Community, freedom, government, Leadership, Love, peace, Social problems, Uncategorized

“Uprising”

Photo: Freepik.com

Parenting a little one fooled me into thinking I could control other people. Putting a cranky toddler in his cot and closing the door felt good. A “prison” of sorts where I could stand guard outside, rostering mealtimes and rationing information. I was powerful. Strong. Loud from my soap box of grown up answers.

I was a master at eliciting compliance, “making him behave.” Commands like “use your manners” and “sit up straight” or “look them in the eyes” came naturally. Phrases like, “This is a dictatorship, not a democracy” flew out of my mouth on the heels of back-talk. Corporal punishment, (used sparingly and this was the early 2000’s so don’t judge me), meant using physical force to get the behaviour I expected.

It worked for the most part: threaten, demand, restrain.

Whatever means necessary to get the desired outcome.

By the age of about 12 or 13, my eldest started showing signs of disagreement, his own opinions, at times even daring to point out my own hypocrisy and flaws. The earth began to move under my feet. I felt the skin on my hands rip open as the tight leash I clung to was torn away by a teenager on a mission. He was on a hot pursuit to assert himself, to be heard, to try out his own voice, apart from the soundtracks I’d been playing. What I felt was firmly in tact one day began to fray around the edges, influenced by puberty and pimples. Muscles and height. An outward strength coupled with an even greater inner resolve to buck against my kingdom.

He had his own will and determination to use it. In many ways, he had escaped my grasp. If he wanted to deceive me or disobey, he could. I almost crumbled with this newfound information. It splattered across my life each and every day like a late night re-run and I couldn’t change the channel. I couldn’t fit either of us back in our boxes – me in my narrow-minded ‘think tank’ and him in his ‘bedroom with a toddler bed and too high door knobs.’

A different approach was needed.

I came across a great resource identifying what I already knew but didn’t have words to explain. What I desired most as a mother was a heart to heart connection with my son. The freedom I experience as an adult with my own free will is a gift; and, rather than controlling this soon-to-be-man, I realised I had to model and direct him to control himself in a manner worthy of respect. Ultimately, it was on him.

As I watch what’s happening in my home country with the Black Lives Matter movement, protests and riots across every major city, and the subsequent responses of the President, other politicians and pundits, movie stars, academics… (everyone seems to have something to say), I see parallels with my parenting journey.

Threatening people with rubber bullets, tear gas, military intervention and handcuffs reminds me of the ’18-years-ago-new-parent-me’ who had a lot to learn. Power players who shout “law and order will prevail” erect walls between the two sides. One is subservient to the ruler but only for a matter of time.

What does anyone gain if neither side captures each other’s hearts?

In the words of Stephen Covey, “we must first seek to understand before being understood if we want to be a highly effective person.” A great leader always seeks to understand.
A heart to heart connection with those we lead is priceless. Kinship before compliance. Two open ears will always trump one open mouth.

If the aim is obedience at the expense of relationship, then a dictatorship is a great way to run a family. Elect power hungry tyrants to lead a country. A fool believes that “good behaviour” equals progress. I would much rather have a loving relationship with my son than strict obedience to my laws if I had to choose between them. Submission with seething anger below the surface is like a ticking time bomb.

“So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”

John 13:34-35 (TPT)
Fasting, government, peace, Social problems, Uncategorized

Day 18: “Across the Earth”

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, 

Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

Isaiah 9:6

Jesus was sent from heaven down to earth 2000 years ago as “Saviour of the World.” You might look around and see all the wars, famine, drought, drug cartels, human trafficking, and so many other problems and think, “which part did he save?”

That’s a fair question as you face many hardships; chaos is everywhere. The beauty and magnificent splendour of the Garden of Eden seems so out of reach. You find it hard to imagine a world without worry, a planet of peace.

Jesus promised that in this world you WOULD have troubles.

Bummer!

Until he comes back or you’re in heaven, you will not experience perfection. However, Jesus DID overcome the world through his death and resurrection; and, because of this, you have the hope of heaven; you CAN and SHOULD pray for it to be brought down to your world each and every day. 

Recently, over 140,000 Brazilians, including their President, attended the Send Conference, hungry to see God move. Movements like Hillsong Church are seeing expansion across the earth with over 80 churches in 21 countries now. Stadiums are filled with young adults at conferences like Passion with Louie Giglio every year. Christian production companies are making wholesome family movies that promote Christian values (and they aren’t cheesy and lame)!

God is on the move across the earth. The church is not dead! 

No matter what you hear on the news or in your own circles of friends, Jesus is on the throne and he has already defeated the enemy of your soul. Yes, this world is struggling in many ways. The devil seeks to steal, kill and destroy. But the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives and moves within you.

Access that power today as you lift up this world in prayer.

*Today, in your time of fasting and prayer, ask God to move mightily on the Earth. Pray for continued revival within the church. Ask God to bring unity among believers so that their impact is greater. Pray for protection of missionaries and servants of God in third world and war torn regions. Ask God to be known in Communist countries where law and culture prohibit the free expression of faith. Believe by faith that more people will come to know Christ around the world despite its struggles.

Devotion, government, Leadership, Prayer, Social problems, Uncategorized

Day 17: “Pray for Governments around the World.”

He’s got the whole world in his hands. He’s got the itty bitty babies in his hands. You may have sung this song as a child – a reminder and promise that whatever comes your way, you can trust a BIG God to take care of it and you.

It’s hard to imagine your personal, intimate God who loves you and cares about everything you’ve brought to him during this time of prayer and fasting is the same One who set the stars in place. Named them too. The Earth orbits the sun by his hand, the same gentle hands that tell the children to come to him.

Poverty, world hunger, climate change, wars, economic failure, corrupt officials, Dictatorships, Communism. The world needs people like YOU, calling up to heaven, petitioning for heaven to come down.

Today, pray for those who are elected to serve our democracy. Elections in both state and federal governments will occur this year. Pray for the right leaders to fulfil the offices required to move our country forward. From local to national, their burdens are heavy and they need wisdom and strength to serve with integrity.

Pray for world leaders and nations divided. Ask for God’s protection and hand upon children less fortunate than yours who live in tumultuous places. You may never visit those lands but from your lips to God’s ears, you can affect them.

Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.”

Romans 13:1-3 (MSG)
Fasting, government, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 18: “Pray for the World”

pray for the world

Our world is groaning with the sufferings of war. Entire nations are collapsing under corrupt leadership; millions of children starve while we gorge ourselves, gluttonous. Oppression – a word to describe the weight under which some women still live. Natural disasters ravish entire communities and many will never recover.

The list goes on.

If you were born in a first world country with paid work, unlimited food at your fingertips and emergency services just a phone call away, you might find it easy to look past the rest of the world’s problems. Yours is shiny and safe.

People facing economic hardship, fewer opportunities and less freedom are equally loved your Heavenly Father. Remember the less fortunate. Ask Jesus to show up in their lives.

As you continue to fast, pray for peace in the world where it’s absent. Lift up the nations both near and far. Pray for their leaders. And thank God for your many blessings.

“God holds the high centre, he sees and sets the world’s mess right. He decides what is right for us earthlings, gives people their just deserts God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked” (Psalm 9:7-10 MSG).

 

Australia, Fasting, government, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 17: “Pray for Your Nation”

australiaIf you live in Australia, you love your laid back culture and your mantra when facing a problem is “no worries, mate.” BBQs, beaches and sunshine exemplify your weekend experiences and you bleed Green and Gold. Your nation is peaceful and prosperous for the most part with few world enemies.

You’re blessed.

Remember that your government is in place because God has allowed it. Recognise that no matter what’s going on in politics, which party is in power, or how much housing prices have risen, your God is in control.

He has you where he wants you and expects you to be a good citizen. He loves engaging with your prayers. As you lift up your country today, ask Jesus to bless your elected officials. Ask him to bring peace to your nation and to allow wisdom from above to guide its decisions. Don’t lose sight of your role nor the power of your God. Ask for Christ to be revealed throughout your nation.

And, no matter what the landscape of your life looks like as it relates to your culture and position in your country, learn to embrace it fully and to be content.

“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Philippians 4:12-13).

Devotion, Fasting, government, Leadership, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 14: “Pray for Government Leaders.”

pray-for-rulersIf you’ve been watching any world news, you know we are living in interesting times. Instability in various nations around the world, changes in leadership, and uncertainty seems to be the overriding noise in our ears. Romans 13 reminds us that all authority which exists has been established by God. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to be “good citizens” under that authority.

Part of our civic duty as Christians is to pray for our local, state, national and international leaders. The problems they seek to solve are not black and white. They are complex and varying and we must lift them up and ask God to intervene with his sovereignty and love in every situation. Pray for safety and wisdom. Ask God to help leaders to lead with humility and grace.

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

government, Newcastle, Series, Uncategorized

2015 Fasting, Day Two

Read 1 Kings 4:29-34

King Solomon ruled over all of Israel. He had great success and provision during his reign and was known for his wisdom. 1 Chronicles says God gave him wisdom because he asked for it. He didn’t ask for wealth, possessions, honour or the death of his enemies. He wanted wisdom and knowledge for how to lead the people.

Do you ever feel like you need answers? Or wish that your children would come to you for answers as you watch them struggle to make decisions? We can actually pray and ask God to make us wise like Solomon did. Knowing God has all the answers for us, let’s specifically seek Godly wisdom during our fast.

*This week, we are lifting up Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in prayer in addition to whatever you are personally bringing to God.

Lord, before I chase after anything this world has to offer, I first seek YOU and your wisdom. I know no matter what I face, you hold the answers for me. I pray you would speak to me through your word and guide my every step. Also, I lift up the leaders of our city. I pray for our Government officials, school administrations, council members, and anyone with influence in our community. Please guide them. Give them great wisdom as they make decisions that affect the ones they lead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.