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The PASSION Blog

The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life and the Bible. They are quick thoughts that grow out of my morning devotions. I hope you enjoy them.

If you would like to read more blog posts on a range ot topics you can visit my other blog here.


Checking our blind spots
July 3rd, 2015


The Word for Today devotion has been doing a series of devotions on our blind spots as Christians. These are areas of fault we may see in others but be oblivious to them ourselves.

Todays devotion has some interesting questions that will help us to see how we are going. Enjoy…

The Bible speaks about ‘putting off’ certain sins. Then it speaks about ‘putting on’ certain Christ–like characteristics. Using this metaphor of clothing, let’s think about the acronym RAGS:

(1) Resentment. How’s your irritability level these days? Are you more, or less, easily irritated? How about bitter-ness and unforgiveness? When someone hurts you, do you attack or withdraw? Is your handling of resentment getting better, worse, or in neutral?

(2) Anxiety. On a scale of one to ten, what’s your discouragement level these days? Do you have more or fewer fears about money, your health, your job, or what other people think of you? Do you allow those fears to keep you from doing what God wants? Do you find your concerns motivate you to pray more frequently?

(3) Greed. Greed is just mis–managed desire. So is your self–control going up, down, or is it in neutral? Are you living with more openness and less hiddenness than you used to—living more of your life in the light? Do you find that what you desire and enjoy is increasingly in line with what God wants for you?

(4) Superiority. Are you becoming less preoccupied with self? Do you find yourself thinking more about other people and God, as well as the work He has for you to do? How often in conversation do you remark on the positive characteristics of others instead of their negative qualities? Do you come across as hard, jaded and cynical? Are you spending more or less time serving others?

Today, ask God to help you look into your own heart and give you the grace to deal with what you find there.


Facebook page for PASSIONAustralia.org
June 28th, 2015

You can now find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/passionaustralia.org.

On the page we will share our updates, encouraging quotes, Scriptures, inspiring pictures and short blog posts in the notes section.

God Bless,
Dave


R.E.L.A.X. in Christ
June 25th, 2015


Sometimes as Christians we struggle with our identity in Christ. We forget we are saved, loved, accepted and made right with Christ. Some of us even feel we need to strive and work hard to receive approval from God. In these times I try to R.E.L.A.X.

R – Rest

Rest in the finished work of Christ. You don’t need to strive to be accepted by God. If you have accepted Christ. It is finished and decided upon. You are loved, cherished and accepted by God.

E – Examine

Examine areas of your life or situations that happen when you feel condemned, unworthy or not accepted by God. Know what makes you feel not right with God so you can overcome them.

L – Learn

Learn Scriptures that talk about who you are in Christ. Read and meditate on them daily. Memorise them and share them with others. Put them up in a prominent place in your house.

A – Apply

Apply the Scriptures to your life. When you feel condemned, unworthy and the need to strive for acceptance, stop and recite your Scriptures that tell you otherwise. Then continue what you were doing.

X – Christ

X is the Greek symbol for Christ. Trust in Him and what He has done in saving you, growing you and keeping you in the palm of His hand. Remember no-one can snatch you away from Him.

God Bless,
Dave


Visiting your old church
June 22nd, 2015


On the weekend we made a special trip to Perth to visit our old church. It is the one we attended for most of the time after we got married to when we left Perth for Merredin (we had a few short breaks at other churches in between).

It was good to go back and see the church that I first committed to attend each week, helped with youth group, lead communion, did outreach for, preached my first sermon, first tithed to, was healed by God at and was part of the prayer team. In many ways this church taught me what it was to be a committed Christian.

It had been nearly eight years since we had been as a family. Things had changed and grown, but in many ways it was still the same. They still loved God, had a heart for worship, the Word and prayer and they were heavily involved in local and overseas mission.

When we first attended the church it was in the process of being sold to move to a new area where there was nearly schools opening up. We met in a local school as stage one got built. It was very exciting when it finally opened. Now stage two and renovations have been done!

It was also good to see growth in people who had taken on roles we used to do. Young children when we left where now youth leaders. And others had obviously grown in their faith.

It was really nice to visit our old church and catch up again. It was also good to see that it had become much of what we hoped and prayed for all those years ago.

God Bless,
Dave


God knows us inside out
June 17th, 2015


Psalm 139 is one of my favourite Psalms. I have written about it before on my blog here. This morning as a part of my devotions I read verses 1-6. It says…

O LORD, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! (Psalms 139:1-6 NLT)

As I read this today I was reminded of some wonderful truths about God and His knowledge and care for us. Here is a few…

1. God knows everything about us (v1)
2. God knows our every movement (v2, 3)
3. God knows our thoughts (v2)
4. God knows our unspoken words before we speak them (v4)
5. God goes before us and He follows behind us (v5)
6. God’s hand of blessing is upon us (v5)

Knowing these things gives me great comfort. God knows me inside out and He still loves me. He also loves you too.

God Bless,
Dave


A prayer for others and ourselves
June 12th, 2015


In Philippians 1:9-11 Paul prays a prayer for the Philippian church. It says…

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭9-11‬ NLT)

Let us break that down and see if it can help us in our prayers for our family and friends.

1. He prays that their love would overflow more and more

2. Keep growing in your knowledge and understanding of Christ

3. That they would understand what really matters

4. That they would live right so it brings God glory

I think we can learn a lot from this prayer. Imagine the growth and blessings that would flow if we prayed this for those around us?

Maybe we could even pray it for ourselves? Maybe we could pray both help us to grow in these things Lord, and also to help me Lord?

God Bless,
Dave


Sickness
June 10th, 2015


Like most people I hate being sick. But sometimes bugs just catch up with us. I have one at the moment that has nearly been a week.

My first reaction is always to pray and ask for healing as I think it should be. But this one has been hanging on.

Sometimes I find that being sick is sometimes a blessing in disguise. It gives you time off your work to rest, recover, think and pray.

For me this past week I have stopped and rested. I have also spent some time prayefully refelcting on life. It has been a reset in some ways.

While I hate being sick, sometimes it can be the break and rest we probably need. That is if we give ourselves the chance to stop and not keep pushing through!

So what do you do when you are sick? Do you keep soldiering on or do you stop and give yourself time to rest and recover?

God Bless,
Dave


Living as children of light
June 5th, 2015


In Ephesians 4:17-32 Paul encourages us to live as children of light. He implores us to put off our old way of living and truly follow Christ in the way we live.

This passage has three main sections and a motivational reason to live this way.

1. Don’t live like non believers

This may seem obvious, but we should not live like non believers. In verses 17-19 it describes gentiles as people who wander far from God, have hardened hearts, have closed minds, live for lustful pleasure, have no sense of shame and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

2. Put on the new nature

Verse 20-24 says these things are not what knowing and following Christ is all about. Verses 23-24 says, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy”.

In these first two sections we see real contrasts of living the worldly way without God and living the way God wants us to live. He wants us to live with a new attitude with the new nature that leads to righteousness and holiness.

3. Practical things to put off

The next section verses 25-31 talks about some practical things to put off. Here we see some real measurable things. They are things that we can reflect on to see how we are going at the moment.

1. Stop telling lies to our neighbours (v25)
2. Don’t let anger control the way we live and respond (v26-27)
3. Don’t steal, but work hard (v28)
4. Don’t use foul or abusive speech (v29)

Verse 31 emphasizes this when it says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior”.

What is our motivation to do this?

Our motivation to live as children of the light in this passage is so we don’t bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit. Verse 30a says, “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live”. It should motivate us to live right as the Holy Spirit dwells within us.

Summary

There really are two ways to live. For the Christian it is about putting off the old worldly ways, and putting on the new nature by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our hearts and minds.

God Bless,
Dave


Paul’s suffering and commitment
May 31st, 2015


I was looking at the suffering of the Apostle Paul recently. I was amazed how much he went through in his years of ministry. I was also amazed by his commitment to preach the Gospel in the midst of his suffering.

In 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 we see some of Paul’s hardships. On a number of occasions he was beaten by mobs, put in jail, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights and gone without food.

Also in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 we read he was also whipped nearly 200 times, beaten with rods, faced death again and again, was shipwrecked three times, was stoned, faced danger from fake Christians and nearly drowned from swollen rivers.

This does not even mentioned the “thorn in Paul’s flesh from Satan” mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. A thorn that he was able to bear by God’s grace.

Bible scholars tell us that Paul was converted about 36 AD and he died in Rome in 68 AD. So this means he was in Christian ministry for about 32 years. As 2 Corinthians was written about 57 AD these listed sufferings only record about two thirds of his ministry time!

So how was Paul able to stand firm and keep going in his ministry mission in light of all this suffering? Here are some of the reasons I think.

1. His amazing conversion on the road to Damascus where he spoke with Jesus (Acts 9:3-19)
2. He knew he was called by God to reach the Gentiles for Christ (Galatians 1:15-16, Acts 13:2-3)
3. He knew he could do all things through Christ who was his strength (Philippians 4:13)
4. Paul saw his mission as a race he needed to run with endurance (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Hebrews 12:1)
5. He knew he had to keep his eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)
6. Paul saw that he was no longer living, but Christ living in and through him (Galatians 2:20)
7. Paul knew he would receive a crown of righteousness from the Lord (2 Timothy 4:8)
8. Paul saw his life as a drink offering being poured out to the Lord (2 Timothy 4:6)

I am really inspired by the life of Paul. I have been through a lot of suffering and it has made me stronger, but it is nothing compared to what Paul suffered for the Gospel.

If you are suffering for the Gospel today I hope you can draw strength from God and the example of the Apostle Paul.

God Bless,
Dave


A quiet place
May 26th, 2015


A number of times in the Bible we see that Jesus withdrew to a quiet place. It was something that He did regularly.

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (‭Mark‬ ‭6‬:‭31‬ NLT)

In the above Jesus gives us some reasons…

1. To find rest

2. To get away from the crowds

3. To eat

Some times Jesus drew aside alone to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer (Luke 6:12). This was just before He chose the 12 disciples.

I think it is an important reminder to have a quiet place where we can recharge both physically and spiritually. A place where we can find rest.

Have you got a place like that?

God Bless,
Dave


Unless You go with us
May 24th, 2015


All week I have been reading and reflecting on Exodus 33. For me it is one of the important chapters in the Old Testament.

One section that really has stayed with me in verses 12-16. This is where Moses asks God to go with them on their journey. Earlier on God said He would not go because of the rebellious people (v3), but God agrees to go with Moses.

I like that Moses did not want to go if God did not go with them. It was a huge task that could only work if God was with them. Moses knew his inability to get the job done without God.

Moses knew it was the glory of God is what made them stand out from the surrounding nations. It was His power and presence that made the impossible possible.

As I have dwelt upon this chapter this week I have been reminded that we need to have the Moses attitude as Christians. We need to ask for God’s glory to go with us too. We need Him to make the impossible possible too.

Sometimes I wonder if we try and go it alone too much? I wonder if we would be better off waiting on God and asking for Him to go with us?

Just a thought.

God Bless,
Dave


Somewhere in the middle?
May 18th, 2015


I was just listening to a song by Casting Crowns called “Somewhere in the Middle”. The chorus always makes me think about where I am at in my faith….

Fearless warriors in a picket fence,
reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end
and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences,
the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His
or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

I don’t want to be caught in the middle. I don’t want to be luke warm like Jesus talks about in Revelation 3:15-16. I want to be on fire for Christ.

I want deep water faith. I want to worship God for who He truly is. I want God’s dreams for me. I don’t want Christianity light. I want the real thing.

How about you?

God Bless,
Dave


For more blog posts on a variety of topics you can visit Dave's other blog here

 

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