John the Baptist was set apart before birth to be a prophet for the Messiah. He was called at such a time to proclaim the coming of Jesus, as well as all, should repent, and so, he spoke with boldness and courage
The Israelites hadn’t heard from God for 400 years, but then, God sends John, from the wilderness of where he lived, to proclaim the Good News
Friends, do you realise that we are New Testament prophets?
Like John, we come from the wilderness, the desert, the barrenness of life, and like John, we receive the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel, fearlessly, in that, Jesus Christ is Lord, and therefore all should repent as we await His return
John prepared the way for the Messiah’s arrival (Matthew 11:10) God has set us apart to be prophets to the Nations – we are God’s voice, to prepare the way for Jesus’ second coming.
Friends, inside each one of us, God has placed the same message, but it will be voiced in many different ways. Our wilderness may look very different, but we are One, united within the Gospel, as we look forward to the same destination.
Faithfully, obediently, and fearlessly, we need to speak the message placed within our hearts, by God, before we were even formed within the womb
The opinion of others was that John was a prophet of God (Matthew 14:5) He is one of the few people that other religions also deem he was God’s mouthpiece, and that is my prayer for us this morning…
It’s time for us to move out of our wilderness and be God’s voice. So that we will be known as a child of God, and therefore, we will not be shaken, as we proclaim Who God is, and what is to come
God gave us anger as an emotion, but for what God wanted us to use as a reflection inwardly, this world has used outwardly, as hatred towards others.
I love Jonah. This Prophet was honest if nothing else, but Jonah was blatant in his disgust of God for asking him to go to Nineveh, so Jonah deliberately went the opposite way that God was asking him to go.
Yet, we can so easily judge the person by his outward actions. Scholars believe that the people of Nineveh killed Jonah’s family, hence the bitterness towards God wanting to save those people.
Have you ever realised that you hated a people group, because of the actions of a few?
I have! Honestly, I hated where I was from. I tarnished everyone with the same brush, because of being rejected as a child. I felt ”hate” boil uncontrollably within my veins – like a bubbling pot of tar that stuck to the very depths of my inner being
When you think about Jonah’s experience with Nineveh, I think of how I felt, and I think Jonah was justified with his decision.
But, God asks Jonah twice about whether it was right for him to be angry at the situation at hand? Friends, how often, like Jonah, do we ignore God when He is asking something that we don’t want to hear? Yet, on the second time, Jonah declared it was justified, and he was so angry, that he wished himself dead.
How many lives have been lost over anger?
Was my anger justified? Absolutely, but I couldn’t hate others when God is love…
Receiving God’s love allowed me to accept the love of those who had hurt me. It was a journey where God walked right by my side, but He used the pain and anger I felt, as a catalyst for a breakthrough, when I turned to Him.
Friends, when I let God love me, there was a paradigm shift for myself to love not only the people I hated, but I learnt to love myself
Jonah showed no compassion with the message he gave to the people of Nineveh. Yet, repentance came instantly when an opportunity to change was provided.
I don’t know what you have experienced, but I know personally of the redemptive love of God, and while we might not be in the place to let go, and love the people we hate. I promise that if you let go of the hate, watch what happens when God loves them instead
God is perfect in His nature (Matthew 5:48) and His character (Psalm 18.30)
Therefore, God lacks nothing, and He certainly doesn’t need anything, because He is complete…in every way…mind-boggling don’t you think?
Yet, we are all imperfectly perfect.
We are all made in the image of God, and so, there is hope, because as we journey with Him, our ”sinful” nature will die as He becomes greater within us.
Instead of hate, we love – as commanded – therefore, we focus less on the ”why we love” and more on the actual impartation of ”showing love to all.”
Instead of offence, we learn forgiveness
Instead of rejecting others out of pride, or jealousy, we accept people as they are, and just like Jesus walking with us every day, we are able to journey with others to find the freedom Christ died for
Friends, are we perfect? Absolutely not, but rest assured that if God will never leave us, then taking each day at a time, means that we learn how to become blameless, in Christ, because by faith, we become righteous through Jesus…
In other words – by turning to Jesus every day, it’s the faith in Him, that produces Godliness in us. We start to see the fruit of the Spirit working in, and through our own lives
Don’t be afraid of change. We need to be that beacon of hope to those around us, and although at first, we might feel uncomfortable in letting go of who we originally were…becoming who we were destined to be, can surely only be a good thing?
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt of having children. I wanted my prince and loads of children around me, but at 15-years-old, I realised that my body wasn’t built the way it was designed to be, and by 17-years-old, the Doctors told me that I would not be able to have children. I was advised that a hysterectomy was the way forward, and prolonging that, was delaying the inevitable
Fast forward nine miserable years, and I had made bad life choices – some had damaged my body more than before.
But, at 26-years-old, I had just found God and realised that He could help me. I believed for my miracle. I even demanded it, after all, it was the least I deserved after everything I had experienced up until then
Who knows that we serve a gracious God?
We received our miracle baby, and I knew with everything in me that she was a gift from God. Yet, my divine blessing came at a cost in the natural.
Pregnancy was not kind, and birth was a horrible experience. What’s worse, is that I felt cheated by God, because this baby was supposed to be the start of “my” large family, and yet, just over a year later, I had to have a hysterectomy.
Sometimes we push our way through to our miracle, but just like the Israelites that had just witnessed the parting of the Red Sea, they soon realised that the land of milk and honey was not directly on the opposite shore. Although God made a way, we have to learn to trust God’s timing, and that comes by faith, and walking in obedience
Friends, I want to encourage you that sometimes our desires in the natural, stop the supernatural blessings.
I understand that God can do “all things,” but I have realised that God’s way is always the best.
Sometimes, we will never know “why.” Sometimes we have to let go of dreams altogether. Yet, when we commit everything to God and let go of the paths we want – to choose the ones prepared for us since the beginning of time – we will realise that God will help us beyond what we had ever imagined
We will always know what we want, but God knows what we ultimately need
I find it amazing how easily perspective can change.
Peter went from declaring that Jesus is the Messiah in the Gospel of Matthew (v16-17) to reprimanding Jesus for saying He had to die (v22-23)
It shows how easy our minds can shift into a human point of view, when not focused on God’s.
The Disciples would have heard Jesus’ teachings of the Torah for over three years while walking with Him. They witnessed the miracles, the healings, and the crowds that followed Him. Peter was even part of the inner circle of Jesus, and yet, still, Peter declared that death would never happen!
It’s comforting and heartbreaking that the Disciples never had that real revelation of Jesus’ identity – even up until the resurrection.
How easy is it for us to pick the good bits out of a situation, and then, like Peter, try to sugar coat over the harder stuff.
Friends, have you sugar coated over your true identity?
We need to understand where ”half-truths” have taken hold in our lives and repent to God for believing those lies.
It’s time that we walk in our true identities. One where we are not fearful of what lies ahead, but more that we understand that Jesus died to set us free. That no weapon formed against us shall prosper, and therefore, all nations shall hear the Gospel because then, we get to go home
Don’t sugarcoat the hard parts of Discipleship, just because we are comfortable with the situation at hand – Jesus paid the ultimate price for us to take up our cross, and follow Him.
So if you believe that something ”will never happen,” remember God’s viewpoint
”Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. (Matthew 16:16-17)
But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap for me. You see things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”” (Matthew 16:22-23)
One of my most significant aims in life has been to seek God, by seeking His presence in my world.
It’s not about the fragrance of the Lord, goosebumps upon goosebumps, or a wave coming continuously, pulsing over your body etc. – although I love those things and everything else – I’m not talking about any manifestation of heaven here on earth. But it’s what God helps me to achieve throughout life when I am continuously focused on His will, not my own.
I want to live with God by my side. I want to turn to Him at every opportunity, and allow His wisdom to be reflected in my life, but also, that I can look back and see my ”God journey, ” because I know that where I am in life, is simply a reflection of obedience from my part, but also God’s goodness and grace for me.
Friends, we live in a time where we can ask Mr. Google anything, Alexa can help our kids with their homework, or we can go on YouTube for the latest TedTalk, or message from one of the Mega Churches around the world, but are we continually seeking God, Himself?
The Scripture in 1 Chronicles 16:11 puts simply what God’s desire is for all of us
We can gloss over the words used in Scripture, but nothing is by accident. God uses the words ”search” and ”seek” – although we can use them in a similar context, they are very different.
To seek, is to find something you are trying to look for, yet know it exists.
To search, is to know where you have to go to find it, but there is no implication of where it is.
We may go through seasons where we seek God and find Him, and know that His strength is what ultimately got us through. We may also go through times in our lives, where we search, and it feels like we are all alone…but the commonality here is – are we are trying?
These lyrics are stunning because I feel they capture the very heartbeat of God…
He died for every child that He spoke into being – before the beginning of time – so that we could see that there is Hope beyond the grave
This world is not the end, and so, we should live our lives from ”Grace to Grace.”
How many of us would be able to forgive time and time again, without judgement, if we could see the true extent of another person’s ”sin”? God sees our hearts, whereas we can only see what comes out in the natural, and yet, with our all-knowing God, He unconditionally loves us, He favours us, He forgives us without condemnation because Christ chose to die on the cross
We serve a God whose love and grace are baffling, and therefore, we can not comprehend Who God ultimately is
Friends, over the weekend I had the privilege of being a part of our Church’s Women’s Conference. The fragrance of the Lord was strong during the time of ”soaking” in God’s presence.
Women were ”restored” because they were freed from condemnation, loved beyond measure, and shown the grace of God as they ran into Abba’s arms.
We need to choose Grace. To walk by faith, and not worry about understanding the why’s or the how’s.
All I know is, the loving embrace of God has changed my life forever, and I will continue to run into His arms when I make a mistake because Jesus has shown me the joy that awaits when God calls me home
”The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14