Give All Your Concerns to God

By Andrew Cartwright

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you”. -1 Peter 5:7 NLT

Often when we’re faced with adverse circumstances, it’s easy to get our eyes off God and onto the situation. That’s when we need to remind ourselves that we live by faith – not sight (Hebrews 11:1). We need to see with the eyes of faith and act accordingly, so the thing we hope for, though still unseen, will be made manifest in time. 

Take Action:  Hand over to God, once and for all, all your worries, concerns, anxieties and cares. What’s the problem? Let Him handle it. Do what you can to resolve it, but if it’s bigger than your abilities to deal with, then it’s the perfect opportunity for your Father in heaven to show Himself strong on your behalf (2 Chron 16:9)!

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Be an Encourager

By Andrew Cartwright

“When Job’s three friends… heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes… to go and sympathize with him and comfort him”. – Job 2:11 NIV

How do you react when you hear of someone who is going through troubles? Job was a man who was “blessed and lived righteously, feared God and shunned evil,” (Job 1:1) but Satan gained permission from God to test him, and Job experienced the tragic loss of most of his family and possessions.

In spite of this, Job did not charge God with wrongdoing – he praised Him instead (Job 1:21-22). Job knew God’s character and chose to trust Him completely, even in the face of dire circumstances. The same cannot be said of Job’s friends. Though they were well-meaning and set out to encourage him, most of what they said was discouragement and criticism, including of God! God ultimately restored Job’s wealth and family, but He was angry with Job’s friends.They had “not spoken what is right,” (Job 42:7) and Job had to pray for their forgiveness.

Take Action
In his book, A Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards admonishes us to “not become a spear-thrower,” and to “stay out of the company of all spear-throwers”. So when we hear of someone who is going through troubles, let’s not be quick to condemn. Rather, let’s sow love and encouragement with our words. Be an encourager, because you never know when you may need kind words yourself.

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God is holding you

by Andrew Cartwright

      

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close”. –Psalm 27:10

In the story of the hot air balloon that was being tethered to its mooring ropes, the ground crew were struggling to secure it as a strong wind was blowing. The balloon broke free and began drifting over the countryside, with some men still desperately clinging to the ropes. One by one, they could hold on no longer and fell to the ground. But when the rescue team eventually caught up with the airship as it lost height and landed on a slope, they discovered one man had managed to hold onto a rope for the entire journey. The rescuers were amazed and asked him how he had managed to hold on when others let go. “That’s simple,” he said, “I didn’t try to hold on! I wrapped the rope around me and let it hold me instead!”

Sometimes in our lives, when the “wind of affliction” is blowing strong, our strength is insufficient and we can hold on no longer. That’s when we need to let go of our striving and trying to do things in our own strength. It’s in these times that we realise we have a Father in heaven Who is holding us and we can completely rely on His strength. There’s no storm strong enough to wrench us from God’s grasp!

The scriptures make it clear – Your loving Father will never let you go. God is holding you. John Chapter 6 verse 37 records the words of Jesus, “Every person the Father has given me eventually comes running to Me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go“. The bottom line is, no matter the circumstances, God will never leave you or forsake you (2 Cor 6:18). He is holding you and will never let go!

Prayer: Thank you Father that your word in Hebrews 13 verse 5 declares that You are holding me and will not in any way relax Your grip on me. Thank you I’m safe in your arms forever!

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Observation Deck

by Lesley Cartwright

      

“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” –Ephesians 2:6

Have you ever as a young child gone out with your mom or dad and then encountered some or other activity where you weren’t able to see what all the fuss was about? But that feeling of helplessness changes when your parent lifts you up in their arms and it immediately shifts your perspective.

In life, when we encounter situations, it is easy to get fearful or bogged down because of our limited view. It is at times like these that we need to look up to our Heavenly Father so that He can help us to rise up above the situation. God can see the bigger picture and He can see how to turn things around that seem impossible to us. Don’t get tempted to lean on your own understanding when things don’t seem to make sense (Prov 3:5, Matt 19:26).

Josh Groban’s first stanza and chorus lyrics to “You Raised Me Up” powerfully illustrates how God lifts us up when we get overwhelmed and we feel so weary:

“When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.”

Take action: Don’t give in to weariness. Take yourself out of your situation for a few minutes and then get on your knees and invite Heaven into the situation. Let God raise you up so that you can see what He sees. After all, He is the best Observation Deck.

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Out Looking For Donkeys

by Lesley Cartwright

      

“Some donkeys belonging to Kish had wandered off, so he said to Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys….They went through the hill country of Ephraim and the region of Shalishah, but did not find them; so they went on through the region of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there… The servant answered, “Wait! In this town there is a holy man who is highly respected because everything he says comes true. Let’s go to him, and maybe he can tell us where we can find the donkeys. When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This is the man I told you about. He will rule my people… As for the donkeys that were lost three days ago, don’t worry about them; they have already been found. But who is it that the people of Israel want so much? It is you—you and your father’s family… Then Samuel took a jar of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head, kissed him, and said, “The Lord anoints you as ruler of his people Israel.” –1 Samuel 9:3, 4, 6, 17, 20, 1 Samuel 10:1a GNT

Have you ever searched high or low to find something and it just seems to have vanished into thin air? I think Saul must have felt like that when he was sent out on a mission to look for his father’s lost donkeys! Even though he never actually found them, he ended up finding far more than he bargained for. His servant had suggested to him that they go and ask the prophet Samuel if he knew where the donkeys were.

To their surprise, Samuel was expecting them and had prepared a feast in Saul’s honour. But… what surprised Saul most was the announcement that Samuel made to him about his future – he was to be anointed and crowned as King.

Maybe today you are feeling discontented with where you are, I want to encourage you not to give up, but to get a Word from God about where you should be headed in life. He already has your your future set up, but He is waiting for you come and join the feast. You have Kingship in your blood (Rev 5:10). Just remember that when you are “out looking for donkeys” you could be stepping right into your breakthrough!

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So heavenly-minded, we’re no earthly good?

by Andrew Cartwright

      

…and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world…, and then the end will come” -Matthew 24:14 (New King James Version)

Many thought the world would end on 21 December 2012 as the Mayan calendar seemed to suggest. Why didn’t it? Because only God knows the exact times and dates. When will the earth end? When the gospel (good news) of the kingdom of God is being preached to the ends of the earth.

Jesus said, “I must preach the kingdom of God…for this purpose I was sent” -Luke 4:43. Matthew 9:35 tells us that Jesus went about all the cities and villages preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus preached about the kingdom.

What message did Jesus say we must preach?Matthew 10:7, “And as you go, preach, saying ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand'”. Luke 9:2, “He sent them to preach the kingdom of God…” Luke 9:60, “But you go and preach the kingdom of God”. We must preach the kingdom.

What is the kingdom of God and why is it such good news? Because of Jesus, we are now sons and daughters of the king of the universe – free of sin! Jesus also restored our divine authority to dominate the earth. We have power over circumstances. We have a heavenly Father who loves us and the kingdom of heaven in us. Wherever we go, and to wherever our influence extends, we bring the kingdom of God into that place.

Jesus’ message was not about heaven. In fact, He prayed that God would NOT take us out of the earth, but keep us from the evil one (John 17:15). Much preaching is focussed on the “sweet-by-and-by”. As a result, have we become so heavenly-minded, we’re no earthly good?

Let’s put the message of the kingdom of God in its proper place – first! Let’s impact this world with the principles of the kingdom. Billions of precious souls are waiting.

Further references: Matt 4:17; Matt 4:23; Mark 1:14; Luke 8:1; Luke 16:16; Acts 8:12; Acts 20:25; Acts 28:31…

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An Anthem to Live By

by Lesley Cartwright

      

Majesty  
Majesty, worship his Majesty
Unto Jesus be all glory, power and praise
Majesty, kingdom authority flow from his throne
Unto his own his Anthem Raise
So exalt lift up on high the name of Jesus
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus the King
Majesty, worship his Majesty
Jesus who died now glorified
King of all kings.

(Song by Jack Hayford)

Each time that I sing this song in worship, I picture it being the theme song in heaven. Every country has an anthem, you hear it played when they host a world cup in sport or the Olympics. They play their anthems proudly because they are patriotic.

The Kingdom of Heaven is a country, in fact it is a Kingdom, with a King and a royal family. We are part of that royal family. Take a look at 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 

Today let’s give glory to our King! Let’s raise up His anthem!

PRAYER: Father God, I want to hallow your name, I want to give you glory today in the way that I conduct my affairs. Let your Kingdom come in my life and let it be seen in everything I say and do.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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