The Lord Who Provides

provide-001-001In 2017 remember this…He is the Lord who provides.

In Genesis 22 we read the account of how God asked Abraham to prepare to make a sacrifice, and how the thing to be sacrificed was his only son, the son of promise too. This is difficult to work out and seems an odd thing for God to ask. It’s definitely a divine test at a whole other level.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” [v2]

However, I think it is a test God asks of us more often than we may care to acknowledge. This is not about sacrificing our firstborn on an altar. In some senses it’s much simpler than that but just as difficult.

God’s question: are we willing to give up what is most precious to us?

Think about those things which have our heart, our attention, our time and our resources. Those things we can elevate and give greater importance than we ought to. The things which can easily get between us and God.

God first. Then family. Then church. I think this is a good way to line things up. But we have to be like Abraham, be willing to let go of what’s most precious and have faith that God will provide and therein lays the test. To let go of what we think is best for something God may provide which is better.

Yet therein lays the wonder as to how much God knows what we need and can bring it us, seemingly from nowhere, out of the ‘thickets’, from the other side of the mountain even.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” [v12-14]

In 2017, remember…He is the Lord who provides.

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Clap & Shout

“Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭47:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This is no mild suggestion but more of an instruction. Something we should do because it is good to do. 

Clap your hands ~ everyone!!

To clap is to appreciate, to encourage, to celebrate, to honour. To clap hands to God is to therefore do all of those for Him. 

As our hearts are filled with gratitude for all the good and great things He has accomplished for us, we clap. 

Not a polite clap, instead an excited, energetic clap that demonstrates the full of our thankfulness. 

Shout to God ~ with loud songs!!

We just recorded a new live praise and worship album at Xcel Church. We sang our hearts out and yes, it was loud too. 

To shout is to exclaim, to make a point, to be overwhelmed in a moment of joy or a moment of anger & frustration. 

To shout to God is to make know His greatness so others will hear and my want to join in. It is to be unashamed of the good news of Jesus and what He means to us every day. 

So today lets take some time – let’s clap our hands and shout God. Spend time appreciating all God has done, is doing and will do IN you and THROUGH you. 

By the way ~ what’s your favourite song to clap and shout to God to?

Your Throne

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭45:6‬ ‭ESV

I read this verse and it caught my attention. 

Some days it’s good to remember who God is and who we are in comparison. Or to put it more bluntly, to remember that God is God and we are not. 

God is on the throne. 

God is on the  throne for eternity, forever and ever. 

God is on the throne and has authority. 

God is on the throne looking for those who are upright. Not to punish but to bless. 

This is why it’s important to remember God wants to be given first place. We have to give Him control, permission to sit on  the throne of our own lives.

When we do this we align our lives with all that God is and we position ourselves for blessing. We don’t need to be afraid as all the judgement for our messing up has been put on Jesus.

In Him we are upright. Amazingly this means we can then come boldly to His throne and ask for help in times of need. 

God is a good God. He loves us so much. Why not take a moment today and thank Him for He has done in your life. 

It’s Not All About Me

“In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah”‭‭ [Psalms‬ ‭44:8‬ ESV]

How great ‘I am’ might be considered the cultural message of the day by some. Let’s be honest, we do love to tell stories about ourselves. 

  • Of our wonderful victories. 
  • Of our sad failures. 
  • Of the trials we are facing. 
  • Of how others have lifted us or pushed us down.
  • Of how much or how little we have

Too many of us just can’t stop boasting about our own accomplishments. 

Yet without God we are without. We are nothing. We can do nothing if He does not first provide the opportunity. Everything good comes from God.

I may think it is all me but it is not. It is all God. He won the victory. By His mighty hand I am saved. I am established because of all that He has done for me. 

When I make it all about me I embarrass myself not You God. I am ashamed how with my mouth I celebrate me over You. I limit me to my own ability when I forget the influence and impact You have had throughout my life. 

Instead I must make my boast about You. I must praise Your name above all others especially my own. I should give thanks for You forever. I choose to do this above either praising myself or wallowing in my  own pity. 

You are my God. In You I boast. To You I give all the praise and glory and honour. Amen!

A New Song

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭40:1-3‬ ‭ESV

What great verses. They capture the heart of God toward us. 

He hears our cry. He then rescues us from destruction. He then sets us on a new path. Which mean He has put the new song in our mouth.

When you realise all that God has done for you then why wouldn’t you sing?

Every morning I do my best to take a moment to thank Him. To say thank You for saving me. I take a moment to give Him the honour He deserves for all the good things He has done for me. For setting me free. For the victory He won for me. For the opportunities that lay ahead because of Him.  

I sing my new song. 

What would your new song say today?

5 Reasons Why I Loved Yesterday

I do enjoy a good day at church and yesterday was a particularly good one. We had an all church ‘unlearning*’ experience. Check out the video here. It was the perfect example of a recent post about the Presence and the Practical.

1. We didn’t just do Sunday church. We went outside of the walls to be church. No guitars in sight. No Bibles carried. There was a song sung in a couple of nursing homes but mostly just a bunch of people from Xcel out and about loving on their community.

2 It’s not such a big deal. We make it that everything has to be epic and when it can’t be we don’t bother. Yesterday was just ordinary and that is perfect.

3. It was a good laugh. It was genuinely good fun going out and about to clear away rubbish, to give some cakes out and play a bit of sport.

4. The unexpected can happen. Like one team being asked to sing to the elderly and invites back. To reconnecting with people we have helped 7 years before and they still remember us.

5. People really appreciate it. Lots of smiles and grateful thanks. Lots of curiosity to as to why we would be doing all this.

There’s a price to pay. You have to do things that are not naturally what you would choose to do. In doing so you open up new pathways of opportunity. And if nothing else, you’ve loved on people in a way that helps them and surely that can only be a good thing.

Thanks to everyone who got involved. For everyone else ~ don’t miss out on the fun of it. Make sure you get involved in something next time #unlearn

(*I realise some of us needed to unlearn more than others, myself included as I continue on this adventure of mucking in and being involved with others as much as I can). 

Acknowledge What God Has Done

And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.” [Genesis 21:6-7]

Ever used the phrase ‘Who would have thought?’ I know I have. You know, when something you are wanting to happen suddenly happens or something unexpectedly good happens and we are like, ‘Woah, who would have thought?’ It’s that questioning phrase indicating surprise and amazement. In other words, ‘I know that ‘thing’ has just happened but how did that ‘thing’ just happen?’

I like to imagine Sarah, son in her arms with a kind of bemused look on her face as if to say, ’Who would have thought? We’ve had a son, at our age. I’m literally holding a baby. This gobsmacking!! I mean I know these things happen but how has this just happened?’

As we walk with God, I think it’s alright for us experience some moments like these. I might go so far to say we actually need them. Moments where God truly astounds us. Moments where we are lost for words. Moments when our jaw hits the floor.

Why do we need them? They remind us about the character of God…

He loves us and loves to bless us.

God is God and we are not.

Nothing is impossible with God.

If God says it will come to pass, then we best be ready for Him to bring it to pass.

When such things happen,we must remember it is God who brought it about.

Joy and life come to us through such moments.

Think about your own walk with God. Take a minute to ponder, stand amazed even, at the hand of God moving in and through your life. What has God done for you? Is it healing, reconciliation, forgiveness, opportunity, favour, protection? Perhaps it’s simply the fact that through the work of Jesus you have been redeemed, set free and saved. All are moments of awe and wonder, any of which might have caused us to say ‘Who would have thought?’

Soldier of the King

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Check this out ~ my daughter has a blog called Soldier of the King and she has set us all a challenge. A movement actually.

It’s simple really ~ we need to be an encourager of someone else and give a specific reason as to why we think they are amazing, to lift them up. And w
e need to do it for 10 days.

Let’s all get involved. Share it on social media. Invite your friends. Use the hashtag #werisebyliftingothers and let’s put some smiles on people’s faces.