Category Archives: Dreams & Visions

Where Earth Ends…

Preparing for a church leaders meeting yesterday I had this verse going around in my head:

“Do you not know, have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth” – Isaiah 40:28

And I found myself stuck on that insight that God is the creator of the ends of the earth.

Now we all know that the earth is round and doesn’t have a physical ‘end’ but there’s lots of places where the land runs out and the oceans begin.  Those places are like the ‘ends of the earth’.

We can reach those places in life too – where it’s like we’ve used up all our energy and strength, and we’ve reached the very end of all that we can do ourselves.  We come to the end of our earth.

Often, in those moments, we blame ourselves for perhaps taking a wrong turn, or not hearing the voice of God right.  But has it ever occurred to us that God Himself is the ‘Creator of the ends of the earth’?

In a way, it means that there are times in our lives where God ordains the land to run out.  Where we come to the end of what is naturally possible and we can’t go any further in our own strength or wisdom.  But He hasn’t created the ‘ends’ to frustrate us or to box us in – but rather, to give us the moment to shift into another gear.

Chapter 40 of Isaiah ends with these words…

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles [….]

God ordains places where the land runs out in our lives… because it’s time to fly!

Maybe you’re at earth’s end today – you’re tired and weary, and ready to give up.  But you don’t have to stop.  You don’t have to retrace your steps.  You just have to get into that place where you wait on the Lord.  He will give you strength and help you make the transition.  Nothing can stop you when you’re powered with His strength

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The Others

The Facebook ‘Others’ Folder… how I hate thee…

Because of what I do, I get a lot of emails / texts / FB messages etc each day.  I don’t always get to them straight away, but I always make a concerted attempt to reply to all the messages that come in.  Especially if people are in need.

But for some reason I always forget about the FB Messenger ‘Others’ folder.  The one time every few years that I remember it’s there, I end up scrolling back through the lists of people who tried to contact me, and now probably think I hate them because I never replied.  All because Facebook in it’s infinite wisdom decided what was ‘important’ and what wasn’t.  Thanks Facebook….

Now, I’m a preacher, so nearly everything that happens to me can be turned into a preaching story in some way.  This is no exception.  So here is the sermon illustration…

I’m convinced that God is speaking to all of us regularly.  There are ways that we expect Him to speak to us – perhaps because that’s how He’s spoken in the past – so we’re ‘Friends’ with those ways, and any post shows up on the regular ‘newsfeed’ of our heart and mind.

However, God also speaks to us through ways that we’re not used to.  Ways that we’re not ‘friends’ with yet.  Maybe we’re looking for a word from a prophet, but God is giving us a dream at night, or a gentle encouragement from a family member.  Sometimes there’s important and powerful messages He wants to get through to us – but they end up in our heart’s version of the ‘Others’ folder.

By all means, keep checking your newsfeed, but don’t forget to check the ‘Others’ folder too.  God will use many ways to communicate to you – and you want to be open to all of them!

[Sermon End] 🙂

The Key To Becoming Prophetic

“Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”  – Genesis 18:17

 

There was nothing seemingly special about Abraham.  His claim to fame was that he simply believed God.  When God spoke, Abraham listened and obeyed.

This simple obedience proved to be the key for Abraham increasing in his ability to know what God was going to do next.  A person with faith is a God-magnet, and so supernatural activities began to occur around Abraham’s life.

But the key is a very simple one – have faith in, and obey what God has already shown you.  Many people want to grow in prophetic power to know what God is saying about the future, or to have supernatural experiences with Him.  But God won’t necessarily bring greater words to those who haven’t listened or responded to his smaller words.

Training in the prophetic starts with obeying the small promptings of the Holy Spirit.  To believe God for something impossible, to turn away from a particular sin, to share a seemingly insignificant word with someone.  Abraham had become so good at believing God, so reliable at walking out what God wanted… that God said to Himself… “can I really hide from Abraham what I’m going to do next?”.

As we learn to be faithful with the little things… this same question will grow in God’s heart towards us too.

A Vital Step

“I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” – Genesis 17:2

Was reading this morning in Genesis, and I was struck by this verse… The Lord says to Abram, walk faithfully before me and be blameless… THEN I will make my covenant with you.  This is AFTER he has received numerous promises from God about the land he would inherit and the number of descendants he would have.  The covenant was the covenant of circumcision – the cutting away of the flesh near the male reproductive system, and God notes that it would be an eternal covenant.

So God gives Abram a series of promises – and these promises came for free.  Abram didn’t have to do anything to receive the promises.  But in order for him to walk in the promises and see them outworked would require something – a blameless walk and faithfulness – outwardly symbolised in the act of circumcision.

Fortunately (especially for the guys) – physical circumcision isn’t required for entry into the promises of God today.  The Scriptures show clearly that the outward act is no longer needed, just as the death of Jesus replaced the need for the outward act of sacrifice.  Yet this eternal convenant is far from over.

We receive the promises of God by faith, and for free.  God speaks to us about our lives and future and shows us the plans he has for us.  We don’t have to do anything to receive the promise of God.  But to walk in that promise, and see it come to pass – something is required, which is circumcision of the heart.

Just as the Old Testament circumcision was a cutting away of the flesh near the male reproductive system, the circumcision we embrace as Christians now is a spiritual one – the cutting away of our own abilities to bring about our desires and dreams.  It’s no accident that the covenant of circumcision follows the account of Hagar and Ishmael, where Abram heard the promise of God, but plunged in and tried to bring it about through his own wisdom and strength.

We receive the promises of God for free.  But the price we pay to walk in those promises is a holy life, with our abilities and wisdom surrendered to the will and mind of God.  What we can accomplish in our own strength remains the greatest enemy to what God can accomplish through us, if we will simply trust and believe.

Moving Into The Next Season

Then God said to Noah,   “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.  Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.” – Genesis 8:15-17

 

If it weren’t for the ark then Noah, his family, and all of the animals would have perished in the flood.  Noah’s faith in God led him to make preparations for and to move into something that would protect him and transition him into the next season.

But when the waters receded and the ground was ready, it was time for Noah and the others to move out of the ark, and into the earth.  God had multiplication, growth and prosperity on His mind – and the ark, as important as it was for the season they’d been in, couldn’t hold them for what God was calling them into.

In the same way, we go through seasons and there’s times when we’re ‘battened down’ and ‘hiding’ in the grace of God while storms blow through our lives.  In these moments it’s easy to develop a ‘seige mentality’ – wondering where the next attack or disaster will come from.  But at it’s best a seige mentality is a maintenance mentaility – it’s not a growth mentality.  There has to be a change in our outlook, in our vision, in our faith – to move us out of our own ‘arks’ and into the promises of God.

It’s a new season for Noah, and perhaps to encourage him to take the step – God gives him a promise… that He will never destroy the whole earth by flooding it again.  He gives Noah His word that the season has absolutely changed and it won’t go back to how it was.

Noah believed God the first time, and built an ark.  How important it was that Noah believed God the second time!  Otherwise he could have found himself living out of the ark… just in case.  How many people in our world have been through a traumatic experience, and cannot transition into a new season because they’re holding on to their old ark… just in case?  That which once protected them becomes their prison.  That which once saved their life now serves to limit them.

God gives us His great and precious promises to coax us out of where we have been, so that He can bring us into a fruitful and blessed place.  That’s His intention and goal.

Thoughts On Job 28 – Mining Gold!

Job 28:1 – Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold which they refine.

Job 28:2 – Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted out of the ore.

Job 28:3 – Man sets an end to darkness, and searches out, to the furthest bound, the stones of obscurity and of thick darkness.

Job 28:4 – He breaks open a shaft away from where people live. They are forgotten by the foot. They hang far from men, they swing back and forth.

Job 28:5 – As for the earth, out of it comes bread; Underneath it is turned up as it were by fire.

Job 28:6 – Sapphires come from its rocks. It has dust of gold.

Job 28:7 – That path no bird of prey knows, neither has the falcon’s eye seen it.

Job 28:8 – The proud animals have not trodden it, nor has the fierce lion passed by there.

Job 28:9 – He puts forth his hand on the flinty rock, and he overturns the mountains by the roots.

Job 28:10 – He cuts out channels among the rocks. His eye sees every precious thing.

Job 28:11 – He binds the streams that they don’t trickle. The thing that is hidden he brings forth to light.

Job 28:12 – But where shall wisdom be found? Where is the place of understanding?

Job 28:13 – Man doesn’t know its price; Neither is it found in the land of the living.

Job 28:14 – The deep says, ‘It isn’t in me.’ The sea says, ‘It isn’t with me.’

Job 28:15 – It can’t be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for its price.

Job 28:16 – It can’t be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire{or, lapis lazuli}.

Job 28:17 – Gold and glass can’t equal it, neither shall it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.

Job 28:18 – No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal. Yes, the price of wisdom is above rubies.

Job 28:19 – The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, Neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

Job 28:20 – Whence then comes wisdom? Where is the place of understanding?

Job 28:21 – Seeing it is hidden from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the birds of the sky.

Job 28:22 – Destruction and Death say, ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

Job 28:23 – God understands its way, and he knows its place.

1)     There is a place where gold and silver are found

It’s not found everywhere.  True treasure is hidden, and it has to be searched for.  But it is SOMEWHERE!

There is treasure in our ministries… but we have to look for it.  It’s often not found just lying around in the easy places.  But it IS there!

2)    Iron is taken out of the ground and copper is smelted

That which is of great value doesn’t start off as great value.  There’s work to be done to turn it into great value.  You don’t just pick up iron & copper – it has to be worked with and processed.

There IS WORK in our ministries to be done.  We co-labour, co-ergo with God.  Just because God’s in the equation it doesn’t mean everything comes easy!

3)    Man sets an end to darkness, and searches out the furtherest bounds

There comes a point in our lives and ministries where we say ‘there must be more’.  I’m not happy with what I’m seeing, with where things are.  I’m going to go exploring.  I’m going to try some things.

Our quest for gold begins with our dissatisfaction at what we currently have.  Settlers never find gold, only explorers do!

4)    Gold is far away from people, and you have to hang there a while

The place where gold is found is away from the crowds.  There’s no signs pointing to it!  Not only that but you have to be prepared to ‘hang’ for a while, swinging back and forth.  Can feel like a pointless endeavour – is anything ever going to happen?

But that’s the process to find gold.  And it’s the same with our ministries.  The most valuable thing we can be doing is exploring.  Our settlements process the gold.  But our mines and explorations discover it.  If the gold starts to dry up, so do our settlements!

5)    No bird of prey / falcon has found it

Those who are looking for a quick feed and an easy path won’t strike gold.  Gold isn’t found by the birds of prey – the scavengers.

6)    He puts his hand on the flinty rock

There is something very tactile, time-consuming, and involved about looking for gold.  It takes time.  YOU have to do it.  You can’t just delegate it to someone else.  Your hand has to touch the flinty rock.  You have to cut the channels.  You have to stop the water flowing (a difficult thing) so that you can find what’s hidden beneath it.

It’s like that with people’s lives.  We have to touch them.  We have to be prepared to bury deep with them, and to stop up the distractions that are flowing over the top so that we can get to the gold.

7)     The thing that is hidden is brought forth to the light

Finally, after all of the process – the gold is found, and brought from the darkness into the light.

THEN HE SAYS… now, what about wisdom?!  Where do you find it?  The answer… God knows the way.  He’s the only one who can direct us in the things that we’re facing today.