Author Archives: Simon Smith

About Simon Smith

Simon is passionate about God and seeing people come into the fullness of life that Jesus' redemption paid for. He seeks to challenge, encourage and empower men to breakdown barriers, attitudes and mindsets preventing them from living Holy God centered lives. (He's like a wrecking ball to barriers!)

What do you seek?

Seeking after the things of God, not this world reflects your priorities in life. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a career or interests outside a faith setting. It is when your pursuits in life give no regard to God, you may find trouble beckoning.  The hurts you experience along the way may begin to spiral out of control when you are unable to, or unaware of how to view them as opportunities.

Getting God’s perspective on the tension between joy and tribulation can provide you with the greatest lessons in life.

God has a goal for each and every one of our lives. It isn’t just to make us happy, but to model for us how to be Holy – by being more like Him.  Jesus knew and endured pain, ridicule and shame.  He was disowned, ignored, physically beaten.

The writer of the Bible book of Hebrews says that it was through the pain and suffering that Jesus Christ endured on our behalf taught Him obedience.  (Hebrews 5:8). Through these times it was who He put His faith and trust in that Jesus got through – He learned to depend on God, and God alone.

It is when we can see God’s providential care and involvement in the good and bad times; in the valleys and on top of the mountains; in the dark times and bright, then we can build the resilience that comes from depending on God. 

Not much in this world comes without risk. The saying goes “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.”  Allowing yourself to become vulnerable and opening your heart to God is the first key in allowing the hurt you have endured to be used for good, for those set backs to become set ups! 

It is said of Saint Basil (303 – 379 AD) that his faith was ambidextrous because “he welcomed pleasure with his right hand and afflictions with the left, convinced both would serve God’s design for him.”  Seeking God in all seasons of your life, trusting God in the joys and tribulations of life is where ‘ambidextrous faith’ is beneficial.

When we look around with our eyes open, we can be distracted by the issues and struggles of life.  When you close your eyes, these distractions and biases become less influential. Determine to close you eyes to your hurts and ask God to reveal to you how He is able to turn these around into greater possibilities.

 

Where’s the hope?

Life’s challenges can leave even the strongest of people replacing hope with doubt and fear. Several times throughout the Bible, God reminds His people to “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid…for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV)

Having listened to the negative voices in the past you may be carrying hurt deep with in your heart that needs to be exposed to be healed. There may be such hurt and pain, or unforgiveness so repressed that you don’t remember what actually happened. I’ve heard it said of generational family feuds and long running marriage problems, that no one involved can clearly articulate what started the dispute. What a waste of opportunity for living in hope when you can’t remember what started an argument. 

A significant key to hope is to apprehend what God says about you and surrender all your hurt to Him.  Healing so deep can be painful. It is also the place of new beginnings.  Birthing a new life is painful, ask any mother.  

Some of the things that the Bible records of God saying about you includes how you are His beloved, His pearl of great price, you are more than a conqueror. 

The Bible also says that God has given you a spirit of power, love and self-control, not one of fear. That He has placed within you the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The ability to be strong and very courageous in all circumstances is repeated several times under different circumstances. 

God also says He will provide a place of rest from the battles within and without. When you have Him as Lord of all of your life, you are not immune from life’s challenges, but He gives you the ability to overcome any test or temptation that comes your way. He also promises to never leave you, or forsake you.  
The mess, test or pain you are or have experienced could be the very thing that God is waiting to show you just how much He loves and cares for you.  Your breakthrough, and witness of it could be the very thing that helps someone else regain hope. Every human being past, present and future, has been created in God’s own image. It stands to reason then, that His desire for your life is not to set up residence in the darkness but continue to walk through all of life’s experiences. If you don’t turn towards the light, you may never see how bright your future can really be. 

If there is so much positivity that God has spoken over your life, don’t you think that it is worth placing all you hope in what He says about you and not the negative influences of this world?

Responding versus Reacting

The world will tell you that mediocrity is acceptable. God’s word tell us that “in all things we are more than conquerer’s through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)”

We all go through pain in our lives. Whether it be that initial slap on the buttocks at birth, relationship breakdowns or a financial meltdown, what we do with it shapes its influence on our remaining years. We can choose to either react (to act in opposition to a former condition or act), or respond (to react to a stimulus or to a treatment, especially in a favourable way).

  • The baby’s reaction is to cry, responding with opening its lungs for more breath; 
  • Relationship breakdowns may cause a reaction that is self destructive, where as a favourable response might include self reflection to understand how our own patterns of behaviour may have influenced the breakdown;
  • Financial meltdown reactions could include self harm or seeking out vices to find that illusive quick fix, whereas a favourable response might include adequate planning or change of habits.

The saying goes “God can turn your mess into a message, your test into a testimony, or your pain into gain.”  Learning how to respond rather than react to life’s situations can have a favourable outcome for your life, and for those around you.  It can be difficult seeing through the fog of challenges to see the future promises.  Remaining positive and pushing through can reduce the severity and frequency of the times you need to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.   

Two keys to achieving this are calling on God’s voice that can silence the negative voices.  Then once you learn how to use this key, you can begin to apprehend what God says about you, not the opinions of the naysayers. 

Determine within yourself today, that you will not let the barriers, attitudes and mindsets that have been negative influences on your past decisions to have a place of residence in your future.

No Condemnation

SCRIPTURE:  Romans 8:1 “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NKJV)

OBSERVATION:  Under Old Testament law, a sacrifice had to be made for the cleansing of all sins.  Since Christ’s death and ressurection was a once and for all sacrifice for the sins of all peoples, throughout all of histroy, Pauls states that we are no longer condemned to death as a result of our sinful natures but through Jesus’ sacrificial death, we can now be freed from condemnation into the fullness of a life restored to our creator God.

APPLICATION:  When our past is brought up, it can stir up emotions within us that either cause us to react or respond. When the enemy of our souls tries to remind us of our past, we are most likely to feel the emotion of condemnation. That is to feel that the forgiveness that Christs death and resurrection brought for us was not sufficient to cleanse that sin from our lives. Sometimes in the heat of an argument, or passionate discussion with a spouse, a friend or family member, we or they may react in a way that brings about condemnation in the atmosphere.  This can demonstrate to us that we have not forgiven a past issue or released someone of a hurt that is in the past. It may even be telling us that there is something we haven’t forgiven ourselves over.

Contrary, sometimes something from our past is brought up and the emotion of condemnation is absent, but we feel compelled to respond. This could be that there is still a lesson to be learnt, or some further equipping that is required. We may feel a prompting from the Holy Spirit about a lesson that God wanted us to learn from to help us on our journey to our destiny. It is also possible that we haven’t truly repented for a past sin and subsequently released someone from that bondage of unforgiveness.

I heard a saying that ‘unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.’  Is there a past issue surfacing in your life that needs to be dealt with? To have the Blood of Jesus applied to it?  Which of the above is it?  If you are feeling condemned then don’t let it become a root of bitterness, but release the person (including yourself if approriate) and seek to be reconciled with them. If there is no condemnation then ask God what lesson still needs to be learnt so you can continue towards your destiny.  Maybe there is an attitude or mindset within you that needs adjusting.

PRAYER:  Lord God, guide me I pray to know when I need to forgive and to be forgiven so that no unforgiveness can take root in my life. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN

Perspective

SCRIPTURE: Psalms 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (NIV)

OBSERVATION: The events that were facing King David when he wrote this Psalm are unknown.  Regardless of whether he was facing another battle against the physical enemy, going through a personal struggle or simply reflecting on who the LORD God was to him, we read that King David knew God was his helper.

APPLICATION:  The picture accompanying this blog is one that I took during a recent extended stay in hospital.  During this time I was reminded of a story of two men who shared a hospital room which had only one window.  I recall in that story how only one of these two men could see the view out the window.  During daily conversations, the man by the window would describe the view to the other.  His descriptions included a colourful picture of the park with a lake filled with ducks, people walking hand in hand around the lake and children playing in the park.  Both men enjoyed this interaction which brought joy to their days.

One morning the man farthest from the window woke to find that the other man had passed away during the night.  He asked the nurse of he could swap sides of the room to be able to enjoy the view that was so often discussed.  Bemused, the nurse agreed.  The man soon became disheartened to discover that the view was actually facing a brick wall.  The man was advised by the nurse that the other man was blind and assumed that he was sharing his perspective on what he imagined the view would be like.

We are all faced with moments of disappointment in our lives, along with opportunities to control our perspective and influence our atmosphere.  Like the blind man in this story, I had the opportunity to bemoan my view from the hospital window.  I knew exactly what direction I was looking out at, that I would be able to enjoy the sunrising in my room most mornings, and watching the weather patterns and pedestrians throughout the day.  My perspective was, despite why I was there, to make the most of the time I had to stop, rest and count my blessings; to use it as an opportunity to spend much quality time with God.  Yes, I missed my family and friends, the freedom and fresh air, but I chose to look to the hills, because I knew my help was and continues to come from God.

PRAYER:  Dear God, help me to see life through your perspective, that I may be constantly aware of your presence and help, regardless of my present situation.  AMEN