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scripture

2 In Devotions

Fight Well: Know Your Enemy

armour - fight well

Fight, Flee or Flow

Many times in life we come to a crossroads. Are we going to fight, flee or flow? When we fight, we stand our ground and fight for what we believe. To flee is to run from conflict and let other’s deal with it, seeking a new place of comfort. Or we go with the flow, and let what happens to happen and adapt to the changes that the crossroads brings.

Many times we get into fights over little offences and who was wrong or unjust to ‘Me’. Our focus turns from raising Jesus higher, and we concern ourselves with our own rights and wants. This is when we enter the blame game. “She did this to me…” “If he wasn’t so…” Our entire attitude toward life shifts when we take our eyes of Jesus and focus on ourselves. Over the past several months, the past year even, God has been teaching me a good deal about his grace. Jesus’ grace doesn’t seek to blame or run from troubles. Jesus’ grace seeks to fight for us. To change us to be more like him.

Jesus desires for us to be more like Him.

Not for us to blame the others.  That causes further separation. Not for us to run from every moment of conflict. That is not constructive. Not for us to just give up and let the actions of others dictate what we do and who we become. No! His grace enables us to fight strong. That we may fight the unfairness and injustice in our lives. To fight against our own sin and the sins of others, not to blame, but to bring us closer to Him.

John 3:17 says,

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

If we are to be saved, we need to accept the change Christ offers to us in his grace. He does not condemn us, but he convicts us to change us and save us.

Which brings us back to our fight. Our war is not with each other. When we sin it is not good for us to hold ourselves nor each other guilty. We need to recognise that this is a spiritual warfare. The devil wants us to fail and he schemes and fights against us to make us weak so we fail. Let us prepare for this battle and pray all the more so that we are stronger each day. Prayer and the Word of God is what we use to fight against the devil when he wants us to fail. It is so important for us to immerse ourselves in scripture so we can recognise the battle and fight against it in strength.

Let’s fight this together.

Build knowledge of the word of God to build our faith. Know the truth and keep our righteousness that comes with salvation. We must always be ready and pray continually. God will give us strength to fight but we must be strengthened and trained. In scripture and prayer we learn to use the proper tools to fight our enemy, the devil. Pray with me that we may be strong in this battle together.

Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-18‬ ‭ESV

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” ‭‭

 

4 In Devotions

Boundaries and Rules for Protection

boundaries

Whilst in worship during a recent time of fasting, God revealed to me that one of the practical ways I can worship Jesus, is by not doing things that will potentially lead me into sin. Creating boundaries of protection to keep me from sinfulness.

I saw an image of my old high school. When I started in the school, the school boundary was laid out by some low walls around the premises, some parts not even walled. Easy for people to jump over. About a year after I began, the school put up high fences, realigning the boundaries. Kids commented that the school was fenced in like a jail. In reality, the fences were put up to keep people out. To keep people out during school hours who may potentially want to harm children. Also to keep away people outside of school hours who would desire to damage school property.

God’s Boundaries

God’s rules are much like that fence. When we have the wrong attitude about his boundaries, we may think that Jesus wants to keep us trapped. In reality, Jesus knows that without rules and boundaries, we allow the enemy to come in and bring danger to us. He wants to tempt us and bring harm to us.

Jesus explains in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (NLT)

When we understand the purpose of Jesus’ rules for us, we embrace them. We know it is for our protection for an abundant life (ESV). Any playing against the rules just serves to let the enemy in and bring us harm.

The best way we can worship Jesus is through obeying him. Stay in the boundaries of protection and enjoy the freedom in Jesus, away from harm. How can we obey him? By growing in knowledge of what the Bible says about these things. Daily Bible reading is key to knowing God’s will and his word. It is through consistent growth of knowledge that we can obey Him.

Psalm 119

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
    all the rules[c] of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
    as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

(Click the link above to read the full Psalm)

Lord Jesus, Thank you for your boundaries of love to bring me protection and an abundant life. Help me worship you by living in obedience to your Word each day. Amen

0 In Mission in Bali

Adrienne’s Mission in Bali | July – August 2015

Spelling Game

I have been thinking these past few months about education. Well, this would seem natural, being in a teaching position. The other week I read in the Word, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1). I giggle at myself because I, like most of us I think, do not like being judged for my job. Yet, here I am, teaching, and judged more strictly for it. Education is such an important part of life, someone once told me that we learn something new every day. I was in middle school when I heard this, and naturally I thought this was talking about education in school. As I’m growing up, I’ve remembered that phrase and I realise, education and learning is not always from the classroom.

Every day I can learn something, about the world, about the people around me, about God, and about myself. However, the majority of what I learn is because I have learned something else previously. I can build upon what I already know. One of the most important things we can gain education in is the written word. When I was studying at Bible college, one of my teachers liked to remind us, “Give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you’ll feed him for a lifetime.” So these past two months have been most rewarding as I have settled in my new role at Bali Life Street Centre.

Four Rs: Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmatic, Respect.

Learning brings purpose
In my class we have four regular students. Their ages are 5 years old, 7 years old, 11years old, and 14 years old, and then on occasion, more students join to learn, too. Why such a wide age-range? Because their education level is the same – i.e.: Grade 1. Sure, it’s cute when a 7year old learns to read and you can listen to them stumble over new words and definitely feel pride in how they have learned, and great to watch a five year old counting toys as he learns addition – beyond counting his fingers on two hands. However, one of the most rewarding parts of this job for me is when the eleven and fourteen year olds can read, and read with confidence. I began teaching them sight words early in my time here, so they weren’t sounding out every single word, but able to see a word and immediately know what it was. Through learning to read, these children are able to walk into a whole new world of learning.

Seeds of Life

If a child can learn to read, he or she can learn anything. As long as there is something written in a language he or she knows. Teach a child to read and he can learn his entire life. However, as James points out, being a teacher is not an easy job. It’s a role of responsibility and leadership. It’s a humbling feeling to have children look up to me as a mentor, and knowing that I can help them. But our centre is more than just teaching kids to read and write, or how to pass into middle school. We teach character. Some of these kids have been brushed aside, by their parents and others in authority, forgotten by society, ignored. At the street centre, we have the opportunity to sow seeds of life. We’re teaching children that they are loved, respected, and have a purpose. Also teaching them how to love and respect others. Aside from the kids in my class, we also have teens and preteens who have dropped out of school. These kids do know how to read and write. They want to further their education in order to complete the national test to enter middle school or high school. Every day we learn something. I’m glad to be able to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but respect, character and morals take these kids a whole lot further into their future. Mostly it comes through leading by example, which is a big deal. I get to show them that they are important. They have value, respect and purpose in life.

What I learned on holidays

Sepeda

In July I had the opportunity to go to Java for a holiday with some teens from our children’s home. Whilst it was a fun, relaxing four day holiday, I also had the opportunity for learning. On the way to our destination, we went up a mountain. On the side of the mountain, I heard a shout. At first I thought they were peddlers trying to sell things, and then I asked our host about it. She told me they were kids and elderly begging. I saw the kids and elderly were dropped off at the mountain each day to beg as cars, bikes, buses and trucks drove past. Then I noticed people literally throwing small change out their windows, and kids running into the road, dodging cars, bikes, buses and trucks, to retrieve that money.

Everywhere in Indonesia needs help. These kids would not be on the streets if they were in education. These kids would not be risking their lives on the side of a mountain if they were in a class room, learning. Bali Life motto is Hope, Dignity and Purpose. These children and women do not have much dignity in their life of begging. It’s the same whether it’s in Bali or Java or wherever. Begging isn’t dignified, and it’s not living out their purpose. I am glad to teach the kids I can, to read and write, but it also opens up their mind to think about their purpose and give them hope for a life of dignity. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans…to give you hope and a future.” Their life has purpose and hope.

Life of Purpose

Story Time

Stories for character development with K’Riska

The other week I was teaching the kids a social studies subject and something came up along the lines of occupations. That brought up every child, at least in the west, likes to talk about: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Another way of asking this is, “What is your future desire?” My two young students wanted to be a doctor and a police officer. My older kids said they wanted to go into middle school.

Purpose on Streets?

Last week I was on the street and meeting with some other kids who do not come to our centre, and I was talking with a twelve year old boy. He said he went to school in grade 1, but dropped out and can only read a little bit. So I asked him the same question I had asked the kids in the centre, his answer broke my heart.

He said he didn’t have a future desire. Upon further questioning, he said he used to want to be a police officer, but now felt he couldn’t do that. I encouraged him to come to school with me to read and write, and encouraged him that there are other kids his age who are learning at the same level as him. He was really eager to come, unfortunately, the next day he didn’t show up. Perhaps his parents did not want him to come, or he was shy. Nevertheless, I remember him and will invite him again when I see him next. Bringing this back around, the children in our centre can begin to think about their future, seeing hope for their future. I feel so full to teach them, but I am aware there are so many more who are still not reached with education.

 Praise Points
*Every day God’s grace and protection keep me safe here. Especially as I’m on the roads with children on my bike to take them to and from school
*We have a new Indonesian teacher three days a week for our older class. To teach them and help them pass their national exam to enter formal education
*Our children are growing in their characters and growing dreams for their future
*More projects for our women to continue creating products and earn their income in the Women’s Workshop
Prayer Requests
*The children who do not yet attend can come to school and learn
*God’s continued protection and presence in my life here
*Continued strength, health and safety to teach these children
*VISA approval continues
Blessings in Christ,
Adrienne Stone
Contact Details
Check out more info at www.balilife.org
Or their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/balilife
0 In Devotions

Being in Him

being in him

Being in Him

In him we live and move and have our being, (Acts 17:28 NIV)

You know those times in life when a particular scripture verse continues to come to you again and again?
Well, now is one of those times and this is that verse. I hardly know what it means, or the context, or how it applies to me. Yet it has continued to come up in various books, devotions, radio programs, etc. over this year. What does it mean?
“What does God really want from me? I’ve pondered that question since the day I first came to Christ. It was one of the two questions Saul asked when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus: “Who are you? What shall I do? (Acts 22:8,10).” -Sharon Jaynes.

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10).

How true. How relevant. Today I am home from work. Actually, I feel ok, I was a little ill over the weekend and today I need this time to continue healing. I’m beginning to think that God let me have this day off so that I can have some quiet time with him again. I haven’t had quiet time in a long time. I have always had people and tasks and music to distract me. So today, just me and God, the clicking of the keys as I type and the sound of rain outside.

In him we live and move and have our being.

When I read that verse I knew I had to stop and listen. God, what are you telling me?
I need to stop trying and I need to stop ‘working’. I am a goal setter. If I am not doing something, I feel down and unfulfilled and the word depressed comes to mind. That’s not being a Christian. That’s not finding peace and stillness in God.

Stop doing, start being

I almost say, “What can I do to change this?”
Isn’t that ironic. I’m doing too much and to fix it I think I need to do something else. Ha! I must let out a quiet chuckle at myself as I reflect on how ridiculous that is. But it’s so true, isn’t it. Humans constantly want to fix things and do it all on our own, yet we can’t. I have to stop doing and start being. Stop doing Christianity and stop doing good things. And start being a disciple of Christ. That’s the difference between doing and being. Doing Christianity is doing all the right things, singing the right songs, saying the right stuff.

Disciples

Yet being a disciple is who we are. Knowing Christ. Knowing him. Part of him. In him we live and move and have our being. Being a Christian isn’t about what I do. It’s about knowing God and having him part of my life. I need to wrap up my identity in him so that I cannot be who I am without him.

You are loved

The people in Athens didn’t even know this God, yet they wanted to pay him tribute with an idol. Then Paul came and explained that the unknown God has made himself known. We can know him and be his friend and his child. We don’t have to do anything to be loved by him. He loves us because we come from him. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Likewise, nothing can make him love us more. He just does. His love is so powerful and more than I can comprehend. No matter how long I live, no matter what I do for him, he loves me the same. His love is complete. My life is to be devoted to him, but not what I can do for him, but what he can do through me. Now is the time to stop doing and start being.

Being is existing

Being can also be translated as exist. In him we exist. My entire existence is because of him. Who I am and what I do and how I live should be based on who he is. Yet how can I do that, if I don’t know him. Be still and know. It is time to get to know Jesus again. Of course I know who he is, but to reignite the flame that held him so dear once again. To remember everything he has done and who he says I am and what he calls me to. Not what others say I am or expect of me, but my whole existence, being and life is to be based on who he says I am.

Begin a journey

It’s going to be a long journey, but it is the journey that makes it worthwhile. I must be quiet and come to know him again, on a personal level, as when I first met him. I must be excited to know all about him once more.
0 In Devotions

Gideon

Gideon

I want to talk about things I’ve learned from the story of Gideon in Judges 6-8.

God sent an angel to tell Gideon that he was going to lead the Israelites into victory against the Midianites. Gideon made many excuses. I’m too young. I’m too small. Judges 6:14-16. Then he set a test for God. Judges 6:36-40. Afterwards we see how God used a small army of Israelites with Gideon to defeat the Midianites in Judges 7.

Two things I love about Gideon:

1.    God doesn’t need the biggest or bravest person.
Often he chooses the smallest. It is when we are weak that God’s power truly shines through. If you feel like God is telling you to do something that you’re not so sure about, don’t worry. It’s not by your power, but by God’s spirit that it will happen.
Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit” says the LORD.
2.    We are encouraged to test the Word of God.
Don’t just jump out and make an irrational decision. Think and pray about things before you jump ahead and do it. Acts 17:11 The Bereans examined and studied what they heard to make sure it was true and right. They were called noble because of this. If we feel that we have to go and do something for Christ, then we should be encouraged to study and pray about it first.

Gideon visited by an angelGideon testing God


Walking in God’s will

We shouldn’t be scared to walk in God’s will. If we’re claiming it is Gods will, we better make sure that it is from God and not just our own wills and wants. However, if you’re kind of in a situation where you don’t really know what to do with your life. If you’re struggling to make the next step; if you feel like you’re not really hearing from God, that’s not an excuse to sit back and do nothing either.

Busy at His Work

We’ve been told to keep busy at God’s work while we wait for his return. Don’t just sit around and do nothing. So if you’re not really sure of your life’s purpose, then Just Do Something. I’m sure God’s not going to condemn you for doing something good for his glory. It’s not hard to find what God sees as good works for him. If you’re struggling in finding God’s will then just go serve the poor and needy, share your faith with a co-worker or friend. Visit an aged-care home. There are oodles of things you could do to share God’s love. Even in your everyday life you can do that.

Say no to feelings

You may feel like Gideon and think you are too small, or the task is too impossible to carry out. You may feel scared out of your mind, but with God all things are possible. It may take a bit of trial and error. If you start out pursuing something and God wants you to go somewhere else, that’s all good too, at least you are trying. Who knows that by moving in those other areas, you could be opening opportunities to move ahead until you realise God’s will.

Possible

Saying that all things are possible with God doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want or get whatever you want. But it does mean that whatever God wants for you and your life, he will carry that out and bring things around to give you those things.
God gives you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). The deep secret desires you have, God’s given them to you. If you continue to trust and move forward to pursue that, then he will make it happen. Don’t run and fear the big things, prepare yourself to take on the big things when the opportunity arises.