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Lighten that Burden

God wants to lighten our burden. But He wants us to trust Him to do so, even when things look bleak. Nothing can lighten that burden, even when we have to carry it, but Him. 

We so often want to serve God because of what He can do for us. But you see, if that is our motive, then we might as well not follow Him at all. It’s not about what we want God to do for us, but about what He has already done on the cross. It blows my mind that we can sometimes be so arrogant, that we want to tell Him what He should and shouldn’t do. The one and only motive behind worshiping God, should simply be because we love Him. And there are so many reasons why we should love Him.

When we think of that word LOVE, it can conjure up so many things. That’s why our love for God needs to be Agape love. Because if it isn’t, it is not the love that God deserves. Agape love is sacrificial. In the same way that Jesus was sacrificed for us, in the same way we should sacrifice ourselves for Him. It wasn’t fun for Jesus to go through what He did, but He chose to do it anyway.  Following Christ has become something we do, only when our church pews are warm and our coffee is tasty. Following Christ should happen even when it seems as if our world is falling apart around us. It is a choice in spite of our circumstances.

And in this world, we will have trouble. Any Christian that tells you your life will be a bed of roses when you invite Jesus in, is preaching an untrue word. In fact, choosing to follow God and to love Him unconditionally, is extremely challenging. Sometimes our world might be giving way under our feet,  and our  dreams and plans might be crumbling into the sea. Even when that happens we can know that God will always be there for us. When we love God, unconditionally, with an agape love, He might not remove our struggles, but He will strengthen us to keep going.

So, today, if you are feeling weak and heavy laden, why not come to the foot of the cross. God wants you and I to call on Him in our time of need. And if we do, He will carry us. I have tried everything in this world to alleviate pain and struggles. But there is only one place in which my soul finds rest. It is in God alone! He alone is my Rock. And in Him I have never, and will never be shaken.

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Stuck

A great place to start when we are spiritually stuck, is to look up.

This morning, as Bev and I were having our morning coffee at Vida e, we noticed a pigeon stuck between a massive glass pane, and a cement ledge that was about 4 feet high. All it had to do was to look up. If it did, it would have realised it wasn’t really stuck. It simply needed to fly up and out.

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve had ample times when I had to remind myself that I’m stuck because I choose to look in the wrong direction. I try to find self-help books and advice from others to get me out of the mud in my life, but I only sink deeper. And in the process, fling mud in all directions. I must admit, this morning when I saw that bird, I thought, “How stupid can one creature be?” Come to think of it, that creature is me.

God has proven His love for me through and through, yet I try to find my identity in things of this world. He has provided in miraculous ways on more occasions than I can remember, yet I continue to live in doubt. That simple lesson of a stuck bird reminded me once again, to stop getting stuck in the mud of this world, and to go back to the very source of life – the One and only true God.

Instead of reading books about the Bible, why don’t we choose to get first-hand knowledge by reading it ourselves? Instead of expecting a church and a pastor to guide me in my Christian walk, why don’t I go to the very One who it’s all about – Jesus Christ? Instead of depending on mere mortals for help, why don’t I simply go to the Father whose arms are welcoming us home.

I look up to the mountains, (books, people and my own strength). Where does my help come from? Does it come from (any of these things) the mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, earth and the mountains.

Instead of getting stuck in our own issues, why don’t we get stuck into Godly issues and become His hands and feet in a broken world. Who’s with me?

 

 

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Let’s Listen

The greatest danger in life is when we choose not to listen to the voice of truth when we always have the option to hear it. 

The strangest thing happened recently. Two nights ago, we drove down to the beach for a quick ‘cool down’. Even though it was already dark, it was still very warm. As I was enjoying the refreshing water with my boys, I saw Bev chatting to someone on the beach. It turned out to be someone a taught about 15 years ago, who is now a chiropractor. The amazing thing is that she didn’t recognize me in the dark, but she recognized my voice and went to ask Bev if I was ‘Mr Davidson’.

Not only was it great to be reconnected with an ex-pupil, but it reminded me of how we need to be tuned in to be able to recognize things that are important; and the most important thing we can do is to listen for the sound of our Father’s voice. If I were to call a flock of sheep, they wouldn’t bat an eyelid. But when their shepherd, whose voice they know, speaks, they will immediately respond. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: “If sheep are smart enough to only listen to the voice of the one who cares for them, why don’t we?”

God so loved us, that He sent His Son to die, so that we may live. He cares about us more than we can ever fathom. Why then, do we choose to listen to the distractions of a world that doesn’t give a hoot. God is calling us to enjoy life’s banquet. He is calling us to a life of purpose and hope. He is calling us to a life of peace and joy. Don’t get me wrong, following Christ is not always easy. In fact, it can be really tough. But the benefits are out of this world. The world might offer short-term fun, but it always comes with long-term pain.

We can hear His voice in His Word – so let’s get stuck in. We can hear His voice in the quiet of the night, in the crashing of the waves, in the whisper of the breeze and in the beauty of creation. So let’s tune out to the noise around us and become still. He speaks to us in the silence of our hearts and in our quiet time with Him – our prayers. The more we focus on Him, the clearer we will hear Him. You see, it’s a choice! We can either choose to fill our time with the world and listen to its noise, or we can listen to the One voice who really cares.

Have an amazing day as you and I choose to listen to the voice of Truth.

 

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Step into a New Day

“You will never know the fulness of Christ, until you realise the emptiness of everything else!”

We are creatures of habit. We love comfort and routine because it makes us feel safe. But when the foundation of our safety is built on the things that surround us, and the people we are with, we are living on shaky ground. Because people will walk out of our lives, and the things of this world that give us comfort, will fade away.

And it’s because of our reliance on things of this world, that taking the first step on a journey that will change our lives forever, is so difficult. Nobody wants to walk in a direction that is dark and unknown. Yet God is asking us to do just that. He is asking us to tread where we have never trodden before, so that He can take us where we have never dreamt, we could ever go.

Today is the day we are called to trust Him, and not our circumstances. You see, when we allow our circumstances to determine our steps, we will always procrastinate and step back into our comfort zone. It’s the fleshly thing to do. And that’s exactly why Paul says in Galatians 2:20 that it is no longer he that lives but it is Christ that lives in Him.

So, because Jesus was never afraid to step into His calling, no matter what the circumstances, we need to live with the same faith. The lives that have the most impact for God, are the ones who put their complete trust in God; the ones who move and get out of the boat.

Have a wonderful day as you step into it with complete and utter faith.

 

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When all is Stripped Away

When the noise and the rush of each day fades; when the masks we wear each day are stripped away; when it’s only me and God…

Those are the moments we need to focus on in 2023. Because it’s during those times, when there’s nobody else around that we need to impress, when we become who we really are. There’s no hiding our insecurities from God. There’s nothing we can do that will make God love us more. There’s no mask in the world that will hide our true identity, from the One who created us and knows every intricate part of us.

But what we tend to do is avoid those moments. We prefer to surround ourselves with noise and distractions from the world, so that we don’t need to deal with the ‘real stuff’. By spending alone time with God, we will be confronted with our own mortality in a world that makes us believe that we are invincible. By getting away from all the distractions, we need to face the reality that we are all just messed up human beings who are in need of a Saviour. And that, my friends, is the complete opposite of what the Enemy wants you to see.

And slowly but surely, by choosing to spend more time in the ‘plasticness’ of the world, we become more like it.  The sad reality is, we end up becoming less and less like Jesus. Doesn’t the Word say that we need to be Holy as God is Holy? My prayer for me, my family, my friends and every single Christian out there, is that we block our ears to the lies of the world; and that we block our eyes to the distractions out there, and that we open our hearts to the One who deserves all our attention.

By making 2023 a year in which we choose to listen to the One who is Truth, we will become a reflection of Christ’s Love, Joy and Peace in a world that needs it more than ever before. By becoming God’s hands and feet, we will be the instruments that He wants us to be in a broken world. To everyone out there… let’s make this the year of our Lord and Saviour.

Have a wonderful 2023 away from the distractions. Let’s choose to sit at the feet of Jesus.

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Either or…

Sometimes we pray to hear God’s voice, or for Him to answer a prayer the way we would like it to be answered… but there’s nothing. Those are the times when we even shake our fists at heaven and ask God what the deal is. But then there are times, like I experienced just yesterday, when God tells us something that we would rather not have wanted to hear. God told me, “It’s either Me, or it’s not Me! You can’t have both.”

We had just spent Christmas with family who aren’t saved. You see, for them, Christmas is a time to get together with family and friends, to eat and drink, and not really to mention the real reason for the season. And I became Peter… I have been in ministry for many years. I have pastored churches, preached in many places, ministered to other pastors, and planted churches. Yet, all I did was to sit there and accept it because of the fear that I might offend someone in their own house.

What a wake-up call God has given me. I am either a Christian, or I am not. I either follow Christ or I don’t. It’s either Him or the world. We have become watered down by the world and its ways. We choose to accept anything that comes along because we are too afraid to offend others. We choose to be quiet and not stand up for our faith. But as for me and my house, we say, “No more!” There will be no more compromise. It is God, or it is nothing.

Jesus was never ashamed to come to this world and to be born in a stable. Yet we want the best of the best. Jesus never compromised when it came to praying continuously, yet we are too ashamed to say grace in a public place. Jesus never thought twice about dying on the cross for you and me, yet we sit around “the fires of this world” and deny that we know Him because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Jesus’ heart was breaking on that cross. Because, the very people who were hammering in the nails, were the ones whom He loved.

I was like those men, hammering in the nails when I was not willing to speak up while coming together to celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world. Jesus wasn’t ashamed to die for me. He never thought twice to give up His throne to come and be born in a filthy stable. God, Abba Father, was willing to give up His Son for me. And that is why, today, right here and right now, I will stand firm like David. I will not be shaken by the slander of the giant that I face. Because I know that my God is with me, and I owe everything to Him.

Have a blessed day. Have a bold day. Remember, we either live for Christ or we don’t. There’s no easy middle road.


 

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Instead of Why…

It’s Christmas! A day that the world loves to celebrate but hates to admit what It’s really about. It’s a great holiday for a drink or to open presents, but one that nobody is willing to spend time thinking about the greatest gift ever.

Maybe, on this Christmas Day, we can stop thinking about ourselves. Maybe we can stop thinking about why God doesn’t give us everything we want. Maybe it’s time for us to remember that we have already been given so much more than anything we could have ever hoped for. On this very day, more than 2000 years ago, Immanuel happened – God with us. And because God came to this Earth, we have been given life.

Jesus came to this Earth so that He could die, so that we can live. How’s that for a gift? How arrogant are we to ask God why He isn’t doing the things we want Him to do, when He has already done everything for us, by coming to this world to make a way – a way away from eternal death, but towards everlasting life. All we need to do is take the focus off ourselves for the moment and look in more detail at Christmas; at the manger; at the cross.

For unto us a Child is born. And He is the Prince of Peace. Inviting Him into our lives brings us peace that surpasses all understanding. Peace in the midst of the world’s chaos. Why would anyone choose to live without The Prince of Peace, when He is right there, waiting?

Have a blessed Christmas. And know, that God is with us!

 

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Unravelled

When we don’t know what we are doing, but we think we do, we tend to get entangled. And isn’t that something that we all seem to struggle with? None of us like to think that we are wrong. We want to live life on our terms, singing like the late, great, Frank Sinatra, “I did it my way!”

But do we stop for a moment and have a look at the world? Just look at it! Anyone who can tell me that we are doing a good job at “Doing it our way,” certainly isn’t looking very well. The world is in shambles. Society can’t even seem to define what a man or a woman is anymore.  As Christians, we are becoming silent to the evils around us because we are afraid that we might offend someone. Here’s the thing – God isn’t politically correct, He is Truth. And He expects His followers not to avoid the truth because we are too concerned about hurting someone’s feelings.

We need to ask God to untangle us from the web of lies that Satan has been binding us with. Lies that have subtly crept into society, and have been presented as loving and caring. We are so tied up in it all, that the very fibre of our Christian morals are beginning to unravel. You see, it’s the wrong fibre that’s being unravelled, and we are allowing that to happen. The rope that needs to be snapped, is not the one that is connecting us to Christ, but the one that isn’t.

For us to be used by God, we need to ask for clear discernment. My prayer needs to be, “God, please reveal to me how far from You, the things of this world are! Please make me very aware of those subtle lies, that might be blinding me! Please unravel and snap those chords that are holding me back from being all that you are calling me to be. And God, bind me with your love, so that I can share your glory in love, but also in truth!”

We need to know today, that God wants to use us for His glory. Let’s allow Him to unravel the lies that are holding us back, and strengthen the rope that anchors us to Him.

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Fight the Flesh

In a world saturated with temptation and persuasive mumbo jumbo, people struggle to stay focused. I’m one of those people!

It’s not always about giving in to ‘unethical’ things that can be bad for us. In fact, it’s those subtle little things that often cause the most damage. Slowly but surely, we get drawn away from what really matters, only to be sucked in by what doesn’t.

We fail to admit it, but the things we occupy our lives with the most, are the things that are the most important to us. To put it simply: If we choose to spend more time at work, than with our family, work is more important to us. We can argue it from any angle – it’s true. We soothe our conscience by persuading ourselves differently. And soon we start believing the lie that we need to work those long hours, because we need to be able to provide the best for our family.

Maybe its time that we start realizing something. The best thing for my family, is my time. And the best thing for your family, is yours. Why is it that whenever I travel to 3rd world countries, the people there seem to be happier? They might not have much, but they spend their time wisely – with family and friends. And the amazing thing is that we don’t need the best things to be able to do that.

But the most important aspect we allow ourselves to be drawn away from, is God. How is it that we choose to rather watch more TV, do more work – in fact do more of the most random things, than to spend time with Him? Everything we are, and everything we have, is a gift from Him. Yet, we choose stuff, over Him. If we say we love God above everything else, we will put God first above everything else. If not, it’s time to reprioritize.