God Promotes the Humble

A few years ago, I was learning to trust God with my finances. Things were tight, but I still felt led to tithe and give generously despite my situation. Each dollar made a difference, and it was hard to learn to let go of the money I had. I had to learn that my father in heaven is my provider, not myself. I had to let go of the pride in being my provider and let him take control of my finances. It was much harder to do than I thought, and to be honest I still make mistakes in this area.

However, after some time of financial struggle, I was promoted at work and my hours per week were also doubled, meaning my income quadrupled. I was now making four times as much! It was an amazing lesson for me to learn, trusting in God for everything I need. I had to be humble and let the Holy Spirit guide my finances so that he could then bless me.

There are many verses on humility, but I just wanted to include a few of them so you can see the Bible’s perspective on humility.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

James 4:10 NLT

True humility and fear of the Lord
    lead to riches, honor, and long life.

Proverbs 22:4 NLT

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6 NLT

Humility results in being lifted up, and not just that, but also riches, honor, and long life. How amazing is that?!

I pray that you learn what Godly humility is and are blessed from that place. Have a great week!

The Holy Spirit as a Helper

There was a time this year when I was at the end of myself. I had cried until I had nothing left to cry. I felt hopeless and weak, wishing I could disappear from all my problems. It was late at night and I was in my bed, laying there helplessly. I prayed for strength and fell asleep. In the morning, I woke with a spring in my step! I felt the presence of God inside of me and I had a strength and determination about me! It was like chalk and cheese comparing the morning to the night before.

I realised that day that God deeply cares for me and sees me in my weakness, helping me when I cannot help myself. The Holy Spirit taught me to trust in him, even when everything seems unlikely, even impossible. The Bible explains some of the Holy Spirit’s characteristics in John 14 and Romans 8:

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

John 14:26 NLT

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

Romans 8:26 NLT

The Holy Spirit will often remind us of truths we already know of, but don’t understand in our heart. I have found that when I read something, it doesn’t stick with me until it lands in my heart. Getting something from my head to my heart is hard by myself, but with the “helper”, the Holy Spirit, I am reminded of the truths in God’s word at crucial times when I need it most.

The best part of all is how the Holy Spirit is given to us permanently, and lives inside of us. I often hear him speak like a still small voice of wisdom. He always lifts me up when I am down, and always encourages me when I am weak. In the morning after my night of despair, I felt the presence of God so powerfully! The Holy Spirit truly lives inside of us as 1 Corinthians 6 says:

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,

1 Corinthians 6:19

I want to encourage you to listen to him when you are feeling low. He truly cares about you and will help in times of trouble. The Bible promises this, and when God says something, he will be sure to fulfill his word.

Have a great week!

Growing In Relationship with God

It was in 2017 that I had a dream I felt was significant, and a direct revelation from God. In the dream, I was driving my car down a road. The road disappeared and turned into rough ground. As I kept driving, I could see a large desert up ahead with a lot of rough terrain. As I got closer to the rocks, cactus and other obstacles, the car I was driving lifted up several hundred feet into the air!

In the air I was able to see very far ahead of me, and I saw many other cars that were still driving on the ground. Some were very expensive exotic cars, and one in particular was a Ford Mustang. It looked brand new and was speeding along at easily over 280 km/hr (174 miles/hr). Because of the speed, it couldn’t slow down when it entered the desert. The vehicle smashed into a large rock and instantly burst into flames. I knew that the driver (and potentially passengers) had died. The dream continued with other events, but I won’t go into detail here.

At the time of the dream, I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant, but I wrote it down and mostly forgot about it. It was only this year that I remembered it and reflected on my relationship with God. I realised that at the time of the dream, my relationship with God was like a car driving on the ground. I was moving forward in what he wanted me to do at a steady and sustainable pace, but I couldn’t see what was happening around me. It was in 2020 when I desperately sought God that I was raised up and shown many things around me. God started talking to me daily about what he was doing in my life, my friend’s lives, and the world at large.

So I realised that the dream had come true. I was in my own world, going at my comfortable pace, when I was lifted up and shown what was happening all around me. A Bible verse that confirms this transformation is Isaiah 40:31.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
   They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 NLT

It is when we wait upon the Lord (being still in his presence for extended periods of time) that we will rise up. I simply love how this verse is so close to the dream I had!

I also love the following verses from the books of Revelation and Jeremiah because they reveal God’s heart for us.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

Revelation 3:20 NLT

Jesus is standing at the door of your heart knocking. It is up to you to let him in. It is in that place of friendship that he will communicate to you as a friend. When you eat a meal with him, (metaphorically), he will share with you. That simply blows me away!

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

Jeremiah shows more of God’s heart by revealing that he already has a plan and purpose for you. He wants to give you a future and a hope, but it’s up to you to let him do that by waiting on him and letting Jesus into your heart.

The remarkable thing I find in all of this is that I was a Christian the whole time in the dream I had. It wasn’t as if I was unsaved while I was driving, and when I accepted Christ I was taken up and my vision expanded. No, I was already saved. However, I wasn’t being intentional enough with my time with God to allow him to take me where I needed to go.

If you are “driving” and not seeing what God is doing, (as shown in Revelation 3:20 when Jesus shares a meal with you), I want to encourage you to spend as much time with God as you possibly can in the coming weeks. If possible, set aside large portions of time, up to four hours at a time, or more, to really go deep into his presence with praise, worship and prayer. If you do this, I promise you your life will start to transform!

Be blessed!

Operate Through Your Calling

A couple of weeks ago, God put a message on my heart. It spoke to me directly because it’s something I’ve been working through myself. The title says it all: Operate Through Your Calling. However, this isn’t always straightforward! I have often wondered what my calling is. Or, how am I supposed to walk in it in a complex world?

Let’s go.

A few years ago, I felt God put on my heart to share the gospel with others. I wanted to learn to preach and speak to believers to answer the call I felt from God. However, try as I might, I couldn’t get many speaking engagements, even after directly speaking to pastors and offering to share my testimony. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. I felt that I must have misheard God. Did he really want me to preach? Why was nothing working?

Throughout this time of questioning, I led three different bible studies, all of which only lasted some months before numbers dwindled so low it was only leaders attending. Although I hid it, this had a significant impact on the view I had on myself. Was I even capable of ministry? I was not a magnet that attracted; I felt like a magnet facing the wrong way. Everyone left!

I don’t know if you’ve felt that nothing you did (ministry-wise) succeeded, but if you have, I get it! The good news is that God has a way out! He showed it to me when I eventually started praying about this issue. He showed me that there are three things needed to find my calling and walk in it.

The first necessary action to take is to spend time seeking God in private. Take this opportunity to get close and intimate with God. Cultivate your relationship with him. You won’t get anywhere on your own.

The second action is to ask him for your calling. By directly asking God to show you his calling for your life, he will reveal it to you in a personal way. You will know his plans for yourself. You won’t have to rely on a pastor or prophet to show you the way to take.

The third step is to operate out of your calling. This action is the last step to ensure success in what you do. It is crucial to work in your calling and not someone else’s.

Now, to continue my story.
After seeking God and following his lead, I realised that although he has called me to preach, the timing is not right yet. What he has called me to now is a prayer ministry. God showed me that I needed to open my home to other believers and create a space to pray. When I did this, wow! The power of God MOVED!!
Every week, there would be people weeping as God healed their hearts! Many words of knowledge and prophesy were given to encourage one another. And most of all, the presence of God was so strong and tangible every time we met!

One time, I was disappointed because only one friend came to the meeting. But even then, God showed up powerfully, and as I was praying, I saw in a vision a place that looked like heaven! Colours were moving around in the air that were too beautiful to describe. I cannot explain how they moved because they were so bright and full of life, unlike colours in this world. I am not colour-blind, but when I came back and looked around, even the brightest colours on earth looked grey compared to the colours I saw in the vision. The amazing thing about these colours was that they moved and had a life of their own. They were living, moving, and a pure delight to watch!

Heavenly colours aren’t everything, though. It’s incredible to see, but the power of God changing lives is more important. And that’s exactly what’s been happening every single week for me. It seems normal now to have at least one powerful testimony of God showing up when praying, turning another life around.
Praise God! He is working through me finally, and I feel alive when I pray!
I will share more testimonies in the coming weeks because I feel it on God’s heart to share them as an encouragement.
Have a blessed week, and may you operate out of your calling!

The Deal with Pride

Today I was reading from Jeremiah 50. After reading the chapter, (a prophesy of judgement for the nation of Babylon), I noticed a few things.

Firstly, Babylon had been used by God to bring His judgement to nations that disobeyed Him. Babylon didn’t deserve God’s blessing or attention, yet He chose to use them to fulfill His purpose. By carrying out His work, the nation became very wealthy. (Lots of plunder from sacking many a city)

Secondly, Babylon didn’t acknowledge God and His blessing, but instead put themselves as the reason for success and praised their idols. They were so prideful that they couldn’t see past themselves and their own abilities. They put their full trust in themselves. Further to this, they decided that some man-made idols should be praised and worshipped. (uh-oh… I can take a guess where this is headed)

Thirdly, God didn’t take kindly to their pride. (Surprised? Me neither) God saw their arrogance and commanded a judgement on them that was, (get this), worse than every other judgement the other nations suffered. The worst part? There was no chance for repentance. The judgement on Babylon was to be final, and no one would ever live there again. Never ever is a very long time, so you know God was serious. In fact, God says “desert creatures and hyenas will live there” (v29), meaning God basically made the land haunted. All because some people trusted their own strength rather than the all powerful God of heaven. God doesn’t mess around, and I believe He wanted to make a point about pride and humility for people living after (aka you and me!). Those who call out to God will be saved, while those who trust in themselves will be brought low. James 4:6 says it well:

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

All throughout the old testament you can read of God bringing judgement on Israel for disobeying Him, yet they always turn and repent. God loves a humble heart, and gives grace when He sees it. Therefore, the lesson for you and I is simply this: Pride is a big no-no. You and I can start practicing more humility. And if you already are? Great! Keep going.

A Lesson From My Relationship

I have resisted writing about my relationship with Katie, my girlfriend, partly because she sometimes reads my posts and I don’t want to embarrass her, but also because the relationship is new and I’m still learning a lot. However, I have learned so much from dating her I can’t pass up an opportunity for content to write here 😉

Being in a relationship is like having a giant magnifying glass looking at my character. Before I met Katie, I thought I was a great Christian guy because I diligently went to church to serve, read my bible, and prayed often. However, when I started going out with her, I quickly started to see gaps in my character that needed immediate attention. The list is too long to cover here, but the first area I observed needing improvement was my relationship with my family. I saw how Katie loved and cared for her family, even though they let her down at times. Seeing this forgiveness and love challenged me. After being hurt by my family, I isolated myself and was living away from them with minimal interaction. I preferred to not talk about them, and when asked, would generally bring up the bad things that happened. I understand that no one has a perfect family, but my attitude toward my family was not right. Seeing how forgiveness brought healing and restored relationships in Katie’s family challenged me to forgive my family too and invite them back into my life. I started organising times to see them and enjoy each other’s company.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says ‘If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

As it turns out, there is a lot more to being a “good Christian guy” then simply going to church and reading the Bible. Without showing love, I had nothing. When I did change my tune, I was amazed at how fast relationships were strengthened and renewed. Have you had difficulty in family relationships? What have you done to restore those relationships? Let me know by commenting below 🙂

Sharing the Faith

I am currently reading through 1 Peter, and I love the following verses from chapter 3. 1 Peter 3:15-17 ‘Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

The way to preach the gospel is not always from a pulpit, but rather by showing others a holy and pure life. This shifts the responsibility of sharing Christianity with unbelievers from the pastor to every Christian. I love that we are all meant to be a part of God’s plan. There is no one too small or insignificant to participate.

We are called to live a life that cannot be mocked or criticized, even by non-Christians. To live this way, I know I need God’s help. I can’t live this life on my own. I think this is God’s intention. No one can live this kind of life on their own, so there must be something or someone helping them. (God) 🙂 I have heard a few testimonies of Christians who came to the faith because they were challenged by Christians who didn’t smoke, drink or do drugs and who were always happy. They were challenged by the way Christians lived, and found God because of it. When my time on earth is over, I want to meet people who were challenged by the life I lived. Do you want to challenge others too?

We know that we are called to live a life that cannot be mocked or criticized, but what are some practical things to do that show this kind of life? 1 Peter 4:7-11 sheds some light on this. ‘The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

By praying earnestly, showing deep love, cheerfully sharing and using our gifts, we are living for God. The lifestyle God wants you and me to live doesn’t sound complicated; The difficulty is living faithfully day after day. If you are already living in this way, keep going! If you aren’t, don’t worry; start now. It’s important to remember that life isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon. Consistency is how we win.

Living with Christ as the Foundation

When reading 1 Peter 2, I came across some verses that talk of Christ as an example. My attention was drawn to verses 4 – 9 which say ‘ You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honour. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honour, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honour God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

You and I get to live with Christ as the foundation of our faith. His example goes before us to show us how to live. I am so thankful for the privilege of living after Christ came to earth! His example shows us how to live in many different ways. He taught to obey authority and pray for them. His life also taught us that sometimes suffering is necessary to fulfil God’s will. Jesus died for us because His Father in heaven wanted to save all people. The greatest gift in the history of the world came at a great price.

Now that Jesus has come, we are called to live the way He did, devoting our lives to doing good and suffering through persecution. The calling isn’t to find persecution, but to live the way God called without compromising if hardship comes. Although this calling is hard at times, it is far greater to live for God than to live for pleasure, as many people do. The troubles the world faces are many and often have no remedy. I can attest to this because before I lived as a Christian I was living for myself, only seeking pleasure. The problem was that pleasure couldn’t satisfy the desire inside me. It always wanted more. After putting my faith in God and living for Him rather than myself, I stopped pursuing pleasure and started to find purpose again. I actually overcame depression!

If you find yourself going around in circles in life, consider surrendering yourself to God and His will. When you live in His purpose, it fills you and satisfies the desire that seems to never end. In a word, you find contentment. You are content with much or little, rich or poor, free or slave. You are so free in yourself because you now belong to God.

Moving Past Doubts

A little while ago, I was upset with someone. They didn’t treat me the way I wanted to be treated, and I felt hurt. When I was alone in my bedroom feeling sorry for myself, I had a thought to read my journal. I found the document on my MacBook and started reading. My journal is short – only a handful of pages. However, in those few pages I had written thoughts about the same people in my life. The funny part? My anxious thoughts about them a few months ago were the same ones I was experiencing now. I started laughing because I knew what happened after I wrote in the journal. Without saying anything, they had made it all right again. It was all just a misunderstanding on my part.

1 Corinthians 13:7 says ‘Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.‘ This verse affirms the need to never give up and endure through every circumstance. In my mind, I had the right to be upset, but if I had followed the Bible, I would have assumed the best instead and saved myself the pain.

Have you had doubts about someone? Have you been let down by someone you love? Write down your thoughts and feelings in a few sentences every-so-often (once per week is ideal). When you worry later, you may find that reading your past thoughts and feelings show you how to proceed.

I want to give another example. I get very annoyed when I arrange a time to catch up with someone and they cancel last-minute or say they can’t make it without giving me a time that works. I feel like I’m stabbing in the dark simply trying to see them. When this happened to me a few months ago, I was quite upset. A few days ago it happened again with the same person, and the identical feelings came to me. After reading my journal I realized this person was not upset with me or avoiding seeing me. This friend was busy, nothing more.

Big problems become small ones when brought into perspective. I recommend journalling if you sometimes have doubts. It is simple to do and very effective at clearing your mind.

The Pursuit of Acceptance, or the Pursuit of God?

Today I have been challenged by the scripture found in Isaiah 53:1-6 ‘Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Jesus spent His time on earth not for Himself, but sinners. He was despised and hated during His ministry. What hit me hard was how the Son of God came to earth and was misunderstood. If God’s own Son wasn’t liked and didn’t care to be liked, why am I so concerned with what other people think of me?

If I am to live for God and not myself, I will need to re-focus myself on Him. It seems so easy to get caught up in what the world defines as success, but to put that aside and look like a fool may be necessary to obey God. How far will you go to pursue God rather than acceptance of other people? This challenges me, because often my motives aren’t right. I love social media because it’s a platform that can be used to get even more acceptance from friends. Does a follower of Christ even need social media? I deleted Instagram because I do not have the self-control to use it in a healthy way. I have kept a Facebook account, but I wonder if I should delete that too. In any case, I will be judging my motives very closely the next few days. I want to be in the pursuit of God, not the pursuit of acceptance from people.