Stay on track acronym

Here is an excerpt from one of my sermons from earlier in the year. I thought I would share it today for some encouragement…

Those who know my preaching know that I like to use acronyms to help get my message across. Today I have another one – W.A.S.P. I want is all to be a W.A.S.P. in 2020.

W – Word

Be a person of the Word this year. Be found in the Bible. Read it every day. Studies tell us that Christians who read their Bible four or more times a week have the strongest faith and trust in God.

Why do we need to read the Word? Because…

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Blessed is the man…[when] his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Psalm 1:2-3 NIV

A – Action

Be a person of action this year. By this I mean use your gifts to serve God by serving others. We are all uniquely gifted to do what God wants and needs us to do. So focus in on God’s race for you and run well.

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:10-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

S – Spirit

Be a person of the Spirit. Allow God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to fill, equip and empower you. Lean on His leading and ask for His wisdom and guidance in all you do. He knows what He needs and He knows how it is to be done. Trust Him.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Romans 8:11 NIV

But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26 NIV

P – Prayer

Be a person of prayer. My day works out best when I pray in the morning before the day starts. It ends well when I finish my day with prayer. It goes super well when I pray right throughout the day! Prayer is how we keep connect to God throughout the day, so pray.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

The full sermon can be found here https://www.passionaustralia.org/stripoffandruntherace.html

Blessings,
Dave

Sing for joy

“Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭49:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This verse is telling all creation to sing for joy. It talks about the things God has created – the heavens, the earth and even the mountains. Why does it tell creation to sing?

1. Because God has comforted His people.

2. He has compassion on them in their suffering.

God is a God of comfort. God is a God of compassion. We see this right throughout the Bible. We see when His people cry out to Him, He always intervenes.

In this time of worldwide pandemic it will be no different. If we as God’s people cry out to Him, He will answer like He has in days gone by.

Dear God, we cry out to You today. Give Your people comfort. Show compassion on Your people today. Please bring healing where there is sickness. Please bring peace where there is fear. Please bring comfort where there has been loss. Help us all to look to You in this time. We ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Peace with God and this world

Over the last few weeks Coronavirus has been on the rise. Every day more and more cases are being reported and we are hearing about more tragic deaths.

In the midst of this, the one key thing that keeps me firmly anchored is my faith in God. I trust Him and His plan for this world and for me and my family.

Because of this I am at peace with God and at peace with this world.

My wife works in our local hospital. If I didn’t have faith in God, it would be the last place I would want her to be. Instead I trust that He is looking after her.

In a week or so I am going back to work in the hospital. I have been asked to go back due to my knowledge of stock and ordering medical supplies. Again, if I didn’t trust God, I would not be doing it.

Faith and trust in God for over 30 years lets me know that He is in control. He has a plan. And His plan will come to pass.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
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I know that I love God and I am called according to His purposes. That means all things will work out for good in my life. I have a deep peace in my soul that God has my back.

Today I would encourage you to look to God and put your faith and trust in Him. Then you will have both peace with God and peace with this world.

To find peace with God I would encourage you to visit my salvation page. This will give you an understanding of God’s plan for your salvation and His desire for you to have peace in this time.

The direct link is https://passionaustralia.org/salvation/

May God bless you with His peace,
Dave

Stay S.T.R.O.N.G.

In my prayer time this morning I was reflecting on the word strong. As I did I came up with this acronym.

S – Stand firm

“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

T – Trust in the Lord

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

R – Renew your mind

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

O – Offer help

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

N – Never be overcome

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”” John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬

G – Go with God

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Practical tips for depression during Coronavirus

Over the years I have had my share of depression. Sometimes it was due to other health conditions taking their toll on me and sometimes it was from depressing events in life.

My depressive episodes ranged from being suicidal for weeks at a time in the worse times, to being extremely flat mood wise for several months.

In these times I learned to put some practical things in to place. As many people might be feeling flat or depressed during this time of Coronavirus shutdown I thought I would share them.

1. Get a good breakfast – when I get depressed I really don’t feel like or care about eating, so a good breakfast was really important to give me health and energy. I would start with a smoothie with two cups of milk (rice, soy, cow), two Weetbix or half a cup of oats, a banana and frozen mixed berries. This would help me get some healthy calories in to me and give me energy for the rest of the day.

2. Take vitamins – I found that when I was depressed my full blood count at the doctor showed that I was often lacking in the B vitamins. Taking a multi vitamin helped bring them back up. It also lifted my mood within a few weeks.

3. Keep up my devotions – during my times of depression I never lost my faith in God. Although at time I wondered what was going on. Keeping up my morning habit of prayer and Bible reading was crucial. Some days I was so depressed that I could only read the daily verse on YouVersion Bible App and say a short prayer of blessing over my family. But that was enough to keep my connection with God.

4. Be honest – this was very hard for me as I am by nature a very positive person. Somehow in my mind depression and being positive didn’t mix. But being honest and telling people did help. Most people already knew something was not right, but telling them helped me and them. People listened and prayed for me.

5. Be kind to yourself – I had to learn to give myself grace – the same grace I offered other who were struggling. I realised I had to step back from a lot of things and only do the basics. In the midst of depression it is not a time to be taking ground. Holding ground was the plan. I gave myself grace and space to just do the basics and get plenty of rest.

6. Do things you enjoy – it can be hard to actually do things when you are depressed. Even checking the mail box can be hard. I tried to keep up my hobbies of weights, watching sport, and maintaining my website through it. They didn’t bring as much enjoyment as usual, but it did help.

7. Keep connected with others – my biggest desire when I am depressed is to isolate myself from others. I don’t want them to see my not so attractive moods, but it is important they do. I don’t want to bring others down, but I need to see them or connect with them. At the moment this can be done by email, phone, text, Skype or FaceTime. There are so many ways to keep connected. I made sure I keep in contact with positive people.

So there you have it, my list of practical tips for help with depression. Trust me, this is not written by someone who only has a book knowledge of depression, it is from the frontlines or trenches…or maybe pit is a better word.

My hope and prayer is that if you are suffering with depression at this time, that these tips will help.

Prayer

Dear God, I pray for all of those people who read this who are suffering from depression. I ask that You will be their comfort, their peace and their strength. I pray that they will know Your presence and Your love at this time. Help them to do the things that will help them through this time. And help them to know that this time will pass. Give them both hope and peace. Bless, protect and watch over them in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Physical distancing, not social

With Coronavirus in the news – ‪Just remember we are staying apart physically, not socially. ‬

‪Stay connected by phone, email, text, twitter, facebook, whatever you have to do to keep connected to your loved ones.‬

‪Most importantly stay connected to God through prayer and Bible reading.‬

Stay well and be blessed,

Dave

Shine brightly in this time of Coronavirus

““You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I have just come back from a gym workout and this verse has been rolling around in my spirit. Two things have been echoing inside me in this season of Coronavirus.

1. You are the light of the world – this was addressed to all Christians. We are the light of the world. As the text says you don’t put a light under a basket. Meaning you don’t hide it away where it can’t benefit anyone. You want the light to shine so it makes a difference.

2. Let this light shine – in our case as Christians when we do good deeds to our family, friends and neigbours, our light shines for all to see. This in turn brings praise and glory to God.

As I reflect on this it makes me wonder what I can do in this current crisis to shine light for others to see. Some things that come quickly to mind are…

  • Not to hoard food. It is wise to stock up a bit to provide for our families. But we have to remember God promises to look after us and be our provider.
  • To look out for others. Are there people around me I can check in on and see if they need help, supplies or encouragement. Even a phone call, text or email can help.
  • Be kind. The last thing I want to do is be rude to others at the shops or doctors. I need to remember that I am Christ’s ambassador wherever I go. In the good times and the bad.

I need to remember that light shines best in the darkness. When times are dark or tough, my light can shine better and be brighter.

How about you? What things can you do to shine today?

Stay well and be blessed,

Dave

Complete healing and restoration

In my devotions today I read Mark 1:29-34. This is the passage where we see that Jesus healed and set free many people. It says…

“After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them. That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. The whole town gathered at the door to watch. So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak.” Mark 1:29-34 NLT

While reflecting on this passage I noticed a few interesting things.

  1. Jesus went to Simon (Peter) and Andrew’s house after teaching and casting out a demon at the synagogue. They found the the mother-in-law was sick with a fever. This would have been very dangerous and contagious at that time in history. Jesus helped her up and she was made well. Jesus was not worried about touching her or being infected, and His presence/touch healed her.
  2. She was obviously completely healed as she prepared a meal. It doesn’t say what type of meal, but she made a food for them all. I find this interesting for two reasons. The first is they obviously thought she was completely healed as they would not allow a sick person to push themselves too hard. And secondly, people don’t generally like sick people preparing food for them. Especially Jewish people of the time because they were worried about being ceremonially unclean. They must have been 100% confident she had been made well.
  3. Jesus then healed and set free many people to come to Him at the house. It says the whole town gathered and He healed them of all types of diseases and cast out many demons. I like the use of the word all. Jesus healed all types of diseases, not just some, but all. Jesus showed all authority over all sickness and demons – the physical and spiritual worlds. He was and is the Lord of all things.

As I reflect on this today it is a timely reminder for the current Coronavirus pandemic. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever as it says in Hebrews 13:8. He still has and always will have all authority (Matthew 28:18). His total authority reigns supreme over the physical and spiritual worlds. We can trust Him completely to care for us, both now in our current situation and for all eternity.

Stay well, trust Jesus and be blessed,

Dave