All posts by Richard

Redeeming the Time

Reading: Ephesians 5:8–20

‘Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil’ (Ephesians 5:15, 16). Another translation urges us to ‘make the best use of the time’. This seems an awesome challenge to many people who have lived for years with little or no discipline at the heart of their lives. In fact, in my experience it is one of the most crucial lessons for those who want to serve the Lord most fruitfully to have to learn. Time is a precious gift and it is given on a non-repeatable basis. We should approach every day with a sense of awe and purpose. Here is a stretch of road that we will never pass over again. I am not suggesting that we develop a neurotic attitude towards our lives, but we need to become better stewards of the gift of time.

The old saying tells us that, ‘Procrastination is the thief of time, and it is true. Many of the items which become a bug-bear in our lives are those which are put off to another day. The other day has a habit of never arriving and we discover that we have collected a bad debt of unfulfilled business which sabotages our effectiveness. I find this to be particularly true with letters, which I don’t like writing.

In fact, this is another area where we need to take control in the power of God—namely, the area of likes and dislikes. Most people operate quite well in areas which they like but a real secret of fruitfulness is to learn to be effective in areas we don’t like. We can see the principle of ‘do it now’, being worked out in the men of faith in Scripture—Moses, for example, who must have been a very busy man. God laid one demand after another on his back. In Numbers chapter 1 Moses is told to conduct a census of all the children of Israel. Now there’s a job! What did he do? Notice in verse 1 that he is given the instruction or task on ‘the first day of the second month’. Notice the day on which Moses got on with the job according to verse 18: ‘they called the whole community together on the first day of the second month’. This is not a matter of running ahead of God, but it is a matter of expediting the Word of God when it is given instead of shelving it for when you feel more like obeying it.

Men of a Different Spirit

* Num. 14:24 – “My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly.”

* Is. 11:2 – “The Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”


* Is. 57:15 – “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly  and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

* Jacob – Gen. 32 – brokenness

* Ps. 51:17


* Vision  – Wholeheartedness

* Moses – Ex. 3

* Caleb – “has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly”

* Call of God

i. Supernatural Call

ii. Passion of Heart

iii. Gifting / Ability


* Prov. 23:23 – “Get wisdom, disciple and understanding.”

* Integrity – 2 Tim. 2:20 -”he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master, and prepared to do any good work.”

* 1 Tim. 4


* Phil. 1:9 – “This is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”

* Depth of Insight – seeing into

– knowing about

– what to / how to


* 1 Cor. 2:14 – “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”



* Deut. 34:9 – “Now Joshua, son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom.”

* James 1:5

* Acts 6:3


* 2 Cor. 4:13 – “With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.”

* Paul – experimental religion


*2 Kings 2:9 – “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

* Elijah / Elisha – anointing

* The Leader must be able to …


* 2 Sam. 19:1-6 – “Now go out and encourage your men.”

*  Jacob / David – counsel and inspiration


*Ex. 35 and 36 – building the Tabernacle

* Bezalel – reliability

The price must be paid

I have often been saddened by why so many Christians seem to wander around in a state of semi-forgiveness – they know what the Bible says about forgiveness and they say they have forgiven the (usually) people involved in their hurt – yet they have no release from the pain or guilt, no liberty in their spirit.

In my slowness as I read the article below I wondered about the root of the problem. Certainly it is not in the power of the blood of Jesus to forgive sins, but perhaps it is in their ability to ‘pay the price’ of forgiveness in themselves?

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

Dan Hamilton in his book, Forgiveness, explains it thus:

“If a careless friend breaks a lamp at my home, I will forgive him. That means I will not make him buy a new lamp. I have set him free from the penalty of sin. He is free to go because I say. “I release you from your debt. Go and leave your chains behind”

Forgiveness means to cancel, and the penalty is what we cancel. No one can make us take action against the offender. We cannot be forced to collect from someone who has destroyed our property. No law says that we must stop speaking to one who has slandered us. We are free in forgiveness to renew renewed relationships – as friends and co-workers and family and lovers.

But when the offender has walked away, rejoicing in freedom, we are not finished. We have dealt with the penalty, but the damage remains. There is still a price to be paid.

The lamp is still broken; our reputation is still ruined; there is still a loss to absorb in life. Who will pay for it? I cannot collect money for the lamp from a third party. If I did. I would not be canceling the penalty but merely transferring it to someone else. I have no choice. I must pay for it myself.

A lamp is easy to price and pay for. But what about damage that is intangible, unpriceable, irreparable? broken relationships? Ruined reputations? Shattered bodies?


I became aware of this over a week ago – and spent a few minutes looking online at their justification for spending $130 million on buildings – I know I must waste money, I know I am not as sacrificial as I should be, I know God expects more of me – but I am horrified by this, surely someone has lost their marbles somehwere in all of it – and by the way when I watched their video I was surprised to hear what appeared to me such obvious abuse of scripture

FBC Dallas launches $130M Building Campaign

First Baptist Church Dallas launches $130M Build Campaign. So what does one get for $130 million dollars?

The Baptist Press article states, “…a new 3,000-seat, 90,000-square-foot sanctuary, a six-story education building and a parking garage with sky bridge. The project is designed to complement the revitalization initiative in downtown Dallas, which has included the recent opening of a new performing arts center and construction of a new convention center.

Which way will you choose?

Anyone who heard Bob speak would probably be familiar with his quoting of John Oxenhams poem shown below. I guess as you read the question is obvious, which way will you choose today?

“To every man there openeth

A Way, and Ways, and a Way,

And the High Soul climbs the High Way,

And the Low Soul gropes the Low,

And in between on the misty flats,

The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth

A High Way and a Low,

And every man decideth

The Way his soul shall go.”

John Oxenham

Passivity of Spirit

[These notes are taken from an outline used by Bob Gordon and offer insight and instruction in how to resist becoming passive in our spirits and therefore succumbing to less than God has intended for us – in all of these posts we shall leave the orginal notes as much as possible in tact only adding to provide clarification where the notes alone seem insufficient  – Editor]
Being passive is defined in the dictionary as, “accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance”
As the people of the Kingdom of God we are called to influence and impact society:
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
Matthew 11:12 (ESV)
Do not let the world squeeze you into its mould, but instead let yourself be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2 (J B Phillips)
There are three main sources of Passivity in the life of believers:
a. The Effect of Other People on us – Prov. 4:23 – “guard your heart”
Deception – manipulation – Nee
Deference – fear – 2 Tim. 1:7
Domination – by stronger spirit
Dependency – on leadership / gift
b. The Weight of Circumstances  -distraction – other issues – spirits – tiredness
Discouragement – heaviness of heart
Determinism – badgered / family / make-up
Disability – sickness / bad feelings
c. The Realities of our own Inner Life – DISINCLINATION – laziness / unwillingness – sin
Dullness – soul  ? spirit
Docility – accept quiet personality / not me
* What is the reason for all our study / meetings etc?
d. The Attack of satan
– deception – liar – John 8:44
– attack – roaring lion – 1Peter 5:8
– oppression – Heb. 2:14
– spoiling – John 10:10
e. The Spirit of God
He is the antidote to passivity induced by all of the above. He brings:


So I read the article below – and wondered – do most Christians ever want to become really good at something, anything, related to God and their faith? I write knowing that many profess a great desire to know their Bible, to love God more fully…yeah the list goes on – but where is the grit and determination, where is the perseverance, the giving every last drop of energy in your body, where is the passion?

There is an amazing verse in Hebrews 12:4:

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

So I know that I am preaching to the choir – I really dont care – I care about the reputation of my lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the fact that my own (and those of may others who confess his name) fall woefully short of anything that might be described as ‘shedding blood’ in a bloody minded passion for him.

One of Churchill’s greatest speeches supposedly goes:

“Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never.”

Sounds almost biblical doesn’t it?

Taken from Zen Habits, []

The Only Way to Become Amazingly Great at Something

Find your passion, and then pour yourself into it.
“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” – Albert Einstein

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.

Very often you’ll see blog posts or books teaching you to “master” a skill in only 10 days, or 3 days … in fact, it used to be 30 days but the time frame to master something seems to be shrinking rapidly.

I’ve even seen tutorials claiming to teach a skill in just a few hours. Pretty soon we’ll be demanding to know how to do something in seconds.

Instant mastery of skills and knowledge! Hey presto!

Unfortunately, the reality is something a little less magical. Or maybe that’s a fortunate thing.

There’s only one way to become good at something:

1. First, you must learn it by reading or listening to others who know how to do it, but most especially by doing.
2. Then do some more. At this point, you’ll start to understand it, but you’ll suck. This stage could take months.
3. Do some more. After a couple of years, you’ll get good at it.
4. Do some more. If you learn from mistakes, and aren’t afraid to make mistakes in the first place, you’ll go from good to great.

It takes anywhere from 6-10 years to get great at something, depending on how often and how much you do it. Some estimate that it takes 10,000 hours to master something, but I think it varies from person to person and depends on the skill and other factors.

Ever felt powerless?

Once more not my own work – but if you have ever had the joy of teaching you will at some time or other know something of the feeling of powerlessness this email describes



After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said:
‘Let me see if I’ve got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning.

‘You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride.

‘You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job.

‘You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the final exams.

‘You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.

‘You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.

‘You want me to do all this and then you tell me. . . I CAN’T PRAY?

The virtue of forgiveness

Reading 1 John 1:5-2:2

Self-condemnation is a common feature of our human experience. Many Christian believers suffer from condemnation of spirit. The reality of our daily failures in our walk with God and the pressure of our interaction with other people often lead to feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy. Forgiveness is a fact from God’s point of view. In Christ He has covered all our sins and when we come to Him in repentance and confession He never fails to cleanse us and give us that sense of freedom and freshness which is our right through the death of our Saviour. But the devil never likes to leave it there. He loves to play on our feelings of weakness and tries to lead us back into condemnation and bondage within our hearts. This is where we need to receive our forgiveness. It is the difference between what the old saints used to call legal and vital truth. Something can be true without our ever entering into the reality of the fact. Sadly, it is the case for many, that God has accomplished their full salvation in Jesus but they never realise it in their own lives. The live in fear and condemnation within their hearts instead of enjoying the full liberty of sons of God.

Satan tries to convince us that, in some way, we need to pay for our sins. But this is a total contradiction of the teaching of Scripture and the work of Calvary. Jesus has met all our debt and we need to receive our forgiveness in Him.

Payment he will not twice demand,
First at my blessed Saviour’s hand,
And then again at mine!

Bible Reading

“Read the Bible daily. Make it part of every day’s business to read and meditate on some portion of God’s Word. Gather your manna fresh every morning. Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst, part of your time. But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and the Bible every day.”

~ J.C. Ryle