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Dayle's Blog

26 May – When Will I Be Good Enough?

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I’ve been having a conversation with one of our son’s about being good. He wants so much to do the right thing and often berates himself for not being good enough.

It’s not an uncommon mindset and many religions and traditions throughout history have focused on mankind’s ability to be good and the quantity and quality of their good works. So often we hear people commend someone they admire for being a “good person”. Yet sadly in making “being good” our goal there is also an inherent danger of comparisons, self righteous attitudes, finger pointing and judgements made about others.

When we hold to these beliefs there is also the danger that when something difficult or tragic happens to a person to draw the conclusion that unfortunate circumstances and loss are because people are flawed in some way. When we too experience suffering we can begin to ask, “What have I done wrong, or aren’t I doing enough good to deserve better than this?”

On the other end of the scale is the need for us to try and make up for our past mistakes and the hurt we may have caused.  The thought is that, “If I’m only good enough and do enough “good” things I can balance out all the bad I have done in my life.”

All these “good works” however rest primarily in our limited ability and strength and leave us lacking, comparing ourselves to others and falling short of a holiness and standard of goodness that is impossible to attain on our own.

The whole point of Jesus coming to earth was to eradicate the need for anyone to be good enough. No one can do that, for we all fall short. (Romans 3:23) Instead Jesus offers to take our shortcomings and failures and to cleanse us from all our mess ups and lack of goodness. All He asks is that we stay connected to Him and allow His love to fill our hearts. As a result His goodness (which never runs out), love, peace, and joy will flood our lives on an ongoing basis. No toil on our part, just simple connection and union with Jesus. (John 15)

The simple key which I’ve been endeavouring to teach our son is that life isn’t about being good, it’s about love. When that love focus is directed to loving God first and foremost, then the goodness we so often strive to exhibit in our lives will flourish without us even trying to be good anymore. We will be good because God is good and His goodness is now who we are.

Today rather than trying to figure out how to be good, instead make love your highest goal. It will simplify everything, enable you to focus on what and who is important in your life, remove guilt and shame and produce the fruit of goodness, without all of the self reproach, striving and stress.

“Three things will last forever- faith, hope, land love – and the greatest of these is love…Let love be your highest goal.” (1 Corinthians 13:13; 14:1)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Prayer: Lord please help me to drop off the pressure and mindsets I can fall into of having to work at being good enough, when all I need do is focus on love. Thank you that when I come to you that you take all my mess up’s and shortcomings, cleanse me and declare me to be more than good enough. In Jesus name Amen.

25 May – When Can We Go Back To Normal?

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“When can we go back to normal?”  It’s the question that many people have been asking whilst in isolation, not at their regular jobs, schools and pastimes, and only now being able to see friends and extended family.

But perhaps a better question to ask whilst we are seeking after the comfort of our normal is, “Do I really want to go back to what was normal, if that’s even possible?”

Whenever we are faced with sudden changes in our circumstances we inherently crave for the safety of what we know; it’s the comfort seeker in us that wants things to stay the same, regardless of whether if was God’s best for us or not. It’s why people stay in the same job, struggle with the same relationship issues, remain stuck in negative or limiting habits and mindsets and why we can repeatedly fail to change long-term. Many people just want things to stay the same and to remain their “normal”.

However, God I think rarely thinks in line with our normal. He’s too creative for that. He instead seeks to take us to the next level, give us fresh ideas, open up opportunities and repeatedly says, “see I am doing a new thing”. I don’t believe God, who is only good, sends evil, stressful circumstances to harm or teach us a lesson us, but He will use whatever we may be facing to help shift and change things for the better in and around us. “He works all things together for our good” (Romans 8:28)

So today instead of hoping and longing for things to get back to normal, look for the new ideas, development opportunities and revelation God is releasing and wanting to share with you and choose to make that your “new normal”.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Prayer: Lord please help me to see where you are releasing new things in my life and positioning me to grow and develop. I don’t want to just get back to normal, but to take hold of every opportunity you have for me, even if that means me stepping up into something completely different from what I’ve known before. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 May – You Can Trust In God’s Goodness

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There are seasons in life where we will find ourselves living in conflict between what we are experiencing and what God says about our life and who He is.

This conflict leaves us with a choice. “Do I trust in my present circumstances which scream fear, risk, uncertainty, disappointment and worry, or do I trust in the dependable and reliable goodness of God and that He is working for me?”

David in the bible is a great example of someone who repeatedly had to put His trust in the goodness of God rather than allowing himself to be overwhelmed by his circumstances. He faced seasons of great adversity, loneliness, waiting for change, betrayal and the constant threat of violence. Yet his response was, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

For us to live the life we dream of and also still live in a place of rest and peace, David’s expectation and response must also be ours…”I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.”

A great illustration of this has been happening in our house. Due to restrictions on sporting games we have been watching reruns of games of our football team the West Coast Eagles being played on TV. We already know the score, who is going to kick the goals, take the best marks and play what, where. As a result we can just sit back, relax, cheer, chat and enjoy watching the game. There is no stress on our part because the outcome has already been decided. Our team wins.

Much like our football game watching, there is one thing we can rest assured of in our walk with God. It is knowing the outcome. God’s already recorded the score of the game in the record books – His book and guess what? We win, and He will work things out for our good! 

It’s why God says for us not to worry or to allow our hearts to be troubled. “Don’t worry or surrender to your fear.” (John 14:1 TPT)

Whether its adversity, conflict, viruses, global strife, pandemics; whatever the problem or pressure is we may be facing, it does not need to lead us into panic or fear.

We know the score ahead of time. God says, “All things work together for our good,” (Romans 8:28). So, if it’s not good yet the God’s overall game plan isn’t complete. God’s not done yet.

When we base our whole life; our decisions, reactions, expectations and dreams on the simple truths that God is good and He works all things together, (that’s ALL THINGS work together) for our good when we walk according to His purposes, it changes everything.

Why? Because we don’t need to worry, stress or wonder if everything will work out. We may be faced with decisions, struggles and uncertainty, yet when we base our responses and believing upon God, who is good, perfect and does not change, then we can relax,  and live our lives from a place of peace and confidence.

God knows the score and every play in the book. Nothing is a surprise to Him. He declares, “I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

This week if you find yourself troubled, worrying, or know you have to take a step forward but you are unsure, then base your trust, actions and responses in these truths.

  • GOD IS GOOD!  “He’s so much better than you think!”
  • You will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
  • That God is faithful to perform what He has promised.
  • God will work ALL things together for your good.

Prayer: Lord I thank you that in every circumstance of my life you are already working for me to bring good. Please help me today to trust and base my life and expectations in your goodness and to remember that you are always working ALL things together for my good. In Jesus name Amen.

23 May – 10,000 Hours

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Repeated practice is one of the most basic principles of learning to excel at something. Whatever we practice most is what we will become. Studies reveal that practising any skill for 10,000 hours is sufficient to make you an expert.

It’s therefore no surprise that what we practice is going to become second nature to us. As my son’s classical guitar teacher tells him, “eventually as you practice you gain muscle memory and your fingers will play almost automatically what you have repeatedly practiced.”

Perhaps that muscle memory comes into play far more than we realise. Our thoughts go instantly to  particular pathways in our brains when someone says something. Our face expressions respond almost automatically on hearing or thinking particular things. Our bodies respond instinctively under certain circumstances.

Repeated practice causes us to form habits, and as we all know we can form positive habits or negative ones. We can get in the habit of being uptight whenever life isn’t quite right, repeatedly reacting to criticism by defending ourselves, insisting on always being right, and seeing every challenge in life as an opportunity for a melt-down. If we practice these responses repeatedly we will eventually find ourselves reacting automatically this way to life.

Likewise if we choose to focus on the positive, to think before we speak, to practice self control and to spend time with Jesus, putting His word first then these things will become part of who we are. Practice this way of life from the heart repeatedly and it will generate qualities (or fruits) of compassion, patience, love, joy, peace, self control, and kindness.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

That’s essentially what “working out” our salvation is all about; it’s allowing who God has made us to be to be outworked in our lives.

Jesus said it this way, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

It’s immensely helpful to become more intentionally conscious of the habits we are practicing. The Holy Spirit helps us with this by giving gentle reminders when we are  putting into practice the negatives. He prompts us to think about what we are thinking about. To shift our focus if it’s unproductive and to choose to respond positively. To check regularly where and what our attention is, and whether we are cultivating habits that are in line with what we want our life to stand for?”

Today ask yourself, “Am I practicing what I want to become?”

Prayer: Lord please help me to practice what I want to become most, and to be sensitive to your Holy Spirit guiding and transforming me into all that you say I am. In Jesus name Amen.

22 May – What To Do When You Trip Up?

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Today on my run I took a tumble and tripped on a tree root that was on the path. It was quite a spectacular face plant and left me feeling winded on the ground.

As a lay face down in the dirt I was aware of cars slowing down as their occupants stared out their windows at me, the sting of gravel digging into my hands and the dirt on my face. It was great…NOT! But as I lay there I had to make some decisions. Stay where I was, get back up and limp home, or stand up, dust myself off and keep running. I chose the latter and decided to finish my run as usual, mentally making a note to watch my step more carefully in the future.

Tripping up is something most people will face at least once in their life. Attempt to do or be anything out of the ordinary, or to push yourself to your limits and you’ll more than likely stumble and bump yourself around a few times in the process.

However tripping up isn’t really the primary thing to focus upon or try to avoid; it’s what we decide to do when we find ourselves face down in the dirt that really matter. What will we do when it all looks too hard, when the excitement has died down and all we have left to draw upon is who we are as a person and God’s promises to us? What will we do when it hurts and we feel like we’ve been punched in the stomach and the wind’s been knocked out of us? When people don’t care or understand and we feel very alone?  

Our decisions in those moments, when tripping up has become a very present reality, will be what determines the course of our life and how happy and fulfilled our journey will be.

Today I got back up from my trip and resumed my run without a second’s thought. It’s through practice and a lot of previous character building situations that I’ve got back up from that have built that reflex inside of me.

What do you do when you trip up? You take a breathe, regain your composure and pray and ask God for some help. Then look straight ahead as you get back up again and keep moving forward. And in the words of Martin Luther King Jr,  “If you can’t run then walk and if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you’ve got to keep moving forward.” 

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 37:14)

“But he answered me, My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-12 TPT)

Prayer: Lord please give me the strength to keep moving forward today. Giving up is not an option and neither is lying down in the dirt as life goes by. Thank you for your promise that I am never alone and that you will make a way for me. I just need to not give up. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

21 May – Dialling Down

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This week a woman came chasing and yelling after me as I was out with one of our children. It seems I was in a area I wasn’t “allowed” to be in and she had taken it upon herself to make sure that I knew about it. 

I’m a pretty calm person generally and therefore didn’t visibly react to her aggressive behaviour. Inwardly however I was checking myself and resisting the temptation to give this woman a piece of my mind.

As I’ve been thinking about this irate woman today I was reminded of the importance of what God describes to me as “dialling down”. It’s that purposeful quieting and centreing in of my spirit and emotions whenever I’m feeling my temper, angst or other emotions getting too high (particularly when they are negative ones.)

Dialing down for me means determining to drop off anything that is weighing on my heart and mind, and to position myself in a place of rest in Jesus. I’m a visual person and I have discovered that God has given us our imaginations as an onramp into heavenly places. Its in “seeing” and being able to access those spaces in the spirit that helps me to sit in that place of rest. I “see ” myself taking my seat and just sitting with Jesus and centering in on Him. When I choose to focus in like this, very little of what’s going on in the earthly, physical realm seems to matter half as much, and I  feel the tension, worry and pressures of life drop off.

Dialling Down takes practice and a certain amount of trust and faith in God that He will take care of situations for me (such as an irate person chasing me) as I determine to walk according to his Word and to stay in peace.

There is something to be said for being able to dial down on the inside and as a result being able to focus more clearly.  It prevents negative outbursts, stress, letting loose on words and actions you’d probably have to go back and repent about later and any other unhealthy repercussions.

Today I encourage you to practice “dialling down” during your day. Breathe, close your eyes and centre in on Jesus and His peace. Imagine yourself sitting in a quiet, relaxing space with Him and then focus on soaking up His presence and letting any stress and tension roll away. 

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” (Psalm 37:7)

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:4)

Prayer: Lord thank you that I can trust in you to to help me and to take care of everything that concerns. Please help me to remain in a place of rest and peace today. In Jesus name Amen.

20 May – Little Splinters

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I was out in the garden this afternoon and grabbed hold of a piece of rough wood which promptly gave me a splinter in my hand. What always amazes me is how annoying and painful a tiny little splinter can be. I couldn’t pick up or bump against anything with my hand without feeling the sting of that splinter, and until I purposely stopped, got a needle and dug it out I was uncomfortable.

That splinter got me thinking about how often we can walk around with emotional, mental or spiritual “splinters”  in our lives. We get disappointed, see or hear a hurtful or derogatory comment, come under spiritual attack and have experiences and circumstances that wound or take a toll on us, as they dig into our hearts and minds. We tell ourselves that, “It’s nothing; stuff like that doesn’t matter or affect us and we’ll be fine”. Yet other people, words, our experiences – all the little hurts we feel, can be like “splinters” in our soul which dig in and cause pain. Each if undealt with carries the potential to damage, scar and limit our lives.

The bible talks about the little foxes that burrowed under the vines and damaged the plant so that the quality of the crop was affected. It says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” (Song of Solomon 2:15).  Those little foxes (which in our hearts resemble splinters), if not evicted can hinder and even stop us flourishing and producing what we could in life. They damage our ability to love, to move forward, to trust, to step out in faith and to be free.

It may seem like a small thing to have a splinter, but once you dig it out the relief is instant and you’d be silly to leave it in your skin. The same goes for the splinters in our hearts and minds.

Don’t ignore discomfort or pain, instead take the time to stop and discern what it is that is causing it. Pray and ask God to help you dig out what’s bothering you and put some healthy strategies in place to protect you from getting any more splinters. Then allow God to to lovingly pour some “antiseptic” on your wounds so that you can heal again.

The quicker we deal with “splinters” the less distraction, discomfort and damage they do.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 34:18)

Prayer: Lord please help me to see where I have “splinters” in my life which are causing pain or discomfort. I don’t want to ignore these things anymore and I ask that you help me to deal with and dig out anything that has the potential to limit, cause pain or stop me from moving forward. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

19 May – Ignite Your Passion

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It’s passion and not just self discipline that will cause us to become the people we want, and were created to be.

I believe passion in life is God-given and when pointed in the right direction enables us to become amazing, inspiring people. Which is why passion must be protected to allow it to develop and mature within us.

It’s through our God given passion that we gain clarity and direction and it’s one of the things that the devil loves to steal from us. For when passion is aimed productively for good it can literally change the world. It gives us the fuel we need to overcome obstacles  and enables us to rebound from disappointments or failure. Passion helps us to fulfill our God given purpose and to utilise our unique gifts. It motivates our hearts to operate in the realms of faith and belief.

The bible encourages us to do everything with passion and enthusiasm; not for others, but for God. (Colossians 3:23)

One of the ways God ignites passion is through opening up in us the ability to see possibilities. As we begin to “see” what’s possible God ignites our passion and the energy to live with purpose.

In a world where many people feel “under their circumstances,” where it is hard for many to get out of bed in the morning and where the enemy has being stealing, killing and destroying, it is crucial that we live with passion. That we take the time to remember what makes us smile, motivates us to get out of bed every morning and causes us to be glad we are alive.

Today take the time to dream; to imagine, to think about and “see” what you are passionate about. God made you with a purpose and something specifically in mind for you to do and be. Combine that purpose with your gifts and a God given passion  and you will fulfil that for which you were born.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. “ (Ephesians 3:20)

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.“ (2 Chronicles 16:19)

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will do it. “ (Psalm 37:4-5)

Prayer: Lord help me to dream again. Would you please light a fire in my heart, rekindle my passion and help me to live the life I was made for. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

18 May – What’s Your Power?

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I don’t ever want to get to the stage in life where I’m just waiting for time to pass. I guess I believe that deposited within each one of us is the ability to live a life that truly matters.

A great way to begin to live more intentionally is to understand what our power, passion and purpose is. These three keys help us discover our gifts, the fuel for our soul and the purpose for which we were made. Out of those three areas we can then ascertain what and where we should place our focus and what to ask God for.

Don’t just let life happen, happen to life and take the time to ask, “What are my strengths and what do I naturally excel at? What are my unique qualities and what gives me joy and makes me feel alive?”

These qualities and strengths will help you understand what to focus on and to pray into. Plus as you connect with God He will take your natural powers –your gifts and abilities and add His “super” to them. With His enabling you will always do far more than you could ever think, dream or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8)

Today spend some time considering what your unique “powers” are. Write these things down and talk to God about them. No gift or ability is insignificant and can in God’s hands be used to increase your life, be a blessing to others and create a life worth shouting about.

“Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being, for the Lord and not for men, because you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 2:24)

Prayer: Lord help me to know what my power is; those gifts and abilities that you have uniquely given me. Please help me to use and grow stronger in these things so that I would have a focus and vision.  In Jesus Name Amen.

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