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VICTORY IN 2019 – ENCOURAGEMENTS FROM JOAB

(January 15, 2019) Brian Bell reflects on winning tactics against an enemy

We’re two weeks into 2019 already!

Over past months I’ve been reading and meditating on Old Testament scriptures and have been encouraged and challenged as the Lord has reminded me of encouraging  truths I can apply to my own life as I seek to victoriously move ahead in 2019 – as can the body of Christ, those believers who make up the church.

In particular I’ve been reminded of spiritual warfare and, knowing my own battles and that if the Lord tarries the enemy will continue to be active in 2019, I share some brief thoughts based on 2 Samuel 10: 6-13 that I trust may be helpful.

I won’t include a historical overview other than to say that Joab was King David’s general. In the verses I mention here, Joab has been sent by David to meet a large army made up of Ammonites, Arameans and others. The story opens as Joab approaches the place of battle… let me share from his winning tactics what I see as lessons for the church.

1) Appraisal
This thought is in the words of verse 9: ‘When Joab saw he would have to fight on two fronts…’

It’s good to be wise and not underestimate the approach and tactics of an enemy – as believers we need to remember that the ‘enemy’ is not ‘people of flesh and blood’ (as the apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12). So, for example, people with whom we may disagree even on some point of doctrinal theology should not be seen as enemies!

We can be sure the enemy will always seek to display his best and most subtle attack formation – the word ‘appraisal’ is a way of describing how Joab sized up the situation. (more…)

2019 – ONE QUALITY MOST LIKELY TO HELP SUCCEEDING

(January 15, 2019) Ed Delph shares a helpful 2019 challenge…

As we embrace 2019 the following idea moves us forward, onward and upward!

Most everyone these days is looking for success in one way or another. Here’s a life-changer for youa spiritual and natural principle applied in a practical way.

The marshmallow test
One of my one of favourite writers, James Clear, offers this idea in his latest book, Atomic Habits. Read on…

‘In the 1960s, a Stanford professor named Walter Mischel began conducting a series of important psychological studies. During his experiments, Mischel and his team tested hundreds of children, most of them around the ages of four and five years old. It revealed what is now believed to be one of the most important characteristics for success in health, work, and life.

‘The experiment began by bringing each child into a private room, sitting them down in a chair, and placing a marshmallow on the table in front of them. At this point, the researcher offered a deal to the child.

‘The researcher told the child he was going to leave the room and if the child did not eat the marshmallow while he was away, they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. However, if the child decided to eat the first one before the researcher came back, they would not get a second marshmallow. The choice was simple. One treat right now or two treats later. The researcher left the room for 15 minutes. (more…)

A MISTAKE THAT CLARIFIED THE ‘MYTH-TAKE’

(December 11, 2018) Ed Delph shares another timely thought-provoker…

Here’s a true story I think you’ll enjoy by an unknown author about Christmas. Read and enjoy!

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six-year-old. For weeks, he’d been memorising songs for his school’s Winter Pageant presentation. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production.

Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher who assured me there would be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation, that all parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of dress rehearsal, I filed in and found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

(more…)

MEET WHAT WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU

(November 11, 2018) Ed Delph shares another timely thought-provoker…

A burglar who needed money to pay his income taxes decided to rob the safe in a store. On the safe door he was very pleased to find a note reading, ‘Please don’t use dynamite. The safe is not locked. Just turn the knob.’

He did so. Instantly, a heavy sandbag fell on him, the entire premises was lit by floodlights, and alarms started clanging!

As the police carried him out on a stretcher, he was heard moaning, ‘My confidence in human nature has been rudely shaken.’

Watchful godly fear
This story illustrates what I would like to introduce us to today. We may stifle it; we might quench it; hurt it or even defile it. However, we will never be able to escape it. It will always be there attaching itself to the highest standard we know. Everyone has heard it talk to us, congratulate us, convict us, remind us or try to guide us. (more…)

FEARLESS FAITH

(November 10, 2018) Jeff Benson shares from the heart…

Like most people, I have many weaknesses. My greatest weakness by far has been my ‘fear of man.’
Such an inbuilt thing for me… a bit like when it comes to a fear of heights, when you walk up to the edge of a cliff or lean over a guard rail from up on top of a tall building and instantly feel that fear …

The fear of man can be the same. There’s often no conscious thought associated with it, we just feel that fear…it just happens … you just automatically and instantaneously feel that fear.

My journey…
For me this feeling fear has been a huge issue… (more…)

THERE IS MORE!

(September 9, 2018) Tim Edwards shares a challenging thought…

Paul’s great challenge in Ephesians 5: 15-17 should hit home to Christians of every generation! The apostle warns, ‘Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.’

What do these verses say to us today?

  • What does Paul, indeed any pastor, want Jesus’ followers to know? To realise that no matter how long we’ve been following and serving Jesus, God has more in store for us!
  • And what does Paul, again any pastor, want Christians in any age to do? To understand that we should be asking God for more of himself and what is his plan for our life!

I have a little thought to share here that I trust will both bless and challenge those who are truly aware that the days are indeed evil and that there is still much kingdom work for us to be involved in before the return of our Saviour, King Jesus. My little thought? There is more! Let me share…

Relevant relationships today
Ephesians is such a great Bible book to read and meditate on – in fact it is just  so good, and there is a huge amount we can learn, even from the text above. Basically the book is a letter to the church at Ephesus in which Paul is endeavouring to – (more…)

GETTING BACK TO YOUR FUTURE

(September 9, 2018) Ed Delph shares another timely thought-provoker…

One of the most famous stories in the Bible is Luke 15. Although generally known as ‘the prodigal son chapter’ it is about putting three lost things back into circulation. It’s about…

  • A restoration of dignity and purpose.
  • Lost people getting back to the main road again after lengthy delays and detours.
  • How God’s compassion never gives up.
  • Seeing the essence of a person, not just the behaviour of a person.
  • Having the love to accept people for who they are but not letting them under achieve perpetually.

Lost… and without a good future
The chapter starts with Jesus talking to a crowd of people about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son…  being lost they had no future. (more…)

THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP

(September 7, 2018) Carol Round shares on a precious gift…

‘Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence’ (Proverbs 27:9 TPT).

‘What are we celebrating today, ladies?’

When our waitress asked this question, I immediately said, ‘Our friendship.’

‘That’s a good thing to celebrate,’ she replied.

Friendships are forged
For over 12 years, I’ve been friends with a woman whom I call my soul sister. We are not related by human blood, but by the blood of Jesus Christ. (more…)

LET’S COME ALIVE WITH INFECTIOUS ENTHUSIASM ABOUT GOD’S LOVE!

(August 26, 2018) Jeff Benson brings a challenge…

There’s a lot to love about being part of one’s church community!

One of the things that I enjoy the most is engaging with people who have only recently come to faith in Jesus. One example is a particular young lady who gave her life to Jesus about 14 weeks ago… it’s been really exciting to see her come alive through experiencing God at work in her life.

Discovering God’s love is infectious!
As she’s come to understand God’s love for her and has been sensing his voice and guidance, she’s come alive with an enthusiasm that’s actually quite infectious. Here’s a snippet of something she posted on Facebook recently (She’s allowed me to use it):

‘Through the blood of Jesus Christ we have been saved, we’re free of sin and justified by faith! So many blessings have been just poured over me since I came to faith and it’s so overwhelming at times but I am so thankful because of how much my life has changed! God shined so much light into my life and knowing that I have a God who loves me so much, who is always there and has the best plans for my life is just so amazing.’

Note how much this new Christian used the word ‘so’: So many blessings, so overwhelming, so thankful, so much light, loves me so much, so amazing! (more…)

I’M IN THE LORD’S ARMY

(August 12, 2018) Brian Bell reflects on an ‘old’ but relevant truth

You may be familiar with the words of this ‘old’ children’s song…
‘I may never march with the infantry; ride with the cavalry; shoot with artillery;
I may never zoom o’er the enemy but I’m in the Lord’s army – YES SIR!

In recent times to help it ‘relate better’ to a more contemporary generation a verse has been added which speaks about Superman, Spiderman and Indiana Jones!

A vital fact
On the surface, the lyrics may seem to have little ‘spiritual’ content – I certainly was of that view… for a time, that is.

On reflection, however, while the song may not mention the Bible or characters within its pages (such as Joshua) that we would associate with the Lord’s army, as believers we are in the Lord’s army and this is a vital ‘spiritual’ fact.

This was emphasised to me recently when looking at Deuteronomy 20, a chapter dealing with instructions Moses gave to the Israelites about going into battle. (more…)