Friday, August 31, 2012

Daily Devotional - 31st August, 2012 - Continue Doing Good

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Daily Devotional - 31st August, 2012

Sometimes we work hard and see little results. Sometimes we encourage, support and pray for our children or families and we think it’s of no avail; it’s a waste of time. At times we wonder why we even bother. There’s some encouragement though. 
The Bible challenges us not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. That is, if we persist in doing the right thing, sooner or later things will work out. We have to persevere. Not a word we particularly want to hear, but we should persevere in doing good. Who knows, maybe very soon we will see the fruits of our labour, and witness the outcomes we have been hoping for. What other option is there anyway?

Let’s continue to do good, and see what we reap from our actions. 

Ponder: God’s nature is one of goodness. Therefore any good we do is merely a representation of the nature of God. How can you better reflect the goodness of God?

Bible: Galatians 6:7-10


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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Daily Devotional - 30th August, 2012 - Get up the Mountain

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Daily Devotional - 30th August, 2012

When I’m feeling stressed, I have a little phrase I tell myself. I say, ‘Pete, it’s time to get up the mountain.’

Getting up the mountain for me symbolises something of getting away from the hustle and bustle and pushing aside all the urgent expectations to stop for a minute. I mean, this is what Jesus did often. He went up the mountain to pray, and probably for some R&R. I mean, imagine being constantly swamped by hundreds of people, wanting from you, asking of you, requesting from you, needing from you... Get up the mountain is a figurative way of saying, get away from the hustle and bustle. Take a prayer break. Recharge the batteries in God. Refuel the faith tank. Getting up the mountain and away from the busyness is what you need to do. Try getting up the mountain. Try to find a moment contemplating on the God who created you and you might find a whole bunch of energy and a revitalisation that you never imagined.
Ponder: Where do you go and what do you do to ‘get up the mountain’?
Bible: Matthew 8:1-4


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Daily Devotional - 29th August, 2012 - Refuelling when empty

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Daily Devotional - 29th August, 2012
I was driving the car recently, and realised I had 34km left before I would run out of petrol! This was never a problem in the previous car I had. The other car used to 'BEEP' at me at 80km, and then 'BEEP' 'BEEP' at 40km, then 'BEEP, BEEP, BEEP' at 20 km and so I had plenty of warning to refill the tank. The problem I now had, was I had no indicators of when I am running on empty.
There's obvious parallels to life. How often do people run on empty and have no warning signs to tell them otherwise? When you are 'burning the candle at both ends' and when you are 'running on empty', what boundaries, mechanisms, tips, people or things do you have to warn you? Do you have someone close to you to let you know when the tank is running low?
Why not ask God to fill up the tank, and give you the inner rest you need, to be all that God wants you to be. Turn the fuel light on. Let it 'BEEP' at you. Hear the warning signs. Act Accordingly.
Ponder: What are your warning signs to tell you that you are running on empty?
Bible: Isaiah 40:28-31

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Daily Devotional - 28th August, 2012 - If you wanna walk on water...

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Daily Devotional - 28th August, 2012
Picture this situation with me. The time is between 3am and 6am. It's pitch black. A storm is raging. Jesus’ disciples are on their boat doing some fishing and are no doubt wet, tired and irritable.
The disciples picture in the distance, someone walking on water. Amidst the fierce storm, the disciple Peter yells out "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come out onto the water". And Jesus says, "Come." Peter musters up the courage to walk off the boat and onto the water. He walks on water for a few steps and then he takes his eyes off Jesus and focuses back on the wind and waves around about him. He begins to sink.
Too many of us fear stepping out of the boat and yet we remain dissatisfied with the way things are. As John Ortberg says, ‘If you wanna walk on water, you gotta get outta the boat.’ Don’t let fear cripple you. You have so much potential, if you would just keep your eyes fixed on God and take a step of faith. Don’t wait for the storms in life to dissipate before you step out of the boat... You may well be waiting the rest of your life.
Ponder: If you stepped out of the boat, how would life be different?
Bible: Matthew 14:23-35

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Daily Devotional - 27th August, 2012 - An Everlasting Love

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Daily Devotional - 27th August, 2012
How could God love someone like me? I know personally a good handful of people who have pondered that question. Maybe it's because they have had a colourful life, and they don't believe the forgiveness of God extends that far. Possibly it's because their picture of God is one of exclusivity; that is, God only loves a select few. I’ve got some news to tell you...
God in essence is a God of love. The Bible in fact says, that God has 'loved you with an everlasting love'. Or in the book of Romans in the Bible, it says, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not even your deepest darkest secrets can separate you from experiencing the love of God. When you turn over your life to Jesus in prayer, God works in your life. That's the revolutionary idea; that no matter what your life has been like God still loves you with a love that is 'everlasting'. God loves you that much, that he sent Jesus to bring you an amazing, purposeful life.
Ponder: Why not reflect for a few moments on this idea: ‘I am loved by God, with an everlasting love...’
Bible: Jeremiah 31:3

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Daily Devotional - 26th August, 2012 - A. W. Tozer Prayer

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Daily Devotional - 26th August, 2012
A. W. Tozer once offered this prayer up to God. It went like this, "Lord Jesus, I come to you for spiritual preparation. Lay your hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should become a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the face of clergy, the curse of compromise, the imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay your terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
Ponder: What part of A. W. Tozer’s prayer hits you square between the eyes? What do you need to do about it?
Bible: 1 Chronicles 16:28-34

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Daily Devotional - 25th August, 2012 - How to Find Hope

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Daily Devotional - 25th August, 2012
There is always HOPE - Even when the chips are down and the walls are caving in. Whether the food in on the table or not, whether the bills are paid or not, whether there is health or sickness or not; there is always hope. That is my philosophy on hope. The is always enough hope to go around!
The question is, is there ever anyone beyond hope? I have a friend who works with individuals with mental illnesses. She says that even with major brain injuries, people have the ability to engage, learn and connect with at least something, even if it's just a 'wave' hello. I do not believe that there is one individual on this planet that is ever beyond hope. We might feel hopeless and unappreciated at times, but with a faith in God, we can have a greater sense of hope and purpose in life. No matter our situation, no matter our circumstances, we can cling to a God who loves us, and provided the ultimate expression of hope – Jesus Christ.
Ponder: Have you ever felt without hope? Who do you turn to?
Bible: Psalm 33:18-22

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Daily Devotional - 24th August, 2012 - Keep your Faith to Yourself!

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Daily Devotional - 24th August, 2012
‘I keep my faith to myself’ some people banter. Or ‘Yeah I go to church occasionally’.
The question is, ‘Is it possible to have a real, authentic Christian faith, and still have a private faith?’ Jesus speaks of the faith journey as one of sacrifice. One in which we give up your own life and follow him. Jesus did not speak of faith as simply a personal belief system, that helps you at home when you’re feeling depressed. No. The birth of Christianity in essence is about others, and about serving others, and sharing the message about Jesus to anybody. It is an outward, exciting faith that is meant to impact and transform both individuals and institutions. We can’t afford to have a private faith that does not impact those around us. In fact, you could argue, that a faith in God that does not impact those around it, is probably not really faith in God at all.  
If you’re looking into the faith thing, understand something. Jesus may well call you to a sacrifice that takes your new found faith out from the four walls of your home or church and into the community where you live.
Ponder: Is your faith shared and lived out regularly with people outside of your church or home?
Bible: Mark 8:34-38
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Daily Devotional - 23rd August, 2012 - God is with you!

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Daily Devotional - 23rd August, 2012

There are so many Bible references sharing the fact that, 'God is with you'. It seems God is trying to tell us something about the 'immanence of God':

Joshua 1: 9 - 'Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you whether you go'.

Matthew 28:20 - [Jesus says] 'I will be with you to the very end of the age'.

Romans 8: 39 says, 'Nothing can separate us from the love of God'.

Psalm 139:7-8 says, 'Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there'.

The Scriptures are pretty clear. The Old Testament says it; Jesus says it; the Apostle Paul says it. God is with us... He is immanent, that is, God is close to us. The immanence of God is a fundamental reality of Christian spirituality.

So next time you pray, don't pray, 'God, please be with me today', but rather pray, 'God, help me understand you are with me today'.

Whatever the circumstance, whatever the situation, remember, God is with you.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Daily Devotional - 22nd August, 2012 - God give me Patience!

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Daily Devotional - 22nd August, 2012
People have told me over the years to not run ahead of God. Here’s the thing. I’m not known for my amazing patience...I sometimes pop the toast up early, because I can’t be bothered waiting for perfectly cooked bread!
Quite often we’re keen to run ahead of God’s plan for our life, and do things our own way. Sure, God will still be in our lives and bless us, but how exciting and more rewarding would life be, if we always had the patience to be right where God wants us.
We only have to look to the story in the Bible of Abraham and Sarah, to see a couple that God promised to give a baby to in their old age. They laughed at the ludicrous thought, and they were so impatient to wait for God to fulfil his promise of blessing their future generations that Abraham slept with Hagar and she fell pregnant. She had a son, in whom they named Ishmael. I wonder what God thought about their impatience?!
Why not be patient and wait to see what God has in store for your life...?

Ponder: Are you patient? Are there areas of your life where you need to ask God for more patience?
Bible: Genesis 15:1-6

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Spiritual Leadership and Business Management Leadership - Differences/Similarities

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Many Christian authors will write that spiritual leaders need to be careful in relation to adopting management principles from the business world. Kind of like the business world is some sort of disgusting sticky substance you can't get off your fingers once it's there. You may flip it around and say at times, business management principles have been adopted and/or changed from existing leadership principles handed down from the days of the New Testament.

What do you think? Are there many differences between spiritual leadership and managerial leadership?

I think the answer is yes. Spiritual leadership has a very different outlook and overarching purpose than management. Though we are of course not throwing business management out the window! There are still many similarities between spiritual leadership the business management world. Let's compile a list and consider the topic further:

Differences Between Spiritual Leaders and Business Leaders


Spiritual leadership is about fulfilling the purposes of God. Managerial leadership is about fulfilling the vision of the business, which are generally greater profits, and increased shareholder dividends, amongst other things. For spiritual leaders and business managers purpose is absolutely important. What the leader and organisation's core business is, is crucial. The difference lies in what that core business is. I have not heard recently of a business whose core business is to reach the lost and bring them to Christ!

Spiritual leadership has particular core values that underpin leadership activity, for example, compassion, humility, servant-hood, love for others, etc. Leadership in the business sector can still characterize those values, but more often than not values exist in business simply in order to reach a profitable end (so, if the profit/outcome/success does not occur when adhering to those chosen values, then the values can change). I don't want to be too negative here, but spiritual leadership is adamant that particular values like love, respect, servant attitude, and being God-honouring are non-negotiables. Here is a clear difference between spiritual leadership and business management. Jim Collin's Built to Last for instance, says that for businesses to be long-lasting, they need to be built upon strong core values, but listen, it doesn't matter particularly what those values are, just as long as the business sticks to it! Spiritual leaders develop their values from the Bible, and thus their value system is not dependent upon a changing business world but by an unchanging morality code. That being said, the general population still admire and respect businesses that hold to respectable and strong values, that are not just nicely written on the wall in the office, but actually affect the everyday business.

You may remember the story of Johnson & Johnson (founded in 1886 by Robert W. Johnson), that continues to have a vision to 'alleviate pain and disease'. It also said that it valued its customers above everything else. Have a read of this excerpt from Wikipedia in relation to needing to respond to a crisis:
On September 29, 1982, a "Tylenol scare" began when the first of seven individuals died in metropolitan Chicago, after ingesting Extra Strength Tylenol that had been deliberately laced with cyanide. Within a week, the company pulled 31 million bottles of capsules back from retailers, making it one of the first major recalls in American history. The incident led to reforms in the packaging of over-the-counter substances and to federal anti-tampering laws. The case remains unsolved and no suspects have been charged. Johnson & Johnson's quick response, including a nationwide recall, was widely praised by public relations experts and the media and was the gold standard for corporate crisis management.
This was a great test of whether the value system that Johnson & Johnson had, would actually be lived out within their business. They chose to stick by strong values over the quest for profits.
Spiritual leadership values humility highly, and not position. Any positional authority or power one has, is merely a gift from God, to be used for God. In managerial leadership, you have the sense at times, that business positions are highly sought after, by potential up and rising gifted leaders. The underlying reasons for this passion of climbing the corporate ladder, may well be the financial benefits of such a position, or the popularity that arises from such a position. The difference here seems to be that spiritual leaders are keen to acknowledge that their position is given by God, while working hard in the process, while business leaders may attribute their position to hard work and merely the right set of lucky circumstances to have them arrive at that point.

Spiritual leadership and managerial leadership are not necessarily poles apart. You can be a spiritual leader in a management position; that is, you can live out an expression of your core values and belief system in the business environment, while improving the business you are in. This is certainly what Ed Silvoso advocates for in his book, Anointed for Business (2002).

There are many more differences and similarities between spiritual leaders and managers, but we have discussed three important aspects:
  1. Purpose
  2. Values
  3. Position. 
There is much more to say about spirituality in business; and I hope future posts may touch on such topics.

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~ Matthew 5:6 - Hunger and thirst for righteousness...

Join the discussion at Disciples in Training on Facebook.

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Also: The differences and similarities between leadership and management.
The truth about influence - what secular leadership won't tell you

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Selected Books to consider on spiritual leadership and leadership in business:
  • Blackaby, Henry & Richard. (2001). Spiritual Leadership. Tennessee, USA: B&H Publishing Group.
  • Collins, Jim. (2001). Good to Great. New York, U.S.A.: HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2010). The Truth About Leadership. California, U.S.A.: Jossey Bass.
  • Sanders, Oswald. (2007). Spiritual Leadership. Chicago, USA: Moody Publishers.
  • Silvoso, Ed. (2002). Anointed for Business. California, U.S.A.: Regal Books.


Daily Devotional - 21st August, 2012 - You ARE Worthy

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Daily Devotional - 21st August, 2012
You ask yourself, who am I to do that? You tell yourself, ‘I’m not worthy to fulfil that task.’ You make all the excuses under the sun, on why you shouldn’t do the very thing God is asking of you. See, here’s the thing, we should refrain from making the excuse that we are not good enough to do something.
Think of David, who became King David – he was an adulterer. Moses, who was asked to take the people of Israel out of captivity from Egypt – he was a murderer. What about Paul – he used to persecute new Christians, but ended up taking the message of Jesus to the surrounding Roman Empire!

See we don’t serve God because we are perfected humans. We serve God is our lives, because Jesus takes away our sins, and make us right and holy before God.  So, please don’t make the excuse that you’re not good enough, and not worthy enough, because through God, you have all you need to complete the task at hand.
Bible: Exodus 3:11-14
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Daily Devotional - 20th August, 2012 - Consumerist Worship

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Daily Devotional - 20th August, 2012
I visited a church recently on my holidays. They sang repeatedly about God showing them favour and for God to pour the Holy Spirit upon them more and more, and more and more. I was enjoying worshipping God in that large atmosphere, but then my mind kicked in... Was this some sort of consumerist worship?

There were no songs just adoring God; you know - songs about the majesty, awesomeness of God. Rather ALL the songs were actually about US, and what we could receive from God. There's a fine line. I understand God says, "Ask and you shall receive", and "You have not because you ask not", but at what point do we begin to create some form of Christian consumerism, where we merely consume from God. We are called firstly just to worship and honour the God who created us. First and foremost. We simply honour and appreciate God for all he has done in our lives. Only then should we ever think about asking God for blessing and favour for our lives.
Bible: 2 Chronicles 1:11-12

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

No Leader Likes Them. Every Leader Needs Them.

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No I'm not talking about followers.

Lately I was chatting about leadership with long serving Salvation Army Officer, Robert Diedrick (Arizona). After 25 years in leadership he has gained some experience on leadership and its relationship with influence.

He says the following:
If you have very few people following your lead, your influence methods need an adjustment. Take a look at yourself. Do people want to be like you? Are you a good role-model? Are you a positive thinker or a complainer? Sometimes the people we lead do not need many changes in their lives, it may be the leader that has to change!
What a leadership wakeup call this can be! "You mean I have to change?!"

That is why every leader needs a self-appraisal. No leader likes them; but every leader needs them.

Self-reflection as a leader is paramount. It's critical. It's almost like we are in need of continual appraisals of our own journey, capacity, integrity and leadership skill. Maybe the self-appraisal process is not painful for some, though for many, deep self-reflection is a revealing and somewhat difficult task. When we find ourselves falling short of our own expectations, it is tough. When we see where we wish to be a leader, but realising we are not there yet; we need to take stock. What's hard is when those around you are longing for you to be a better leader, and you ARE aware of it, and are unsure of how to grow.

Robert Diedrick reflects further on leadership:
In our ministry as Salvation Army Officers I have looked at leaders around me. The most influential to me are those that are servant-leaders that reproduce other leaders. They produce fruit! They are productive and have a huge positive influence upon people. One such leader that I highly respect and admire is Commissioner Jim Knaggs. I see him as a servant leader. People do not need a dictator to convince them to do their duty. They need a strong example that shows that they care and lead by example. As [leaders] we would all do ourselves a big favor if we modelled our life after the Lord Jesus.
We have the opportunity to model our lives after Jesus, who was and is the epitome of leadership, faithfulness, perseverance and integrity. If we have to search within ourselves to find areas of our lives to further  model after him, then the pain of such a search will be worth it. Self-appraisal followed by making the appropriate changes in life, will be worth the journey if we are seeking to be more like Christ.

That's the journey of holiness and spiritual leadership. Modelling our lives, our leadership capacity, ministry opportunities after the one who offers us salvation and forgiveness.

Holiness is the foundation of spiritual leadership. Self-reflection is the beginning of the process to strengthen that foundation.




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Daily Devotional - 19th August, 2012 - Broadcasting Hope

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Daily Devotional - 19th August
Here’s the formula for radio. A song, followed by a song, then an advertisement, maybe another song and a newsbreak. Throw in a few cleverly programmed sound effects and an engaging presenter and you’ve got the recipe for life-changing radio. Or have you? Is radio more than simply entertaining its listeners with hip music and up-to-date news? What if radio was about broadcasting hope to its surrounding community? Maybe the same great music would stay, and the news would continue to keep us informed... but there would be another element that would inspire change in its listeners. It’s a message of hope that is unique to some stations and confrontational to other stations. It’s a message of hope that continues to impact the world over. I’m talking about broadcasting hope that has an eternal impact. Hope that is, ultimately, found in the person of Jesus Christ. It’s the kind of hope you can find, if you turn to Jesus.
Bible: Lamentations 3:25

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Daily Devotional - 18th August, 2012 - The Message of Reconciliation

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Daily Devotional - 18th August, 2012
On February 13th, 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a speech that had a significant impact. He spoke a heartfelt  message in the House of Representatives that day, to an audience of millions... and the speech? It was an 'Apology to Indigenous Australians'. He said, 'We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on....our fellow [indigenous] Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country. For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry...' and he continues on. Whatever your political allegiance, you cannot help but affirm the words that attempt to bring reconciliation and unity between fellow Australians. It echoes the cry of God’s heart, for reconciliation between each other and reconciliation with our creator.
Bible: 2 Corinthians 5:17-20

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Daily Devotional - 17th August, 2012 - Rejoice over you with Singing

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Daily Devotional - 17th August, 2012
As I put my daughter to bed, I find myself singing a lullaby. You know the one... The one that brings a smile to the face, and involves a few little actions, like clapping the hands and clicking the fingers, or pretending to rock a baby to sleep. It doesn’t matter if I sing out of tune or if I don’t know all the lyrics. There’s a deep down appreciation from my daughter, that this is my dad, who loves me and is singing a song for me.
Do you know that God’s rejoices over you with singing? Interesting thought. The Bible says that...
17 The LORD your God is with you,
   the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you...
   ...he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
We may not comprehend the significance of this, but we can begin to grasp the reality that God’s loves us so much, that like singing a child to sleep, God rejoices over us with singing. And that God loves all that he has created.
Bible: Zephaniah 3:17


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Daily Devotional - 16th August, 2012 - Stand like Nehemiah

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Daily Devotional - Thursday 16th August
Ever been in a situation where everything was going pear shaped? Your marriage was in tatters, or your finances were dried up. Maybe the job security had changed for the worse. Or the sickness had taken a course downhill. How do react in the midst of such adversity?
There’s a story of a man named Nehemiah in the 5th Century before Christ, who stood in the midst of adversity. The walls of Jerusalem were broken around him. Threats of attack surrounded him. All seemed hopeless. But he stood amongst the people and boldly said, ‘Don’t be afraid of them... Remember the Lord who is great and awesome’ [Neh 4:14]. He was not consumed by his situation. He did not let adversity cripple him, but he stood up and made a choice to be strong despite the circumstances he faced.  In fact, he stood not in his own strength, but in the strength of God.
If you find yourself in difficult times, take a leaf out of Nehemiah’s book, and ask God to help you stand... amidst the adversity.
Bible: Nehemiah 4:8-14


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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Daily Devotional - 15th August, 2012 - Imagine the Possibilities

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Daily Devotional - 15th August, 2012
Imagine with me...  it's another Monday morning and as you wipe the sleep from your eyes and give your arms a stretch, you’re thinking one thing; ‘Will things be different this week?’ ‘Will I just coast through with the same old life, or will this week be something special?’ ‘Will this week entail anything of real significance...?  Well, really... it’s another week of opportunities.
It’s:
* Another opportunity to help someone in need
* Another opportunity to be a blessing to your family
* Another opportunity to pray for God’s intervention
* Another opportunity to seek and to save that which is lost
* Another opportunity to put aside the mundane mediocrity of life and soar to new heights and possibilities. Don’t let it be just another week... Imagine with me, the possibilities...

Ponder: What opportunities exist for you in the next 7 days?
Bible: Acts 27:10-13


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Cast out Demons without Shouting at the Devil and Frothing at the Mouth

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Exorcisms sound scary. The whole idea of 'demon possession' and 'casting out demons' has been hollywoodified (to coin a new term), and thus has tarnished us from having a clearer picture of one aspect of spiritual warfare.

There's much to be said. Some argue about the existence of the demonic. Some argue about how much focus we should give to the devil. Some downplay the reality of the Christian's need to even explore 'spiritual warfare' and all that that entails.

I'm seeking to take the middle road. Please hear me first. I have blogged about the grace of God, the nature of God, the love of God, the need for Godly leadership, the characteristics of Godly people, the need for missional churches, evangelism and loads more. Now for a blog on casting out demons, that should be seen within the whole picture of following Jesus.

Do Demons exist?

This has been a theological conundrum for some, who question the reality of the demonic realm. We clearly see Scripture that highlights Jesus casting out demons, and many references to the reality of the existence of the demonic. Have a quick look at these:

Matthew 5:24 -  'News about [Jesus] spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.'
Matthew 8:16 - 'When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to [Jesus], and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.'
Luke 8:27 - 'When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man...' (Jesus subsequently cast out the demon).

I would argue that the difficulty is not so much on whether the demonic exists, but rather what form do they take. This is the difficult question, but I pose a solution.

Now, I have purposefully labelled the post with a somewhat provocative title to ignite your interest, but there is really not much that is provocative about this post.

How to Cast out Demons without Shouting at the Devil and Frothing at the Mouth

Let me give you a scenario. Someone is clearly distressed. They are crying, feeling depressed, are looking for hope, and they find themselves coming to you for support. Can I suggest, that whether or not the 'devil is at work' and the 'demons are seeking to devour' and whatever colourful language you want to use to help yourself describe the situation, that is somewhat irrelevant. Hear me right here. It is not irrelevant that the negative emotions and feelings of the person are ones of distress and hurt. But it IS irrelevant whether or not the demonic is at work. Let me explain.

Helping the person connect on a deeper level with Jesus is what matters. James 4:7 says, 'Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.' If you continually submit yourselves to God, the rest will take place. Without sounding too liberal for the fundamentalists, and too fundamental for the liberals, what I'm trying to say, is that by pointing people to Christ, the rest will take care of itself (whether or not the person was demon-possessed, merely emotionally hurt, etc). The healing will occur. Jesus will bring fullness of life.

Hebrews 12:2 speaks of fixing our eyes on Jesus, not the demonic. We don't need to shout at the devil and froth at the mouth. Without offending any pentecostal readers, I suggest you don't even need to speak in tongues to witness God bring peace and joy into someones life. There may be a moment where you are prompted by the Holy Spirit to say, 'Get out in Jesus name!' but there may not. You may not even be able to discern what the reasoning is behind the hurt the person is experiencing. And does it even matter?

I am suggesting we lead people to Jesus, through the cross of Jesus, to the resurrection of Jesus. Through the cross there is forgiveness, and through the resurrection there is hope for eternal life here and now, and in the future to come.

Exorcisms may sound scary, and the whole idea of 'demon-possession' and spiritual warfare may be over dramatised by the media industry and some Christian churches, but what matters is turning to Christ for the fullness of life that he promises.

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Here's a story from Sam Hancock:

'Give me somebody able to cast out devils, and I don't care whether they can read or write, or put a grammatical sentence together' (Catherine Booth, AGGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY, p57).

There's a wonderful irony here. A few years ago I received a phone call from a journalist at a capital city paper asking me for a comment on 'casting out devils'. The Pope had issued a new statement on exorcism, and the religion writer was looking to put together an interesting article. She had rung the Uniting Church PR person, and he just happened to be the guy who had been my Pastor mate in our suburb. He had heard me tell stories about some of the 'casting out devils' that Ev and I had done.
I knew better than to make any comment to a city journo without contacting PR. So I rang the guy in charge at the time. He encouraged me to comment, as long as I simply descibed my experiences.
So I rang the journo back and told her some of our stories. I was excited at the prospect of a city daily publishing the promise of 'freedom in Jesus Name' that people in bondage to the devil might read.
At 8.15 am the next morning I received a troubled phone call. Not from the demon possessed, but from the PR person. They were not happy! And I was to blame!
The PR person had composed a letter that he read to me over the phone. The letter was a complaint to the journalist and the Editor of the paper for their mis-reporting of what I had said. He said he was faxing it to me, and I should sign it and return it to him right away.
I told him I couldn't do that because the letter said things that weren't true. He sounded flustered, and asked me what I could say. I suggested some things, and later in the day turned the letter around for him.
I thank God for the courage and power to 'cast out devils' in Jesus name!

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