Peter Horrobin

International Director of Ellel Ministries

November 30, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Beware the Dangers of Beer and Wine!

“Wine is a mocker and beer is a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1. “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.”

Proverbs 23:31-32, NIV

The arguments about whether or not a Christian should drink alcohol have divided believers down the centuries. It is true that the Bible doesn’t say anywhere that it is a sin to drink alcohol. There is no doubt that Jesus turned the water into the best wine at the wedding banquet. And there are no grounds for thinking that the wine that was used at the last supper was not real wine. But the Bible is also very straight about the inherent dangers of drinking more wine and beer than is good for you. Scriptures such as these cannot be ignored.

No-one would dispute that alcohol-fuelled behaviour is an ungodly curse on society. When people begin to lose control of their tongue and their senses they become vulnerable to every possible kind of temptation and their behaviour can become obnoxious and aggressive. The courts are constantly hearing cases of sexual assault and violent behaviour under the influence of alcohol, which have wreaked havoc on people’s lives, causing terrible suffering. Countless abortions have followed alcohol-inspired sexual activity.

And right across the world driving under the influence of alcohol claims thousands of lives. In the UK, on average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured every single year from drink-drive accidents. And in the USA thirty people die every single day – that’s about 11,000 deaths a year. These are astonishing and terrible statistics.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that God has placed many warnings in the Bible about the potential spiritual and physical dangers of excess drinking – we ignore them at our peril. And medical science is now backing up Scripture with well-substantiated health warnings. They are now saying that even modest levels of alcohol consumption can, on average, cut life expectancy by up to 20%!

The Bible is making a serious point when it says that in the end wine “bites like a snake and poisons like a viper”. As Christians we should not only listen to these warnings in Scripture, but also take note of what medical science is now telling us. The long-term consequence of drinking more than we should could be robbing us, our families and God of years of our life, and also induce years of disease-related suffering. And we should be doubly determined never to touch alcohol if we are about to drive a car.

The body God has given us is precious. It is our responsibility to look after it. Paul says “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own, you were bought with a price. Therefore, honour God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

So, as believers, we know that our whole life is precious to God and that every hour, yes even every minute, matters to Him. Looking after the body, therefore, is a deeply spiritual responsibility and today’s Scripture should act as an alarm call to make us review how much we do drink, and how we treat the body God has given us, so that we can remain fit for His service and live all the years that God had planned for us.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the body You have given me and all the things You have created for our enjoyment. Forgive me, Lord, for any way in which I have abused my body by drinking more than is wise. I want to live all the years you had planned for me. Help me, I pray, to be self-disciplined as I seek to serve You with everything I am. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 24, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Proverbs 4:23, NIV

A wellspring is the place where something important comes from. It is the source of a stream and then a river. It’s where things begin. And our Scripture for today tells us that it is the centre of our being, the wellspring of life.

The heart, not our physical blood-pump, but the very core of our being, is, therefore, absolutely central to who we are as a person. It’s where our thoughts, feelings and emotions come together and express themselves and influence the will choices that we make. It is, therefore, of critical importance. No wonder we are told here to guard our heart. For if we don’t we will be vulnerable to influences from every possible direction and to the temptations which the enemy may put before us.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that it is the thoughts and the attitudes of our heart that are judged by the living and active Word of God, described here as being sharper than any double-edged sword. It’s as if the Word of God becomes the straight edge, or plumb line, against which the choices we make are measured. For when the motives of our heart are out of tune with God, we are in danger of heading for trouble.

Paul warns us to be very careful what we think about. He encourages us “to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). For the ungodly things we dwell on in our minds penetrate the defences of our heart and we can then become vulnerable to putting those thoughts into action – and so a cycle of ungodly thinking motivates the heart and leads us into ungodly actions.

These actions then, in turn, store up ungodly memories for the mind to dwell on, thus feeding a cycle which can dominate and control and become the root of addictions and addictive behaviour. This is serious stuff!

How precious it is when a child comes to faith in Jesus when they are young, before their mind and their heart have been challenged by the degrading standards that are prevalent in the moral behaviour of the adult world. The sooner their heart is turned towards the Lord, the easier it will be as they grow and mature to maintain a pure heart at the centre of their lives.

Under the deceptive guise of making sure that a child’s human right to choose for themselves, when an adult, are protected, society is trying to remove every Christian influence that there is in our educational systems and undermine the influence of Sunday Schools which, sadly, are very much in the decline. Christian foster parents, even, are being told not to share their beliefs with the children in their care.
But all of this is simply a strategy of the enemy to try and stop children discovering the truth about Jesus before their hearts would be affected by the pressures of the world. Samuel and Jeremiah are just two of the Bible’s key players who recognised how precious it was that they were called when they were young.

Christian parents and grandparents have an enormous privilege and responsibility to gently lead the children in the family to faith in Jesus when they are young. How I thank God that at the age of nine I knelt at my bedside with my father and invited Jesus into my heart. I have never forgotten that most important moment in the whole of my life.

Satan would want our heart to be polluted by ungodly desires. But Paul in his letter to the Philippians urged believers to counter the enemy’s inroads by thinking on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8). By so doing, Paul was giving very practical advice on how to guard our hearts as we are urged to do by today’s Scripture.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that with You as the Lord of my life, I can keep my heart pure. Help me to resist the temptations of the enemy and guard my heart, so that Satan is not able to blow my life off course and rob me of my destiny in God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Honouring the Lord

“Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine”

Proverbs 3:9-10, NIV

There are many physical scientific laws which govern the physical universe. Gravity, for example, keeps our feet firmly on the ground and makes things feel heavy. If you drop something it will always fall downwards. This is the fundamental law which holds our universe together and keeps our planet in place going round the sun, and the moon in place going round the Earth. We all know the importance of respecting God’s physical laws and are careful not to fall off the edge of a building or a cliff, for we know that if we do we will come to harm.

But, in addition to all the physical laws that scientists have discovered, there are spiritual laws which exist within God’s spiritual universe which God has shared with us in His Word. And if we ignore those spiritual laws then there will also be consequences. Knowledge of God’s spiritual laws was intended to be a blessing for us. For, if we choose to do those things that God has told us not to do, such as worship idols or commit adultery, then we are putting ourselves outside of God’s protection and that would be dangerous. And if we don’t do the things that God has told us to do, such as honour our father and our mother, then we will miss out on the many blessings that result from honouring one’s parents. And our Scripture for today highlights one of those spiritual laws through which God would want to bless us – honouring the Lord with our wealth.

To honour God means to worship Him. We worship , for example, by giving of our time, by listening to His voice, doing those things that please Him, and singing His praises. And one of the spiritual laws that is intrinsic to our relationship with God is that when we honour Him He chooses to bless us. If you read Deuteronomy 28:1-14, you will see some of the many ways God chose to bless His people when they honoured Him with their obedience.

And part of honouring God is to give to Him the firstfruits of whatever the Lord leads us to do, to bring to him our tithes and offerings and to give, with a thankful heart, when the Lord prompts us to share what he has given us with others. That is worship. And as we worship, the Lord chooses to pour back upon us His blessings. We do not give to God so that we will get a reward – that is the selfish deception of what is sometimes called the ‘prosperity Gospel’ – but when we give to Him because we love Him and want to worship Him, then God has promised that we will know His blessings in our lives. For, as Paul expressed it so powerfully, “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the amazing promises that are in Your Word. Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I have with-held from You my worship of giving. Help me, I pray, to learn how to honour You with everything You have given me, so that my giving may be a blessing to others and to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

October 31, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Rich or Poor?

“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me nether poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.”

Proverbs 30:8-9, NIV

We all like having money to spend, but it takes an unusual degree of spiritual wisdom to pray this prayer – a prayer which is designed to help us maintain godly stability in our lives, with an adequate level of income for the life God has called us to live, but not too much!

This Scripture highlights the dangers at the opposite ends of the scale. If we have too little we may, in desperation, be tempted to use ungodly ways such as dishonesty, cheating or stealing to try and fix things in our way. But having too much could take the focus of our eyes off the pathways of life which the Lord would want us to follow. Both extremes are potentially dangerous, though it’s possible to remain faithful to God, even in the extremes of poverty or the having the privilege of wealth.

Benjamin Franklin once commented on this dilemma by saying that, “Contentment makes poor men rich, and discontent makes rich men poor.” He was taking his cue from Paul’s words to his trainee evangelist, Timothy: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:6-11).

Throughout all of Paul’s early life he had been immersed in the study of the Scriptures and our Scripture for today will have been very familiar to him. No doubt, he had seen the reality of both ends of the spectrum – how poverty and hunger can become an ungodly driving force in a person’s life and of how wealth, and the discontent with what one already has, creates the desire for more and more wealth. That also becomes an insatiable driving force.

And when a person has great wealth, the fact that they can buy whatever they want with their money makes their riches an idol which is worshipped every single day. When God answered Solomon’s prayer as a young man, for wisdom. God gave him the ability to know and to speak out God’s truth. But in the fleshly areas of his life he ceased to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice of wisdom and finished up being led astray by the women in his life and building temples for them to their pagan gods.

If only Solomon had listened to his own teaching. It would have saved him from many things. Many times people have made “If only . . . ” comments to me – especially relating to how they had spent their life. They had not learnt how to be content with living a godly life and then, twenty or thirty years and more later, they reviewed the consequences of the choices they had made.

Perhaps it’s time in your life to learn to be content with God whatever our physical circumstances. To trust Him to be our provider when we are in need and to ask Him for wisdom and courage as to how to use the wealth that we have.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness. Forgive me, Lord, for times when, out of need, I have been tempted to do wrong things. And for times when my desire for more wealth has unleashed a spirit of greed which has driven me away from God. Help me, Lord, to be content in You – knowing that Godly contentment is treasure beyond understanding. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

October 14, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Money, Sex and Power (3)

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases in strength”

Proverbs 24:3-5

This is the third of a series of Seeds of the Kingdom devotionals about the three most dangerous temptations, money, sex and now power.

Power and authority are not the same thing. A person in authority uses power to carry out what whatever it is he has to do. A boxer has power in his muscles but he only has authority to use it in the boxing ring against an opponent. It’s the boxing ring that gives him his authority – and it is only here that he can use his power.

Power has the capacity to be a huge blessing or a terrible curse. The power of a railway engine can transport people across the land in comfort. But if that same engine, at the height of its power, leaves the track at speed, there would be a terrible disaster. The power of a wise ruler with a good government can be a huge blessing to the people of a nation. But a despotic ruler who has no other objective than to use his power to control other people and satisfy his own objectives, is a curse upon the nations.

Now, the privilege of being the ruler of a nation is reserved for only a very few people, but these principles can apply to each and every one of us. For we are all capable of acting with love and generosity towards those who are under our authority or treating them with harshness and cruelty.

I will never forget the lady who almost spat at me, when I encouraged her to trust God as her Father. Eventually, through her pain and anger, she told me how her father would beat her and her brothers and sisters every night when he came home from the pub, drunk. “I know what fathers are like and if that’s what God’s like, I don’t want to know him!” she said.

Her father’s wrong use of power in the family had caused her terrible pain and a lifelong of suffering. Some people use the power they have to inflict suffering on the people they control, so as to make them do what they want out of fear. A harsh boss at work can keep people under control through his temper and bad language. And tragically we have had to pray with many people who were abused at home, physically or sexually, by people who abused the authority that they had in the family over their children.
Our Scripture for today paints a very different picture, however. It’s a picture of a person who has gained knowledge and wisdom in life and as a result of what he knows is able to make wise and profitable decisions and uses his power for good. I will never cease to be thankful to God for wise parents who used their authority firmly and with much love. They taught me so much and I will be eternally grateful to them.

The good news for those who have suffered under a harsh authority, wherever that may have been, is that Jesus came to show us what the Father is really like. His arms of love are always open for the hurting and the broken, for those who have suffered the cruelty of abuse of power. And there is forgiveness for those who know they have used their powers abusively and cruelly.

Prayer. Help me, Lord, to forgive those who have abused their power and hurt me at different times of my life. Then help me, Lord, to always use the power that you have given me in every sphere of life with love and wisdom. Help me never to take advantage of those who are under my authority. And thank You, Jesus, that even though all authority has been give into Your hands that You are still the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for Your sheep – even me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

September 30, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Money, Sex and Power (2)

“For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast”

Proverbs 5:21-22, NIV

This is the second of a series of Seeds of the Kingdom about the three most dangerous temptations, money, sex and power – temptations which remain a constant threat, even to believers, no matter how far they have run in their personal race of life. For Paul reminded believers (in 1 Corinthians 10:12), “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”

The book of Proverbs is full of amazing wisdom to help guide the believer along the road of life. But almost three whole chapters of Proverbs are devoted to the consequences of sexual sin. It must, therefore, be a very serious issue for God to think that warnings against adultery should have such prominence. And this isn’t the only place in the Bible where the warnings are so specific. In his letter to the Galatians (5:19-21) for example, Paul lists sexual immorality amongst the sins that people do which could disinherit them from the Kingdom of God. To the Ephesians he said (5:3) “among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” And of course Jesus himself said (Matthew 5:28) that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” He knew that lust of the eyes precedes the lustful fulfilment of a physical relationship.

So why is sexual sin so dangerous that it merits so many scriptural warnings, in addition to the seventh commandment not to commit adultery? The heart of the answer lies in our Scripture for today which comes at the end of Proverbs Chapter 5, which is headed in my Bible, Warning Against Adultery. And in 1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul warns believers to “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his own body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” In these two verses we have an important answer to the question and enormous wisdom which, if followed, can be truly life-saving.

When a man and a woman enter into marriage and, thereby, into a godly sexual relationship, they enter into a covenantal, God-ordained, union by which the man and the woman become one with and part of each other. A similar, but ungodly, union also takes place when a sexual relationship takes place outside of marriage. But this time, instead of it being a union which is blessed by God, it is sinful bondage. For, as our Scripture says, the cords of such sin hold a man fast. He is now joined with someone in a union which God did not intend and which He cannot bless. Not only, therefore, is the sin against God, it is, as Paul said, a sin against your own body, because you have now joined your body, indeed your whole being, to someone else who now has spiritual access to and, even, influence over who you are – a privilege that God had reserved for a husband-wife relationship.

Every time a person enters into an ungodly sexual relationship, they lose something of their own identity to that sexual partner, and gain something of the identity of the person they have slept with. No wonder Proverbs describes sexual sin as cords which hold us fast. And in Proverbs 6:32 it says “A man who commits adultery lacks judgement, whoever does so destroys himself.” The pleasure may be for a moment but it is like pressing a self-destruct button to our own identity.

Praise God that there is a way out of the mess. In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul lists many of the sexual sins people can commit, but in verse 11 he states the unequivocal good news that, “That is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” He was simply stating the wonderful Gospel truth that where there is true repentance there can be forgiveness and healing.

Prayer. Thank You, Lord, that Your Word warns us of the dangers of sexual sin. I ask You, Lord, to forgive me and cleanse me from every bit of sexual uncleanness in my life. And where there have been wrong relationships, I ask you to break the cords of bondage, so that I might be free to serve you, unimpeded by the consequences of my sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

September 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Money, Sex and Power (1)

“Whoever trusts in his riches will fail, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf”

Proverbs 11:28, NIV

This is the first of a series of Seeds of the Kingdom about the three most dangerous temptations, money sex and power – temptations which remain a constant threat, even to believers, no matter how far they have run in their personal race of life. For Paul reminded believers (in 1 Corinthians 10:12), “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”

Money is one of life’s essentials. Without it we cannot buy the necessities of life. With it everything we could ever want or dream of becomes possible. Whenever there is a great natural disaster our television screens are full of appeals – what for? For money. For with money the charitable agencies can buy the food, the clothing and the housing that suffering people need. Money has the potential to do a massive amount of good. And Scripture encourages us as believers to consider that everything we have belongs to God – and to be generous with our giving to those in need, on top of our giving to God for His Kingdom purposes – our tithes and offerings.

But because money can buy anything, wanting more can be a dangerous temptation. For money cannot only buy good things, it can also be used for purposes that will take our eyes off God and consume our soul. The desire for more can very quickly turn from meeting the essential needs of life into desiring things that God definitely didn’t intend. There is nothing that can so quickly grow a spiritual cataract over our eyes as greed for money. It can have the effect of blinding our eyes so that we cannot see the deceptive traps we are falling into.

And then, when we have acquired a lot of money, fear takes hold. For when you have started to put your trust in money, as the means of doing whatever you want, instead of trusting in God as your provided (Jehovah Jireh), you are trusting in what has become an idol in your heart – and idolatry is driven by fear rather than love. The fear of not having enough can mean that people become desperate to protect what they have. And the fear of losing it can turn the rich from being generous givers into the meanest of people, as portrayed by Chares Dickens in his amazing novel ‘A Christmas Carol’. The name of Dickens’ character, Ebenezer Scrooge, gave birth to a new word in the English language – a ‘scrooge’, meaning a mean, miserly and unhappy person.

Those who depend on their riches are very short-sighted people. For, as our Scripture for today tells us, those who “trust in riches will fail” and Proverbs 27:24 adds to this by saying, “riches do not endure forever.” And when the Scriptures talk about not lasting for ever, they are looking at the perspective of time and eternity, not just within the limitations of our time on earth. We may die rich people, but where is the treasure of our heart located? If it is in the wealth we are leaving behind, we have problems, as Jesus illustrated in the parable of the rich farmer in Matthew 12:13-21. The man wanted to build bigger barns in which he could store all his grain and all his goods, so that he could then “take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”

But God’s assessment of this man’s objectives was very different. The man had been blinded by his riches to eternal truths and in the story God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then, who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God.”

Money can be a means of huge provision and blessing. But it can also be a self-destructive trap. I pray that as you think about these things you will take your eyes off what you have in time and focus on what you can take with you from time into eternity. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:21. When we are living righteous lives and our heart’s focus is right we will, as our Scripture encourages us, thrive – without the need to be trusting in riches – for they will fail.

Prayer. Help me, Lord, to value Your provision and to trust You for all I need. Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I have taken my eyes off you and trusted in my possessions instead of You. Give me Your wisdom to have a right balance in my life, to be generous with what You have given me, and to keep my focus on You – the treasure of my heart. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

August 29, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on What You See Is What You Get!

What You See Is What You Get!

“For whoever finds me finds life and receives favour from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.”

Proverbs 8:35 and 36, NIV

WYSIWYG is a popular computing acronym which simply means ‘What You See Is What You Get’. But it has also assumed a meaning beyond the world of computing to describe a person whose character is transparent and exemplary, with no hidden or unpleasant characteristics. How the person is seen to behave is an exact representation of the true character of the individual. Another way of putting it is that they are the ‘same all the way through’ – which means that they have integrity.

While the acronym WYSIWYG was completely unknown in Solomon’s day, the principle that this acronym stands for was definitely not unknown. In Proverbs Chapter 6:16-19, for example, we read of things that the Lord hates, three of which are a lying tongue, a heart that devises wicked schemes, and a false witness who pours out lies.

A person may want to give the impression that they are pure and truthful. But if in their heart they are devising evil things and lies they can tell, then what people see on the outside is definitely not the same as what they are like on the inside. God hates it when mankind, who was made by God in the image and likeness of their Creator, behaves in a way that is contrary to His character.

But the fact is that every single one of us carries the stain of sin in our hearts which God hates. In reality, none of us can say that we are 100% WYSIWYGs! Our sin can be forgiven because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, but this side of Heaven the sin seed, with all its evil potential, is always in our hearts. This is often described as our carnal nature, meaning that we will always fail the WYSIWYG test!

But that’s not true of God. When Jesus walked this earth what people saw on the outside was always a true reflection of the inside. He was without sin and at all times He was a pure, 100% clean representative of His Father, God. And the crucial difference between Jesus and every other human being was that because of sin all of mankind is under the curse of death. But sinless Jesus was the bringer of life – life in all its fulness.

Only Jesus could have said those amazing words from John 14:6,“I am the way, the truth and the life.” For only He is the way to the Father. Only His lips spoke total truth. And only He could be the bringer of life into a world that was under the sentence of death. When people met Jesus, what they saw really was what they got! When they heard Jesus speak, they heard what God the Father would say. And in verse 9 of John 14 Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”

So, when we read in our Scripture for today that “whoever finds Me (God), finds life”, we are reading the truth that was vitally important to people of that day, but we are also reading a prophetic truth about Jesus which is relevant to us here and now – whoever finds Him, finds life! He is not a deceiver, His teaching won’t ever disappoint, His words will never turn out to be lies, His promises will never let you down. In Jesus what you see is exactly what you get!

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You faithfully represented Father God to a fallen and broken world. Your Word promises that if we truly seek You we will surely find You. And when we find You, we will find life – resurrection life – life from the dead. Help me, Lord, never to forget who You are, where you came from and that one day I will be together with You in Heaven. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

August 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Walking in the Plans and Purposes of God

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:21, NIV

God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives. We may have lots of ideas about what we would like to do with the years that stretch before us, but our ideas need to be tested and submitted to the great Planner – one of the greatest of the old hymns expresses so powerfully what should be the desire of our heart:

Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer;
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.

It doesn’t matter whether we still have most of our life to live, or are wondering if the year ahead could be our last, God still has a strategy and a plan for us. However many years there may be in store, we have a choice as to how we fill the time. God has given each of us free will. But if our free will is not gladly surrendered in the light of His purposes for our lives, then we will be in danger of missing out on God’s best for us and then be in danger of coming up against the purposes of God which, as our Scripture indicates, will prevail. It’s far better to be flowing in the will and purposes of God gladly, than to eventually discover that you have been going in the opposite direction to God’s plan for your life.

God is Creator – and we are made in His image and likeness – that means that we are creative also. He rejoices to inspire our own creativity and to fill our minds with plans which will be a blessing to us personally and which will also be purposeful in respect of the Kingdom of God. I’ve found on many occasions that when God gives us vision and we walk in fellowship and obedience with Him, that He opens up the way ahead so that His purposes will be fulfilled. This was one of my primary objectives in writing the book Strands of Destiny – to illustrate how God works out His purposes in our lives.

There are many strands to each one of our lives – when God weaves those strands together He creates a beautiful tapestry. We may be going through tough times, because we are living in a fallen world, but no matter how difficult the are, God has assured us that he will be with us every step of the way.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for being my Redeemer and for your commitment to being my Guide through life. Forgive me Lord when I have tried to do things that were not your best for me and help me, Lord, to see how precious it is to be Your representative in working out Your purposes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

July 31, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Laziness, Work and Wealth!

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.”

Proverbs 10:4,5, NIV

I was recently reading about a man who, at the age of sixty, heard that he might have a terminal condition. Instead of bemoaning his misfortune, he resolved to work harder than ever to do those things which mattered most to him before he died! In the following years he wrote many books and achieved a great deal. At the age of 92 he was still writing, having long since seen off his supposed terminal condition! He was definitely not lazy and he became very wealthy as a result of all the work he did.

There is no doubt that the Scripture for today is true – hard work and diligence do bring reward and wealth, especially when what you do is under the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit, properly applied with wisdom. Laziness is something that is universally condemned throughout the Scriptures. Paul was very blunt in his letter to the Thessalonians when he said, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).

There are seasons of harvest in all of our lives, when things have built up to a point of fulfilment – and that is definitely not a season to take time off, for then the crop will not be reaped and poverty will result. But it is also true, that if the ground is not properly prepared and the seed is sown, there will not be any harvest at all! So, in every stage of life there is work to do because there is a purpose to fulfil.

And this is just as true in terms of the spiritual work that we do for the Kingdom of God. I was part of the team that worked behind the scenes to prepare for the last major mission that Billy Graham led in the UK. It was called Mission England. There was a great harvest of people who gave their lives to the Lord at the events, which were the spiritual equivalent of a farmer’s harvest crop. But those who worked behind the scenes had been working incredibly hard preparing the ground, for at least three years, making sure that every single detail had been thought through in advance of the time of harvest. Lives were changed and transformed at harvest time because the ‘farmers’ had been doing their work.

There is no shortage of work we can do for the Kingdom of God – let us do it with all our hearts knowing that the size and the quality of the harvest depends on the bit we do!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the warnings of Scripture not be lazy. Forgive me, Lord, for times in my life when I have been deliberately lazy. Help me to be wise at every stage of my life and to learn Your wisdom about the things you want me to do – and then to do them with all my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.