Day 6 (29 Feb 2020) – Life is a temporary assignment

1) Psalm 39:4 (NLT); 2) Psalm 119:19 (GNT)

1) Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered - how fleeting my life is. 2) I am here on earth for just a little while; do not hide your commands from me.

Recently we saw the tragic deaths of 3 young children from the family of Danny & Leila Abdallah. In a portion of a statement they publicly released they said, “Our life here on earth is but a vapour in comparison to His eternal plans, and the purpose God holds for His children.” This couple and their family love Jesus and their statement and these passages today really bring home that our lives are temporary, fleeting, reinforcing that this world is not our home. We should be living like strangers here.

When I was much younger, in my 20’s I didn’t give much thought about dying or heaven, I mean I was just starting my adult life with 50+ years ahead of me, why think about the end of my life.

But I do need to, regardless of age, as a believer in Jesus we understand that our lives are temporary, eternity is real. These passages and many others in the Bible make this very clear, there is no uncertainty. I need to keep heaven in mind and especially those in my life that I know do not know Jesus, this is where eternity really matters. My life and witness to them. The only thing we can take with us into eternity is our belief in Jesus.

Lord, help me to never forget this perspective as I journey through my life to eternity with you. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

2 replies
  1. Sue says:

    I so need to live and speak the gospel to others in every situation. What an incredible witness that family is – showing love and forgiveness in such heartache. I am in awe of their response.
    So many people are in the valley of decision – help me Lord to see every opportunity.

  2. Sue says:

    What an incredible witness that family is – showing love and forgiveness in such heartache. I am in awe of their response.
    So many people are in the valley of decision – help me see every opportunity.

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Day 5 (28 Feb 2020) – Seeing life from God’s view

James 4:14 (NIV)

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

This world is a strange place and it often doesn’t make sense. This verse reminds me how easy it is for me to assume I know, that I understand but that is not the case.

Answering why there is pain and death and everything else is beyond us. God sees the big picture, the view from 10000 feet. We don’t see that – we can only see what is in front of us. But how do we live a life that is not overwhelmed by what we see in front of us? How do we look at this verse and not just stop?

“You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Trusting God – remembering each day that He does see everything, that He is walking beside you, that He leads you through the complications, that He made you because He loves you more than any of us can imagine, that He created you just the way He thought would be perfect and that He wants you to love those in your world just like He loves you and that is enough to make you worthwhile and a critical part of His beautiful picture.

God is trustworthy. Is that what you believe today? Do you need to remember?

It does matter what we believe. God is worth believing.

Written by Therese Manning

3 replies
  1. Warwick says:

    You really get a greater sense of perspective when you are up high in a plane or at a lookout or in a tall building. I love those places. They seem a world away. Imagine being in such a high place. The little things on earth seem so small and insignificant, but wow God is still so deeply concerned about me and you and the next person that he has a plan for each one of us. Plans that all come together for good. Amazing. Praise God.

  2. Jen says:

    I find this verse so encouraging for two reasons. Firstly, I am reminded that no matter what my ‘tomorrow’ might bring, God is with me in it because He is already there. And secondly, when I might have a rough day or a rough week that seems to drag on, I am reminded that the whole of my life is just a ‘mist that vanishes’ and so my day or week pales into insignificance. But this verse challenges me too because it reminds me that I have so little time to make a difference! Lord, help me to use wisely what little time I have!

  3. Mandy says:

    Thanks Therese. It really is all about asking God why I’m here on earth at this time. What’s my ‘Esther’ moment, ‘for such a time as this?’ Make each moment count, no matter what the season.

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Day 4 (27 Feb 2020) – Made to last forever

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

There is more to life than just here and now. I can clearly remember when this revelation changed my life forever.  I was 18 years old and in my first year of university.

I grew up going to church and had given my life to Jesus at a young age. However, I hadn’t really made the connection that God’s purposes for my life were much bigger than just for me to lead a happy life. I’d say that up to then, my life was fairly “me-centred”.

One of the main things that opened my eyes was meeting other Christians at university who lived with purpose beyond themselves. They helped me to see that God has a plan for each one of us to impact the world by introducing others to His love through Jesus.

Having a sense of purpose in all that I do changes everything. Even the mundane things of life can have meaning when I know that God is at work in me and through me.

Today I choose to look at life through the lens of eternity.  I invite Jesus into every part of my life, to see that he can take the seemingly small offering of my life and make it eternally significant.

Written by Shelley Witt

3 replies
  1. Justin says:

    Thanks Shelley for sharing your insights and your personal story on the concept of eternity! I love thinking, wondering, reading and discussing what heaven might be like. I still have the first “grown up” bible that was given to me by a friend of mine in high-school. He has written in the front cover “Grow in God mate, we will party in heaven”

    The hope I have for eternity is more than just a fingers-crossed, Wouldnt it be amazing if…” type of hope. It is an assured hope. An expectant hope. Its some thing that doesn’t just excite me emotively, but it transforms the way I live, so that I can extract my focus on the struggles and rewards of the here-and-now and live forward, knowing that what I am living now will be like a blink of an eye compared with what is to come!

    Thank you Lord for the opportunity to engage in this reflection today!

  2. Linda Quinn says:

    I don’t like it when I can’t see the whole thing – I get irritated when I’m stuck in traffic and I can’t see the problem that’s holding me up… I’m human…
    – but I love that God has planted eternity in my heart so when I can’t see the whole scope of Gods work – His eternity seed planted in me – means I know I can trust Him even then!

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Day 3 (26 Feb 2020) – What drives your life?

Ecclesiastes 4:4 (TLB)

Then I observed that the basic motive for success is the driving force of envy and jealousy! But this, too, is foolishness, chasing the wind.

I took a deep breath and asked the question…

“What do you observe to be the driving force of my life to be. Be honest – I can take it” 

I wasn’t sure if I could take it but I asked anyway – of my family, three work colleagues, and three close mates. I was hoping for a single, definitive, elegant answer but apprehensive that a flaw in my character would be revealed or that one group would be wildly different to another group – thus revealing I am different person in different situations. (Why do I do this to myself???)

The results? Actually, not too bad. They all said basically the same thing – God and family. These are the two driving forces in my life. Phew! Here’s two quick observations that I discovered…

  1. My work colleagues said “family” before God. They observed that my family was a bigger driving force in my life than God was. He’s definitely there – just not #1. Ok – I have some work to do. (See Luke 14:26)
  2. My perception of what drives me (selfishness, fear, anxiety and stress, pride, feelings of inferiority, sin, money, fear of not having money) are actually NOT driving me. The Holy Spirit is working in my life as I cast these struggles at the cross and plead with Him for help. It’s actually working! My feelings are wrong – the evidence is in – God is doing something in my life!

I encourage you to try it – ask the question of those closest to you “what is the driving force of my life?” The answers may surprise you. 

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

6 replies
  1. Warwick says:

    “Envy and Jealousy” are powerful forces, causing us to pursue things which satisfy our needs for love, for connection, for possessions, for self esteem etc.. The verse today calls these things meaningless, in other words we won’t find meaning and purpose in them – which is true. We will never be satisfied if we pursue things out of jealousy or envy. To establish a better driving force, we should first seek to know the source by which all our needs can be satisfied and move forward in total security (trust) in that source, which is God alone.

  2. Kerrie says:

    Thanks Boudy! Such a brave thing to do, to ask your workmates this question.
    So interesting to wonder how different groups of people we have in our lives may perceive us.
    Casting aside envy and jealousy (and as a leader, guiding others at work to do so as well) is key to knowing God’s purpose.
    He doesn’t want us comparing ourselves with others.

  3. Sue says:

    As I reflect on this scripture and your wonderful thoughts and question.
    Do I really believe that God will provide for me?
    Do I really believe that no matter what crosses my path His love and His care stand strong? That all things work together for good…
    So many questions arise in my heart – but I need to find fresh rest in Him. Fresh rest in trust. Fresh rest in Knowing Him the lover of my soul.

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DAY 2 (25 Feb 2020) – You are not an accident

Isaiah 44:2 (CEV)

I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.

This verse brings great encouragement – even if it’s hard to understand that God was caring for me before I existed!  The word of God does the work of settling my soul and revealing truth to me. His word contends with the lies because, sadly, when I first read this verse, I started to argue against it. I allowed the pain of the past and my struggles to stir up doubt: what about when that happened, it didn’t seem that You were caring for me then?

But as I deliberately meditated on how God is my Creator, I am reminded that You Father God designed me. You have purpose and intention. That when bad things happen, it doesn’t mean I was a mistake or an accident. I am not an afterthought. I am not forgotten. Far from it. While circumstance, emotions and the work of the enemy would have me doubt You, Your word tells me otherwise: “You were in my care even before you were born”. As I continue to think about this, I imagine Father God saying it to me with a warm smiling voice and a tender look in His eye. I am reminded that You are for me and have all things in control.  My heart is at peace again.

Father God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for watching over me and caring for me. I am so thankful that You speak truth to me.

Written by Gab Martin

6 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    I remember reading a quote once in an art gallery that said something like “For us to fulfil our role as image bearers of a creator, we must also be creative” and it got me thinking. What was God really thinking when He created Humanity? My thinking led me to come across a concept in theology called the “social trinity” that basically says that the three distinct persons of the trinity expressed such love and unity internal to the trinity, that this love had to overflow, and it overflowed in such loving creative expression to bring in to existence all of creation. And the pinnacle and culmination of that creation was mankind.

    As I read and marvel at the concept of the love overflowing from the relationship within the Trinity and realise that if humanity has been created out of such love, God must truly truly love me more than I could possibly grasp, well beyond my wildest imagination.

    Thank you Lord for revealing your love for me afresh this morning!

  2. Deborah says:

    Thx Gab – I love what you said – “His word contends with the lies”.. because in the natural I was unplanned: an accident. Unfortunately for me I was referred to as a ‘mistake’ which was a major lie that took up residence in me earlier in life. I am so incredibly thankful that in my adulthood Jesus revealed the Truth to me; that I am His treasured child. Always have been. Always will be. So many lies wiped away by His love! This has major significance for me…

  3. Jen Irving says:

    Gab, I love your thoughts here. As someone who was born with physical deformities that have required ongoing surgeries and medical treatment throughout my life, I have often wondered, “How could God have made me like this?” But this verse doesn’t say that he would create me in a particular way or with particular abilities – it says that I was in His care – such an important distinction!

  4. Sue says:

    No matter what happens in our lives we must find God – I love your words “your word tells me otherwise”.
    Thanking God for His Word.

  5. Mandy says:

    Thank you Gab for your reflection. I love this verse as no one is ever an accident or unplanned – God holds our beginning and end date in His hands. He has a mighty plan for each of us.

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DAY 1 (24 Feb 2020) – It all starts with God

Colossians 1:16 (MSG)

For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.

I recently had a conversation with someone who is an atheist, who told me they had discovered a rational explanation for how well designed and ordered the universe is. They told me about their discovery of panpsychism, the notion that the universe has a consciousness and has therefore been able to design itself since it all came into existence 4.7 billion years ago with the big bang.

I have since done some reading into this theory and I have discovered that it has legitimate philosophical and scientific publications written about it. 

All the same, the idea that the universe created itself and then designed itself for no clear reason or purpose is philosophically challenging to me. It seems more plausible from where I stand that a great, all-powerful all-loving God, would create a carefully designed universe, with a clear purpose.

On reflecting on today’s verse, I believe that God’s purpose for creating the universe can be found in only one place– IN HIM. That is, it can’t just be learned from reading, but it must be imparted in relationship.

Lord, I thank you that I exist for the praise of Your glorious grace. May I seek to know and understand this deeper and wider and longer as I set out on this adventure over the next 6 weeks to truly discover what on earth I am here for.

Written by Ps Justin Ware

7 replies
  1. Warwick says:

    “Everything” is so inclusive that nothing is left to find its purpose in any other place. Nothing will find its purpose in fame or fortune. Nothing will find its purpose in other people or other beliefs. Nothing will find its purpose by hard work or by no work. If God is our creator, only He can tells us what we were made for.

  2. Claire Moore says:

    Yes this verse shows the deliberate purpose of God to create everything, even the spirit world – the invisible. And he did it so we could have a relationship with him. He wants to know me! In such a vast creation I am important to him! Can’t thank you enough Lord

  3. Andrew says:

    Yeah, the fact that relationship is necessary to know what we are here for is so important for me to remember. I cannot find a system, only the almighty person God

  4. Sue says:

    Doesn’t that bring such a sense of security to us all.
    God made us on purpose with purpose. I think we can find peace in that.

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Sunday 23 February, 2020

Acts 8:26-40

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

What an amazing incident. I love how God works and that we get to see both sides of the story. God sees the Ethiopian man, a seeker who desires to truly know God. God sees Philip, a God follower and believer in Jesus, who desires to serve God and spread the Good News. In a beautifully creative and at the same time incredibly understated way, God gives both men the desires of their heart by using Philip to share the Good News with the Ethiopian man.

I read this account and marvel at the goodness of God.

Thank you God that you are the same today, using people all over the world to answer prayers and fulfill desires. Lord, help me to lay down the things that get in the way of being available to you, the fears and insecurities. Help me to be aware of the bigger picture and to walk by faith, with expectancy that you will use me like you used Philip, to point people to Jesus. Amen. 

Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh

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Saturday 22 February, 2020

Acts 8:14-25

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” 24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” 25 After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.

Simon has been used to being revered because of the appearance of holiness that his tricks gave. Now here is something much better, but it’s someone else doing this one. He’s jealous. He wants this one too, and he’s willing to pay for it.

Jealousy is such a nasty, sneaky, divisive, destructive thing.

It can so easily arouse thoughts like “Wouldn’t it be nice to able to do that too” or “Wouldn’t it be nice to be seen as a spiritual person” or “I should be the one doing that. I could do it better. That bit’s not very good at all.”

That sort of jealous thinking is wrong on so many levels. Jealousy leads to trying to take and possess what God gives freely. Jealousy leads to being critical and judgemental. Jealousy leads to pride.

Maybe God will use me … once I’ve got my focus fully on Him … once my passion is to hear Him and to know Him … once my heart is for all to be touched by Him and to be transformed by it … once I love to encourage more than to be encouraged, to build up others more than to be built up … once I’m not the focus. Or maybe God has another role for me and I should just enjoy the blessing I’m receiving.

Father, I give you my heart. My desire is for my heart to be aligned with yours. Protect me from the jealousy that would rob me of that.

Written by David Cornell

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Friday 21 February, 2020

Acts 8:4-13

4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city. 9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

This passage begins with the words “Those who were SCATTERED preached the word wherever they went.”

I truly believe God calls all His sons and daughters to be master evangelists.  Not everyone can stand and preach to the masses like Billy Graham but all of us can have the passion and conviction to share the gospel where ever God may “scatter” us.  To say to our unsaved friends and family “look what Jesus has done in my life. I want you to know Him too.”

We tend to leave the evangelism to Pastors and Ministers – people who are called to minister largely to those who are already saved.  God needs his evangelists to be “scattered” – to be positioned near people that need to hear the gospel.  Where God scatters me isn’t important.  What’s important is what I do when I’m there.

Lord, please infuse my whole life with the power of Your Holy Spirit – so that wherever you see fit to “scatter” me I will share with those around me how great You are.

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Thursday 20 February, 2020

Acts 7:54 - 8:3

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. 8 And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

How brave was Stephen. He just stood there and led them through their history pointing out all the various issues they misunderstood. And he was willing to take whatever happened afterwards. Everyone who was listening was so angry and offended but Stephen was connected with God and he knew that he knew that he was in the right place and doing what God wanted. Sometimes we can be so much braver than we think we are if we are doing what we are convinced it is what God wants of us. Its like it isn’t really us anymore. It doesn’t happen so often for me but I wonder if that is because I don’t ask God often enough what it is that He wants me to do.

Even when God has asked us to do something that is simple and isn’t going to offend people, its still an amazing feeling when we are really connected with God on something. For example, if He asks us to speak to someone and just connect and love them and we are obedient then often the reaction can be overwhelming.

Dear Lord Help me to connect with you better and play my part in your plan more and more each day. Remind me Lord to ask you, to be interested in what is on your heart each day that I can help with. Help me to remember Stephen’s bravery and his willingness to do what you asked regardless of the cost. 

Written by Therese Manning

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