Church Blog

DAY 35

Posted by Geoff Lee on Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 @ 6:42 AM

Philippians 4:19

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus….”

We are into our final week of devotions, and will be spending the next 6 days, from tomorrow, focusing on Psalm 1, which is a wonderful Psalm about the benefits of meditating on the word of God. As we go through this week, we will be “revising”, quite aptly, the various methods of meditation that we have learned.

So, a psalm on meditation, using the methods of meditation we have learned over the past 35 days. 

As it’s revision time, here are some of the things that I have learned, or been reminded of, over the past few weeks. This is not necessarily all new stuff, or deeply profound, but I feel greatly enriched for having reflected on these things for a few weeks. Feel free to add your own!

  • Daily Bible reading and prayer is vital to my spiritual health and wellbeing.

  • Prayer is the root of all fruit.

  • If I can worry, I can meditate.

  • Meditation is not complicated; it just takes time.

  • I will use a mixture of these methods in future, depending on the text.

  • I can’t meditate if I am in a hurry.

  • I have been recalling scripture a lot more throughout the day, and it has been informing my thinking and behaviour.

  • My physical wellbeing plays an important part in my walk with God.

  • Application, application, application.

  • I need to slow down when I read, and link Bible reading and prayer with the practice of meditation on scripture.

  • This has been more than a duty (though at times it has been that) – it has been a delight.

  • God is always speaking. I need to take more time to listen.

  • I need a good and consistent Bible reading plan.

  • Journaling works for me and helps me to formulate my thoughts and prayers.

  • There are so many rich streams of thought in Psalm 119!

  • I have enjoyed blogging and the interaction with everyone who has commented.

  • I wouldn’t want to blog every day in the future, but I will blog more and hope people will keep interacting.

  • I have been very encouraged by the mass participation of the church family, young and old alike.

  • I need to keep moving forward and not worry if I miss a day. “Don’t let yesterday’s famine rob you of today’s feast.”

  • I want to keep memorising scripture.

  • We all need to be self-feeders.

  • Spending time with God needs to be my number one priority

     

How about you? What have you learned? Or been reminded of?

Enjoy this week of revision as you meditate on Psalm one!

jen said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 @ 10:56 PM -
I am so chuffed with myself for memorising the 6 scriptures and their references....so rare. I hope I remember in 6 months / 5 years' time! I'm going to actively attempt to memorise more scriptures as I found this quite powerful to meditate in my day.

Journalling (spelling?!) Isn't something I'm likely to do daily but found it to be a precious and helpful tool to reflect and will continue to do this.

Doing something like this with a group is valuable, it made me realise how nice it is to easily talk about bible reading with others; to have something in common. Talking about problems, enjoyments, challenging each other.

Lydia said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 @ 11:25 PM -
I have thoroughly enjoyed the 40 days so far. I have been brought up in the church by parents who loved the word and lived the word but I feel so much more equipped in my quiet times. It's like someone has turned a light on for me. I feel enlightened.

I have loved trying the different methods and discussing them with my family. It's been great to challenge each other.

I have particularly enjoyed personalise it.
Today's message verse put simply:
Lydia, Jesus is all I need.

Gillian R said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 @ 2:17 PM -
God DOES meet our every need, not wants. Wrote a book, & got the Tshirt. How faithful is our wonderful God.

Isabel H said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 @ 2:17 PM -
I have done Bible study before, using the Precepts ministry, but found these methods in the 40 days very helpful and perhaps some of the methods more powerful and deep than what I was doing before.
During the 40 days I found keeping a journal very helpful. I never consistently wrote my thoughts or prayers down. I did it occasionally; to be honest when I was going through difficult times. Having the 40 days in the word workbook, helped me in starting to journal. I found it very beneficial writing down my thoughts, what I'm learning from the Bible reading on that day and writing down my prayers. I can now visit this in the future and identify any answered prayers. I can talk to God and concentrate, because when I'm writing something down, my mind is not wandering off. I can also go back and see how God spoke to me at a particular time and situation. My favourite method is definitely the "personalise it." However, I do use all of the methods, now, depending on the passage I'm reading. What a blessing this whole process has been.

Jenny said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 @ 2:11 PM -
I think it works best for me when I combine several methods...mulling over individual words in a scripture, making it personal, putting it in my own words, placing myself in the story, praying about it. The only method I could not get my head around was "spacepets"! 5 out of 6 is pretty good, I reckon.

Roy said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 @ 1:14 PM -
What an experience! The past weeks have been a wonderful period for me in so many ways:
- the '40 days' programme in enabling me to develop new skills to engage with God's word more effectively.
- the invaluable teaching in the Sunday messages from Geoff & David helping me to 'pull things together' in reading, prayer and application.
- the support, encouragement and comfort found in the fellowship of my community group.
I thank Jesus for reaching into my life and putting me on a path, a good path for ever.

Rob said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 @ 8:22 AM -
I said to Marc on Sunday that this 40 days has been like finding an old trunk in the attic. When you open it and sift through the content you are reminded of things gone by, great times, happy times and you just keep on looking through. I have been a Christian for nearly 30 years and have read scripture throughout. 40 days has highlighted for me that the word of God has been hidden in my heart and it's goodness and wisdom has carried me through all the ups and downs of my life thus far. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, Amen.

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DAY 34

Posted by Geoff Lee on Monday, 23 March, 2015 @ 6:35 AM

Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Remember Sunday’s message on how to interpret a Bible passage – how to understand what it means? The first point is always to look at the context. What is happening here? Who is speaking? Who is being spoken to?

Leading up to this statement by Paul to the Christians in Philippi, he has stated:

“I’ve found the recipe for being happy…” (the secret of being content).

Imagine that.

A recipe for happiness.

That would sell well.

So what’s in the recipe? What are the vital ingredients?

“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (MSG)

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (NIV)

Staying connected to Jesus and receiving his strength to face anything, anywhere.

Those who wait on the Lord (through meditation on his word and prayer) will renew their strength (recharge their batteries, be revitalised, be energized, be encouraged, be given hope).

In the negative, this might read:

When I am not connected to Jesus, when I go it alone, I find that I have no strength to do things, I get stuck, I come up against a wall and I lose a sense of contentment and happiness.

So here’s the recipe for happiness.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Learn it, live it and pass it on.

 

In the video devotional today, Pastor Tommy Kyllonen reflects on Psalm 119:24.

“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counsellors.”

When we started 40 Days in the Word, I expressed my hope and belief that, for many of us, this would be a journey from duty to desire to delight.

I hope that you are on that journey and that, as we enter the last week of 40 days, you start to develop a very firm resolve to continue to delight yourself in the law of the Lord – starting on day 41!

Have a God-blessed day.

carmen said...

Posted on Monday, 23 March, 2015 @ 10:59 PM -
Thank you Geoff I've smiled and laughed all day thinking about what ingredients Jesus would put in a recipe. the list went on and on as I imagined Jesus pouring in lots of love a whole load of peace and all kinds of goodness. Hope is a happy expectation of something good.and Jesus is our hope. I even managed circuit training after work so I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Mary said...

Posted on Monday, 23 March, 2015 @ 11:42 AM -
I have to rely and depend on those scriptures Phil 3: 12-13 all through my christian walk. " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Whenever I feel weak and weary, hopeless, discouraged etc. I know it is by speaking, praying, declaring His Word over myself at that specific time that the Holy Spirit illuminates the power of His Word to hope again, to trust again, to be strong etc even when it is not always imminent, but I am very grateful for answered prayers and thankful to God for where I've come from, and what I have, where I'm going and I try to enjoy life as best as i can. I still have a long way to go to have that abundant life JESUS died to give me. I'm not giving up! I want others to have it also. I Thank God for the 40 days investment and all the messages preached. God bless!

Rob said...

Posted on Monday, 23 March, 2015 @ 10:59 AM -
David talked about the sower on Sunday and the thorny ground he called the preoccupied person. I can testify to being that person. At one time I had so many big boy toys I didn't have time in my week to use them and along with a full time job and home to manage. Unsurprisingly my spiritual life became neglected. The odd thing is I couldn't see it at the time but looking back it is clear to see. Even good soil in the garden is prone to weed seeds taking root so I guess it's the same in the spiritual. My son is visiting from South Africa tomorrow and I am cleaning the house and throwing out clutter. I still have a bit more cleaning to do but I am feeling so much better for the clear out. 40 days has helped me to clear out my day and find some precious time to spend with my maker which has made my day.

Lydia said...

Posted on Monday, 23 March, 2015 @ 10:38 AM -
When life goes ‘belly up’ I often turn to those around us me for reassurance when I should fix my eyes on him. I often talk about it instead of praying. I turn to routine and structure to get me through the day instead of leaning into him for strength. I try to be busy instead of being still and spend the time meditating on the Bible and focusing on Christ as the strength I need.

Psalm 46 says God is our refuge (a place of safety) and strength (making us strong), our help in times of trouble.


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DAY 33

Posted by Geoff Lee on Sunday, 22 March, 2015 @ 6:51 AM

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

“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 heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Any worriers in the house?

As Rick Warren says: “If you can worry, you can meditate!”

Instead of turning anxious thoughts over and over in your head, you turn over scripture – meditating and ruminating and praying.

I have long since liked the Message version of this verse:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.” (MSG)

I do believe in displacement.

Trying to just stop doing something is hard – sometimes impossible. Replacing it with something else is easier.

Let prayer displace worry at the centre of your life.

Let Christ and his peace displace anxiety.

Instead of worrying, pray.

It’s not just a case of “Don’t worry! Don’t be anxious!”

Displace worry. Displace anxiety. By praying and thanking God and presenting your requests to him.

Trace back to what is making you anxious. What is at the root of this anxiety? What am I fearful of? What is bothering me? What is keeping me awake?

And present it to God. Be specific. Here it is God. Here’s the culprit. I’m bringing it to you.

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

So here’s a prayer:

Father, I get anxious about stuff all the time. But I do want to turn my anxieties and worries into prayers – and I want to be thankful. As I bring my anxious thoughts and cares to you, as I pray them to you, I ask that your peace – a sense of your wholeness in place of my brokenness – will come and settle me down again.

Let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.

In Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

If you are reading this on Sunday, today is the last official message on 40 days. Dave will be speaking on how to integrate the word of God into every area of our life. In the evening, Dave and I will be interviewed together about 40 days and then we will have a Q and A session.

Next Sunday I will be speaking on “What happens next!?”

Gillian Robins said...

Posted on Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 @ 2:14 PM -
There have been many times that I have been anxious about my family or myself very recently. Without God & this verse of scripture I possibly would have been a nervous wreck. Sometimes I've been hanging on by my fingernails. GOD IS FAITHFUL to His promises. Without prayer & GOD I AM NOTHING.

Lydia said...

Posted on Sunday, 22 March, 2015 @ 9:27 AM -
My Prayer:

Dear Lord Teach me not to worry so much about things of this world but to come to you with confidence, knowing that you know everything about me and my life. As I praise you help me to focus on all that you have done for me. Help me to focus on eternal things and rest assured that my life is in your hands.

Rob said...

Posted on Sunday, 22 March, 2015 @ 7:53 AM -
As an engineer in the RN it was important to be prepared for problems ahead of them occurring. It was no good wishing I had ordered a spare part when the ship was 2000 miles from land and the engine won't start. I could do this because I had built experience on to my training. In life too I found the principle the same and I have tried to anticipate my families needs and prepared ahead for them. We can't though, always know ahead of time, that something good or something bad will come along, some things are off the radar, testing times come out of nowhere. It is at such times that I am so thankful to God for the gift of faith He has given me. On to that faith I have built, and my experience of God has proved Him faithful. To quote Bruce Carroll, He may not take our trials away but He will always see us through.

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DAY 32

Posted by Geoff Lee on Saturday, 21 March, 2015 @ 7:26 AM

Philippians 3:12b (NLT)

“….I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Pastor Jud White, who gives the video devotional today, looks a little like the actor Kevin Bacon. But he’s not trying to sell us mobile phones, he’s reminding us of some powerful verses in Isaiah 55, and of how the word of God is like rain and snow that falls on the earth, waters it, and causes it to bud and flourish and produce seed and bread.

The rain and snow always water the earth where they fall.

God’s word is like that, says Isaiah.

God’s word always accomplishes in us what God wants it to accomplish. It never returns to him empty. That would be like snow or rain falling upwards.

God says it, God sends it – like the rain and the snow – and it refreshes and nourishes and encourages and strengthens and creates life and health and vitality.

I’ll have some of that.

When I think that prayer is the root of all fruit, and that if I don’t stay connected to Jesus in prayer, I will simply be hanging apples on a dead tree, and when I consider that the word of God produces nourishment, and  seed and bread,

I would be stupid to neglect either, would I not?

I’m a slow learner.

But…I press on! Jesus has taken hold of me for a reason and a purpose. He has created good works for me to do. He has written my days in his book – all of them.

“I’m off and I’m running and I’m not turning back.”

So, my friends, if I’m going to mash up my metaphors:

“Let it snow, let it snow!”   

I want more seed and bread and fruit in my life.

We are running to get a prize that will last for ever – the stakes are high!

There is no quitting and there is no looking back!

If you can’t get out of it, get into it.

Press on.

Lydia said...

Posted on Saturday, 21 March, 2015 @ 11:50 PM -
I enjoyed the talk today with the theme of God's words coming alive and active. God's word impacts our life whatever season we are in. Life's journey can throw all sorts of rubbish at us. God's word is a lamp to our feet showing us where we are now. It shows us the immediate dangers around us and shows us where to place our next step. God's word is also a light to my path. The light shows us the journey we have travelled and where we heading to next. We are reminded that God promises that on life's journey he will always be with us and he never leave us.

Rob said...

Posted on Saturday, 21 March, 2015 @ 8:42 AM -
It occurred to me earlier that loneliness is not just the absence of people but the absence of motivation. Mountains can be hard to climb but the view from the top and the sense of achievement make the climbing worthwhile. Ian White sings "you've got to keep on keeping on" and perseverance is a biblical recommendation. I have known times when I struggled with motivation but by the grace of God I have always found myself back on my feet because I know that God is faithful and I come out of the hard times better than when I went in. I am inspired to stay connected in prayer to the source of life, after all, in Christ, I am an overcomer.

Martin said...

Posted on Saturday, 21 March, 2015 @ 8:30 AM -
John 6:68
Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.

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DAY 31

Posted by Geoff Lee on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 6:53 AM

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13 (NLT))

Thank you God that you are working in me. Thank you that it is you that causes me to grow. Thank you that it is not all dependent on me. There is an energy and power available to me that is not of my own making.

We should all carry a sign around with us– GOD AT WORK.

Today I pray for desire. Desire to do your will. Desire to lead. Desire to follow. Desire to serve.

Give me more of the “want to”. More of the “can’t wait to”. More of the “I get to!” More of the “I’ve just got to…” Give me enthusiasm. Give me creativity. Give me ideas. Give me get up and go. Give me passion. Give me fervour. Give me child-like excitement.

Magnify this desire. Increase it. Turn on the turbo. This is not something that I can make or produce by myself, any more than I can make myself be hungry or thirsty. Please work in me to give me the desires and the appetites that please you.

I pray for a deeper love for God, a deeper love for your people, a deeper love for those that don’t yet know you, a deeper love for your word.

Work in me – and give me the desire to do what pleases you.

And today I pray for power. Give me strength. Give me energy. Give me “can do”! Fill me with your resurrection power and energy for this day. Energise me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Please give me the power to do what pleases you; the things that make you smile.

You work it in. I work it out.

You breathe it in. I breathe it out.

Apart from you I can do nothing.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Thank you God that you are at work in me. Thank you that you will finish what you have started.

More desire.

More power.

Yes Lord.

William Hargrave Red Zone said...

Posted on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 6:01 PM -
This week we have been given the new method of bible studying "Personalise it". The story we were given is the parable of the men who built their house on the rock and the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). My mum had to explain to me what the method means and tell me how I would do it. After it was explained to me what to do and how to do it, I was able to personalise the verse.
"Therefore William, if you hear these words of mine and if you put them into practise, you will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock". 'Well done!' says my mum! Can you pray it to God? Yes I can and this is how I would say it, 'Dear God, thank you that you are my rock and that you support my life, no matter what trouble I run into.' The question on my colouring sheet is that it askes me what the bible story is telling us. My answer is, If I (we) follow Christ and then DON'T do what he says, I (we) are like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. On the other hand, if I (we) DO do what he says then we are like the wise man who built his house on the rock. If we are like him we will stand strong and firm in our faith in God, even if the Devil attempts to take our faith away. JESUS IS OUR ROCK!

Jen said...

Posted on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 5:29 PM -
This scripture is so true! (I know all of it is) but I can actually say I've completely changed from reading scriptures daily, for over a year I've been faithful in reading daily and I'm shocked at the transformation. The way I process a situation, the choices I make, mentally my mindset is different. Heart wise, my greatest will is to be where God wants me, doing what he needs me to do. I want specific stuff myself, but there is an over riding desire to please Christ. Even when horrid stuff happens (getting evicted, being treated unfairly in work, threat of loosing a job, relationships, or waiting faithfully for that unanswered prayer etc) big stuff that makes life muddy, and I find my first reaction is to read my bible or pray and have real assurance that God will have it under control. I'm reminded of that verse (AdLib here) where it talks about always the flowers being clothed and so will we etc....(OK that's badly paraphrased!) God loves us and will care for us no matter what, our needs will be met - all he asks of us is to put him first.

Lydia said...

Posted on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 4:13 PM -
God is working in us. Despite our efforts, it is not our own achievements that earn our salvation but what God has already done for us on the cross. We just need to rely on his strength working in us and be reminded of his grace.

Kathy Jarrett said...

Posted on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 1:16 PM -
Isn't it amazing that we are given this?

The video today was very powerful too. All about being tempted into compromise. We have to thrust the sword of the Spirit into the heart of compromise.

We need to have scripture ready to use.
Must make more effort to remember the scripture especially those I learnt a while ago. It's worrying that is so important but I find it quite hard to KEEP remembering them all.

Barry Grigg said...

Posted on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 12:14 PM -
More power .
Keep me on the right road .
Amen .


.
Amen .

Liz Curling said...

Posted on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 10:08 AM -
More of everything!

Maxine said...

Posted on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 8:23 AM -
Ditto, hallelujah.

Rob said...

Posted on Friday, 20 March, 2015 @ 7:58 AM -
Amen.

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DAY 30

Posted by Geoff Lee on Thursday, 19 March, 2015 @ 6:30 AM

Philippians 1:27a (NIV)

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

 

The video devotional from Pastor Gene Appel is very good today, speaking about the word of God being “living and active.” (Hebrews 4:12) Check it out if you haven’t seen it (www.40ditw.com).

Talking about “living and active” – Jenny and I went on a bread-making course last week. It was a Christmas present and I really enjoyed it. We made ten loaves of bread between us!

As we made the dough, we added the live yeast, and then we left the dough alone and let the yeast do its work. The bread rose as the yeast worked through the batch.

The Bible is like the yeast. Living and active. It works its way into every area of our lives if we allow it. It affects everything. That’s why daily meditation, little and often, is so important.

The word of God is living and active and it will change us.

 

We are back at this verse again – whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel. And I can see how God’s living and active word is working on me. Scripture, including this one, is coming to my mind when I am tempted to get angry, shout at other drivers, be sharp with my children, use unkind words with Jenny.

I am challenged by the word of God. Conduct yourself in a manner that is worthy of the gospel. Be slow to speak and slow to get angry! God is working in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

What God has started – he will finish.

 

So Father, I pray for each and every one of us today. That your word would be living and active in our life. Like yeast. Affecting every area. Help us to live worthy of the gospel in response to your glorious grace.

Lydia said...

Posted on Thursday, 19 March, 2015 @ 11:56 PM -
The message puts Philippians 1:27 as,
Live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ.

I was talking to a mum at school recently who showed surprise when I told her I was a Christian. I must admit I felt slightly embarrassed. She went on to say that the Christians she had known were snobby. I then felt relieved.
I pray that as I live my life that people see something of Jesus.
No pressure!!

Amy Grant sang a song called 'Father's Eyes' these are the words:

I may not be every mother's dream for her little girl,
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But that's all right, as long as I can have one wish I pray:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,
She's got her father's eyes, Her father's eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things, When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help, When help just can't be found;
Eyes full of compassion, Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you're going through And feeling it the same.
Just like my father's eyes,

Marc said...

Posted on Thursday, 19 March, 2015 @ 2:33 PM -
Whatever ...

Puts a different slant on the word and a lot more challenging

val said...

Posted on Thursday, 19 March, 2015 @ 7:27 AM -
What a great way to describe gods word at work ln us as yeast takes time to work and prove gods word at work in us does the

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DAY 29

Posted by Geoff Lee on Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 @ 6:37 AM

Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

We are now “personalising it” and “praying it”! If you missed the small group teaching, these methods are explained on pages 81 and 82 in your workbook.

This is a really good way of allowing God to speak to you more directly through the word and of turning scripture into prayer.

Praying the scriptures is always a good idea.

Once again this debunks the idea that “God never speaks to me”. We will find, quite quickly, that as we take a little bit more time and meditate on the word, and as we recall it throughout the day, and as we pray it, that God encourages us and speaks to us often.

Today’s verse is a great verse!

“I’ve started, so I’ll finish!”

Thank you God that you are not finished with us yet!

Thank you that we are a work in progress. And that as we look back and see your hand on our life, and on the way that we came to faith, we can be assured you will continue to work in our life “until the day of Christ Jesus” – until the day we die or Jesus returns.

God still has some painting to do on the canvas of your life. He still has some shaping and some moulding to do on his potter’s wheel. He is still sculpting, chipping away, creating a masterpiece. He still has some refining to do in his fire. He still has more strength and more joy and more blessings and more love to pour out into your heart.

He still has adventures and good works stored up for you.

He has not finished yet.

You still have much to learn. Have patience young Jedi!

As I thought about applying this, I took Rick Warren’s four areas of application, and I thought about what God has started in me through 40 days of the Word…

Personal: I can and will be confident and assured that God is still at work in me

Practical: I will submit more to God’s work in me through prayer and meditation

Possible: I will devise a plan for after 40 days to continue and develop this habit

Provable: I will have something in place for Day 41!

 

God has started something powerful and amazing in you, and he will be faithful to complete it!

If you would like a musical interlude to go with your coffee and blog this morning/evening, have a listen to this old song by Steve Green:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oGxnVvx2AQ

Geoff said...

Posted on Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 @ 1:49 PM -
In response to Heidi below:
How about...
"You have bedded me down in lush meadows..." (MSG)
or
"He lets me rest in green meadows" (NLT)
or
"You let me rest in fields of green grass (CEV)

GILL WILLIAMS said...

Posted on Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 @ 1:07 PM -
This verse always moves me :

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
(John 15 verse 7)

The study methods are teaching me how to have the Lord's words remain in me and I feel confident and joyful that I will continue on and after day 41!

Nicki Kitto said...

Posted on Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 @ 8:08 AM -
I love this method having been practicing it A LOT over recent weeks and months.
It has given me a real respect for the POWER of God's word as I speak it out and personalise, pray it and journal it.
I have found my prayers and meditations take on new meaning and when used in conjunction with the paraphrase method it really has freshened things up for me.
It helps when I pray for situations in my own life but also when I pray for the needs of others by personalising God's word for them.
The other thing to note is because I am praying and personalising God's own words, it takes away my inadequacies to say and pray the right words using the right vocabulary because it's all there in front of me (I know that God doesn't mind what I think are inadequacies but sometimes I just want to say clearly what is in my heart and don't always feel I do a good job of it) - it makes things so much easier for me using this method.

Rob said...

Posted on Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 @ 8:08 AM -
I have just read Heidi' comment. I am on a "gap year"or three having been blessed, as a family man with two sons, to have had 44 years of continuous employment. I don't think I really understood the importance of rest and just how much more you can achieve, ponder and produce after you have properly rested body soul and spirit. I can remember completing my resignation paperwork on line and my finger hovering over the send button. Thoughts of financial security, companionship of work colleagues, what will I do, flooded my mind as I pressed the send button under the leading of the Holy Spirit. I could have made a different choice but I was hearing something in the very depth of me that overcame the don't do it "voice" in my mind. So for me, I feel that my Father has made, enabled me, to lie down in green pastures for which I thank him because some of us don't know when to stop and take stock. As for me now, call me Mr Happy.

Lydia said...

Posted on Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 @ 8:06 AM -
Pray it/personalise it
I think I'm going to love this one and it's an easy one to do together with the children.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I pray that we will see the great work that God has already done both in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. I pray that we won't be content with this but we grasp the realisation that God is going to do greater and more spectacular things in our lives. Bring it on!

Heidi Carolan-Evans said...

Posted on Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 @ 6:55 AM -
Hello!
I would like to pose a question my community group were thinking on last night. In previous services by our lovely Geoff, we have heard that, in Greek there can be several translations for one word, e.g. love. In our group we read verse 1-3 of Psalm 23, and were caught on the part where it says "he makes me to lie down in green pastures". This "makes me" sounded rather forceful to us and we wondered whether other translations saw another meaning, maybe that, when we are stresses/tired, Jesus makes space for us in these green pastures to have a rest? What do you think? Thank you and bless you xxxx Heidi

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DAY 28

Posted by Geoff Lee on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 6:05 AM

James 5:19-20 (NIV)

I’m tired today. I’ve been up since 4:15 am and haven’t slept well for a couple of nights. I’m finding a few things are on top of me instead of me being on top of them. I found the Bible study irritating, the words were swimming on the page, I don’t think I could paraphrase “Jesus wept” the way my brain is feeling at the moment.

Being spiritual is such a physical thing.

If you are tired, haven’t slept well or eaten properly, or are feeling unwell or facing illness, it’s hard to connect with God and to hear his voice.

Rick Warren addressed this in his small group study this week as he talked about four common problems that people face in having a daily quiet time (discipline, dry spells, distractions and discouragement). He discussed the need for regular and sufficient sleep, the need to look after our physical wellbeing, to be as fresh and awake as possible when we come to spend time with God.

Sy Rogers has a phrase: “if it’s good for the body, it’s good for the soul.” John Ortberg says, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing that you can do is take a nap.”

We are physical beings, and our physical, spiritual and emotional parts all interact and affect the others. It’s important to recognise this in ourselves. There have been times when I have wanted to burn the church down, have doubted, have been discouraged, have been dry… where I mainly needed to get some rest, take a break, eat something, fill my emotional bucket.

You might not be having a spiritual crisis so much as needing to get some rest and recharge your batteries.

Don’t underestimate these factors when it comes to building and maintaining your time with God, and playing your part in the community of faith.

Let’s be real about this.

It is worth reviewing the small group material for yourself and addressing some of these quiet time killers! Be honest with yourself and see how you can apply some of the solutions that Rick Warren offered.

In the meantime, I’m off for a very spiritual nap….

Rachel said...

Posted on Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 @ 10:56 AM -
Enjoyed this honest blog and all the comments. Resting Physically can be a challenge sometimes in our hectic lives, but is indeed a discipline I need to take seriously .I just relaxed and listened to music I love yesterday, and my ear seemed tuned to God in a way its not when life is hurried and noisy. May we all be blessed with spiritual naps ! x Rachel.

Lydia said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 12:32 AM -

I enjoyed the small group tonight with Rick. He is so honest and I love his laugh. Life can be busy and it's good to be reminded that it's good to rest regularly. As we rest our body and soul recuperates and is restored.

In the Message, Mathew 11 v 28 says,
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest."

I love the song Still from Hillsong

Find rest my soul, In Christ alone
Know His power In quietness and trust
I will be still, know You are God.

My challenge for today is to take some time out, find time to rest and be restored.

Tony said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 7:16 PM -
Very important to know what fills your tank and don't forget to top it up before you reach empty

Isabel H said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 5:22 PM -
"Don't write them off". Spelling mistakes. Oops. Sorry.

Isabel H said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 5:10 PM -
Today's Bible verse speaks to me quite a lot. I try to bring back to God the ones in my family that have drifted away. I haven't been very successful so far. I keep praying," reveal yourself to them Oh God"! James is saying "don't wright them off as yet". I won't. I can, however, feel discouraged, disappointed, a bit frustrated with God. Why are you not answering my prayers? Why are my children away from you? I don't know - it is not for me to know; I understand. Difficult and challenging, none the less.

God bless you Geoff and all that you are, and do.
I have been feeling down the last few days. Irritated, picking fights with the children, husband and so on (bless them). However I have been able to keep my quite time with God. I feel refreshed afterwards. I think sometimes I just take to much on, I run around trying to reach to everyone. I was driving back from Paignton this afternoon listening to UCB- and Dianna Fletcher started to talk about when we feel tired and discouraged. It was just like God speaking directly to me. It is true that when you fly on a plane, they tell you, that in case of an emergency, you put the oxygen mask first on yourself, before you try to help others. This is true in life, I feel. We can't look after other people, if we don't look after ourselves first. This is not being selfish is being caring.
"Love your neighbour as you love yourself."

Anon said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 4:50 PM -
If you're having a tough time, music can be very healing too. I have downloaded some of the songs we sing in church which strengthen me. Also, I like Delirious? and their beautiful song called "Find Me In The River" - one of the lines is about the blessings in the valley. Desert Rose by White Heart is good too.

jill said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 12:48 PM -
A rhyme for pastor Geoff Lee
Known for authenticity
Strength ebbing and flowing
The Lord keeps you going
Paraphrase Psalm 23

Maxine said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 8:55 AM -
Thank you for your honesty in today's blog. Last week in my small group when we watched the DVD ' Four common problems in a daily quiet time', I was surprised and relieved to see the battle of the blahs. I thought it was something that only I had been going through, as if I had discovered it! It was comforting to know it is a recognised problem that we all might encounter from time to time.

carmen said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 8:51 AM -
What is becoming very clear is god cares about every area of our lives, and also our well being not just spiritually but physically and mentally. This has been my prayer for a while, the service on Sunday really made this clear god wants the best for his children by remaining in him and him in us we can be the person that he pre destined us to be. Lord Jesus I pray that you recharge Geoff's batteries whilst a much earned sleep is deserved Amen

Rob said...

Posted on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 @ 8:09 AM -
Terry Oliver, of Plymouth, often says, "as in the natural so in the spiritual". I thank God for those who have helped me during bumpy times. Bruce Carole sings "tomorrow, today you may be someone's answer to prayer" and he again sings "the road for them that leads to Him, might just run through you. Thanks to those who have helped me and for the God given humility to accept help; best I be ready to do some helping.

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DAY 27

Posted by Geoff Lee on Monday, 16 March, 2015 @ 6:12 AM

 James 4:10 (NIV)

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

“So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” (James 4:7-10 – The Message)

That’s a great line from Eugene Peterson: “Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

We speak of standing on our own two feet. Pulling ourselves up by our boot laces. Going it alone. Doing it our way. This is the pride of thinking that we can manage our lives better than God. That we know better. That God can simply not be trusted with such important things as our money, or our love life, or our future. We don’t say it so crassly. We just live like it’s true!

The Bible speaks of getting down on our knees. Humbling ourselves before God. Recognising our weakness and our dependence on him.

Prayer is one of the key ways that we humble ourselves before God. It acknowledges our boundaries. Our weaknesses. Our limitations. It brings us to our knees, physically and/or metaphorically. We bow before an Almighty God.

As Corrie Ten Boon once said: “A man is powerful on his knees.”

I am often tempted to think I can do things in my own strength, or that if I entrust my money or my life to God, he might just mess things up.

This is what I was talking about yesterday as I looked at bearing fruit in John 15. Jesus was speaking to his disciples about staying connected to him in prayer.

Much prayer….much fruit. Little prayer….little fruit. No prayer…no fruit.

Sometimes, by my actions, I act as though I don’t believe the truth of what Jesus says. I act as if I can do this by myself. I act as if it depends on me. I am prayerless.

This never lasts, however, and ultimately, after a period of self-delusion, the air clears, my vision becomes a little less unimpaired, and I have a very real sense of my utter weakness and inability to do this on my own.

I find great reassurance in these times to sit quietly and say “Yes” to God. To write and journal and cry out to God for help.

I never feel powerful on my knees, but when I am weak, then I am strong. When I feel I’ve got it all together, I could not be more wrong.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Let’s get down on our knees before our Master. It won’t be long before he lifts us up and puts our feet on solid ground.

Lydia said...

Posted on Monday, 16 March, 2015 @ 10:52 PM -
I have spent the day reflecting on last nights message at church. I even listened to it agin today, looking at interpretation and how God reveals himself to us through his word. 40 DITW is so practical.

John 15 teaches that prayer is the root of all fruit. As Pastor Geoff said, "prayer should be the steering wheel in our lives, not the spare tyre when things go wrong." Great for the 'picture it' fans out there.

Jen said...

Posted on Monday, 16 March, 2015 @ 10:43 PM -
I cannot fathom how people live life without Christ. I am nothing without him, and sometimes I have moments of 'wow' when I look back and see how He has moved in my life - hindsight is a wonderful thing and its a blessing to be able to literally see the changes God makes in life.

I often try to help God, suggest things, do the odd thing in advance to speed things along - its amusing (and prideful) to think that lowly I can make such change. The creator of the Universe doesn't need my help, I can imagine him rolling his eyes at me, saying "here we go again, when will she learn?!"

Rob is so right, surrendering is worship at its most beautiful.

Tony said...

Posted on Monday, 16 March, 2015 @ 8:09 PM -
Nothing philosophical to say but just a heart felt thank you for expressing these verses in such a way that strikes several cords with me. I thank God for directing me to Plymouth Christian Centre where Jesus found me and now I have a forever home and family

Rob said...

Posted on Monday, 16 March, 2015 @ 10:15 AM -
Just a thought about humility. God didn't need the old testament sacrifices and "perhaps", it occurs to me, he doesn't need our praise and worship and yet we are directed to sing hymns, psalms and spiritual songs (This I find comes very easily). King David installed praise into the tabernacle before the Ark of God with musicians and singers. "Sing to the Lord all the earth. Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day" (1 Chr 16v23). I have come to see praise and worship as an act of humility, a surrender, to bow, open our hearts, to adore. Marc (earlier comment) uses the word bedfellows and I can see praise worship and humility as spiritual bedfellows. When I consider our God, who is love, I wonder sometimes if His requirement for worship might be about the beneficial need for humility in us and not His need of it. Not withstanding the indisputable fact that the creator of the universe who laid down His life for our salvation and made the way to heaven is above all, worthy of our praise.

Marc said...

Posted on Monday, 16 March, 2015 @ 7:03 AM -
'bedfellows' that's a strange old english word. It means to be closely associated or to share the same bed. It struck me yesterday that wisdom and humility are bedfellows. If you want to be wise you have to be humble. You can't have one without the other. Its buy one and get the other one as a bonus. Practice humility and wisdom will come along the road to meet you.. Humble yourself James says and keep a grip on your emotions and passions and you will become a lot more wise. Today I will ask God to help me to do good deeds in humility and to keep my emotions under his control so that I may not sin against him.

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DAY 26

Posted by Geoff Lee on Sunday, 15 March, 2015 @ 7:54 AM

 James 3:13 (NIV)

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13 (NIV))

Last week we looked on Sunday at how to study the Bible for yourself. We considered the four phases of 1) Observation – what does it say? 2) Interpretation – what does it mean? 3) Correlation – what does the rest of the Bible say on this subject? 4) Application – what do I need to do about it?

When considering the second phase of asking what a passage means, I talked about how it can sometimes be helpful to look at other translations and paraphrases of the Bible, which might give us a slightly different angle or use different phrases that help us to understand the verse. (A paraphrase takes the original Hebrew/Greek and gives the meaning or the essence of what the author is saying, without sticking very literally to every word of the original text.)

The best known paraphrase versions are The Message (by Eugene Peterson), The New Living Translation (NLT – an effort to revise the original “Living Bible”), and perhaps the J.B. Phillips version.

You can read all of these versions and many more for free online at websites like Bible Gateway or Bible Hub.

So when we are perhaps using the “paraphrase it” method of meditating on a verse and putting it into our own words, we may find it helpful to read a few different versions as we chew over the verse and what it means.

If you want to carry on using this method beyond 40 days, the Psalms are a very good place to use the “paraphrase it” method, taking these ancient Hebrew prayers and putting them into your own language and making them your own. Tim Keller writes about doing this in his book on Prayer. He spent several months just reading through and paraphrasing the Psalms, making them into his own prayers. You could do this, and write your prayers in your own journal, for example.

So a couple of paraphrases for our verse today would be:

“Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts.” (The Message)

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honourable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” (New Living Translation)

“If you are wise, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about them, then you will be truly wise!” (The Living Bible)

My best and fairly mediocre effort this morning (after two cups of coffee and some borrowing from Nietzsche!):

“A life well lived is made up of many small and seemingly mundane actions and decisions that you make day by day and week by week. It is a long obedience in the same direction. It is knowledge of the truth that you quietly and consistently put into practice.” (Geoff Lee version)

Lydia said...

Posted on Sunday, 15 March, 2015 @ 3:43 PM -
Today's verse is quite appropriate for today being Mother's Day. I had a great Mum who constantly showed good deeds. She was a great example of living God's words in actions. She would always read the New King James version of the Bible and recite verses from it to us. I use the NIV, but the Message is quickly becoming my paraphrase friend. Verses I have read for years become alive again. 40 DITW has opened my eyes to different versions.
I am starting to become a fan of this paraphrase thing.

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