21st February 2016

Developing spiritual strength

As we engage with God, we get spiritual strength. The apostle Paul was writing Ephesians from prison. He wasn’t in comfort, in a study, writing this. He was in prison and had been flogged and beaten. He was familiar with suffering yet able to write the beautiful verses in Ephesians 3:14-21.

The season of life we find ourselves in cannot, should not, must not dictate in our minds what is true. It’s easy, when life’s going well, to think that God is good, but then when life isn’t going so well, to think God isn’t as good as we thought He was. But God’s goodness isn’t dependent on what we go through.

Everything we know and have comes from the Father – God is completely sovereign, He is in control of all things. That’s what we see from the start of this passage, in verses 14 and 15. We live under the mighty hand of God, which brings total security, reassurance and safety. He is with us.

We then learn that this Father gives us strength (v16). He strengthens and reinforces our inner being with mighty power. The Holy Spirit galvanises us from the inside out.

The third thing (v17) is that Christ dwells in us. We need faith to actually see this. Jesus is living in us by His Spirit, transforming us. And we are, in Christ, rooted and grounded in love. We are welded in! We are fixed into this eternal love that is not fleeting but is permanent, pure and immovable. We cannot be separated from it.

We can know this love (v19). We can actually know it and experience it tangibly. The Holy Spirit makes this a reality for us, pouring God’s love into our hearts continually. If we chase after our feelings, they will often let us down. What we think shapes what we believe. We need to hold both together, that our minds will know we’re loved by the Father, and our hearts would be affected by this reality.

In the rest of verse 19, the apostle Paul prays that we would “be filled with all the fullness of God”. The Holy Spirit makes God a reality to us – He guides us into truth, revealing the Father to us, speaking to us, filling us and flooding our hearts with the love of God. This is how we’re meant to live.

Whatever you are facing, these amazing truths can help you to praise your God – the One who can do so much more than we ask or imagine (v20) for His glory (v21).

Santino Hamberis

Posted by Santino Hamberis


15th February 2015

Strengthen Yourself in God: Grasping the Truth

Discipleship groups take place this week on Tuesday at 12.30pm and Friday at 6am. Come in groups or individually, or you can also use the blog and life application questions in your own small group settings.

David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. He was able to do this because he knew who God was. He had an intimate experience of God. It wasn’t just something he knew in his head. He was living with it on a daily basis.

David's confidence came from a revelation of God and his place in God's purpose. Reading Psalm 139, we get a glimpse of the timeless truths David had grasped. We see that David knew that the God who parted the Red Sea is the same God who has searched and knows David personally.

We read that David knew God’s hand of comfort and delight, keeping him safe, keeping him from running off. David knew that he was created by a loving Father – he didn’t evolve, he was “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God.

God is very good at what He does! All that He made is good – He says the same over you. David knew that God’s works were wonderful – he knew it deep down in his soul! He grasped that God knew him before he was even the size of a thumbnail, before he had lived even one day. God has taken an interest in your individual life.

David strengthened himself in the Lord his God by grabbing hold of truth; God’s thoughts were precious to him. What about for us? We live after Jesus has come. David just glimpsed at these things, but we live in the full reality of them.

Reading Romans 8 in the New Testament, we find that now that we are “in Christ Jesus”, there is no condemnation over you – we are like Teflon to condemnation: it just can’t stick! We will never be judged as ‘guilty’, because Jesus has taken away our sin. If we’re in Jesus, we are free from guilt – all our sin has gone and we are completely righteous in Christ!

But the gospel isn’t just a legal standing of guilt or innocence; it is a relational thing: we read in verse 15 that we have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” We have moved from being as far away from God as we could be, to coming right in to the closest place, where we can call Him, “Daddy!”

God is Creator, Judge, Sustainer of all things, but this is not how we relate to Him: we come to Him as Daddy! We can run into His presence any time we want and we will not be rejected, because He is our Father.

And there’s more! We’ve been predestined (pre-decided) to be part of His family, we’ve been chosen, we’ve been justified, we will be glorified! It is just as if we’d never sinned, and this is a ‘golden chain’ of salvation – if the first part is true, the last part will be true too.

Romans 8 goes on to say: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (8:31) God didn’t spare His own Son when it came to our salvation! It’s gives us great confidence that God will give us all things – that we can know and savour Christ and live our lives in the fullness of all He has won for us through His death and resurrection!

Keep reading! Do you know that nothing can separate us from the love of God? We’re the objects of His love! He’s lavished it upon us and we are now His children! (See 1 John 3:1.) There is such a richness to our salvation!

God wants you to know His love, which surpasses understanding. If this truth is going to have a lasting impact on your life, you need to pickle yourself in it. Spend some time reading Psalm 139 and Romans 8, meditating on them and getting them deep into your heart. Allow your thoughts to be shaped by His thoughts. If we are going to strengthen ourselves in God, we need to know the truth and allow it to fill us.

Paul Mann

Posted by Paul Mann


1st February 2015

Strengthen Yourself in God: Speaking

Discipleship groups take place this week on Tuesday at 12.30pm and Friday at 6am. Come in groups or individually, or you can also use the blog and life application questions in your own small group settings.

Words are powerful. What we speak out can either build up or tear down. Their impact can last for decades. Your words are not only powerful to other people, but they are powerful to your own soul. Proverbs 18:21 says: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” (The Message)

The Apostle Paul wrote that we should: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭16-22‬)

If we are filled with the Spirit, it is easier to do the things that we are commanded to do. Actually, it’s impossible to fulfil them if we’re not! Giving thanks in all circumstances? Really? When we thank God, it keeps us open to receiving from Him.

We don’t thank God for the bad circumstances. We thank Him despite them. We thank Him because He has wonderfully saved us. We thank Him because He is good and works all things together for our good. We thank Him because He is a generous, good Father who is worthy to be thanked. It is a faith thing: believing His promises and thanking Him for His goodness and grace and blessings.

“As I give thanks for the good gifts he has put in my life, I present convincing evidence that He is my Father, He is for me, and His opinion pretty much cancels out all others.” Bill Johnson

Let me encourage you: if you’re not a thankful person, start writing an inventory of all the things you have to thank God for and then start each day thanking Him. It will do your soul good. If you’re facing difficult circumstances, mix your pain with thanksgiving to God. Keep facing God and opening yourself up to Him. When we're thankful, it gives a platform for Him to pour out more into our lives.

If giving thanks in all circumstances is difficult, “rejoice always” sounds completely unreasonable! But if we go far enough in thanksgiving, we reach rejoicing. Rejoicing isn’t an emotion – it’s an act of the will. If you’re not a particularly joyful person – if you have joy issues – be a rejoicer!

The Psalms describe those who rejoice in God as those who worship with their whole bodies – our physical actions affect what happens on the inside. You can clap, kneel, dance, sing, raise your hands – let your body express something of your worship, and celebrate yourself into a place of praise. It’s a sacrifice of praise, but right actions release right emotions and right thinking.

My ambition is that we are the most joyful place in Hastings & 1066 Country! Because of what He’s given for us and done for us. Our Father is smiling over us and loves watching us. Doesn’t that make you smile? God’s good!

We’re also to “pray without ceasing”! One of the things I love about this church is our prayerful past. As we pray, we’re saying we can’t do it on our own; we need God. If you’re not prayerful, you’re arrogant, because you’re saying you don’t need His help. I want to connect with my Father! I love our prayerful past, but I want a prayerful future. It’s not that we’ve got to pray; it’s that we get to pray! Jesus has made a way so that there’s no barrier between me and God!

Finally, we’re to prophesy. Prophecy builds up the church – it brings strength to us individually and corporately. When I pray, I speak to God, but I also want to hear from Him. We’re told to test prophecy – we need to ask if it lines up with the Bible, if others have a sense of God in what was said, if there is integrity in the life of the person bringing it, if there are other confirming words, etc.

But once we’ve tested the prophetic, we’re told to “hold fast” to it – are you holding fast to prophetic words? When was the last time God spoke to you? He wants to speak to you today!

We need to be powerful with our words. Words can persuade a group of men to climb up out of the trenches and run to their certain deaths. How much more powerful are the words of those who speak God’s truth?

We need to guard our hearts and be careful with our words as they either bring life to my soul or someone else’s, or they poison it. There is life in our words. What we speak has incredible power.

Paul Mann

Posted by Paul Mann


18th January 2015

Strengthen Yourself in God: Believing

Discipleship groups take place this week on Tuesday at 12.30pm and Friday at 6am. Come in groups or individually, or you can also use the blog and life application questions in your own small group settings.

God wants you free, healed and fruitful. He has given us all we need to follow Him and live for Him. But we have to access it.

When we read the words of Solomon to his son in Proverbs 4:20-27, we know that these are the words our Father in heaven would say to us, today, too.

We’re told to be vigilant of our hearts because all life flows out from the heart. Notice that we are told to guard our hearts. It’s our responsibility. The way to tell what is in your heart is by what flows out – what goes on inside us can so often be seen on the outside. Jesus said that good things come out of the good stored up in our hearts (Luke 6:43-45).

We can tell what’s going on in our hearts by what we say, how we react to situations, whether we build up those around us or tear them down, even by what we write on Facebook.

We will never fulfil our potential in God if we do not learn how to guard our hearts: “The heart and what we do in stewarding that one place determines the outcome of our lives” – Bill Johnson

Strengthening ourselves in God is all about guarding our hearts and stewarding them well. How do we cultivate healthy believing?

“Listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they are bursting with health.” (Proverbs 4:20-22 MSG)

What is shaping your life? Is it family? Work? Tragedy? Your past? Illness? Or is it what God says about you? We guard our hearts and strengthen ourselves in God by letting His word over our lives cancel out our old beliefs about who we are.

If I plant an apple tree but it doesn’t have any apples on it, is it still an apple true? Yes! Likewise, we’re not defined by circumstances, tradition, or anything other than what God says about us. If He says He has chosen us and appointed us to bear fruit, then we will be fruitful. Sometimes we’re not bearing fruit, but that doesn’t change our identity. We need to pursue Him and believe His promises, because what He says about us trumps everything else.

How good are you at speaking out truth to other people? There is something powerful about speaking out truth, both to ourselves and to others. It does something on the inside.

Defining ourselves by the word of God takes training: we need to remind ourselves of the promises of God often, dwell on them, reflect on them, speak them out.

There are times, however, were we suffer from ‘broken believing’, where we are stuck in patterns of thinking and behaviour that are broken and don't line up with what God says about us. They stop us being fruitful and can provide an opening for the enemy to trip us up. The Bible calls these ‘strongholds’ (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). These need to be actively torn down, and in their place we need to build new strongholds based on God’s unfailing love.

When I have a stronghold in my thinking, it will only be looking for proof of what it already believes. Everything will be seen through that filter. The reality is that all of us believe things that aren’t true, but in some ways the highest level of spiritual warfare is taking every thought captive and making them obedient to Christ. We need to guard our minds and our hearts, allowing knowledge of God and obedience to Christ to reign. We need to keep fighting, using the Word of God as a weapon. In Christ, we have the power to demolish every stronghold.

I find that it’s a like a thief climbing in through the window of rejection and then opening wide the doors of discouragement! And once they’re open, it’s a bit like a train, it’s not just one negative thought, but a whole load of carriages one after another. If I’m going to guard my heart and renew my mind, I need to understand which lie I’m believing. We need to identify the lie by finding out what God says about it. We need to renounce the lie and announce the truth. Replace the lie with the truth, through mulling over God's word.

We need to demolish strongholds and fill our minds with the wonderful truth that God loves us. He has provided all we need for life and godliness. But we have to play an active part too. What practical steps will you take to guard your heart and renew your mind this week?

Paul Mann

Posted by Paul Mann










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