The Belt of Truth

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We’re all familiar with the spiritual armour passage in Ephesians 6 where Paul’s exhorts us to put on the armour and stand against the enemy’s schemes. As you might expect, as an author of speculative fiction, it is a passage I reflect on often, as I create my stories.

Putting the armour on is a practice that I observe frequently. Perhaps, not frequently enough, but I have it written on one of the notes attached to the base of my Mac desktop that I stare at for many hours each day: “Put the armour on!”

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Whose plan: ours or God’s?

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He planned to divorce her quietly. What a good guy. He’s been told his fiancé, Mary, is pregnant. But he’s not the father. But the law provides him with an out. But rather than publicly humiliating Mary, Joseph decides to break it off quietly.

Based on my various readings, most men, at the time, would have called the engagement off. The only question was how best to do it.

His plan was sound. He felt humiliated and didn’t quite understand the miraculous nature of the situation. I take it Joseph wasn’t fully aware of his lineage or the significant part he was to play in being the second last in the line that began with Abraham (Matthew 1:17)

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“Sun Stand Still Devotional,” Steven Furtick

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Having being impressed with the book Sun Stand Still I was excited by the idea of a 40-day condensed devotional version of it.

Both books reflect on Joshua’s audacious prayer asking God to freeze time so he and his Israelite army have more time to vanquish the Amorites. And God answers by doing just that.

Furtick believes we all should be living lives of audacious faith where prayers such as Joshua’s are common practice and just as importantly we are stepping out in faith so that God can demonstrate His faithfulness to us.

This devotional is excellent. Each day’s message is short featuring a passage of Scripture that encourages us to be faithful. Yes, God can be trusted. What I particularly love about Furtick’s writing is that he is the master encourager (he’d be a great sports coach) to be able to motivate by demonstrating God’s faithfulness and then equip the reader with the tools to utilise to step out in faith.

He also uses a lot of great soundbites that are short, sharp and memorable, such as:

– The proof of faith is the action it produces.
– Faith not only prays. It also pursues.
– Live a life that is explainable only by the existence of a God who is infinitely great.

Furtick shares a number of stories of his own journey in starting his church (which is quite a remarkable story) and this devotional includes some updates which weren’t included in the book. Each day’s lesson then ends with an accompanying action to pray.

If you’re desiring something more for your life, I’d encourage you work through this devotional. You won’t be disappointed. I expect I’ll keep returning to it on a regular basis.

Barren Seasons

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It’s been eight and a half months since the first stroke. Dad had admitted himself into emergency advising that he believed he’d had a stroke. Being a doctor, he was able to self-diagnose.

Things got worse an hour later. We all received the call you never want to receive: get to the hospital and fast.

The first stroke was only minor. It was the second one that nearly took him from us and caused all the complications. Two days prior Dad worked a full day at the practice. Not bad for an 83 year old.

In those few moments in hospital Dad’s world had been turned upside down. His career ended, his speech severely impacted, short term memory jolted and ability to concentrate impaired.

Devastating.

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Living a Dependent Life

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I learnt independence at an early age. I got myself around by walking and catching public transport (as early as 10 years old), and entertained myself in my own worlds of sports and stories.

My two brothers and sister similarly were very independent growing up. Even though we’d come together regularly, we all cherished our alone time.

I’ve found it interesting my two boys are very dependent on others for entertainment and activity. Now that isn’t a bad thing at all. However, I’ve often struggled with their dependence and prided myself on my ability to get things done by myself.

“Many people view dependence as a despicable condition, so they strive to be as self-sufficient as possible.”1

BAM!

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Lent Reflections – Repentance & Restoring Joy

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Photo very graciously supplied by Mary DeMuth

My siblings and I have been helping our parents spring-clean their house. They’re both in their eighties and it never ceases to amaze me how much stuff one can collect over a long life. The house becomes very “full”, especially when you’re not inclined to throw things out, as is the case with my parents.

They have a lot of stuff and I mean a lot.

We’re hopeful they will be able to secure a move to a smaller place in their next two months, in fact we may know as soon as early next week regarding one place mum has her heart set on.

This won’t really be a spring clean, rather a major overhaul with lots and lots of stuff discarded, given to charities and grateful others. Already, a number of trips have been made to the tip as well as one large council pickup.

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The Mystery of the Manna

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I’m often asking the Lord for answers. Whether it’s about what’s going on with Angelguard, prayers for people who are struggling, or simply about the fact I might have woken up feeling unwell. A day doesn’t go by when I’m not asking Him, “so what about this or that.”

Do you do that?

The extent of my questioning God increases significantly when times are tough or uncertain. For example, a job proposal is rejected or my dad’s health relapses. “Why God?” and “is this the end?” are questions I’m sure I’ve asked many times in relation to those two matters.

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament as part of my Lenten experience of completing the entire Bible. This week I finished Job. I think most of us are familiar with his story; Job was “totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion.” I’d like to be described as such. He was also extremely wealthy and “the most influential man in all the East.”

Wow, a really impressive guy in my estimation.

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An Apparent Contradiction?

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One aspect of the Christian faith that I’ve always found challenging is that we are made with a yearning to know our Creator. However, at the same time, Paul tells us that in our fallen state we cannot accept the ways of God.

The other day I read a great simple statement:

Most people believe in God but don’t believe God.

As I meditated on that statement, I soon realised this was the answer to my quandary.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecc 3;11 NIV)

One interpretation I take from Solomon’s statement above is that idea of God placing a yearning for Him within our hearts. Perhaps that’s why we so many of us in the western developed world “believe in God”.

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Modelling Jesus’ Life

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I left it last time with this notion that Jesus came, not just to restore our relationship with the Father, but also to be the example for that relationship.

I’ve mentioned Dann Spader’s book, “Walking as Jesus Walked”, a number of times, so let’s get to its key elements.

Spader has based his message from a close study of Scripture. As one works through each chapter, he lets us examine many of these verses for ourselves, so we become familiar with Jesus as a man, who lives a life solely dependent on the Holy Spirit.

This dependence aspect is critical and I’ll explore that a little further in my next post on the weekend.

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