Saturday, April 29, 2017

Devotional Thought : 1 Chronicles 15:27

Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the musicians, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. 1 Chronicles 15:27

David was dressed as the high priest. This was quite unusual as the role of king was separate from the role of priests. In fact, in 1 Samuel 13:9-13 we see Saul not waiting for Samuel the priest to offer the burnt offerings, but rather doing it himself. Saul was severely rebuked for his actions. God’s people are not to over step their authority.

Yet here David is acting in the role of high priest, it seems that David had divine approval to do this. We read that David told the Levites, regarding the first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem, “We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way” (v. 13). So presumably this being the second attempt, David did inquire of the Lord. God gave him the privilege of priest and king and enable him to bring the ark of the covenant back to the city.

It brings to mind the account of Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18 where Melchizedek is referred to as a king and priest. “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram . . . Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:18-20). Salem was the original name of Jerusalem.

Only Melchizedek, David and Jesus, all kings of Jerusalem, shared the titles and privileges of king and priest at the same time.

As his children God gives us many privileges, but let’s not take them for granted.

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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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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Delight in the Lord

Sometimes we expect God to bless us exactly as we ask and don’t consider that God may have a different blessing in mind.

We love Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Even trying to “help” God so he can give us the desires of our heart. But we skip over the first half of the verse a little too quickly. Delighting in the Lord requires that we get so caught up in what God wants that we forget what we want, or at least it becomes less important.

In the gospels Jesus tells us that in order to be his disciples we need to deny ourselves and put to death our personal preferences in order to follow him (Matthew 16:24). Not an easy thing to do when ingrained in us is an independent streak that likes to have its own way. Also not an easy thing to do when we are fixated on God to giving us the desires of our heart.

Frequently we find our desires go through a refining process and what we thought we wanted is changed and purified into a God given desire. Sometimes God plants a desire in our heart, maybe when we were very young, so that he can grant us our desire at just the right time.

Ultimately though when God gives us the desires of our heart it may come as a surprise because we haven’t planned for it, or stage-managed it. It comes as a gift from the Father heart of God who knows what is best for us.

God will give us what we love, but first he will purify our desires.

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Saturday, April 08, 2017

Devotional Thought : 1 Chronicles 10:13-14

Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14

Saul had many failings. Early in his reign, he became impatient when waiting for Samuel, and presented the offering himself (1 Samuel 13:8). Later he became jealous of David and tried to kill him on several occasions. In between, he was disobedient to the Lord’s instructions to completely destroy the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:1-15). Yet in this summary, the thing that is highlighted is that Saul would not inquire of the Lord, and even consulted a medium.

In the account of Saul consulting a medium in 1 Samuel 28, it is recorded that Saul did inquire of the Lord (verse 6). But Saul had been ignoring God for so long, without any sign of repentance, that he could no longer receive messages from God.

Saul had always been reluctant to wait for God, and receive from him. It requires a certain amount of humility to ask and receive. When we pray, we acknowledge our own inadequacies, and our own lack of resources to deal with the problem. It wounds our sense of self-sufficiency and competence. Praying may damage our self-esteem, if it is built on our accomplishments.

Alternatively, a medium is just another human being with no ability to help, but only give advice. Humility is not required, and there are no consequence from the medium if the advice is not followed. Saul was able to keep his sense of being capable and in charge.

Sadly Saul died, not keeping the word of the Lord and being unfaithful.

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Book Review : Activate

This book is currently being featured on the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance. Information about the author and more details about the book can be found here.

I was a bit apprehensive about reading Activate because I haven’t read the first two books in the series. However, Adele does a great job of providing sufficient backstory and keeping the story moving at the same time.

Blaine is in witness protection, but frustrated with his lack of freedom, he takes unnecessary risks and is caught by those who would do away with him. Despite failing health, he is determined to see justice done and overcomes many obstacles in the process.

The medication dramas that Blaine faces are complicated and the science behind it all is incredible, yet Adele makes it sound believable and it creates an action-packed, fast-moving story. Adele generates significant amounts of tension and conflict, which is well communicated. I also enjoyed some of the minor characters and thought they were well portrayed.

My personal preference would have been to have a little more Christian input in the story. Blaine struggles with faith throughout the story, without resolution and without much contribution from others. Nevertheless the story finishes with a sense of hope.

I enjoyed the story, although it is a bit complex, especially not having read the previous books.

An action packed read.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Blog Tour : Activate

This blog tour is for the young adult novel: Activate by Adele Jones. This book is part of a blog tour organized by Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

My book review is here.


3 – 7 Apri, 2017


is introducing


(By Rhiza Press, 1 November 2016)

by

Adele Jones


About the Book:
Josh Hammond’s not who he says he is. To stay alive, he must guard his identity, existing isolated from his former life and those he loves. The one enemy he can’t outrun is his failing health, and time is short. Desperate for a solution, Josh leaves the protection of his safe house unapproved. Instead of a cure, he’s left powerless against a cunning adversary. Determined to reclaim his life, he grasps an opportunity for escape, but things go drastically wrong. Can he find a way to expose the lies of a criminal mastermind, or will he be silenced? Forever.


About the Author:
Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination.

A strong believer in embracing life's journey, Adele delights in sharing that adventure with others, be that through the pages of a story or engaging in a social or professional context. Through her broad personal and professional interests, she has welcomed diverse engagement opportunities, including science based student experience sessions, conference presentations, literary readings and musical exploits.

With a long standing interest in historical fiction, Adele based her Master's dissertation on this topic and is currently anticipating release of her first novel in this genre, A Devil's Ransom (www.roseandcrownbooks.com). She has also had a variety of poems, short stories, inspirational meditations, devotions and magazine articles published. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 Caleb Prize for unpublished manuscript, and is due to for release in September 2014. Replicate is the second book in this series and was released in October 2015.

More information:
Adele Jones: www.adelejonesauthor.com

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Saturday, April 01, 2017

Devotional Thought : 1 Chronicles 6:31-32

These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. 1 Chronicles 6:31-32

Music has always been an important part of worship. David was a musician and first came to the palace in this capacity, because he played well (1 Samuel 16:14-23).

David put together a group of men in charge of music after the ark came to rest there. These men plus their sons served there. However, they were more than musicians—they were part of the priestly tribe—Levi (v. 48). Chosen not just for their musical ability, but according to God's call on their life.

Today, in our church gatherings, there is a big difference between being a capable musician, and being someone who is able to lead others into worship. A competent musician will play well, but that doesn’t automatically qualify them to lead worship. They may not have the ability to encourage people to engage with God through their music. In fact, some play so well it actually distracts people from worshipping. Others are so concerned about playing the music perfectly, they forget their role is to create an atmosphere of worship.

In order for a skilful musician to become an effective worship leader, they must grow in their own relationship with God so they understand the difference between good music and good worship. A worship leader ought to draw people into the presence of God.

If you are going to lead people in worship, as well as being a good musician, there has to be a calling.

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