Thursday, April 27, 2017

Making the most of every opportunity

Mount Hermon Conference Center
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15-16

I've been busy this week, blogging on other sites. Read the rest of this post at Australasian Christian Writers.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Was it worth it?

Mount Hermon Conference Centre
I’ve just returned from attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in California and I have been asked (in a nice way) if it was worth the time and money.

Read the rest of this post at Christian Writers Downunder.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Devotional Thought : James 5:11

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11.

James was writing this passage of his book to encourage patience in the face of suffering. Sometimes we discount suffering in our context because we are not subject to the physical abuse that Christians experience in other parts of the world. Nevertheless we live in a fallen world and we encounter trial and problems that we would not, if we weren't Christians. So the call to be patient is also valid for us.

Often we are too quick to rush into a situation and try to immediately fix things, or we implore the Lord for a speedy result, without stopping to think that maybe God is doing a work that is going to take time. This was the case with Job. We are not told how long Job suffered, but 40 chapters seems like a long time! Yet there was a lot going on in the heavenly realm that Job was unaware of. The story of Job underlines the fact that we may need to wait in order to see the result that the Lord wants to bring about, which may be quite different to the outcomes we want.

The above verse ends with a great encouragement, the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. He isn't going to prolong our difficulties without reason, but only if it works to our best interests. His heart is for us to become more like Christ, which sometimes means we have to endure circumstances that are not to our liking.

Regardless of our difficulties, whether they are major dramas or minor inconveniences, we are blessed when we persevere.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

First Email Newsletter

This week I am sending out my first email newsletter. I plan to send an email once a month with updates on my books as well as other things I like to write about.

I would love you to subscribe and there is a sign up box in the sidebar. As a thank you gift for subscribing you will receive a link to my 10 Devotional Thoughts on Trusting God ebook.

I have recently returned from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. The photo is of me at Mount Hermon. It has taken me a little longer to get over the jet lag than I expected, but I will start posting about my trip soon.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

He is with us

One of the continuing themes of the Bible that God wants to impress upon us is the knowledge that he is with us.

We see this in Hebrews 13:5, "Never will I leave you". The one we remember at Christmas, "They will call him Immanuel (meaning God with us)" and Ezekiel’s prophecy, "And the name of the city from that time will be: The Lord is there" (Ezekiel 48:35). This prophecy was given at a time of great upheaval, and it is interesting that God doesn’t always rescue us from life’s dramas but rather he promises his Presence in the midst of them. God wants us know that he is always there for us.

Yet we also need to call upon him like the disciples in Mark 6:48. Jesus "saw the disciples straining at the oars . . . he went out to them . . . he was about to pass by them." Jesus would have passed by, but when the disciples cried out to him, he immediately (v. 50) spoke to them and calmed the wind.

Let's thank God for being with us, but also call upon his Presence in a fresh and deeper way.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Devotional Thought : 1 Chronicles 13:2-4

He [David] then said to the whole assembly of Israel, "If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send word far and wide to the rest of our people throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their towns and pasturelands, to come and join us. Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul." The whole assembly agreed to do this, because it seemed right to all the people. 1 Chronicles 13:2-4

God has always wanted to lead his people by inner conviction. We see this in the phrases, "seems good to you" and "seemed right to all the people." The plan to bring the ark back to Jerusalem was a good one. (Even though, things went badly when they took a short cut, and put the ark on a cart.)

In the New Testament we also find God leading his people by inner conviction, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us . . ." (Acts 15:28). This is the opposite of what happens in Judges where, "everyone did as they saw fit" (Judges 21:25).

Relying on inner conviction, isn’t doing as we think best. Rather it comes from an attitude that seeks to please God and commit to his ways. God desires to lead and guide, but for us to follow we must be willing to put aside our agenda and timetable.

Furthermore, relying on inner conviction, requires the development of spiritual disciplines, like prayer and Bible reading so we are learning to be sensitive to God's Spirit.

Ultimately God wants to lead his people through relationship, not by predetermined rules.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Home today

I am returning from my trip to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference today. I scheduled a number of posts while I was away and this one is the last of them. I imagine I am currently sleeping off jet lag. Hope to write about the trip soon.

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