A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to preach up in Aberdeen with a team from bethel who were out for a mission trip. It was the first time I had preached since losing our son last year. I wanted to share with you what I spoke about that night…
Recently I have been enjoying spending time with God whilst cooking dinner, and so as I was cooking and asking God what to talk about, I heard two words from Him- Go Again.
These words were actually words we said to one another after Elias died. We can’t stay here in this pit of despair, we have to keep moving. As the Psalm states, we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we don’t sit down and make camp. Sure, we get knocked down and taken out, but we need to get back up, to move forward, to go again.
Romans 8 is one of the most encouraging chapters in the bible, and it’s what I focused on in my sermons a couple months back.
We were saved by hope, but hope that is looked at is not hope – for who hopes for what they look at? But since we hope for what we do not look at, then we look forward to it with endurance. Romans 8:24-25
The word Hope Paul uses in the Greek language is Elpis, which means “joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation!” Though we may go through struggles and trials, we live with the hope of what we cannot yet see, this eternal salvation. That’s Gods promise to all who come to Him. It’s what has kept me going these last few months, the confident knowledge that, one day, I will be reunited with Elias, in eternity. What we see here is only temporary. The pain and grief of loss is not permanent. As Abraham said once, we are merely aliens passing through this land, we don’t belong here. And yet, we experience pain, loss, uncertainty, but with the promise that all will be restored to us.
The word Paul uses for endurance in this passage translates to mean “in the face of aggression”. Regardless of what we face, we hold on to this Elpis hope, this confidence that one day every tear shall be wiped away as we enter into enteral salvation, through Jesus.
In the same way also, the Spirit takes hold together with us in our weaknesses – we don’t know how we are to pray so that our prayers will correspond to the need, but the Spirit intercedes with deeply emotional heartfelt groanings.
Ever felt like you don’t have the words to pray? Here Paul tells us that even in that moment, we have the Holy Spirit interceding for us when our words fail us. God wants so much for us to succeed that He instructs Holy Spirit to pray with us and for us when we don’t have the words. The word for groanings there is a violent ailing and loud noise, it’s not a passive prayer.
If God is for us, who can be against us? … he will also give us all things as a favour, as well as giving his own son!
Guess what? God is for you! He is so for you He sent His son to die in your place so that you would not die but have eternal salvation. Whatever you’ve been through or are going through, have confidence that God is for you and with you and has good things for you!
I know what it’s like to go through stuff, trust me, these last few months have been horrendous, but we have determined to hold on to the truth from Romans 8, God is faithful, and He is calling us to get up, to move forward, to go again.
It’s been a while since my last post on this, and to say that a lot has happened since then would be the greatest understatement of all time. Perhaps, in a later post, I will try and unpack it all, but for now it’s all a little too fresh.
Today I want to write about living from Gods peace. In John 15:27, Jesus says this;
“I am leaving you peace- I am giving you peace – I am certainly giving it to you but not in the same way that the world gives it. Don’t let your hearts be disturbed, and don’t be cowardly.” (Source translation)
This word for peace here, the root meaning of it is Eiro, which means to join. Jesus is offering a peace that it to join with us, not something that gets taken away or that is finite, but something that will remain with us through whatever situation we face.
Jesus then tells us not to let our hearts be disturbed. The peace we join with will overcome the anxiety we face. Peace is internal while anxiety is based on what our eyes perceive about a situation. It’s our choice whether to remain at Peace, or to allow anxiety to imbed itself in our hearts. And this is what Jesus is warning us about here. You have the power to choose what your hearts feasts off – peace or anxiety. The anxiety we have towards something will always grow the more we feed it. But the same is true about peace. The more we seek peace the more we have of it to get through the stuff life throws at us.
Jesus’ final instruction here is to not be cowardly. These words are the same as the parting advice Moses gave to Joshua at the beginning of the book of Joshua, right before he led the Israelites into the promised land. We have not, as Paul reminds Timothy, been given a spirit of cowardice, but one of power.
So, choose to grow in peace today over your situation, live from that place and guard your heart against any anxiety. Move forward with the courage and confidence that God is for you, that Jesus’ words here are true.
I love how God doesn’t waste a thing. He literally makes all things work together for our good, so, as I heard Kris Vallotton once say, if it’s not good right now, then God is not finished with what He is doing in your situation. He is always shaping us, always preparing us for the next season.
I spent six years living in America, where I felt God was preparing me and shaping me, breaking off old habits, mind sets and hurts, and bringing me into a place where I could receive from Him, and where I could have an impact on others around me.
Something God has been teaching me a lot recently is that once we have been in a season of preparation, we are then equipped with all we need to thrive through the next season we are coming in to. Whatever comes our way, God has given us the answer, the tools needed to succeeded through the situation. Sometimes we spend so much time looking at our problem and asking God to help us, when God has already helped us in the previous season, and has given us what we need to work through whatever has come our way.
The Bible says that God never puts us in a situation we cant get out of. If we believe that as truth, then that means whatever we are faced with, God has a strategy for us to get through. What keeps us from moving forward can be a mixture of fear, doubt, lack of trust or lack of fully understanding who we are in Christ. If we become focused on our lack, we will never move forward. If we instead focus on what is already in our hands, then nothing can hold us back. It’s like when a you are teaching a kid to ride a bike. For a time they require stabilizers and guidance to be able to ride the bike without falling over and hurting themselves. Once they have mastered that, its then time for the stabilizers to come off. There can then be a moment of doubt before they head off, but if they learn to put into practice what they have just learnt, they will soon be riding their bike. Yeah, they may fall once or twice, but the key is to get back on and get moving again.
Too often we put ourselves in a self imposed wilderness season, because we wait for the Lord to do something in our life, when He has already given us what we need to walk over into the “Promised Land”. We wonder where God is, when He is wondering what we’re doing hanging out in the desert! Let’s not be like the Israelites and spend more time then we need to out in the desert. God has a Promised Land ready for you, all you need to do is move forward. God wants to give us the wisdom we need to thrive through our circumstance, rather than us sitting back expecting Him to provide for us. Of course, God can and does bring in provision when we need it, but He also invites us to partner with Him to bring about the solution.
Throughout the NT we see many occasions where Jesus instructs and encourages us to ask of Him anything we want, and it will be given to us. Its an invitation to partner with Jesus, as we bring forth our requests to Him, He in turn brings it before the Father. Paul talks about our partnership with Jesus in 1 Corinthians 1:9, we were created for this very reason.
The trouble is that for so many of us, we feel guilty asking for something from God, thinking we just need to work for it, or earn it, or that perhaps it’s too big or not important to God. If it’s important to you, it’s important to God.
Jesus gave us the ultimate gift, through the work on the Cross. He set the bar pretty high and still invites us to ask of Him the desires of our hearts. The danger is that when we don’t ask, we miss out on joining with Jesus and receiving all that God has for us. God wants to lavish us with gifts and provision, but if we don’t ask and seek, then why should we expect to receive anything from Him? The whole point in Jesus dying on the cross for us was so that we could experience an intimate relationship with the Father, and what Father doesn’t want to give good things to his children?
It’s time to get specific when we ask God for something, press in for it. It can be too easy to ask and then move on, without pressing in for an answer or for breakthrough. Write out in your journal all the desires of your heart, all that is on your mind, then lock yourself away with God, press in to Him for answers, for breakthrough, for provision.
This afternoon I watched my wife get wheeled off into surgery, the second time this year, for what we hope/expect to be the final thing that needs to happen before she receives full healing in her back. After the experience we had back in January with the first surgery, we were a little aprehensive about returning to the same hospital as before. Although this time around, we are fully prepared and expectant that God will bring about healing, one way or the other.
So, while I wait the four or so hours to hear news and be reunited with Emma, I choose to wait filled with His Peace and Presence. Waiting can be painful. Waiting can be overwhelming, if we let it. It’s a choice, and today I choose to wait from His Presence and Peace.
There has been a lot of comments made to me over the last few months “You’re the Director of Healing Rooms, surely you can heal her back…” As if healing had something to do with me! Of course, we have prayed many times over the months for her healing, continuing to hold on to Hope, but whether God wanted to heal her supernaturally or through the hands of the doctors, doesn’t much matter to me. He is still good. It’s still His will to heal. Just last week we had a report back from a lady I prayed for who, for 42 years had suffered from Endometriosis. As I prayed for her, she felt nothing. It wasn’t until the next day when she woke up, pain and sickness free, for the first time in 42 years.
We live in a world full of tension – Kingdom here but not fully, where some recieve full healing while others still wait their turn. I wont let my circumstance and situation change my view of who God is. God is who He and the Bible say He is, and not who my circumstance may try and tell me He is.
This morning, Emma and I chose Joy over fear, Peace over anxiety, and I remain filled with that. It’s in our waiting that we often grow the most. So these last six months, I have grown a lot!
So, whatever you are waiting for today, do it from a place of Peace and Expectancy that God is at work…because He is.
On November 26th, I am planning on beginning 30 Days of Encouragement, where I aim to encourage at least one person every day, whether it’s through a simple text, email or in person, and then on the 30th day, which will be Christmas Day, I plan to give a present to someone I feel God has highlighted to me along with a word of encouragement to them. My aim for this is so that this becomes a way of life and not just a cool thing to do once in a while. I want to continue on doing this well passed the 30 days.
I have created a new page on this blog site which will be dedicated to this task and where I will post daily updates and testimonies of what happened that day. I’m really excited about starting this and I also want to invite you all to join me on this too. What would the world look like if we simply encouraged people every day and spoke to the potential within them, the gifts that God has placed inside of them?
If you are interested in joining me on this, or want to follow my progress, simply click on the 30 Days of Encouragement page at the top of the site to read more.
Last Sunday I had the incredible opportunity to preach at a church in the beautiful town of Pitlochry, such an amazing part of the country filled with some of the friendliest folks around. After the service, we had a time for people to come up and receive prayer for healing. The first lady we prayed for had arthritis in her shoulder, which caused pain as well as clicking in her joints there. As we prayed, she began to feel the pain leave her shoulder, much to her surprise. We prayed again, and the clicking had completely gone. She was blown away by the Goodness of God. God honours the prayers said with expectancy. When we partner with Him and release healing, rather than plead for it, He is moved by our faith in who He is, it’s in His very nature to bring healing to all who come to Him.
I then had the absolute privilege to pray for a man who turns 90 next year. I was amazed at this man, his faith, his testimony, his love of God and the hunger he had showed throughout his life. Here was a man, who although almost 90, understood that as long as he is alive on this earth, God still has a plan and desire for him to live a pain free life.
Too often I see people accepting their sickness or pain as just a way of life and something they have to put up with, rather than believing that God has more in store for them. You are not too old to receive healing. This man understood that. He knew that one touch from God and his shoulders would be healed.
What struck me was this man’s hunger for God, which he had shown throughout his life, constantly seeking out more of God. I was almost in tears as he was telling me his testimony, his hearts desire to know God and to experience what it means to be born again. It was this hunger that had brought him up to receive prayer from me on Sunday. May we never lose our hunger for God. May we never become content with what we have. You are never too old to receive a fresh touch from the Lord, whether its healing you need, or breakthrough in another area, stir up your hunger for God, seek Him out and, as the Bible says, He will be found. He loves to be found. He loves to reveal His love and passion for you, His desire for you to be healed and set free.