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Stronger – part 4

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God desires for you and me to become stronger. Stronger emotionally, in faith, in love and stronger in the sense that we rest on His sufficient grace.

Stronger, Stronger – part 2, Stronger – part 3

Today, I will continue to talk about how to become stronger, for His Glory and to help fulfill His purposes in our lives.

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Process

As a Potter moulds his pot, so too, should we trust the process as God moulds us.

You might be wondering regularly, how do I move from my “now” to my “future”. The key to is to embrace the process. Very few people like It’s a process! They do not want to go step for step to what God made them to be, they want it NOW!

As individuals, I believe we all aspire to grow, see good changes in our lives and accomplish great things in our lifetime. (I pray that you embrace growth and change).

However, it is the commitment to the unglamorous things, the difficult things, the trials and tribulations in our lives that will inevitably make us stronger and help us get to where we want to be.

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Joy in the wait

Finding joy in the waiting and gratitude in the process is never an easy thing, but it is something we should all strive for. I try really hard to learn this on a daily basis, for instance, when my laptop freezes or needs to do an update, it takes time to boot back up. For someone who is not known for patience, this is a big deal to me (even though I’m sure you must be thinking “that a dumb example). But often, it is the smaller frustrating things throughout your day that steal your joy and brings about the imbalance in your mood.

No one likes waiting for things, especially when it comes to waiting on God. Yet in reality some of the greatest things I have been able to receive, are things I have had to wait for. In order to strengthen us along the journey I believe we need two things –

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1. Daily Devotion 

Our daily devotion to God is one of the most underrated things in our lives. 

For it is in our daily devotion where we can forgive others, repent, be filled afresh, listen to Him, be humbled, be renewed – it’s how we grow to become more Christ-like. Without devoting ourselves daily we become like a plant in the desert in need of water.

Daily Devotion is the key to unlocking your Spiritual Strength

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2. Divine Power

As well as the need for our own daily devotion, we can unlock God’s divine power.

I say this because reading your Bible every day isn’t always enough when you receive the devastating phone call that you never expected. Going to church every week isn’t enough, when you have been threatened to be evicted from your house because you can’t afford to pay the bills. Posting good Christian quotes with hashtags isn’t enough when you are fed up of waiting for God to bring you your blessings.

Your daily devotion will make you stronger, but it won’t always make you strong enough. We need his divine power.

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14

Divine power starts when we stop!

There will be moments when you cannot do anything but to stop, pray and trust God.

I’ll give you another example. I have a physical condition where sometimes my food gets lodged in my throat. Thankfully it gets stuck below my windpipe so I can still breathe (Hey, look at that, just by writing about it and I found thankfulness in a panicked situation). It can take anything from 2 min to 30 min, and a bit of coca-cola or enos to be dislodged. Throughout that time, all I can do is pause, pray and trust God has got me covered – His divine power has helped me more time than I can count or remember.

Your daily devotion will sustain you, but sometimes the only thing that will be able to carry us through is His divine power.

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When miracles occur

The greatest miracles I have seen are not when we do all the work, but when God does the work for us.

If we desire to become stronger we need to trust in His divine power.

Where in your life do you need to trust in God’s divine power?

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in The Gospel of John, 0 comments

Stronger – part 3

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God desires for you and me to become stronger. Stronger emotionally, in faith, in love and stronger in the sense that we rest on His sufficient grace.

Stronger, Stronger – part 2

Today, I will continue to talk about how to become stronger, for His Glory and to help fulfill His purposes in our lives.

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Abandon

Lukewarm

Have you ever drank coffee that has been standing for too long and it turns to lukewarm and even undrinkable? Unfortunately, I do that sometimes. I don’t finish that cup! I throw it out and make a fresh cuppa.

When the Bible talks about being Lukewarm, it’s not talking about a temperature of a liquid, but the temperature of your heart. 

If you have been a Christian for a while I assume that you would know what it is like to plateau in your relationship with Jesus. Perhaps through no fault of your own, trials or disappointments, it is easy to lose the passion you once had.

Let me set the scene: Peter has just denied Jesus, and after doing the exact thing he said he would not do, he finds himself back in his boat, fishing. Back to his old way of life and the things he used to do before he knew Jesus. The same happens to us. We also go through phases of full on faith and times when we resort to doubt, and go back to what is known and comfortable to. Plateauing and just cruising in the waters. 

Devastation fills his heart as the waves rock his old and familiar boat. Not only has Jesus died, but the expectation he had in his journey had not turned out like he had planned. 

He had become lukewarm.

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Jesus meets you in your place of need

But we see that Jesus meets him in his place of need. See John 21:4-7:

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realide that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.

Peter had a decision to make. Am I willing to be ‘all in’? 

This decision was not one to be made lightly, for he knew it was going to require everything. In fact, I believe that he knew that if he was going to jump out of the boat, he was going to be leaving the boat for the last time. 

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What is in your boat?

Lay down whats’s in your boat and leave in order to pursue Jesus.

Your identity, career, friends, family, comforts?

Just like Peter we need to:

1. Choose – The power of free will to choose whether we will pursue Jesus and leave the boat.

2. Abandon – To what degree are we willing to lay everything down to follow Him? What do we need to abandon?

3. Remember– We leave these things behind because we remember who we are and the plans that he has for our lives. Where do you need to remind yourself of who you really are?

When you build your kingdom your future is only going to be as big as the boat.

But when you build God’s kingdom your future is as big as the Ocean.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in The Gospel of John, 0 comments

Magnify Proverbs 12 – It’s just a game

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The internet is full of quick resources and self-help advice amidst times of calm and times of crisis. You can find help on literally anything on the go anytime, anywhere. But how much of it is true and actually helpful and how much of it is just click-bait and sensationalism. Thankfully, we have a book that has stood the test of time. King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived (excluding Jesus fully-man of course). Solomon, Son of David, when asked by God he can have anything he wants, Solomon responded  “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). It is through this godly wisdom that we have the book of Proverbs today! Today we focus on Proverbs 12 – It’s just a game.

My family!

Amazing!

Let’s journey through Proverbs!

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It’s just a game

Proverbs 12

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but whoever hates correction is stupid.

2 Good people obtain favor from the Lord,
    but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.

3 No one can be established through wickedness,
    but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
    but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

5 The plans of the righteous are just,
    but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.

6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
    but the speech of the upright rescues them.

7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
    but the house of the righteous stands firm.

8 A person is praised according to their prudence,
    and one with a warped mind is despised.

9 Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
    than pretend to be somebody and have no food.

10 The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
    but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

11 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
    but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

12 The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers,
    but the root of the righteous endures.

13 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk,
    and so the innocent escape trouble.

14 From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
    and the work of their hands brings them reward.

15 The way of fools seems right to them,
    but the wise listen to advice.

16 Fools show their annoyance at once,
    but the prudent overlook an insult.

17 An honest witness tells the truth,
    but a false witness tells lies.

18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

19 Truthful lips endure forever,
    but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
    but those who promote peace have joy.

21 No harm overtakes the righteous,
    but the wicked have their fill of trouble.

22 The Lord detests lying lips,
    but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

23 The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves,
    but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.

24 Diligent hands will rule,
    but laziness ends in forced labor.

25 Anxiety weighs down the heart,
    but a kind word cheers it up.

26 The righteous choose their friends carefully,
    but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

27 The lazy do not roast any game,
    but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.

28 In the way of righteousness there is life;
    along that path is immortality.

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Be the light

Lately, God has been showing me that I need to be a light in this dark world, and it has happened within my own life…I have been through a very dark place in my life and it took some drastic measures and decisions to find the light. I have learned that I have to step back and simply enjoy my life. I’ve learned to adopt “It’s not my monkey, it’s not my circus”, but rather enjoy my life, my wife, and my two dads living with us. Instead of focusing on what’s happening around me that is dark, I focus purely on the joy they each bring me.

The first line in Proverbs 12 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1)

That is a hard one to swallow, isn’t it? Who likes to be disciplined? And look at the last part – if you don’t like to be corrected, you are stupid. Yikes!

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Think about it

My question for you today is, “How is God trying to discipline you so you gain some knowledge about who you are and who God is to you?

What is it that makes you simply lose your mind about? Is it traffic, long queues, people been late to a function annoying neighbours…what is it?

Then step back. Pray about it and let God guide you through what He may need you to correct. There are so many things in our lives that get us all worked up, but sometimes we simply have to tell ourselves, “it’s just a game.” Enjoy life! Enjoy your family, your marriage, and God!

My correction now is that I just love and live life – no more focusing on the negativity, but focusing on where I can correct myself to be positive. It’s just a game.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Devotional, 0 comments