MY PROMISE KEEPER

Journal Entry by Grant Schofield

S – Scripture: Psalm 119:25 - Passion Translation
Lord, I’m fading away. I’m discouraged and lying in the dust; revive me by your word, just like you promised you would.


O - Observation
We all face low points in our lives. Some seasons are harder to traverse than others, yet this scripture highlights a choice that we have to make. Do we allow the trials to overwhelm us, do we give up hope? No, we revive our mind, spirit and heart by the word. All throughout scripture we have the promises of God. Promises that he will renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31), that he will fight for you (Exodus 14:4), and he takes us by the hand so we don’t have to fear (Isaiah 41:13).


A - Application
This is the hard part. My initial response when I face trials is not to reflect on the word of God. His promises aren’t the first things to come flooding into my thoughts at the onset of discouragement. But what I know is even when it’s not my first response, I know He’s there. Calling me, reminding me of scriptures I’ve planted in my heart, bringing back to remembrance the times He’s proven Himself faithful in the past. He’s a God who never leaves us nor forsakes us. He’s a God who loves us and is for us and He’s a God that will continually be your strength, strong tower and comforter.


P - Prayer
Father, allow me to train my thoughts to seek you first in times of discouragement. Quicken my patterns to be guided by you and allow my focus to be fixed on you when trials come, knowing you will help me through every situation that comes my way. Amen.

A GOOD AND JUST GOD

Journal Entry by Sara Gebran

S – Scripture: PSALMS 111:7-8 (NLT)
“All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.”


O - Observation
This verse reminds me that everything the Lord does is just and good, no matter what the situation or circumstance, he is VERY trustworthy and would never disappoint regardless!!


A - Application
When I find myself questioning Gods plans and actions regarding things or circumstances I need to remind myself that he is Just and good! And he can be trusted, he is forever faithful and true!! I have no reason to doubt him. Even when I find myself doubting or questioning I should not feel as though I have failed, but go back to what is true  and redirect my thoughts to the word. I need to faithfully obey him with integrity and  humility, after all he paid the ultimate price for me by giving up his life so that I can have life in him.


P - Prayer
Dear heavenly father I thank you for giving your up life for me so that I might live, help me to obey your commandments faithfully and  with integrity, remind me Lord that when I am weak you are my strength and without you I can do nothing!! Help me to hear your voice and follow you I pray in your name. Amen.

JESUS IS FOR ALL

Journal Entry by Ethan Mortomore

S – Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:15 - ESV
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”


O - Observation
Paul, In his writing to Timothy in chapter 1, seeks to encourage him to stay on the path Paul has set him on, warning him against false teaching and teachers; as Timothy helps the church in Ephesus. Paul then goes on to write that Jesus came to save sinners, who He is the worst of all (“Public Proof Number One as the message translation puts it). He never shies away from his past, but rather uses it to glorify Christ and how Jesus is using him in spreading the gospel. Christ came for Sinners is trustworthy and of full acceptance, for Christ came to save and transform all.


A - Application
Our response, as would have been Timothy’s, is to be encouraged by Paul’s words, and challenged to go after those who do not yet know Christ as their Saviour. We may not have the false teachings today that the first century church faced in regards to the gospel, however we live in a time where anything and everything seeks to grab our attention and sway our beliefs. Christ did not come to simply make our lives comfortable, but He died so that all may live eternally. Our commission as the Church is to spread the Gospel and Jesus’ love and sacrifice for all; regardless of who they are, or our past.


P - Prayer
Jesus we thank you for pursuing us, and showing us mercy, when we did nothing to deserve it. May we ever be about your business and spreading the good news of the Gospel to all; to be the church in and outside of a Sunday. May we not let our past hold us back from the future you have called us too. We thank you, and we love you. Amen

MY HERO

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – Scripture: Psalm 109:21-22 (TPT)
But now, O Yahweh-God, make yourself real to me like you promised me you would.  Because of your constant love and your heart-melting kindness, come be my hero and deliver me! I’m so broken, needy and hurting. My heart is pierced through and I’m so wounded. I’m slipping down a dark slope, shaken to the core, and helpless.


O - Observation
I don’t think David can get much more real and relevant to us today.  We all go through these times to different degrees and it affects us all so differently.  Some of us hide our emotions away and others are the exact opposite wearing their brokenness out in the open.


A - Application
We develop coping mechanisms to deal with these things some of them are great and some not so good. I know I just tend to go quiet and try and find God’s peace in it all, but sometimes it’s not so easy and doesn’t happen right away.   I love the way David finished the psalm “For you stand right next to the broken ones as their saving hero to rescue them from all their accusers!”


P - Prayer
I pray for all those right now who are feeling like David did right here, dealing with some really tough times in their lives.  I pray that they would find the peace of God as they hand their circumstances to you and find that you are standing right next to them and you are their saving hero there to rescue them.

HOW TO STILL LIFE'S STORMS

Journal Entry by John and Jann Rice

S – Scripture: Psalm 107:25-32 (TPT)
When God spoke he stirred up a storm, lifting high the waves with hurricane winds. Ships were tossed by swelling sea, rising to the sky, then dropping down to the depths reeling like a drunkards, spinning like tops, everyone at their wits end until every sailor despaired of life cringing in terror, Then we cried out, "Lord help us rescue us " and He did, God stilled the storm, calmed the waters & hushed the hurricane winds to only a whisper, we were so relieved so glad as he guided us safely to harbour in a quite haven. So lift your hands & give thanks to God for His marvellous kindness & for His miracles of mercy for those He loves, let us exalt Him on high & lift up our praise in public, let all the people & leaders of nations know how great & wonderful is Yahweh our God.


O - Observation
This passage gives us a graphic description of life's storms & the perils we encounter, as we are impacted by these situations we cry out to the Lord who stills the storm & guides us to a safe haven. With thankful hearts & raised hands give thanks & praise for His miracles of mercy how wonderful is Yahweh our God.


A - Application
Life's journey has many storms to confront, overcome, & avoid, but in it all we can call out to our God who loves us & showers His miracles of mercy on His children to bring us to a place of safety. This brings a response of thankfulness & praise to declare how great & wonderful is our God "Yahweh"


P - Prayer
Dear heavenly Father I thank you that my path is known to you , so it is with confidence that I trust you to carry me through the storms of life, I give you thanks & praise for your great love , mercy & deliverance each step I take , one day at a time. Amen

HILARIOUS GIVING

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:7 (TPT)
Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving – all because God loves hilarious generosity.


O - Observation
Other versions talk about a cheerful giver or giving cheerfully. The Message Bible says” God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.”


A - Application
I have walked through a number of life’s circumstances – when I have had enough, when I have struggled to pay bills and put food on the table, having to sell a car and use my feet and public transport for two years and then something like the GFC (global financial crisis) happens when you think your finally through some of these things.   My experience is that God is faithful through it all. I get a kick out of giving financially whether it be to the church in my tithes or in other areas and of course my service to others endeavoring to be the hands of Jesus to others (not always succeeding). I am so thankful that God first- gave, he gave his grace, his Son, his love.


P - Prayer
I love you Lord, thank you for all you have done for me and my family. Thank you for all that you are. Thank you for your generosity in giving your son as a ransom for me. Let my giving spring up simply from the joy of giving.

CLEAR MINDS AND CLEAR PURPOSE

Journal Entry by Jared Lawson

S – Scripture: Job 42:2 (ESV)
I know you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.


O - Observation
When considering what Job has just been through it is hard to fathom how these words came out of his mouth. He had lost everything in a day, had his friends come and give him ill advice and even his own wife said to him “curse God and die (Job 2:9).” Yet, he received a visit from God and everything became clear. Even in his chaos and confusion he was still able to udder that God is all powerful and his purposes will always win through.


A - Application
When I think about how to apply this verse I find it hard not to think about our current political climate. It is easy to spread your opinion and be angry when we see what’s happening, ‘a change of PM again, seriously?!’. It may be tempting to feel fearful when we see the state of our world with disaster after disaster but I know my God can do all things and his good purposes can not be thwarted. This needs to be my mind’s resting place. 
 


P - Prayer
Heavenly Father, I thank you that you are the good God and your purposes are good. You can not be thwarted and there is nothing you can not to do. Help that thought to be my mind’s default setting, when it starts to waver draw my mind to trust in your unfailing love. Thank you that you turn all things for God. I love you and trust you. In Jesus name, Amen.

LOVE AND KINDNESS

Journal Entry by Jenni James

S - Scripture 1 Corinthians 16:13 &14 The Passion Translation
Remember to stay alert and hold firmly to all that you believe. Be mighty and full of courage. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do.


O - Observation
Sometimes I wish it were easier being a Christian. I wish that all my family and friends both understood and agreed with my beliefs, I wish that society as a whole would be in love with Jesus, that they would understand who He is and what He stands for. Why? Because Jesus is amazing! He is life changing! Because nothing is ever the same once you know Him. While many of my family and friends know Jesus and are amazing role models and a source of inspiration to me, there are some who don’t know him (yet!!). There are some who even attack Jesus and Christianity particularly on social media, and I feel it deeply. Somehow an attack on Jesus feels like an attack on me, and it is easy to get my back up and want to have a ‘strong word’ back. Thank God for the Word and the guidance it gives me. Paul tells us to hold firmly to what we believe, to be mighty and courageous, no matter what others think or say. He follows that up with something amazing, let love and kindness be the motivation behind everything we do! So even if we feel under attack for what we believe, our response is to be love and kindness.


A - Application
In this day and age trolling on social media (attacking others in order to inflame a situation or cause discord) is extreme! So what do we do when we are criticized for our thoughts or beliefs, our love for Jesus? Paul tells us the exact answer, stand firm, hold onto all that we believe, and to respond with love and kindness. Attacking back never shows the love of Jesus. In love and kindness we can talk to others of our beliefs and in love and kindness we can respond to insults that come our way.


P - Prayer
Father God, I love you, I desire you more and more. Help me to be strong when I feel criticized for my beliefs. Let me show others around me your love and your kindness, guide my words, action and even my thoughts. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, give me great courage. In the name of Jesus Christ MY Lord. Amen
 

BENEFIT OF OTHERS

Journal Entry by Warren Mortomore

S - Scripture 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)“A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church”


O - Observation
The previous verses tell us there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. Each of us at salvation have been given a spiritual gift – a gift that God gives us for the benefit of others


A - ApplicationI do not compare what I have with someone else. I just use who has made me to be along with the gifting’s and talents he has placed in my life, first to glorify Jesus, and secondly for the benefit of helping the entire church.
They have not been given to praise me, look how good I am but to help others.
That also tells me that I need to be planted in his house, his church so that I am benefiting others. We all need to give away what God has placed within us.


P - Prayer
Lord, thank you for the gifts You have placed within me. Help me not to keep them to myself but to use what you have given me to benefit and help others. In doing so I will flourish and bear fruit – and in bearing fruit – glorify my Father in Heaven. 

WHEN LIFE GETS TOO MUCH

Journal Entry by Gary and Christine Skinner

S - Scripture Psalm 94:19 (The Passion Translation)
“Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of Your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.”


O - Observation
Sometimes the busyness of life overloads our earthly minds and we allow thoughts, ideas, facts and figures to chase themselves in circles inside our heads. THERE’S NO GOOD END RESULT!  The swirl of events, and noise of self-chatter is overwhelming.


A - Application
BUT Jesus promised us peace, and in the quiet of God’s presence He can calm the raging storms. 
God is like a circuit breaker. He can flip the switch and cut the power to the surging, raging thoughts that swirl around our minds. He can pour in peace.  We need to give Him permission to do so.


P - Prayer
God, we call out to You in the midst of our busyness and ask You to calm and take control of those thoughts that would drown us.

STIRRING

Journal Entry by Esther Lawson

S - Scripture  Ezra 1:1 (NLT)
‬‬In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom


O - Observation
The book of Ezra begins in this way. This seems like a fairly ordinary verse but the phrase ‘He (God) stirred the heart of Cyrus’ caught my attention. As I read, I saw the phrase repeated in Ezra 1:5 ‘Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord’. The proclamation mentioned in verse 1 released the Jews to go and rebuild the Temple. In chapter 2, there is a list of those who returned after being given considerable gifts of silver, gold and livestock by those remaining behind including the King


A - Application
Without going to deep into the history, the long and short of it is this: good things happen when we listen to the God-stirrings within our hearts. When we act on what He has told us, promised us, whispered to us and stirred within us we become agents of change. Easier said than done sometimes. Knowing what God is saying to us requires that we be close to Him, to know Him. In Psalm 27:8 we find this verse ‘My heart has heard you say “Come and talk with me.” My heart responds, “Lord, I am coming”.’ I love this verse. It’s a reminder of a simple, wooing and uncomplicated faith.


P - Prayer
God, thank you that you always want to speak to us. Help us to respond like the psalmist ‘Lord I am coming’ so that we can hear your voice. Attune our hearts to your voice and help us to be obedient to the stirring of our hearts for your purpose and glory. Amen. 
 

STAYING GRAFTED IN

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S - Scripture   Romans 11:23-24 (The Message)
‬‬
Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God—ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there.


O - Observation
I am so thankful that I am planted at HopePoint where I see firsthand the grace of God working through not only our leadership but through so many in our congregation in so many ways. I think that over the years there have been periods in my life where I have felt like deadwood. But the fellowship and encouragement that I get from our church family at HopePoint has meant life to me. I love it that later in this chapter it says that God can do miracle grafts and put us back in. There is hope for all.


A - Application
It’s our choice I guess whether we are in the river of life that flows out of the grace of God and no matter our circumstances focus on Him and stay attached to Him so that the Grace and Love of God not only flows into us but flows out from our lives. I thank God that ‘Gods gifts and God’s call are under full warranty---never cancelled, never rescinded (Rom 11:29)


P - Prayer
Help me no matter my circumstances to stay in fellowship and allow the Holy Spirit to work in me drawing me closer and closer to you, and allow your grace and love to flow from my heart to those around me. I don’t want to be deadwood that is of no value and is pruned off the tree.

BONSAI CITY

Journal Entry by Liz Davila

S - Scripture   Psalms 1: 1-2  NLT
‬‬
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating in it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”


O - Observation
What does it mean to delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate in it day and night?  How do I do this?  How do I recognise the advice of the wicked, and not stand with sinners, or join in with mockers?


A - Application
I love observing nature and especially huge trees. Have you ever been at the foot of a tree so tall you can’t see the top from the base of the trunk looking up because it’s so tall? One of my most incredible memories is being surrounded by such trees in Sequoia national park, it was like I was in Jurassic park and had stepped back in time. Even without speaking they point us heavenward. As in this scripture, I want to be like a tree that is deep rooted by a river bank alongside other trees in a forest of fruitful trees and lush vegetation. As opposed to a shrub or chaff blown in the wind in a dry, desert plain. Did you know if we are planted in a forest of big deep rooted fruit trees together we can nourish and help the soil of other shallower younger species and help with reproduction of a lush forest and be more fruitful and strong together against wind and storms as our deep roots intertwine? 
Pastor Paul De Jong, challenged us last last week at Hillsong conference to not be a part of a Bonsai city church, where we can find lots of other bonsai trees, Chinese elms, in little beautiful pots, just half a metre high, as opposed to their 10-15metre potential if planted directly in the earth and given space and time to grow.  Bonsai Christians are like these small trees, similar to each other, beautiful, but shallow, high maintenance, and not reaching their full potential height due to potting. Shallow because they are not planted anywhere for long. And he really challenged us to stick out living in community and being planted and being part of a diverse garden or forest, the local community that God puts you in, so you can grow. He also pointed out how trees and vegetation are more productive when there is diversity and not just in a monocultural field. There can be 80% more production in such fields, he said, and that we needed the polyculture of other species to grow and be more fruitful. We need each other’s differences and nuances in our church family. We cannot grow if we only serve those who are easy to love and we get along with, and are the same as us. Matthew 5:46-48. 


P - Prayer
Lord, I praise and thank you for diversity in our church family, and pray you teach us how to love each other and serve one another with your grace and unconditional love so that we may grow and be more fruitful and productive for your glory and for the expansion of your kingdom here on earth. Help me to remember, I need those who you put in my life, to be planted in my forest, and grow in your garden, so we may all learn how to love as you love, and have deep roots that are united to stand together against the storms of life and protect and nourish our young ones in our church family. Thank you Jesus for your grace and mercy. Thank you that you are the vine and you abide in us, to guide and lead us each day in the decisions we make to love and serve, to make each day a living worship song, as we abide in you that we may bear much fruit together, and glorify you. 

LET'S GET MESSY

Journal Entry by Katrina Bossard

S - Scripture   Proverbs‬ ‭14:4‬ ‭TPT
‬‬
“The only clean stable is an empty stable. So if you want the work of an ox and to enjoy an abundant harvest, you’ll have a mess or two to clean up!”


O - Observation
I love my house being clean and organised, But I also love having people over and entertaining! The two don’t go hand in hand. I've come to realise that I clean up before people arrive, but then have to expect it to get messy after a great time! The same goes for this verse. As a church, we need to expect that being the hands and feet of Jesus means getting messy! We have to expect that practically after our church has had a building full of people from the community (Playtime 3 x a week, The Project, The Healing Service, Youth, Pins & Needles etc), that the toilets or carpet may not be spotless. It means that we need to be flexible, available and ready to be generous with our love, time, patience and encouragement and grace. Why? Because life and relationships are messy sometimes.


A - Application
Its great to have this in the back of our minds that as our church grows, so will the amount of situations we may have to deal with and crisis we may have to navigate with one another. Its life. We were never promised an easy road, But rather equipped to deal with it should we trust in Jesus. Lets extend grace to one another and expect things to get messy! But also lets allow Jesus to turn the mess into something beautiful.


P - Prayer
Jesus, I thank you that you will help us navigate the mess with one another, that you are the ultimate example of grace and patience. I ask that you check our hearts and start preparing us for more people to join our church family.  

LIVE IN HUMILITY

Journal Entry by Cristian Tobar

S - Scripture  Proverbs 16:18-20 (NLT)
'Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud. Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.'


O - Observation
As we know there is nothing wrong with pride in respects of the word. For example, we can take pride in our work or take pride in the accomplishments of a loved one. In this passage, pride has a negative meaning. It’s seen as a boastfulness of one’s self importance. An unhealthy boasting of one’s self. It can bring about an arrogance or as this passage describes it, “Haughtiness”, a sense of superiority above everyone else. It becomes apparent that there is no need or there no room for God. They become independent and believe that they can go on in life without God. Eventually that kind of living the Bible warns ends in disaster which is described as destruction or fall. 


A - ApplicationThe encouragement for us is to live in humility. Keeping our hearts always with the need for God in everything we do. Not sharing in the plunder (things that are not rightfully ours) as with the proud. For if we remain teachable and place our trust in the Lord. We are bound to live blessed and joyful lives (v20).


P - Prayer
Father, I pray that we would live our lives in humility, trusting in you alone. May we focus on you in your instructions, that you may teach us so that we can live blessed and joyfully. May we be mindful not to allow pride and arrogance to come and take us away from walking with you in our daily lives.

YOU HAD ME AT STEAK!

Journal Entry by Sam Jones

S - Scripture  Proverbs‬ ‭15:17‬ ‭NLT
“A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.” 


O - Observation
Last year I bought a smoker to cook Christmas lunch in - it was delicious! The meat was tender and juicy and the flavour was divine. Yes, it took me 14 hours to cook, but it was worth it!
It’s easy to allocate 14 hours of my time to cook for the ones I love, but would I do it for my enemies?  Why then do I (we) spend so much time ‘polishing’ ourselves for the outside world, always doing our utmost to make sure that we are dressed well and looking our best “just in case” we see someone while we’re out.  I know I’m happier just being me, surrounded by the ones I love (and wearing trackies). 


A - Application
Eat steak with the ones you love!  Surround yourself with people that build you up and invest in you, your life and your wellbeing. 
All to often I try to be a people pleaser, putting others (friends and foes) above my own needs. Go the extra mile (or 14 hour cook) for those that mean the most to you.  Just remember, Sam, that you’ll never please everyone, no matter how much you put in. 


P - Prayer
Lord, help me to put you at the top of my list as a God pleaser.  Keep my friends and family close, but also give me the wisdom to spot foes before they sit at my table.  And let my steaks be juicy and tender. Amen.

FORGIVENESS FOR EVERYONE

Journal Entry by Judy Mortomore

S - Scripture  Luke 24: 47-48 (NLT)
‘With My authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: that ‘there is forgiveness of sins’ ‘for all who turn to Me’, you are witnesses of all these things.’ 

O - Observation
Jesus gave us His authority to take the message of who he is and what he has done to all nations.  The message is simple – ‘there is forgiveness of sins’ – available ‘to and for everyone’  who come to Him, who turn from the way they are going to follow Jesus Christ.

A - Application
We cannot keep the message of Jesus’s death and resurrection to ourselves.  As I witness to what He has done in my life – what He has saved me from/forgiven me of/freed me from – why would I not want that for other people?  ‘forgiveness is available to everyone’ no matter what they have done, no matter who they are – so grateful! 

P - Prayer
Thank you for the people you have put in my world, for me to love, serve and show them who you are.  Help me to keep your message simple, that you died and rose again for them and that you freely love everyone. 

BE STRONG

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – 1 Kings 2:1-4 (The Message)
When David’s time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying, “I’m about to go the way of all the earth, but you—be strong; show what you’re made of!   Do what GOD tells you.  Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go.  Then GOD will confirm what he promised me when he said, ‘If your sons watch their step, staying true to me heart and soul, you’ll always have a successor on Israel’s throne. 


O – Observation
These are the instructions to Solomon from his father King David at the end of his life.   I think David knew only too well the burdens of leadership and knew that Solomon needed to be strong and courageous; but so much of that and his future depended on his relationship with God.


A – Application  
Ever felt weak and in a position where you don’t know if you can go on and feel all done in.   This for me is when I have been relying on me and let my relationship with Jesus take second place.   It’s through my relationship with Him that I know I can face the next hour, today, and tomorrow.   I love it that David instructs his son to be strong and reminds him of the importance of a close relationship with God and that is so readily available to us through Jesus and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. 


P – Prayer
Thank you for the reminder today of the importance of getting to know you and that I need to intentionally and with purpose be developing a personal relationship with you all the time; to have the courage and strength that I need to meet the many challenges in my life and to know and follow the path you have set out for me. 

Journal Entry: Geoff Allen

WORRIED?

Journal Entry by Beck Schofield

S – Luke 12:22-25 (NLT)
“ Jesus said, ‘That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.   For life is more than food and your body is more than clothing... can all your worries add a single moment to your life?   And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?’ "

O – Observation
The act of worrying can feel like a natural response at times!  Worrying over health, children, future relationships, broken families, the environment ... also worrying about worrying too much!   The etymology of the word ‘worry’ is derived from the Old English and Germanic meaning ‘to strangle’ ... and this is precisely what worrying can do - it strangles, chokes and robs us of peace, time, energy and purpose.   It is consuming, toxic and at times can be contagious ... yet these verses implore us to do the opposite.

A – Application  
Worry can often be my first response!   Ultimately, though, my worry and even anxiety comes down to a lack of trust and belief that God cares and knows extensively about every detail of my life.   It is also a sin and can affect the way I witness Jesus to others.   It weakens my faith as I am not trusting that God knows best; in the places and situations I find myself in.   Honestly, I am so encouraged at the thought that God is not as worried or even obsessed about the things that can consume me!   The part of the verse that really resonates with me though - ‘can all your worries add a single moment to your life?’   How many moments of peace, life, encounters with Jesus and people who need him am I missing because of how much I am consumed with this?   Am I willing to change my first response to one that shows trust in God and his sovereignty?’ 
 

P – Prayer
What a relief, Jesus, that you are not weighed down about the things that worry or plague me!   No matter the concern or circumstance, your ear is open to hear the things that trouble me.   I pray that I can approach you with honesty and openness, replacing the worry with thanksgiving for the things you are doing in my life and completely trust that all other things are in your hands.   Please help me confront the areas of my life that I struggle and worry about and remind me that when I feel it creeping in, let me turn to you FIRST.   Help me to be in the moment and not to miss where you have placed me.   We love you, Lord.

STOP AND CONSIDER HIM

Journal Entry by Sarah Watling

S – John 21:25 (TPT)
“Jesus did countless things that I haven’t included here.  And if every one of His works were written down and described one by one, I suppose that the world itself wouldn’t have enough room to contain the books that would have to be written!”

O – Observation
This verse is the final verse of all the four gospels.  Four books that told countless stories of Jesus’ Miracles while He was on earth. 

A – Application  
This verse stopped me in my tracks today.  We are so amazed and in wonder as we read of all Jesus did while on earth, but what a thought that there are so many other instances of His goodness, miracles and people that He extravagantly loved on that we have no idea about! So many in fact that  ‘the world itself wouldn’t have enough room to contain the books that would have to be written!’
Wow. How long has it been since I’ve sat and just considered the wonder and bigness of who Jesus is? Have I really thought about how great He is? I read a devotional called ‘Jesus Calling’ and this quote made me think of this verse.  As we sit and consider Jesus He says,  ‘as my presence envelops you, you may feel overwhelmed by my Power and Glory. This is a form of worship: sensingyour smallness in comparison to My greatness.’ 

P – Prayer
Jesus thank you for all you did while you were here on earth and thank you that you still are here for us and working today.  Forgive me for ever taking you for granted and not considering you.  For thinking I can do it on my own.  You are a great, great God and there is no one in the heavens or earth like you.