Ssssssssh!

Journal Entry by Trina Bossard

S – Psalm 4:4-5 (Message)
Complain if you must, but don’t lash out. Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking. Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.

O – Observation
This is something that I need reminding of every now and then. I hate injustice…which means in turn I also love justice and right principals. Quite often when correcting something I see that doesn’t seem “Fair” I’m quick to open my mouth and say something…express my “opinion”. This isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, God wants us to have a voice and an intelligent say on certain things.

A – Application
When it could tear something down, discourage or cause conflict I need to do as it says here….keep my mouth shut and wait to hear God's verdict on the situation.  I can’t let anger, frustration or disappointment control me and be the first response. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) which is why the verse is so important.When it could tear something down, discourage or cause conflict I need to do as it says here….keep my mouth shut and wait to hear God's verdict on the situation.  I can’t let anger, frustration or disappointment control me and be the first response. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) which is why the verse is so important.


P – Prayer
God, I thank you that you’re in the business of refining and building character. I ask today that as I wait on your verdict for certain things, you will reveal them in the right time and right manner. I thank you for your correction!

WILDERNESS JOURNEYS

Journal Entry by Brenda Jones

S –   Exodus 8:27 (NKJV)
"We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He will command us.”

O – Observation
Here as Moses petitioned Pharaoh for a fifth time to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt to go in the wilderness to worship God as instructed, I was struck that the original request of Pharaoh was only for 3 days.  I’m guessing I had not noticed this before when reading these chapters, knowing the ending that the Israelites were going to be set free from Egypt at the end of this petitioning process.

But did God always say it was going to be a 3 day journey?  In Exodus 3:18 , God directed Moses to ask for a 3 day journey, but that Pharaoh would also say no, and that when the Israelites do leave, it will not be empty handed (Exodus 3:21).  Then as God spoke with Moses and Aaron in Exodus 7:1-5 of today’s reading, He clearly indicates that He is about to do something bigger than they anticipated.

A – Application
We all go through wilderness journeys at some point in our lives, and as I find myself in wilderness moments, the endurance required to persevere when things are not happening in my expected timing has been greater than I can sustain.  In this place I have found myself frustrated and hurt by feelings of abandonment from God, and question if He really is here for me.  Surely I can’t be the only one who has ever felt like this, and appreciate that I am reassured as I read God’s word that as the Israelites fled Egypt and forgot about His powerful hand which had helped them escape, that I am not the only one in history to have done this.

What a reminder this verse is, that just as Moses petitioned Pharaoh knowing full well he was requesting to go on a wilderness journey, that over the years I too have petitioned God to bring about change in me, which I was acutely aware could be a difficult process.  So why then in the middle of the wilderness journey do I feel abandoned knowing full well that the sanctification process I sought, was going to lead me to this place?  Maybe have I, like Moses, seen only the instruction God gave me, and failed to recognise that the journey was going to be so much more.

So what can I learn from this?  God's instruction was to go into the wilderness for 3 days to worship Him.  But as He freed the Israelites and they escaped into the wilderness, He fulfilled His promise to not leave them empty handed, and He continued to provide along the way.  But it was their lack of faith and disobedience that saw them flounder in the wilderness and have to await receipt of the promised land some 40 years later.  It is only by keeping my eyes on Jesus, and not doubting that His promises are true that I can see the bigger picture and all that lies ahead, even when surrounded only by the wilderness.


P – Prayer
Dear Lord, Your word truly is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  In my times of unbelief, thank You that You have all I need ready to remind me that You have not forsaken me.  Thank You that You understand just who I am and how I tick.  That You can provide a Word and it taps into my mind that seeks to understand, and it is in that place that the pieces fall into place and You give me a glimpse of the big picture, and the very reminder I need to restore my faith in You.  Lord, I ask that You strengthen me through Your Spirit, that I will not do as the Israelites did and fall into a perpetual place of losing sight of You and all You have promised me.

HIS LOVE

Journal Entry by Grant Schofield

S –  Psalm 18:19 (TPT)
His love broke open the way and brought me into a beautiful broad place. He rescued me – because his delight is in me!

O – Observation
I find it so interesting of how this scripture starts, “HIS LOVE”. That through all that we struggle through, in the pains and hurts of bad reports, through the disappointments and even the unexpected shock of loss, it’s HIS LOVE that will break open the way for us to find a beautiful place of rest, peace, hope and comfort instead of being hemmed in by the things of the enemy. When it feels like we have no room to move because of the pressures, HIS LOVE will bring us into an ample room, where we can be free.   

A – Application
As people we can find ourselves staring at the issues and trails of life. It’s like the hardship of life is a box sitting on a table, and all we do is stare at it. We don’t let our eyes move away from that box. What this does unfortunately is it stops us from enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. We have to let the Love of God enter into our space of despair to break us out of our fixated mindset and see that He has rescued us because He loves us and is so for us.

P – Prayer
Lord, I ask that you will help me to not fixate on issues that come my way. I ask that you would help me see the beauty surrounding me, because of the love You have for me. I pray that I would walk in freedom with my head lifted knowing you have rescued me even when I can’t see it.

THE VALUE OF HIS WORD

Journal Entry by Tony Gebran

S – PSALMS 119:68-72 (NLT)
“You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees. Arrogant people smear me with lies, but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart. Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your instructions. My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver”.

O – Observation
I can rest knowing that I serve a good and faithful God. That as I draw nearer to him he will teach me his way’s and will lead me through the challenges we face each and every day.
We can take delight in his instruction’s and may even suffer for him but we can be assured that God has all things under his control. Scripture tells us that it will produce in us the things that are everlasting (righteous harvest) the more we find ourselves facing life’s situations (sufferings) the closer we run and draw near to our father, paying attention to what he has to say to us through his word. We find that his instructions become more important and valuable than the things we surround ourselves with.

A – Application
May I take delight in your instruction and apply them to my daily life! I need to allow your word to lead and mould my life in so many areas. I face challenges and decisions that need your wisdom and understanding applied to when making these decisions both at home and work. 


P – Prayer
Lord I ask that you continue to lead me as I lead others, I need your guidance in the situations I face and your wisdom to be able to understand how to deal with them. I thank you that your word to me is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

TREASURE

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – Proverbs 2:1 (NLT)
My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.

O – Observation
The proverb goes on to say tune your ears, concentrate on understanding, cry out for insight, ask for understanding, search for them as you would for silver and seek them like hidden treasures. You will gain knowledge of God, wisdom, the treasure of common sense to be honest.  There is a desperation, a yearning, a longing for the understanding and knowledge of God.

A – Application
Sometimes I must admit that I do my bible readings out of habit, a good habit but for me I need to delve into it and put my heart and mind to work and look for what God is saying to me. I know when I strike something that speaks to me, I journal and start to research, it's like wow - and it opens up a whole new realm of understanding and closeness to my Lord. So often it speaks into my everyday life.

P – Prayer
Lord help me to be in the right place when I read your word and allow you to speak into my life. Help me always to be teachable and receptive to what you have to say.

FOUNDATIONS

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – Matthew 7:24-25 (MSG)
These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, home owner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

O – Observation
I have been looking at the homestead on our church property lately, which is a heritage listed building, together with its other smaller buildings.  We have had a structural engineer out to advise us of the cracking in walls and the gaps in the brickwork that are getting bigger and talking to others who are looking at restoration works.  Its all about the foundations.  They didn’t go down and sink piers to the bedrock, they were just built on a few brick footings on the top of the clay.  

A – Application
I have found it the same in my life, I have been hit by many storms, gone through dry times, and have been hit pretty hard.   Did you ever think of giving up?  I thank God that my faith is grounded in the Living God, that I know my Saviour and he knows me.  I can face the trials of this life, that are sure to come for all of us. I have gone down to bedrock and built solid foundations in my faith or as some put it I have put down an anchor and am secure. It doesn’t mean I don’t struggle and wrestle with things, but I know where my help comes from.   How about you, where is your foundation, is it strong and deep?

P – Prayer
Lord I not only pray for myself but for each person reading this that you would touch our hearts and help us continually build the foundation of our faith in Jesus so that we can stand strong in the face of whatever has come against us, may come, or will come.  I pray that your love would abound in each and every one of us. 

BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU WALK, STAND & SIT!

Journal Entry by Warren Mortomore

S – Psalm 1: 1-3 (NIV)
The Psalmist is not telling us not to associate with sinners, but rather not to conduct our lives as they do, and not to allow cynicism or mocking to be a part of our speech. Rather we are to delight in God’s word, speak his word to ourselves, situations, and be planted in Him and in His house where we will grow and thrive, we will flourish.

O – Observation
I have to surround myself with those who will speak life into my life. Jesus has put us in the world to reach people but not to be of the world – us influencing the world not the world influencing us. As we start this new year, where am I to walk, stand & sit and where am I not to, so that I will know His blessing on my life, blessing that I can in turn bless others.

A – Application
God promotes us or puts us in a place for a reason and we need the courage and wisdom to see that reason and to walk in it. (David Guzik). In Revelations 3:20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” The key to opening the door is to first hear his voice the rest will follow.

P – Prayer
Lord Jesus, help us at the beginning of this year to listen to you, to follow you so that our lives will be a blessing to others, from the fruit that you are producing in and through us.  

 

LET MY PRAISE ROAR!

Journal Entry by Sam Jones

S – Psalm‬ ‭148:7-12‬ ‭(NIV)‬‬
“Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.”

O – Observation
I remember as a kid being scared of thunder and lightning (as I think most kids are), but not as I grew older. These verses put it into perspective for me - lightning (and the accompanying thunder) are nature's way of bringing roaring praise. It’s praise that can’t be missed, seen and heard from kilometres around!

A – Application
When I stand and praise Him in both the good situations and the not-so-good situations, do I lift my praise above everything else going on around me. I would like to think so, but know that sometimes I “contain” my praise for Him - sometimes wondering if He even hears my voice - although I know He does! Even on days when I feel empty, I know that the praise I bring sounds like roaring thunder, especially in the face of the enemy!

P – Prayer
“Father God, let the praise I bring come from a heart that is after your own heart. Through the good and the bad times, let me lift my voice to You for all you have done. Amen.”

A DIFFERENT KIND OF PEACE

Journal Entry by Bec Tobar

S – John 14:27(TPT)
Jesus said, “I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!

O – Observation
A person’s parting words or gifts are treasured. They are remembered and valued by the people that loved them. 
On my staircase this Christmas hangs a beautiful double bow that my friend Naomi made several years ago when she visited HopePoint. 
I remember the night she made it. We had been decorating the church for Christmas, and she was determined to make sure the bow was perfect. 
That bow didn’t match any other decoration I had in my house this year, and it probably isn’t even my personal style, but it is more meaningful to me that I can articulate. Every time I climb the stairs, I look at that bow and remember our friendship. But more than that, I remember her words of encouragement to me. They continue to be a gift to my heart.

When Jesus addressed his disciples, he said he was giving them a gift. His gift wasn’t ornamental or temporary or even seasonal.
His gift was everlasting, life-transforming and life-giving.
Unwrap his gift this Christmas, the gift of peace.
Not just any kind of peace, His very own peace. 
A peace that brings wholeness, harmony and a flourishing to our lives.

One thing that has echoed so loudly in my mind this Christmas is that the Peace Jesus wore in His life on earth, He left as a legacy for his people.
He wore that peace as he was growing up. He wore it when he was; misunderstood, on trial, tempted, helping people, betrayed and even on the cross.
It wasn’t a fragile peace.
It weathered the toughest of times and the most complex of situations.

A – Application
His peace is my inheritance as a follower of Jesus,
Let’s pause. 
Remind ourselves again, that He offers us his peace afresh today.
Unwrap this gift and follow his instructions, “don’t give in to fear, but be courageous”.

P – Prayer
Father, thank you that you sent Jesus. That His life gave us the gift of peace with you and the ability to walk in peace throughout our lives. Not an ordinary kind of peace, but a peace that goes beyond our understanding or comprehension. May we be a group of people that are marked with your peace and joy this Christmas, and always.

 

STAND UP

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S – Esther 4:14 (NLT)
14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

O – Observation
Mordecai reminded Esther that though the fate of God’s people rested in God and not in her, her own fate depended on her own faithfulness to God. Esther needed the courage and wisdom to see that she was made Queen for just such a time as this.

A – Application
God promotes us or puts us in a place for a reason and we need the courage and wisdom to see that reason and to walk in it. (David Guzik). In Revelations 3:20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” The key to opening the door is to first hear his voice the rest will follow.

P – Prayer
Lord help me hear your voice calling and give me the courage and wisdom to be your person right where I am.