‘At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” ’ (Matthew 11:25)

Those who have been following my devotions regularly may have noticed they have been less frequent. Indeed it has been a couple of months since my last one and I know some of you may be wondering why. I want to share with you what I am learning in the hope that you might also be inspired by my journey.

As I said in my last devotional, this year for me is about seeking first the Kingdom of God. The reason I have not been posting daily devotionals is quite simple. I don’t know anything about God’s kingdom, and the more I am learning about it the more I realize how little I know. How can I share about God’s kingdom in all good consciousness if I have no idea about it.

I know about Jesus and who he was and what he did, his death and ressurection. I know his role in returning a second time and restoring all creation to it’s former glory, as well as his role in creation at the begining of time, and his role in my own life in making me a new creation after his image.

I know my Father in heaven, his compassion and love. I know his role as creator and ruler of the universe. I know his grace and mercy, as well as his righteousness, holiness and majesty. I also know the feeling of being surrounded by his loving arms and being embraced by him in times of trouble.

I know the Holy Spirit and it’s life giving power. I know the gift’s he gives to help me do the work I am called to do. I know the fruit that my life produces when I learn to operate in it. I also know how he helps me become a spirit being as well as a human being. I know of his comfort and his role in helping me understand the things of God.

But about God’s kingdom I know nothing! This is the thing I am supposed to care about and desire more than anything else in my life, and yet I don’t have the first idea what it is. It is as mysterious to me as the deepest oceans or the furthest planets. In all my life spent as a Christian I have never been taught about the Kingdom of God. In all my time reading the Bible and listening to God I have ignored this concept completely.

If I thought about it at all, I just assumed that the Kingdom of God referred to heaven, and that until I died I would never understand it, so I should just move on and work with what I did understand. After all there are lots of things I won’t ever understand so why bother about these things if they don’t have an relevance to my life now?

How foolish I am. So many blessings, great joy, and incomparable wonder, and I was prepared to let them go in complete ignorance. The very things God want me to be passionate about, and to strive for – the very purpose of life, the good news Christ came to preach, the pearl of great price, the storehouse and supply of every need, the place in which a thousand years is but a day, the one place where we can find God’s perfect will being done – this is the Kingdom of God.

The problem for me is that it is something I can not see. It is something beyond natural comprehension. It is something that can only come from a revelation of the heart, and is beyond any study of the mind. It can’t be taught, it can only be caught. Only by faith can we see the kingdom.

‘And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” ’ (Matthew 18:3)

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

I am not a huge fan of new year’s resolutions. A few day ago I heard someone on the radio describe my own feelings perfectly when they said, “If I need to change something in my life, why wait till the new year. Now is the perfect time to start.”

The new year does give us a chance, however, to reflect on what has past and look forward to what is to come. With this in mind, I have decided to take this opportunity to refocus. And is there a better passage to refocus with than today’s scripture?

It is a verse that is well known and for that reason is often overlooked. But today I am asking myself what it means to seek first the kingdom and his righteousness.

To get over my preconceived ideas of what Jesus was really saying, I want to first point out what the passage is doesn’t say.

It doesn’t tell us to put Jesus first. It doesn’t tell us to do the right thing. It doesn’t tell us to give away all our money, or pray, or read the bible, or become a missionary, or an evangelist. It doesn’t tell us that everything will be fine and life will be easy. It doesn’t even say you will get what you want.

There is nothing wrong with these things, of course, and if you have been asked to do any of these things then you should do them and trust God to provide for you as you do them. But this is not what this passage is talking about.

Seeking his Kingdom is not about full time ministry, or winning people to Christ. It is not about prioritising church events, or spending hours helping out with a church clean up. It is not about spending time in prayer and daily devotionals. It is not about reading the bible from cover to cover.

These may be the results of seeking the Kingdom and his righteousness, but they are not the starting point.

The starting point is an encounter with the King. You must desire to see what his Kingdom is all about. You must know in your heart the plans God has and realise that there is no better place to be.

When you meet the true citizens of this kingdom you come to understand what it is all about – a single purpose, a single mind, love, peace and unity. All brought about by the king’s own son, Jesus.

He has opened the gates of the Kingdom for us to come in. Let’s not hesitate to enter through those gates and discover that within those walls we will find everything we need and so much more.

Let’s not just follow Christ, let’s seek out the Kingdom of heaven and find our true home. Let’s renounce our citizenship of this world and instead become a citizen of heaven. It is only there that we can find all the resources we need to live life to the fullest.

God bless,


In the last devotional I mentioned that each day we need to learn to rejoice. When we do this it will help us to overcome our circumstances during difficult times. But what exactly does it mean to rejoice in all circumstances? We need to rejoice when times are good and when times are bad.

Surprisingly some Christians I have met seem to find it hard to rejoice when things are going well. They are often worried about what might happen when things turn bad, or even worse they become complacent and stop doing the things they should be doing. They seem as miserable with a life of plenty, as the people are who have none.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6 v17)

How about you? Do you have food in your stomach and a roof over your head? Then you have much to rejoice about, a lot more than many others. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the things God has provided for us. Everything God has provided for us should be enjoyed in the way the God intended, with thanksgiving and grace. Indeed there is a warning to us if we don’t take joy in the things he has provided.

“Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.”

Why would a loving God do this? Because he wants us to live happily ever after. This means he wants us to have joy in all circumstances – good and bad. This can only happen if we learn to find joy in what God has provided, using them to serve the Lord with joy and gladness. If we don’t and he lets us go on that way then we will never be happy. So sometimes he takes away the things we have so that we learn to recognise that our abundance comes from God and is provided so that we are able to serve him with joy and gladness.

There are other reasons why suffering help us to eventually discover and appreciate true joy. The passage we are studying tells us “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12 v12). Our joy is in hope. When we are in a position of despair we are forced to learn some harsh lessons. But if we maintain our hope then these lessons, in whatever form they take, will eventually strengthen us and build character.

Our hope is not just that God exists or that things will get better, it is also a sure and certain knowledge of who God really is – a God of restoration. He wants to bring us new life, new joy, and a new hope. He made us in his image, and he wants us to return to that state.

Our example is Jesus. Through suffering, he gained the glory of God. Through suffering, we too can gain that same glory becoming like Christ. “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5 v 2b-5)

If you are suffering – take refuge in God. Learn the lessons he might want you to learn, be patient and prove that your faith is strong. Never lose hope and in the process develop all the characteristics of God.

If you are not suffering at the moment then for God sake (and yours) appreciate what you have and ‘ serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything’.



“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4 v4)

In the last devotional I suggested that Romans 8 v8 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” is a very useful and practical way to deal with troubles and difficulties in your life. Today I want to look in more detail at the first of these three – “Be joyful in hope”.

I have known for a while that I have a tendency towards depression. For me it is quite easy to find myself thinking that life is pointless and nothing I do will change that. I know that this attitude sucks the life out of me and is the beginning of a very large spiral that takes me to places I just don’t want to go. But in these experiences I have learned a thing or two about life and how to deal with it.

I know first hand how important it is to be positive, or to be more precise to have an attitude of gratitude. But I also am very acutely aware that when I am in the middle of my depression there is no way that any amount of positive thinking will help. People often try to cheer me up by telling me to think about all the things that I can be thankful for. But when you are depressed it is almost impossible to think of anything positive, and even if can think of something, it doesn’t arouse any grateful feelings at all, no matter how wonderful the thought might be.

So what is the solution? I have learned that if I wait till I am depressed before I deal with my depression then I will fail. I have to deal with it before it becomes a problem. Like medication that has to be taken every day, I have been training myself to develop a thankful heart every morning. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5 v16-18).

This passage always reminds me of a sermon I once heard which emphasised the phrase “in all circumstance”. The preacher made it clear that there will be situation we find ourselves in that are not conducive to rejoicing and giving thanks. Terrible things do happen to everyone, and it would be very wrong to give thanks to God for these things. But we are not told to give thanks for all circumstance, instead we are told to give thanks in all circumstance.

Each day, no matter what terrible things we encounter, we have no excuse not to give thanks. It is not about thanking God for what happens during the day, instead we need to thank God that he is who he is. Even when situations look bleak, God is God. This means he is in charge and no matter what happens, he will see us through.

Our joy must come from nothing else but our hope. This is the secret I am learning. If I try to rejoice because of my circumstance then when things go bad my joy will disappear. This kind of joy is useless. I don’t need joy when things are going well, I need joy when things are going wrong. Nothing in the world can give me this joy. I need to look beyond my circumstances. I need to rejoice in something that will not dessert me or leave me no matter how bad things might get.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31 v8)

Every day I need to develop my habit of rejoicing in the Lord. If we build a habit of rejoicing and being thankful in the good times, it can sustain us through the bad times. “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9 v1-2)

Like all good habits, it is not necessarily easy. Which is why we must be told again and again. It is the only way we can protect ourselves from depression during bad times. “Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” (Philippians 3 v1)



“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12 v12)

Are you struggling to find purpose in life? You are not alone. It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or not, life is full of difficult times and a lot of suffering. Unfortunately from the moment Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden mankind has been under a curse. It is a curse that exists for everyone, and although Jesus death has removed the curse from us, we still suffer it’s consequences until the day when Jesus returns and does away with sin forever.

God does not want us to suffer, but suffer we must if we are to achieve God’s will. This chapter of Romans makes it clear that our suffering is for a purpose. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” His priority is not to change our circumstances, it’s to change us.

In a writer’s workshop recently, it was emphasised to us as budding authors, that everything that happens in life is good. Either it teaches us a lesson or it tests our resolve, or both. Whatever the case it is good because when we pass the test then our confidence increases, and when we learn the lessons, our knowledge increases allowing us to be better equipped to pass the tests the next time they come.

I think this exactly what the bible means when it talks about suffering in the following passages:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8 v28)

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1 v6-7)

“…because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” (Hebrews 12 v6-7)

But what do you do when you are faced with such a test? It is not an easy thing to deal with, and in the end a lot of people fail because they can not overcome their circumstances. But we are called to be more than weak victims of life. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8 v 37).

How is this possible? Today’s passage summarises it beautifully. If you read the preceding words in Romans 8 you will see the principle that is captured in Romans 12 v 12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

It all starts with an unshakable belief that “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 12 v 31b), then our hope, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 12 v18); our patients, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 12 v 22); and finally our prayers (even when we don’t know what to pray), “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 12 v26).

Armed with these weapons, we can face our difficult times with confidence. We may still suffer, our situation might not improve, and indeed things may even get worse, but the purposes of God will come to fruition, because in being joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer, we will be transformed into the people God wants us to be.

God Bless,


“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18a)

We are taught from a young age to be proud of our achievements. Yet the Bible constantly warns us about pride, with passages like “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

So where do we draw the line? Can we speak about what we have achieved and still be godly? Or do we have to keep quiet about our performances and just go about our work quietly? If this is what we are supposed to do, then what did Jesus mean when he said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

The key is our motivation. As with everything else in our lives, our purpose in talking about our achievements and our good deeds should be to glorify our Father in heaven. Our focus in what we do in our lives, should be for God not us. Our identity needs to be in him, not in what we do.

It is only natural to want to build up our identity. If our identity is in our achievements then we will make sure everyone knows and do whatever we can to draw attention to it. We might also try to exaggerate the importance or significance of what we have done. Perhaps we might even try to claim achievements that aren’t actually ours.

But if our identity is in Christ, then we will not hesitate to give him the glory, because by building up Christ we build up our own identity. As Christ grows in us, and we and other come to recognise his work in our lives our identity is strengthened and we become more confident.

But it is more than just focusing on God instead of our own achievements. We need to be able to recognise our achievements for what they are, instead of ignoring them (which is false humility). If we claim to be Christian then we must come to terms with the truth Jesus tells us. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b)

We are nothing without Christ. So when we talk about our achievements we must recognise the truth in what we read in today’s passage. “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

Recognising that it is God who gives us the ability to achieve great things puts everything in context. It is only when we have our identity in Christ, and give him the glory in all things that we can live a fulfilled life and have true self-esteem.

As an example it is worth looking at King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4). Like most of us he was quite happy with his own achievements. “He said, ‘Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?’ Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven…‘Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals…until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.’ ” (v30-32)

If you can achieve great things without Christ, imagine how much greater your achievements will be when you acknowledge him as the real reason for our achievements. As Harry S. Truman once said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

King Nebuchadnezzar observed, “I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (36b-37)

True humility is making sure that credit is given to those to whom it is due. In our case we must always give credit to our heavenly father for all our achievements. “For it is we…who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3 v3)

God Bless,


Identity – Men

This weekend I have been asked to address a men’s breakfast and it got me thinking about where men find their identity. It came to the conclusion that we are particularly prone to a distinct lack of reality. We often pride ourselves on being hand’s-on and practical, but the reality is far from the truth. Sure we can fix the dishwasher, change a tire, mow the lawns, but can we find a pair of socks in the sock drawer?

Let’s face it guys, we really are dreamers. As teenagers we think we are invincible. We get in a car and imagine we are Nicky Rosberg. We meet a woman and think of ourselves as James Bond. We face the things in the world that we just don’t understand like we are Dr Who. We like to think we are invincible, God’s gift to women, and have a solutions for every problem.

Things don’t get any better as we get older. In fact how we see ourselves often become even less connected with reality. If reality was life I would be 18 years old. Tall dark and handsome, elite sportsman with great 6 pack body. Funniest guy on planet, every other guy is jealous and every woman wants me. I’m richer than Bill gates, more talented than Hugh Jackman AND better looking!

But the truth is something far different, and we can not trust our own judgement on these things. It is only when disaster strikes and we are forced to face reality that we see things how they really are. Although it may not be too late to fix the problem at that time, we are usually full of regret that we didn’t spot the problem earlier. We know that if only we had seen the truth the problem would never have become as serious as it is now.

Let me give you several examples. Take the alcoholic who doesn’t recognise they have a drinking problem, or the man with prostate cancer who refuses to believe that it is anything to be concerned about. Relationships is also one of the areas where guys are particularly bad judges. How many times have relationships broken up, and they guys says “I never saw it coming” despite the fact that the relationship has been on the rocks for many years.

The problems is often related to our identity. How we see ourselves reflects how we feel about our situation. If we see ourselves as invincible then their is nothing to worry about. If we see ourselves as appealing to others, then we can handle rejection. If we see ourselves as gods, then nothing is impossible for us.

Psychologist often promote the power of positive thinking, but given the serious reality check that disaster often brings, positive thinking will not get you through. Instead of taking your identity from who you think you are, take it from who God says you really are.

“As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.’” (Romans 3: 10-11) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5: 8) “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Romans 5: 17)

Look to Jesus. Comparing our life to his gives us the reality check we need. Accepting his life in ours gives us the solution to becoming the very person we always want to be – REALLY.

God Bless,