is best for me. If something is not working in your life, you have to give it up to Him. When you surrender and align your plans with His, it may hurt for a moment, but God will turn your sadness into joy and give you strength. Nehemiah 8:10: "
Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ "You will get to a place and wonder, why didn't I trust God in the first place? He will give you more than your heart could have ever imagined. I promise, you will obtain peace, which the world cannot give to you.

Reflection: Is there an area in your life where you have not been obedient? Ask God to help you to be obedient in this area. Request the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to be obedient. Let the Holy Spirit reveal what steps you should take as you become more like Christ.

This plan is comprised of excerpts from the book
21 Days of Powerful Breakthroughs by Kemberley Washington. Copyright © 2013 by Kemberley Washington. Published by All rights reserved. 


Monday, 16 February 2015

Stepping out

A theme of new, of stepping out, of pushing out:

Bonne Gray talks about our fears of trying something new. Of how "we are often afraid to try something new -- of stepping out to be vulnerable with our love because we are afraid of looking foolish or being disappointed."
At a course I was on at the weekend, the speaker suddenly started speaking about the need to push out into the world...

And in the stepping out, there is also waiting. I have been waiting and working out a decision for some time. Getting there. But there has been great satisfaction in the waiting.  Some notes from John Comer, the context love and marriage, but the principles of waiting universally applicable to life:
"Waiting is a part of life. .. There’s always something on the horizon, just out of your reach. Graduation, a job, an experience, a dream you’re working toward — the list is endless.

The trick is to learn how to wait well.
Psalm 37

King David was no stranger to waiting. He spent thirteen years between his anointing as king and his coronation. That’s brutal.

When God has put something in you and you know it’s from the Spirit and it’s bursting to get out, but... nothing... happens. It’s torture. Waterboarding on the soul.

David spent most of that time on the run as a fugitive from his jealous rival, King Saul. He spent years hiding under rocks in the desert.


Psalm 37 was probably written during that time. At En Gedi or in some alcove tucked into a mountain. It’s a raw, unfiltered poem, one that questions if God’s ever going to come through. And if so, when? How much longer?

The psalm reads...
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

For thousands of years, people like you and me have found solace in David’s lyrics. Because David’s story is our story. His lament is our lament. We all know what it feels like to be stuck waiting when we feel like we’re ready to move on. When “those who are evil” thrive and flourish and get ahead, and we shrivel up on the inside and fall behind and scrape by.

How is it that people who don’t follow God’s way sometimes do well? Really well. How is it that those of us who do follow God sometimes limp along. How is that fair? ... And how is it that thousands of Jesus followers work and fight and pray to do life God’s way, but end up alone?

The truth is that God’s wisdom as a general rule — not as a “promise from God” in every scenario, all the time, but as wisdom. As a general rule, people who follow the way of Jesus thrive, and people who buy into culture’s way don’t. But there are exceptions all over the place. And it’s the exceptions that get under our skin — that make us question why we should go through all this trouble if people who take the easy route sometimes do just fine.

David’s answer is, “Just wait”... “Like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” It’s only a matter of time until the bottom falls out. A relationship that was built on the sand will fall. It might take a year or a decade or longer, but it will fall. Of course, that’s not God’s heart — He’s all about healing and re-creation. The second you turn over your life to God, He’s right there, waiting to reset the foundation in your cracked relationship, because if you don’t get the foundation right, you’re in for disaster.

The way of Jesus is so different from the world. And Jesus’ way is good, but it’s hard. Really hard at times. Every cell in your body wants to cave in, to take matters into your own hands. To follow the crowd, not the Rabbi from Nazareth.
David says, “Just wait. Life isn’t over yet.” But waiting is hard to do. That’s why David’s call is to “wait patiently” for the Lord. ... don’t forget that God is with you, right now. You’re not solitary. You’re not alone.

You see, we’re not just waiting for God. We’re waiting with God.

Waiting is active, not passive. Notice the language. Trust, do good, dwell, enjoy, take delight in, commit, be still — seven staccato commands all leading up to “wait patiently” for the Lord. Each one is dripping with implications.

Notice how much is crammed into that last phrase. The imagery isn’t of a guy sitting in a waiting room, bored out of his mind, waiting for God to call his name. It’s of trusting, doing, dwelling, enjoying, cultivating, delighting, committing — it’s of a man or a woman walking with God into the future.

The reality is that there’s so much work to be done right now./. There’s so much that has to happen in your life to shape you into the kind of man or woman who’s ready for that next step.

... All we can do is work hard to become the kind of man or woman Jesus is calling us to be...
David wrote, “Those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” There is a land — a life rich with God’s blessing — that can be yours, but so much of it depends on waiting well."

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet...a book review"> alt="I review for BookLook Bloggers" src="" border="0" width="200" height="150">
 Book review: Every Bitter Thing is Sweet
A foreword by Katie Davis, an amazing young American who moved to Uganda to become mother to fourteen orphaned children and caregiver for hundreds more, was enough of a recommendation for me. And, of course, since my free copy came via BooklookBloggers, who invariably choose good reads for its reviewers.

Katie's introduction says, among other things: "This is a book for those hearts who long to see Him in the mess. It is Sara's personal story, written with eloquence and grace, about a God who rescued her from barrenness and carried her to a land of abundance, dripping with ...all things His goodness. She teaches me again what I have already known; she teaches me to hope anew."

The book takes its title from Proverbs 27:7 "A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet."

I want to be a hungry soul. I want to know and experience God in my every day not just on my Sundays (and even then, often, it doesn't happen).

This book seemed, as I read through carefully, to focus on a woman's longing for a child. It is not a longing that I identify with: even though I have two wonderful, now-grown-up children, I never experienced this sense of desperation that many women have. So I found Sara's frequent references to her inability to conceive difficult, irrelevant. Yet, already in the first chapter, I was able to look beyond this particular source of frustration, because we all have those circumstances which make us question God. Circumstances which make us ask, as Sara does: "My question was not, Is God good? But instead, is He good to ME? I was overlooked, forgotten. Not important enough to bless, and easy enough to dismiss. Cursed."

And this is the core. To know, really know, who I am in God.
And to do this by knowing Jesus, how he lived and how he died, and WHY he died.


Wonderful post from Devotionals Daily, from Sheila Walsh. Reposting here for reference - for the day I will need to be kickstarted into remembering God's promises in the day of trouble.

You keep track of all my sorrows.You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.You have recorded each one in Your book. - Psalm 56:8
Devotionals Daily

The Sacred Ache: No Tear Forgotten
by Sheila Walsh, God Loves Broken People
Meet Sheila Walsh
In the midst of our pain and grief—and especially at the front end—we may imagine God has abandoned us, forgotten us, dismissed us, or simply ignored us. We’re not the first occupants of this broken planet to feel this way, nor will we be the last. Even a quick stroll through the Psalms reveals how often human thoughts wander down this shadowy pathway:

  • “My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3).
  • “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Psalm 13:1–2).
  • “How long, O Lord? Will You hide yourself forever? How long will Your wrath burn like fire? Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility You have created all men!” (Psalm 89:46–47).
  • “Relent, O Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on Your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as You have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble” (Psalm 90:13–15).
The prophet Habakkuk got in the act, too, crying out,

How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen? - Habakkuk 1:2

That’s how we feel, and God seems to have no problem with our expressing it. So when you cry out to the Lord, asking Him your own version of “How long?” recognize that you’re in good company.

But please don’t leave it there. Don’t allow your ache to remain merely an ache. Remember the truth, and allow that truth to seep into your troubled mind so that your ache might begin its transformation into something sacred. Remember what David whispered to God, after yet another near-death escape?

You keep track of all my sorrows.

You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.

You have recorded each one in Your book. - Psalm 56:8

Why would He do that? Why would God keep track of all our sorrows? Why would He collect all our tears in a bottle? Why does the Lord record each heartache, each grief, each sadness in some divine journal inscribed with heavenly ink?

It’s because He has plans for those things.

It’s because He wastes nothing.

He intends to fill our sorrows and tears with His expansive love. This was the glorious expectation of both the prophets and the apostles when each said of God:

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces. - Isaiah 25:8

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. - Revelation 21:4

When we remember this — when we recall that God does in fact notice our pain, that He collects each tear in a bottle so that one day He might replace each teardrop with an ocean of divine love — our souls stop shrinking and begin to expand. The small world of our pain gives way to something boundless... beyond measure... beyond our reckoning.

God’s incomprehensible love.

This is the biblical truth. This is the Christian’s hope. And this is the sacred ache.
Psalm 56:8
Excerpted with permission from God Loves Broken People (And Those Who Pretend They're Notby Sheila Walsh, copyright Thomas Nelson.



Move from feeling terminally hopeless into the arms of the One who brings hope and healing....

Join us as Sheila Walsh candidly shares the harrowing story of how she quickly spiraled from co-hosting the 700 Club into a psychiatric ward and the extraordinary journey back from the brink of debilitating depression and anxiety.
Get practical, real, and hopeful help as Sheila shares how the truth which she .thought would kill her, actually saved her life

God Loves Broken People                            
The Other Side of Brokenness 

If I could write only one book in my  lifetime, I would ask God to make it this one, the very book you now hold in your hands....―Sheila Walsh

God loves broken people. And when weary, wounded men and women find a way to open their bruised hearts and somehow welcome Him into their personal darkness, they will find a love beyond anything they have ever known.

When the glass house Sheila had lived in for so many years came crashing to the ground, she began a new life outside the safety of those walls. No, it didn't feel good, nor safe―not at all. But it felt true. Sheila saw herself as a broken lamb limping after the Shepherd, not knowing where He was going, but knowing that wherever He went, she wanted to go with Him.

In twelve stirring, insightful, and deeply revealing chapters, Sheila Walsh shows how personal brokenness can open doors of intimacy with Jesus Christ that might never open in any other way.

It's not that God loves broken people more than those who imagine themselves to be whole―it's simply that they know they are loved. They dare to believe it . . . and through such trust, a new wholeness emerges from yesterday's broken pieces.
Learn more about God Loves Broken People....


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Passion. Belonging. Purpose.

Still thinking of Joseph - what an inspiration his life and obedience was: as Jennie Allen (Day 12 of 'Restless') says:
"We all are longing to live for something bigger than ourselves. As believers in Jesus with need all around us, we get to. We look past the normal of mundane jobs and boring places and see the need in them, and passions start to wake up. God built us to take the material around us and invest it into our nearest need. It's how we've been wired: we are most fulfilled when we are meeting needs.
And yet, this week, I had a conversation with someone who, before going on an overseas missionary assignment, said: "I said to someone there was nothing for us to do here. It sounds ridiculous now, as of course there IS so much to do, but I think it was God loosening our roots to help us go."

How I feel. One way or another, I am praying that my heart is stirred with purpose for others' needs - and perhaps I need only open my eyes wider, or turn in a different direction to see needs I have not noticed before.

"God built us to love different things so we could meet different needs. It's beautiful that your heart doesn't beat fast about the same things my heart beats over...Beautiful is the body of Christ poured out into every crevice of this world, every city, every office, every home. It's the unselfish passions of people displaying the love of their God in a million unique ways. a direction that blesses people and shows God. That direction is usually determined by the things that cause you to beat the table, or lay in bed awake, or speak with exclamation marks.

 Our passions determine our direction.... Where does my heart bleed for the need I
see around me ?

She talks of William Wilberforce, whose passion was to right the injustice of the slave trade and who gave his life to this cause. "But at some point William's passions turned into a calling. When that happens, the cost becomes irrelevant.

Every one of us who knows Christ has a calling for our lives. William Wilberforce and Joseph aren't especially epic, they just gave their lives to the problem of their generations. We could do that too. The problem is we don't naturally have passion for others. We are naturally danged selfish.

But when we were bought by Christ, we exchanged our heart full of self-seeking passions for things on this earth for God's heart. And now we share his passions. Our hearts are new, and now what was cold and hard is soft and full of compassion, led and moved by his Spirit.

It is a privilege to use our passions to participate in the work of God. What is holding you back?

What needs have I experienced or observed that have moved me?
How could I use my passions for God's glory?

This CAN happen, because God has promised: "I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands." (Ezekiel 36:25 - 27)


Yield. to give or render as fitting, rightfully owed, or required.
to give up possession of:
to surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another;
to surrender or submit oneself to another;
to relinquish one's possession of a position of advantage or point of superiority eg yield precedence;

Give way to arguments, demands, or pressure.
"the Western powers now yielded when they should have resisted"
yield: surrender, capitulate, submit, relent, admit defeat, back down, climb down, give in, give up the struggle, lay down one's arms, raise/show the white flag; informal - throw in the towel, cave in
give in to, give way to, submit to, bow down to, comply with, agree to, consent to, go along with;
grant, permit, allow;
"he yielded to her demands"
The opposite: resist, defy

Relinquish possession of something; give something up.
synonyms: relinquish, surrender, cede, remit, part with, hand over;

When I see these words, something inside me rises up in protest. No! Yielding is the last thing I want to do...

But the Bible, in words and example of Jesus and the Spirit, calls us again and again to submit.

Abraham submitted to God's leading to leave and go.
Jacob submitted to Esau to restore relationship between them.
Ruth submitted to her mother-in-law Naomi, doing what Naomi told her to do.
Mary submitted to the Holy Spirit when she became pregnant with Jesus.
Jesus submitted to a hideous death.

Romans 12:1 "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."

We are encouraged/told/admonished over and over again: submit to God.

But how do we recognise when and who we should submit to?  And even then, how?

I was listening to a discussion about the clash between President Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King; of how the scripture 'Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible.' (Romans 13:1 - 3) was used to block King's attempts to stop segregation: a case without doubt for challenging the authorities, not 'subject to' them.

We need wisdom and discernment to know when we are called NOT to yield, but to stand firm. We need to know when we shouldn't 'sweat the small stuff'. To recognise what is from God, and what is just our own selfishness.

A humble person - or a doormat? A doormat for God which just says' Welcome'?

So how do we submit to others?
Do we yield to those who are in authority over us, without question? Or only if we think they are right?
Do we yield to those who think they are in authority over us? When? How?

When we yield, perhaps the biggest thing we give up is pride.
We may consider that we are right, and the other is wrong; so it is hard to yield. We give up the 'dream' of getting something right.
We may be giving up our position, fearing that our status will then be lower than before.
At the root of feelings of unease or dislike, when we have to yield to others, is pride.

Yet Jesus is humility.

Paul says: ""Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person.  Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves.  Care about them as much as you care about yourselves.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honoured him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honour of God the Father.

...simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. ...redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing." Philippians 2

Is there any difference in this advice between Christians and non-Christians?  Should we yield more readily to other believers?

In the end, what matters is that we submit to God. When we do so, when we recognise HIS complete authority over us with no ifs, buts, or other excuses, then he promises:  "I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands." (Ezekiel 36:25 - 27)

SIgnposts for right living: promises and people

 Brian Houston: (Release, Repair, Restore, Rebuild) Centuries ago, Ezra foresaw a prophetic foreshadowing of the days in which we now live. Ezra declared seven prophetic promises of God to His people, which I believe God declares over us today:

1) A season of Grace and Favour.

We live in a season of grace. Speak His grace into your business, your home and family and your individual life. Why should you settle for anything less? You may say "What if it doesn't happen?" but I say, "What if it does?" Psalm 65:11 says, "You crown the year with Your goodness and your paths drip with abundance." Expect breakthrough, blessing and opportunity to show up in your everyday life.
God's Tangible presence clearly evident.

Ezra spoke about a stake in God's Holy place. Today, through Jesus we can enter boldly into the Throneroom of His presence and grace. God has promised His continual presence with us, not just in church during worship, but in our life. Wherever you find yourself - in the marketplace, workplace - believe for an overwhelming sense of God's presence in your circumstances.

A clear way forward.

When we align our lives with God's Word and His ways, the future opens up with hope and expectation. The Psalmist said, "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path."

Great testimonies of miraculous salvations.

We all have a story. And no one has walked too far, done too much, or is too far gone for the love of Christ. The days we are living in are days for 'harvest', and I believe that as we each live out our own salvation, we will see testimonies of miraculous conversion in the lives of our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

Divine favour with people.

Just like Ruth in the Bible, when you walk with God and in His grace, you will find unexpected favour from people and places. "Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, Why have I found favor in your eyes that you should notice me...?" Ruth 2:10

(Sometimes. But only unexpected. Because usually - often - there will be opposition, dislike, rejection...)

A commitment to wholeness and personal revival.

Be strong in your spirit and refuse to live mediocre lives. God has made everything we will ever need available to us to live an overcoming and successful life if we will take hold of it by faith.

Fresh Passion to see His House built.

Just as Ezra had a passion to build God's House,
determine in your heart that you will make the House of God a priority in your life. We are 'living stones', the fabric of His Church and our contribution and commitment to it is the key to living a blessed life.Promises for the future:

Galatians 6:9  Don't get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don't give up

Psalms 31:24 CEV  All who trust the Lord , be cheerful and strong.

And Jennie Allen, 'Threads of People':

"...Joseph...couldn't control his circumstances, but he intentionally leveraged every relationship in his path for the glory of God. Despite the chaos of his circumstances and the incredible evil brought against him by people he trusted, he never quit choosing to trust and love people. He never wasted opportunity to serve-even those who wronged him.
If we are honest, we'll admit that it is hard to love people-especially like Joseph did. So you know what we tend to do instead of doing the difficult work of loving them? We piddle.

To piddle is to waste time, or spend one's time idly or inefficiently. It's easier to survive this life on the surface, bumping up against people gently than do the mess of intentionally loving them. Love takes risk. Love takes forgiveness and grace. Love takes effort, time, and a commitment to not bolting when it gets hard (because it will get hard).
If this is the cost of deep relationships, we can't possibly have capacity and space to go deep with everyone. So we have to become intentional, because we need people. We need the right people. And sometimes finding the right people takes discipline and effort. When we find those right people, we have to fight for them. We have to prioritize time and issue grace over and over, because every human on this earth will disappoint us. And when that happens, we love and fight for them even harder.
We all fell in love with shows like Friends, because we deeply want to have "our people." Close friends and mentors don't fall into our laps. You search and invest, and then you allow them to be imperfect versions of what you were hoping for in your head. Most of us are waiting to be invited, waiting to be pursued, waiting for friends to come to us.

Love is such an active process, and we are fairly lazy. So initiate. Then when you come together, initiate depth. Great conversations come from great questions and honest answers. Become someone who does both well."

Brian Houston (Release, Repair...)
"Praise works best at the start, before the miracle, before the breakthrough, before the restoration. It sets the stage for our Almighty God to act on our behalf; that is why we sing songs of praise at the start of our services.

Ps 100:12 says, Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

With Phaoroah in forceful advance, Moses praised God BEFORE the miracle at the face of the Red Sea. The people praised on the other side. It's easy to praise after we experience a breakthrough, but the power is in knowing how to praise beforehand, while we are waiting.

Jesus lifted His eyes to heaven and offered praise to God at the face of Lazarus's tomb. There is such power in a heart of praise. What are you trusting God to bring to life in your life? There is nothing God can't turn around - He can bring life to anything that is lying in ruins. Start to praise TODAY and begin to see the power of praise at work in your life.

"You have taught me since I was a child,
and I (
want to) never stop telling about your marvellous deeds.
Don’t leave me when I am old and my hair turns gray.
Let me tell future generations about your mighty power.
Your deeds of kindness are known in the heavens.
No one is like you!

You made me suffer, but you will bring me back from this deep pit
and give me new life.You will make me truly great and take my sorrow away.

I will praise you, God, the Holy One of Israel. You are faithful.
I will play harp and sing your praises. You have rescued me!
I will celebrate and shout, singing praises to you with all my heart.
All day long I will announce your power to save.
I will tell how you disgraced and disappointed  those who wanted to hurt me
And yet: I am called to invest in people:
Jennie Allen: "It is our turn to be Jesus to this world. We exist for God and for those who need God. Within the church, we use our gifts to build up and equip the body. Outside of the church, we show love to show God....People, nearly every one of them, are hurting, even if they don't say it. And we hold armfuls of their cure. We get God, and we get to give God away; it is for our joy. ...

In the movie Amazing Grace, William Pitt's character races barefoot through a field with William Wilberforce and says to him "Why is it you only feel the thorns in your feet when you stop running?" When we run for God and for people, we forget for just a moment about ourselves, and it feels amazing. Nothing makes a soul sicker than too much time given to itself.

Pursue them.
Ask them great questions.
Share your struggles and your God.
Dream of ways you can meet their needs.

God's economy makes beautiful exchanges: as we give, we grow.

Seek the uncomfortable. Life is short, and it is worth the risk. You do not risk like a fool; you are wisely investing in the only two things that will not die: God and people.