Category Archives: Devotionals

The Promise of peace in the midst of trouble ¦ Devotional

We’re all troubled! Whether it’s something we’ve read in the news, something that’s happening in our personal lives or in the life of a loved one, not a single day goes by without a genuine reason for our souls to be anxious, concerned or worried.

Anxiety affects our minds and our moods, making us less productive and generally stealing our happiness. Ironically, as a result our bodies also suffer, giving us even more reason to be troubled.

Have you ever stopped to think that being “troubled” may not simply be an automatic response to your surroundings or circumstances, but a choice that you make? And if so, could it be that without your circumstances changing one bit, you could be at perfect peace?

Jesus told us plainly in John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Forgive me for stating the obvious here, but if Jesus said, “do not let your hearts be troubled”, then it must be possible to not let your heart be troubled! I know what you’re thinking – it’s a lot easier said than done, right?! But the first thing you have to believe is that you have the choice.

Jesus doesn’t leave us with this one-liner and expect us to work the rest out by ourselves. In John 16:33 he says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We make a mistake when we think we can’t have peace until our circumstances change. The fact is (and Jesus said it himself) that in this world we will have trouble – there’s no escaping it! But these 6 words offer hope, “in me you may have peace”.

There’s only one place that perfect peace can be found and it’s in Jesus Himself. No matter how ferocious your storm, His peace is perfect because He is forever perfect and constant because He never changes. Even if a measure of peace comes from your circumstances, it will not last very long. Consistent peace can only come from the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever and has promised never to leave you nor forsake you.

If you know your heart has been troubled and you’ve been waiting for peace to come from your circumstances, stop right now. Take your eyes off your circumstances and fix them upon Jesus. He’s calling you to Himself right now with these words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Prayer: Father God, I thank you that your peace that passes understanding is available for me right now. I’m sorry for allowing myself to be swept away with anxiety and worry by the circumstances that I am facing. I thank you that you know exactly what I’m going through and that even if the storm continues to rage all around me, you are able to calm the storm in me. I want to choose right now to forgive those who are making life difficult for me (take a moment to work through this) and to say sorry to you for my own thoughts, words and actions that have not been right. Jesus, I am choosing to put my whole trust in you, to hand all my burdens over to you and to receive your perfect peace in this moment. Would your peace that passes understanding guard my heart and mind today and every day of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bonus scripture: You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. – Isaiah 26:3

Under Attack? ¦ Devotional

Scripture: ‘The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.’ – Proverbs 14:27, NIV

A few weeks ago I received an SMS from a friend saying something like ‘Please pray, I’m feeling very much under attack at the moment’. As I pondered on the words ‘under attack’, I was reminded of so many other occasions when I had received similar messages with the same phrase. Perhaps you know the feeling? Maybe you’re even feeling ‘under attack’ right now.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of this phrase I visualise a person crouched down, trying to protect their head with their hands while bullets fly past them, all the while screaming “I’m under attack! Help! Help! I’m under attack!”. Spiritually, that seems to be how people feel as they start praying and quickly send out messages asking others to pray for them.

As soon as I received the message I said a quick prayer for my friend, but then I had to ask myself some questions… Is it ok for a Christian to be ‘under attack’? Is it God’s will? Is there anything we can do to stop it happening? Is desperate prayer the only thing that works in that situation? And what about the times when desperate prayer doesn’t seem to work?!

You see, ‘under attack’ was not a phrase I had ever used to describe myself since becoming a Christian. It made me wonder, why have I never felt ‘under attack?’. Why are there no examples of believers in the New Testament describing themselves as being ‘under attack’ in the helpless kind of way that we hear Christians using the phrase today?

A day or two after receiving the SMS, I was reading Proverbs and I came across the most incredible verse. It says ‘The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble’ (Proverbs 19:23). I thought to myself, “wow! Is it even possible to live untouched by trouble?”. I was so taken aback by these words that I had to check another version. Here’s the same verse in the King James Version ‘The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.’

I was instantly reminded of the fact that one of the first books I read as a new believer (aged 17) was ‘The Fear of the Lord’ by John Bevere. I remember being utterly amazed by the absolutely incredible promises that God makes in His Word to those who fear Him. Since then, I have sought with all my heart to understand and to live my life in the fear of the Lord. Does that mean I’ve never been through hard times? No. But in those hard times, God’s desire is that I would be an overcomer. I believe that His desire for you is the same, and the fear of the Lord is one of the most significant keys you will need along the way.

What is the fear of the Lord? Well, we haven’t got time to go into that in any depth now so I wholeheartedly recommend you read the book for yourself. Very quickly though, the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27), it’s the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7 & Proverbs 9:10), it keeps us from sinning (Exodus 20:20 & Proverbs 16:6) and it brings health to our body (Proverbs 3:7-8). Those who fear God lack nothing (Psalm 34:9) and God shares His secrets with them (Psalm 25:14).

If you spend the next year learning how to live in the fear of the Lord, your Christian life could become a totally different experience!

Prayer: Father, I want to thank you today that there is a way we can live our lives that will allow us to be ‘untouched by trouble’ and ‘not visited with evil’. I’m sorry for the times that I have not lived in the fear of the Lord. I’m sorry for the times when my opinion has been more important to me than what your Word says, and I’m sorry for the times that I’ve invited trouble into my life by the way I’ve lived. Please teach me what it means to live in the fear of the Lord. I want to drink from the fountain of life and have a deeper level of intimacy with you than I have ever known before. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom

Bearing Fruit ¦ Devotional

Scripture: “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” – John 15:16, NIV

I love the fact that God clearly tells us in scripture that He wants our lives to be fruitful! Today’s verse tells us that not only has God appointed us to bear fruit, but that the fruit we bear is supposed to last.

I recently felt God show me that just like a tree needs certain ingredients in order to bear good fruit (light, water and nutrients), so we also need to have three key ingredients in our lives if we are going to bear fruit for His Kingdom – Intimacy, Work and Warfare.

Ultimately our entire Christian life is about intimacy with God. Jesus died to restore to us the deep communion that Adam had with God in the garden of Eden. If we do not have intimacy with the Father, we are without our source of strength, affirmation, encouragement, love, power, vision and direction. Devoid of these things, our chances of bearing fruit are pretty slim! Actually even that’s an understatement because Jesus said that apart from Him we can do NOTHING. I thank God today that He is more passionate about being intimate with me than I am with Him. He never sleeps nor slumbers, so He is available 24-7 to commune with me (and with you) by His Holy Spirit.

Out of our intimacy with God comes vision and direction, for He is a God who speaks! He is able to reveal to us the call He has placed on our lives and He always equips us with the gifts we need to complete the task. Once we know what we are supposed to be doing, we can get to work! Unless you and I act upon what He tells us in the secret place, vision will never become reality. Often He is calling us to take simple steps of faith and obedience and to trust Him with the consequences. The fear of the Lord needs to replace the fear of man, which means no more worrying about what other people will think of us!

So why is it that many Christians enjoy intimacy with the Father and begin to work on the task God has given them to do, but their vision never quite becomes a reality? Often it is because they have neglected to fight. You and I need to remember that there is an enemy working against us. He will try to stop us fulfilling God’s will for our lives but God has given us “authority over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19). There are times when you will need to ‘make your stand against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:11).

Scripture tells us that the reason Jesus appeared was to destroy the devil’s work, and Jesus is continuing that work on the earth today through us, by the power of His Holy Spirit. Don’t be surprised if there’s a battle! To quote the King James version ‘the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds’. But how do we use these weapons…?

Satan’s main tools are fear and lies, and behind every ungodly fear is a lie. If you can learn to use the Word of God like a Sword to defeat his lies, you will be on your way to victory. You will need to pray, you will need to intercede and you will need to stand on and declare the promises God has given you personally and in His Word.

…And finally, don’t let the enemy dupe you into thinking that the only key to victory is your human efforts. The whole time we are to be resting in Him and labouring with His energy – that’s why it all begins with intimacy. ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).

So, equipped with the ingredients you need… go and bear fruit – fruit that lasts!

Prayer:  Father, thank you that you have chosen me and appointed me to bear fruit for your Kingdom. Thank you that you don’t require me to do this alone or in my own strength, but that everything I need will flow from my intimate relationship with You. I’m sorry for neglecting to spend quality time with you, I’m sorry for the times that I’ve heard your voice and not obeyed, and I’m sorry for the times that I’ve not stood to fight the spiritual battle, even though your Word exhorts me to do all these things. Thank you for encouraging me today, and for giving me these three simple keys. Please help me to recognise your voice and to act upon what you say so that I might bear the fruit you have called me to bear! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom

Show Me Your Grace! ¦ Devotional

Scripture: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV

When you think of the word ‘grace’, do you think of something tangible or intangible… something that can be seen or something that is unseen?

Do you think of grace simply as a cover-up for your sin, or do you think of God’s grace as His power to enable you to do every good work that He has called you to do? What would you say if I was to ask you to show me or prove to me that God’s grace is on your life?

Today’s scripture seems to suggest that God’s grace is much more than a cover-up for our sin. It’s saying that by it, you’ll be supplied with every bit of power you need to produce good work for His Kingdom. If that’s the case, then grace should be clearly visible in the life of every believer.

I find it so interesting that when Paul was speaking about the Macedonian churches at the beginning of 2 Corinthians chapter 8, he said that he knew God had given them grace because of their generous financial giving. Financial giving is not something we usually hear associated with the free gift of grace! Still, scripture makes it very clear that it was a tangible sign of God’s grace upon them. This is just one of the ways that grace can be practically outworked in our lives…

In Titus 2 we read that grace ‘teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age’. Again, this is something we rarely hear associated with the word grace! Perhaps we have sometimes been guilty of reducing God’s grace to something much less powerful than it really is.

I remember being in the shower one day when God spoke to me and said “David, you don’t understand my grace”. Now He had my attention. He went on… “If you understood my grace, you’d be asking for it before you sin, not after. He showed me that His grace is there to empower me to withstand temptation and live a godly and upright life in this present age – not only when I get to heaven!

If we believe that grace just covers our sin now and when we get to heaven all will be fine, we will miss out on the power of His grace in this life, and will not experience the abundant life that Jesus won for us on the cross.

From this day forward I’d like to encourage you not to limit God’s grace to simply covering you when you sin (which it does so wonderfully), but to allow His grace to complete its life-transforming work in you, changing you from the inside out and making you more and more like Jesus.

>> Listen now to the Radio Interview: ‘Does Grace Give Us A License To Sin?

Prayer:  Father, I thank You that there’s so much more that Your grace can accomplish in my life. I’m sorry for when I’ve reduced Your grace down to a licence for immorality, and I haven’t recognised that it’s the power to make me holy, and to make me like Jesus. Your word says that You give grace to the humble, so I choose to humble myself before You now. I know that apart from You I can do nothing. Without Your grace I could never live the Christian life. Would You pour out Your grace upon me, so it might be clearly visible to me and to the people around me, for the display of Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom

Dunamis ¦ Devotional

Scripture: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” – 1 Corinthians 4:20

Over the last few months God has been stirring me up, regarding whether or not I’m really operating in His power on a daily basis. When you read the word ‘power’ in today’s scripture and in many other places in the New Testament, it’s a translation of the Greek word ‘dunamis’ which means ‘miraculous power’, ‘mighty work’, ‘ability’, or simply ‘power’.

Often when we think of ‘power’, we immediately think of the Holy Spirit. After all, He’s the one who’s been sent to empower us to live the Christian life, right? Recently I’ve been thinking about the ways Jesus stayed in step with the Holy Spirit.

It seems to me that His life demonstrates three ways that we need the Holy Spirit in our lives as Christians. Before His baptism, Jesus was ‘full of the Holy Spirit’ and the scriptures say he was ‘led by’ the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. After He overcame the temptations of the enemy, it says that He returned ‘in the power’ of the Holy Spirit.

Many Christians I know would say that they’ve had an experience of being ‘filled’ or ‘baptised’ with the Holy Spirit. So, my first question to you today is this: would the people in your life describe you as someone who is ‘full of the Holy Spirit’?

Secondly, who makes the decisions in your life? How can we expect God to give us His power if we’re not first submitted to His authority? Are you being led by the Holy Spirit today?

And finally, (perhaps by this point you’ve noticed that today’s devotional was not designed to make you feel comfortable!), are you operating in the power of the Holy Spirit?

Paul, the apostle, was a man who led many people to Christ and was used powerfully by God to teach and equip the Church. He said this ‘My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power’ (1 Cor 2:4).

I don’t know about you, but I want to grow in this power. I don’t just want to be able to talk eloquently about God. I want to operate in His power, so people might be healed and set free as they come into contact with me. His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

>> Watch the full video sermon ‘POWER’ now

Prayer: Father, thank You that You’re a powerful God. Thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to fill us, lead us and empower us. I want to say sorry today for when I’ve settled for only being full of Your Spirit, or led by Your Spirit, and I’ve not sought to live in Your miraculous power. Thank You, Jesus, that You Yourself said that whoever believes in You will do the works You’ve been doing, and that they will do even greater things! I want to choose to believe this today, and I ask You to give me a new revelation of Your power. I also ask that You’d help me to overcome the fears that have held me back from stepping out in praying for the sick, or being used by You to bring freedom to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom

Note from David: If you desire more of God’s power in your life but don’t know where to start, I would like to encourage you to watch my video sermon on ‘Power’ now. In it, I use everyday examples of how God has been stretching me and beckoning me to step out, overcome my fears and see people healed and set free on a daily basis as I allow myself to be led by His Spirit. If you would like to see more of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, I recommend watching ‘How to Walk in the Power of the Holy Spirit’. If you’re looking for a simple pattern for how to live a miraculous life, you can read my devotional ‘The Pattern of a Miraculous Life’.

Whose Ministry? ¦ Devotional

Scripture: Now if the ministry of death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at the face of Moses because of its fleeting glory, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? – 2 Corinthians 3:7-8

In today’s scripture, Paul the apostle is making a comparison between the old covenant ministry (the ten commandments) and the new covenant ministry, in which all born-again believers in Jesus Christ are called to play a part.

Have you ever wondered what part you might be called to play, or what your ‘ministry’ is? Perhaps you’re already involved at church, or are serving God in some way that you believe is helping to advance His Kingdom on earth? Maybe you’re not quite sure what to do!

There are many kinds of churches and ministries to be found all over the world, and lots of good causes to get involved with, but how can we know which are really making a difference?

To help us get an idea of what God’s ministry on the earth is all about, I would like us to focus on five words which Paul uses to describe the new covenant ministry. He calls it ‘the ministry of the Spirit’. That’s a really important phrase. The ministry which God has called us to is not yours, it’s not mine and it’s not somebody else’s. It’s the ministry of the Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit Himself carries out the ministry, through us!

With this understanding, we can see that if we’re not being led by the Holy Spirit, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, or operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we’re potentially attempting to do the Spirit’s work with our own human ability. We need to be very careful that we’re not trying to ‘build the church’ or ‘build a ministry’ using human methods and human strength, because ‘unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain’ (Psalm 127:1).

Jesus told us clearly that He would build His Church (Matthew 16:18), and that, apart from Him, we can do absolutely nothing (John 15)! The ‘work’ or ‘ministry’ that we carry out in our own strength will amount to nothing, but when we yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to gift, lead and empower us, we will see truly glorious things happen.

Think about Peter. His best human efforts got him as far as betraying Jesus. When he was restored and filled with the Holy Spirit, 3,000 were saved, after his very first sermon. That’s the ministry of the Spirit!

After Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, He told them, “but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). It seems quite clear to me that God never intended us to try to preach the gospel, heal the sick, start churches or do any other form of ministry without the power of the Holy Spirit. After all it’s His ministry, not ours.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You’re carrying out Your ministry on earth by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that, even today, I have the privilege of being able to play a part in this glorious ministry. Thank You that You’re ready to gift, lead and empower me to do what I could never do in my own strength. I want to say sorry for the times I’ve tried to serve You in my own way, with my own ability or strength, and when I’ve thought that it all depended on me. Thank You that, as I allow You to lead me, You’ll give me the gifts and the empowering I need to fulfil the part You’ve called me to play for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom

Caesar’s or God’s? ¦ Devotional

Scripture: Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. – Mark 12:17

Every time I’ve ever heard this scripture mentioned in Church it has been in the context of money. Usually it’s used as a confirmation that we as Christians should pay our taxes, and I wholeheartedly agree with that! However, I think Jesus was making a point that is much, much more significant than this and something you and I need to be reminded of every single day.

This story in Mark 12 starts with some Pharisees and Herodians trying to trap Jesus by asking Him a question about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus tells them to bring a denarius so He can have a look at it. He then goes on to ask them a question about the coin, which I believe didn’t really have anything to do with the coin, but everything to do with who was on the throne of their hearts…

‘“Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” said Jesus. “Caesar’s”, they replied’.

The scripture tells us that what Jesus said next totally amazed them. Though they’d tried to trick Jesus, His question was about to trick them on a much deeper level than they realised. Even we, if we fail to get our minds off money and taxes, can easily miss what Jesus was really saying when He replied, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar`s and to God what is God`s.”

You see, Jesus is begging us to ask a very important question here! We know the image of Caesar was on the coin, so the real question is … “what has God’s image on it?” Jesus is saying to the Pharisees and to us, “when you work out what I’m talking about, give that thing wholeheartedly to God!

I’d skipped over this scripture for years, until a few years ago I paused and asked God the question. Instantly I heard the Holy Spirit shouting at me on the inside “It’s YOU! YOU bear the image of God!”. I remember being cut to the heart, as I remembered that right in the beginning God had made us in His image (Genesis 1:27).

The Pharisees had come to trick Jesus and He turned it around by essentially saying to them, “stop talking to me about money and material things and give your whole self back to God, to whom you really belong”. Jesus has a way of taking us by surprise and getting straight to our hearts. Can I encourage you to let Him get to yours as you say the following prayer?

Prayer: Father, thank You for making me in Your image. Thank You for reminding me today that, although I can easily be distracted by so many material things, You’re always pursuing my heart and beckoning me to allow You to establish Yourself as king there. Thank You that You’re jealous for me and that You want to be on the throne of my life. Would You help me today to surrender all of myself to You, holding nothing back. Thank You that, as I relinquish control of my life to such a trustworthy master, I know I’m in safe hands, and that Your plan for me is far better than anything I could ever come up with! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom

The Church ¦ Devotional

Scripture: Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:27

What do you think of when I mention the word ‘church’? Perhaps a building with a steeple? Maybe you’ve known ‘church’ in a different setting like a theatre or a converted warehouse? What about the people? Some will immediately think of a small, close-knit gathering of believers, whereas others might be used to going to ‘church’ with thousands of other people whose names they will never know.

Some of us have had wonderful experiences of church – a place where our deepest relationships have been formed, where we can laugh, cry and really be ourselves. A place where we have felt God’s presence and grown in our relationship with Him. Others, if they are really honest have been bored at church and sometimes wondered if they are really getting anything out of it at all. Even worse, some have been badly hurt at church by other members or even by their leaders. I don’t need to tell you that being a Christian isn’t a lifetime protection against being hurt! I thank God that He can heal our hearts as we choose to forgive.

Ever since I became a Christian, it has been drilled into me how important it is to go to church and to fellowship with other believers. I agree wholeheartedly with that. We need each other, and meeting at least once a week is a healthy practise. However, I have also noticed that for many people, ‘going to church’ has become a substitute for being the Church.

We need to be constantly reminded that Jesus never actually told us to gather together once a week, sing songs, listen to a sermon, drink tea or coffee together and then go home. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about any of these things. However, we have a serious problem if we are ONLY doing these things! You see, the Church is not really about us. I once heard it said that ‘the church is the only institution in the world that exists for the benefit of its non-members.’ It was never supposed to be a social club for the born-again! We have a job to do.

Jesus is the head of the Church, and we are His body. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have been given the task of continuing Christ’s ministry on the earth. Before Jesus ascended to heaven he told his disciples very clearly what they were supposed to do. He said “go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20). Can you believe it – not even a mention of buildings, musical worship or tea and cakes!!

This is probably also a good time to mention that God never asked us to ‘build’ the church for Him. Jesus said ‘I will build my church’ (Matthew 16:18). Our job is simply to carry out the commission He has given us and He will do the rest.

Can I encourage you to keep going to church, but to put even more emphasis on being the Church. In my personal experience there is nothing more exhilarating than committing your life to fulfilling the simple commission of Jesus, all the time relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to do it.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you are building your Church and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it! Thank you that you have not called me to live a boring life, but that you that you have an amazing plan for me which will come to pass if I choose to walk in obedience to you. I’m sorry for the times I’ve settled for going to church when you’ve wanted me to focus on being the Church. Would you help me to live my life in such a way that you, your Kingdom and your purposes are at the top of my priority list, and would you empower me by your Holy Spirit to be a living example to those around me as I carry out the simple commands of your Great Commission. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom

A Defining Moment ¦ Devotional

Scripture: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:12-13

Though I was only about eight years old at the time, I can remember the moment as if it were yesterday. It was Christmas day and a close family member had arrived bearing gifts for my brother and I.

Excitedly I opened my gift and half watched my brother opening his at the same time. Instantly I could see that my brother’s gift was of greater value than my own. What an injustice!

In that moment time seemed to stop, as I weighed up how I should respond in my heart to the situation.

Just a few days ago I felt the Lord say to me “David, that moment was one of the most defining moments in your life. If you had responded differently, you would have cut yourself off from your brother and also from the gift-giver. Instead, you opened up your life to many blessings”.

How did I open up my life to many blessings?

I made the choice to forgive those who hurt me and to be truly happy for those who are successful (without allowing offence or jealousy to creep in). At the time it felt like the hardest decision I had ever made. Since then many much harder ‘injustices’ have occurred in my life but that one was special because that day I decided to make this response the ‘default’ setting of my heart.

I believe this heart attitude is the way of the cross. For Jesus to be hanging there was the greatest injustice that ever took place in the history of the world. His response? ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34) and we know that ‘out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks’ (Matthew 12:34b).

I don’t know exactly why as an eight year old I chose the way of the cross because I certainly didn’t understand what I do now. However what I do know is that one year earlier I accepted the gospel and something changed in my heart. Even so, I still had a decision to make. Have you allowed the gospel to dictate the default setting of your heart? Be honest with yourself… is there any offence or jealousy in your heart right now? Who do you need to forgive today?

Prayer: Father, I thank You that Jesus was able to forgive the greatest injustice of all time and that the same Spirit that enabled Him to do it lives in me today. I ask that You would enable me now to forgive all those who have hurt me. Please heal the pain that has been caused and help me to make forgiveness the default setting of my heart, in Jesus’ name. Amen

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom

BONUS: Jesus said that in the last days ‘many will be offended’. If you want to learn how rid your life of offence and truly forgive from your heart (even if you feel like you can’t), watch this video.

What? No 5 Star Hotel? ¦ Devotional

Scripture: She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – Luke 2:7b

While sitting on the train this week, I took the opportunity to read the story of Jesus’ birth again. As I opened my bible and found the beginning of the book of Luke, I asked the Holy Spirit to speak something new to me.

The events began to unfold and I tried my best to imagine how the characters would be feeling. It must have been quite incredible and rather overwhelming for Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah to all have had angels of the Lord appear to them in such a short period. Of course for Mary and Elizabeth it was even more outrageous because the chances of either of them having babies in a natural way were definitely zero!

I must admit I was slightly jealous when I got to Luke 1:15 and read that John the Baptist had been filled with the Holy Spirit before he was even born! Also, I had never picked up on the fact that Mary had gone to stay with Elizabeth for the last three months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. I can just imagine the two of them talking late into the night and getting quite carried away with excitement! I’m sure they could barely contain themselves as they eagerly anticipated the births of these two miracle babies.

Finally, Mary and Joseph were travelling to Bethlehem and Luke 2:6 says that ‘the time came for the baby to be born’. I wonder what was going through Mary and Joseph’s minds as they arrived in Bethlehem? They both knew very well that this was no ordinary baby – it was the Son of God no less! I wouldn’t be surprised if they half expected that God would have gone ahead of them and prepared some kind of 5-star hotel room for this royal baby to be born in…

…but no. Not a 5 star hotel. No hotel at all in fact. Not even a room!

God chose perhaps the worst conditions Mary could have imagined. “Why did you do that?” I asked the Lord as I got to this part of the story. Into my heart came a few possible reasons. Firstly, if they had been tucked away in a posh hotel room somewhere, would the shepherds and the Magi have been able to find them? Would they have missed out on the blessing of those beautiful and expensive gifts they received? Not to mention the amazing confirmations that this really was the Son of God! Secondly, would it have been fitting for the Son of God who himself later said that he had come ‘to serve and not to be served’ to have had maids and servants running around, fluffing his pillows and caring for his every need?

What is abundantly clear from this story is that God will often choose to do things in a way that completely offends our minds and goes against all our fleshly desires for comfort. Why? Because He has a greater purpose. His ways are not our ways, but we have a choice. If we choose to let go of our human understanding and cravings and instead yield to Him, we will see extraordinary things happen and our lives will bear an abundance of eternal fruit.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you loved us so much that you sent your Son into this world. Thank you that you sent Him in all humility, not to have a privileged existence but to make Him familiar with hardship and suffering, to really know what it’s like for us down here. Thank you for your wonderful ways. Please forgive me for the times I have fought against your ways because my flesh wanted something different, something more comfortable. Help me to yield to you, even when I don’t fully understand, and may your Holy Spirit overshadow me just like it did Mary, so that I may be able to do extraordinary things in your name and for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If God has used this teaching to impact you by His Spirit, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it!

Source:  Seeds of the Kingdom