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. 
 

IN HIS IMAGE

Journal Entry by Ethan Mortomore

S – Gen 1:27 (ESV)
So God created man in his own image,  in the image of God he created him;  male and female he created them.

O – Observation
The very beginning of the Bible begins with Creation.  God created everything, light from darkness, filling the galaxy and forming the earth in every detail.  And on the 6th day God created humans - Us.  Notably humanity is created differently to the rest of creation - God make us in HIS Image.  All other creation reflects the creator, but only we are formed in His perfect image.  At the beginning of creation we were made in His image, but then sin came to destroy the image of God within us.  At times we still feel stuck within sin, the flaw of humanity.

A – Application  
This idea has always been hard for me to grasp. How can i be made in the perfect image of God when i am stuck in my sin and humanity? Yet even in my flaws i am created to reflect God here on earth, to live fully and praise Him through every action i do.  I can only do that through faith and salvation in Jesus Christ and my continual, daily surrender to Him.  He has not called me to live a life without purpose or stuck in my sin.  He has given us a purpose, given us a way to serve Him and praise Him (verse 26).  He wants me to live out the life and path he has planned for me, from the very beginning of my days; in His Image for His glory.

P – Prayer
God help me to remember that before i even knew You, and before i knew that i needed You, You had formed me in Your perfect image; to reflect You.  May i not get caught up in my own faults and flaws that i forget my creator, and that everything i do is to reflect You and give You praise.  May I ever reflect You, and Your Son, that others may be drawn to you.   Amen.

I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE

Journal Entry by Wal Bennett

S – John 6:67-68 (NIV)
You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

O – Observation
Jesus had just been teaching in the synagogue. He had said that he was the bread of life. He had told the people that they needed to eat of this bread AND the religious folk weren't happy. His teaching brought challenge, conflict and often controversy. 

Believing and committing to Christ, for those whom he has called, has always been a challenge. As a follower and a disciple it seems you will often be in conflict with the status quo.

A – Application  
As a Christ follower, I am called to be different. As a disciple of Jesus, in the face of life’s challenges, I choose to: believe His word, accept His word and I agree to live by His word.

Easy? NEVER!
Fun? MOSTLY
A challenge? EVERY DAY
Worth it? ABSOLUTELY

P – Prayer
Trusting in you for strength Lord, I commit here and now to continue to stay the course, even when challenge presents itself. Keep me by your grace so that when I eventually stand before you I hear a well done good and faithful ......     Amen (let it be).

HIS GOOD NAME 

Journal Entry by Sara Gebran

S – Psalms 52:9 (NLT)
“I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done.  I will trust in your Good Name in the presence of your faithful people.”


O – Observation
As I was reading this passage of scripture I found myself stopping and rereading it over and over again,  why is it that in the presence of his faithful people that I need to trust in his good name?   Is it because I can be easily be distracted by what is going on in my life and the lives of people around me that I forget to trust in his good name? or is it to keep me reminded on who I should be trusting in? or is it to encourage myself and other brothers and sisters because he has done it all by dying on the cross to save us?  So what do I have to fear?


A – Application  
The Lord has done great things for me, he sacrificed his life for me, there is nothing more he can do, because He is Good I will praise him forever and be thankful, I need to remind myself that he is the only one that can be trusted for his word is true!! I need to encourage others around me about His Good Name.  
 

P – Prayer
Lord Jesus thank you for all you have done! I will praise you forever, help me to trust in you and your word daily when my heart is overwhelmed, teach me Lord to lean on you more and more I pray.  Amen.

MY FEARS ARE GONE

Journal Entry by John Rice

S – Psalm 56:3-4, 9-10 (TPT)
But in the day that I'm afraid, I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart. What harm could a man bring to me!  With God on my side, I will not be afraid of what comes. The roaring praising of God fills my heart and I will always triumph as I trust His Promises.
The very moment I call to you for a Father's help, the tide of battle turns and my enemies flee. This one thing I know God is on my side! I trust in the Lord and I praise Him! I trust in the word of God and I praise Him!


O – Observation
Fear is a natural emotion and David is fearful when captured by the Philistines, he deals with his fear by laying it before the Lord and declaring with God on my side I will not be afraid and I will always triumph by trusting His promises. With the Father's help, the enemy must flee for in God I trust and praise Him.


A – Application  
We are very human, just like David, and in the pressure's of life we need to draw from God's word and declare, "I lay all my fears before you" and trust in you with all my heart. Is God the Father figure in your life, the one you can embrace and receive love and affection? David had a relationship with God that he called for a Father's help, the tide of the battle turned, the enemy flees. Our response is to Praise Him, and trust in His word.


P – Prayer
Our loving Heavenly Father, I thank you that your Word is settled in Heaven and you show us how to overcome the fears the enemy puts before us. May we rise up with Faith and Confidence to declare "with God on my side I will not be afraid, I will always triumph as I trust your promises" we give you all the praise and Glory, Amen. 

FLOURISH

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

Flourish.jpg

S – Psalm 52:8 (TPT)
But I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God.  I trust in the unending love of God; his passion toward me is forever and ever

O – Observation
Some olive trees have been formerly dated to 2000 years old others are believed to be up to 4000 years old and still bearing fruit. It was interesting to read up on the olive tree and its many uses. We often think of the storms and trials in our lives.  I wonder what some of these trees have had to face or endure over so many years and still be flourishing and bearing fruit.  It really speaks to me of where my roots are, or where I am anchored.  

A – Application
David’s flourishing was because of God’s unfailing love, in which he said he trusted forever. So he vowed to go on praising God for what He had done. David would wait (hope) in God’s name (which signified His attributes and actions; cf. Ex. 34:5–7) and then he would praise Him among the saints.  So the righteous, unlike people of treachery, place their confidence in God’s love, for their justice and blessing.

For me I need to daily place my confidence in God’s love and be attached to Him so that I can stand and flourish no matter the circumstances. 


P – Prayer
Dear Lord, thank you that I can have confidence that you are for me and that I can not only draw from you when I am in pain or anguish, concern or worry; but all times enabling me to flourish, continually growing and being fruitful.

BETWEEN HIS SHOULDERS

Journal Entry by Jared Lawson

S – Deuteronomy 33:12 (NIV)
When Jesus saw her condition, he called her over and gently laid his hands on her. Then he said “Dear woman, you are free, I release you forever from this crippling spirit.” Instantly she stood straight and tall and overflowed with glorious praise to God!

O – Observation
Moses had been the one to lead Israel out of the Egypt into the promised land. He had seen so much unfold during this time including the ten plagues of Egypt, Israel’s rebellion and water spilling out of a rock. The Bible even says that he saw God face to face (Deuteronomy 34). Some of the last words he spoke are outlined in the scripture above. Specifically, he was talking to the tribe of Benjamin, but thanks to Jesus’s work we can claim this blessing as our own (Romans 11). When believed, the words above have the power to shape the way we think and act each day. We are the beloved of God and we have the right to rest secure in him. I love how the end of the verse talks about being between God’s shoulders. When I truly think about this it conjures up images of being on his back like a child would be if piggy-backed by his father.   

A – Application
So much consumes us each day. I know that anxiety and worry can easily grab a hold of my mind and before I know it my imagination runs wild with impossible scenarios and becomes consumed. However, what if I let this scripture consume my mind instead? What if I spend more time thinking about how loved and protected I am rather than what could go wrong and what I’ve left undone? How would that change the way I feel about myself?

P – Prayer
Heavenly Father, I thank you that you are the one and only true God. Thank you for your kindness towards me. Father help me to grab hold of this scripture, may it be the air my mind breathes. May this reality take over when my mind turns to worry and fear and remind me of this truth everyday. 
In Jesus name, Amen. 

THE ONES YOU DON'T SEE

Journal Entry by Warren Mortomore

S – Luke 13:12-13 (The Passion Translation)
When Jesus saw her condition, he called her over and gently laid his hands on her. Then he said “Dear woman, you are free, I release you forever from this crippling spirit.” Instantly she stood straight and tall and overflowed with glorious praise to God!

O – Observation
I loved reading these verses! Here we see our Lord Jesus healing a woman who had been crippled for the past 18 years. He did this in spite of the fact that it was the Sabbath and that it infuriated the Jewish leaders around him. Not only do I love that He healed her (because how ridiculously life changing for this lady!!!!!), I love His heart. He was compassionate, gentle and kind. He saw someone in need who most people would not have taken notice of, He treated her kindly and generously as a person of value and He healed her.

A – Application
Reading these verses makes me wonder how often do I see people around me that others don’t see? How often do I bring a compassionate, gentle and kind heart into a situation? How often I do see a person in need and introduce them to Jesus the healer? The truth is I could do better. Jesus gives us a beautiful example of how we are to treat people and what we can offer them that is so different to the world.

P – Prayer
Father, thank you that you love every single one of us without exception. Thank you that you see and understand each one of us even when it feels no one else does. Thank you for your healing power that brings wholeness into our lives. Help me to follow your example. Help me to see and reflect your heart in every situation I encounter. Amen.

WHERE IS MY HOPE

Journal Entry by Geoff Allen

S –  Psalm 39:7(NLT)
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. 

O – Observation
I love the honesty of David.  How he lays everything out before the lord, his fears, anxieties, frustrations, his actual feelings.  It’s not always clear sailing and open roads.  He is not afraid to let his feelings known to God.  But even through his anguish and turmoil David finds his answer in his relationship with God as he declares “my hope is in You”

A – Application
There are many times a day when my mind wanders to some of the difficult circumstances in my life.  I am learning seemingly ever so slowly that I need to bring my fears, worries and concerns to my savior as soon as I can.  I get no peace trying to sort things out in my own mind and dwelling on them.  But as soon as I turn to God and hand them over I get the strength to go on and I have a renewed confidence within myself that God is at work on my behalf.  I need to continually declare where my hope is and it’s not in me. 

P – Prayer
I declare my dependence on You, and reaffirm that my hope is in You.