The Beatitudes are a beautiful piece of Scripture that many just take in a literal sense, but they are so much more than that
“Beatus” is translated as ”blessed” in Latin…we are blessed because we have found Jesus
The Beatitudes will, at least, challenge the way we think, but at best, we will seek to walk in the ways of what Jesus was talking about
The Beatitudes show us Kingdom values compared to the worldly ones, in other words – what is eternal compared to temporary
We need to remember that this piece of Scripture should be taken as a whole, and not as a smorgasbord for us to decide which bits we like
The Beatitudes, for me, is what Christ ultimately died for. That we will no longer follow the ways of those around us, but instead, look to Christ for guidance.
They show us that happiness isn’t found in outward circumstances, but one of hope and joy given through Jesus. Life isn’t always cupcakes and roses, but for most, it is fought with hardship, pain, and suffering because Jesus doesn’t promise laughter, lifelong happiness, or pleasure, but He does promise the Kingdom of Heaven
If we seek His ways in all that we do, then the Beatitudes will challenge the way we live until the day we die
Therefore, today, I encourage you to read the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-1:12), ask God to speak to you through the Scripture, and let me know how the Beatitudes speak to you
God gave me an image last week that I have been thinking about, and then this Scripture came to mind this morning, so I want to share it with you…
I saw people from all walks of life, rising to their feet and standing still. When people felt like they couldn’t stand anymore, the Spirit would hold them up
…All we had to do was stand
I felt like God was saying that for some of us, we have been knocked down for too long. We have been listening to the wrong voice, who says that we aren’t worthy…we’re not good enough…we won’t achieve anything
But, I want to encourage you this morning, that God is with us. When we can not step with God, then just stand still, and watch Him fight for you. If you have been knocked to the ground, take the hand of the person God has bought into your life, and stand together.
God is saying, It’s time to rise.
Whether we are stepping forward into our destiny…rise
Whether we feel we are starting again…rise
Whether we are weak and feel that we can’t carry on…rise
Scripture shows in our weakness, we find God’s strength. Therefore, allow the Spirit to help us through this time.
Allow the Spirit to help us stand together because that is when we realise how strong we truly are…
Eventually, we will take that step that we thought was impossible, and the enemy will flee, because there is nothing more powerful than a child of God full of faith, and purpose, in what God is asking of them because we serve a God of the possible
Today, let’s rise and just stand still
When you get to the end of your life, what is it that you want to be surrounding you?
There are some of us who strive to achieve wealth in life, or maybe we want a beautiful home to return to after a hard day’s work, or we may want to go on holiday regularly…
But whatever it is, I haven’t spoken to anyone who was at the end of their life – young or old – and have heard them say about bringing them their favourite pair of red shoes, or that they want to hold their most expensive cashmere sweater one last time, because it’s always whom they want around them, as they take their last breath.
There are some of us who have pulled away from others, maybe out of hurt or pain, but we were never made to do this life alone. Instead of trying to rebuild those relationships, we are working hard to fill our lives with “stuff” or memories that actually don’t really matter, when it’s all said and done.
Jesus is coming…we are in the end times. The Bible says, that Jesus will come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2) – that means we don’t get to know that He’s returning in three weeks time (for example), so why are there so many of us still wanting to do life alone; walking away from loved ones; or worse God, because of fear, comparison, or maybe even offence?
The time is now to rebuild those friendships, repair our relationships, and restore our own hearts, to reflect the love that God has shown to us because honestly, we shouldn’t want to blink and miss the one thing we were created to have…
Belief in what is to come is called hope.
Without it, Christianity would lose our foundational belief that Jesus Christ is the Hope of the world…
Because as a believer, we can read what was, through God’s Word, in order to have faith that breakthrough is coming, that Jesus will return, and after death, we return to the Father
Faith is when we believe in the promise. So from the first time we pray, until it comes to fruition, that is our trial, and most of us, unfortunately, we become discouraged or stop believing in our promises
Thanking God before the breakthrough is one of the most significant things that we can do because it shows that we believe Him, over circumstances.
In the natural (or what we can see) is not what we believe for, but we speak to God’s promises
I want to encourage us today, that God is able to do more than we can ever imagine. He speaks, and the mountains will bow. He can bring fire from the sky because there is no one like Him!
And so, today, if you are discouraged, then start to thank God for what He has spoken over you. Thank God for the breakthrough. Thank Him for the faith He has placed inside you to believe for what is to come because that is when you will see God’s glory move in your life
Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this, he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” Romans 4:20-21
We have all been there…or maybe you are currently living it
Do you have someone in your life who demands something from you, guilt trips, or manipulates, in order to get what they want?
It may seem harmless at first, or you might have felt sorry for them – after all, they were going through a hard time…yet, now, it has become a requirement to the relationship, the kind of relationship where if they say ”jump” you say, ”how high?”
Friends, it is not ok for someone to project onto you or manipulate you, in order to get what they want. This certainly isn’t ”loving one another, as God loves you” because we were created to choose to love freely, not to be a demand to do it.
Remember, that Jesus told His disciples that they would be like sheep among wolves (Matthew 10:16) – we should stand out, but for the right reasons
I want to encourage you today, that Scripture shows that Jesus’ ”yoke is easy, and His burden is light” (Matthew 11:30) – in other words, if anyone makes us feel anything other than who we were created to be…then we need to pray for them, but also start to put boundaries in place, so that they start to take responsibility in their own lives, as we should our own.
Don’t be burdened with other people’s stress, worries, or fears!
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t walk alongside others through the tough times, or grieve with them when they are, but it’s more than when the demands start coming, that is when we are crossing over the boundary lines, and ultimately, when manipulation starts to occur
I love to remember this verse, when I’m watching two loved ones, stand side-by-side as they say “I do” – I think it’s many people’s go to Bible verse for the Wedding cards!
Yet, it’s so much more than that, it’s a declaration, a daily reminder that when our relationship is entwined with God, then we are strong, together.
When God is in the middle, He is with us, step by step, as we become like Him, because our identity is shaped by Him.
I love this verse because it shows us our purpose – we were never created to be alone! We were made for relationship…relationship with God, and each other. We were made for companionship, not isolation, and for intimacy, not loneliness
It’s so easy for the enemy to attack us when we’re on our own. The struggle becomes very real, as we face circumstances, and therefore, most times, face defeat
Yet, together, we hold each other accountable. We can rise each other up in prayer. Marriage, or even a relationship, give us a reason to fight for what we believe in, as we declare the Word of God over our lives. It’s a lot harder for the enemy to attack when we stand back-to-back because we can see him coming a mile off.
Then we get given a picture of what it’s like to interweave ourselves with Christ – like the Trinity….we are all distinguishable, yet as One.
When our relationship is interwoven with God, we move together in unison, effortlessly conquering each day as it comes, because our true strength comes from Him…His Guidance…His Grace…His Love
So, let us remember today, that we are not here on earth to serve ourselves, but to serve God, and others, together
To say, ”I’m sorry” is probably the most powerful thing we can do for another person
Because…it changes everything…
It can bring peace, joy, and forgiveness in our lives, after the torment of hatred, has been spiralling in our hearts.
Those words, allow Christ in, and the enemy out because anger and frustration lead down a one-way street.
It allows reconciliation, even after years of separation, because the past should remain where it’s supposed to be
But most importantly…
It brings healing to our soul
God reminded me this morning, of the power of letting go of what was, to step into what is to come.
We need to allow God to work through our messy lives because He shows us that forgiveness is the key to life.
No one is perfect…except the One who has already forgiven us
”Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
When I previously thought of the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42), I instantly thought that Martha was wrong to have not sat down and just listened to Jesus, as her sister Mary did. But there is far more to this story than just right and wrong.
Martha had invited Jesus into her home, and therefore she was trying to prepare her home, and a meal for her guests. After all, Jesus wasn’t one to usually say, ”I’m looking forward to seeing you next Tuesday, at 7pm!” Most times, Jesus would be invited into the homes of which he was passing by.
So, Martha was concerned with the task at hand – to serve Jesus – whereas, for Mary, it was about the revelation she received from Him. Both were not wrong, but Mary had discovered the most important thing, by choosing to sit at Jesus’ feet. Mary was undistracted, and Jesus told Martha that He wouldn’t take that privilege from her.
How many of us are more concerned about our housework, than spending time with Jesus?
There is definitely a time and a place for doing dishes, or cooking food, but I know for myself, I can remember a time when Jesus was speaking to me, and I decided that the task at hand was more important.
Not a cook?
What about when we are walking in our calling, and realise, we spend more time with God preparing for that, than for our own personal journey?
Let’s be honest, we can spin it any which way, but this story shows us that Jesus reminded Martha that our primary focus should be, to be with Jesus, and not just to serve Him
There will always be distractions within this lifetime, but it’s remembering that even good ones can take us off the primary reason, for our existence…a relationship with God
My smile is one of pure joy…this is over a decade of dreaming and prayers rolled into one hack
It may seem trivial or ridiculous that I have waited over 10 years to do something that could have been booked at any point, but thoughts become desires, and desires become dreams, but to the point that life, marriage, and a child, always came before this dream. Money was always my sticking point, and so I decided that I would wait…until it became something that I thought was no longer a possibility
I rode horses when I was younger, in Cornwall, it was my thing, my escape from reality. There is no feeling quite like it and it was a passion that filled my soul right to the brim!
Yet, every year of dreaming that I would get back into the saddle…the dream got further away, and so although I spoke to Kieren about it, I stopped writing it on my ”yearly goals/prayer list”
Something inside me had died. I no longer believed that it would happen, and the passion to see it come to pass was no longer a second thought
So what’s my point?
My dreams have always been about what I wanted to achieve. The list I write and stick on my fridge each year, are prayer points, or goals, that I want to see come to pass within the next 365 days. It a list where I say “come on God” let’s push the boundaries, let’s dare to dream big – and I have some BIG goals for 2019, yet horse riding wasn’t one of them, because I thought I would never have enough time, or be able to justify the money etc.
Yet, Kieren encouraged me that this year would be the year, and so I flippantly added it onto my 2019 list, but in my head, had already dismissed it
God sees our true desires – and yesterday a friend from work lent me her spare hat and we rode around the Auckland countryside for over an hour
My dream happened, through another person…there was no financial cost, and as a family, we had created enough time for me to do this.
Sometimes when we lay our dreams at the cross, the outworking of it will be so different from how we think it will come to pass, but we need to realise that God works differently to how we see things happening
So today, let’s rise up those dormant dreams and start believing for what is to come
Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.” Psalms 37:4
A few days ago I posted about integrity, but the other side of the coin, for me, is honesty.
From a young age, my Daughter has known that as long as she told the truth – no matter what she had done – we’d work through it together. It wasn’t that I would reject her if she lied, but I wanted her to realise that telling the truth, would set her free…from guilt and shame, but also condemnation.
I love the saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved.”
So often we hide the lies we’ve told, the wrongs we’ve done, or the issues we face – mostly out of fear. Now, I’m not saying to go and air your dirty laundry to everyone, but there is something about confiding in a person (we trust) to bring accountability into our lives.
I’ve lost count how many times I have said to myself, “Why did I just say that?” after maybe a fleeting comment, but I have realised, it’s not the comment I’m interested in, it’s the root behind it.
I want to encourage us today, that if we find the root cause of why we strive, why we gossip, or why we lie…that is when breakthrough can come.
We are all a “work in progress,” and God moulds and shapes our lives, day-by-day when we stop trying to make excuses.
Why does honesty guide good people? Because I’ve never met an honest person, with integrity, who strives to hurt others before! So, I want to live a life of integrity, but also one of honesty.
Therefore, no matter how hard it is, I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…so help me God!!
Exactly five years ago, we left our home in England, along with all of our loved ones, to follow God into unfamiliar territory.
New Zealand had never been on our radar, honestly, Kieren and I had dreamt of moving to Canada, after it being a honeymoon destination.
Yet, God knew otherwise, and five years ago, our lives changed forever…
Naive, but excited, we boldly took that step of faith and went where we knew God was asking us to go.
We left everything, knowing no-one, we stepped off that plane with our then four-year-old Daughter, and asked: “now what?”
God may be calling you into unfamiliar territory, destinations you’ve never even heard of, or to simply travel around the corner, but, wherever it may be, can I encourage you today…to go.
I still miss our friends and family – honestly, I don’t think that will ever change, because the cost of following Jesus is high, yet, the rewards, far exceed anything I can even put into words.
It has been – in some ways – the hardest five years of our lives, yet, we have won battles we never thought possible, seen breakthrough in areas we have struggled with all of our lives, and we have walked paths that we could never have imagined.
Would I do it again…without hesitation, because ironically, it’s also been the best five years of our lives!
We are chasing the dreams God has now placed on our hearts, the exciting journey we are about to embark on, the places we will travel, but most importantly, the people we will meet along the way, because a simple conversation, new friendship, God encounters, can change lives – and that’s why God bought us here.
New Zealand is home, simply because, for me, a home represents wherever God is, and we will follow Him anywhere.
Please don’t limit God.
There are some of you wrestling with decisions that God is asking of you and therefore, I want to say…if God has truly asked this of you, what are you waiting for?
Don’t let the urgency of daily life, choke out the priority of our eternal one…
How many of us stress, or worry about the things that we “need” to get done or the extra money we need? Not only that, but we are also looking to the life we want, rather than the one we have…does it sound familiar?
We can be so distracted by the daily grime, that we forget to “schedule” in time, for the One that truly matters.
This passage is one for us all.
If we don’t regularly spend time with Jesus, then this life will choke Him out, and His Word will no longer speak to the very depths of our soul
Jesus withdrew to spend time with the Father. He prioritised it – no matter how busy His day was looking.
Therefore, what do we need to do, to live the life God pre-destined for us, rather than the life we think we need?
Today, let’s choose Jesus over anything that this life can throw at us
”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11