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June 2016

30 June – Self Aware

One of the most valuable assets we can have as a person is self – awareness. Self-awareness it is said is the beginning of emotional intelligence. Of course we all know who we are to some degree, but being able to “check in” to our emotions and reactions is of great benefit to both ourselves and those around us.

When we are self aware we are kinder to ourselves, know when we need a break, and have greater understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses. I’ve realized over time that if I’m not being particularly self aware I will push myself too hard, and not realize when my emotions or thoughts are dictating to me negatively.

Self-awareness is a beautiful thing when it is operating in our lives, and those around us will also testify to the benefits.

Here are some benefits of being self aware:

1: We Play To our Strengths –While we can be competent in many areas, it is tough to be greatat everything. Being more self aware allows us to focus our time and energies on what we do best. The result is we feel better about ourselves and gain the ability and perspective to love the person God has made us to be.

2: We Get Others Playing To Their Strengths –The world is full of talented people. When we find out how we are“wired” it then helps us to recognize how others are excelling, and we can help them focus on what they do best. We don’t have to be in competition, but can compliment one another.

 3: We are authentically happy rather than pretending we are, therefore having a deeper experience and enjoyment of life. Being self aware helps us to be aware of negative thoughts and emotions, giving us the opportunity to choose to focus and emphasize positive ones. Neurological studies reveal toxic thoughts are able to be “unstuck” from our thought patterns and brains, and replaced with ones we want to have. But first we need to be self aware of what we are thinking about.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

 4: We Think Before We Act

Being self aware means we are more aware of our emotions and responses. We gain the ability to act and respond consciously instead of reacting or should I say “over-reacting” to people and events.

Today if you realize that you haven’t been in touch with your thoughts, emotions or spiritual and physical state, take some time over the next few days to “check up” on yourself. Ask God to reveal what has been going on in your internal world and reap the benefits of renewed self awareness.

Prayer: Lord thank you for who you have made me to be. Help me to be more self aware and to be gentler and kinder to myself. In Jesus Name Amen

 

29 June – Take it to court!

Tonight I watched “The Suffragette” with our older children and my husband. I feel strongly about the privilege we have to vote in this country and what those who have lived before us have gone through to give us that opportunity.

It’s not just the suffragette movement which has fought to enable women to vote, but also those men and women who have seen war, battled in politics and tirelessly fought for the right for all people to vote. Sadly though there is still places in the world where both men and women are not given that opportunity.

It’s a responsibility to be taken seriously and prayerfully as every four years we get to exercise our democratic right to voice which party we support to govern this country, and we exercise our freedoms.

But there is another responsibility that as a Christian we need to be aware of also. It’s the responsibility that Jesus has given the church to govern. This government is not an earthy one, but it hugely affects the decisions made here.

When Jesus established the Church he used the word “ecclesia”. It’s a word that was used hundreds of years earlier by the Greeks to describe the principal assembly of ancient Athens during its Golden Age. The ecclesia’s role was to govern and make decisions for the city and region. Jesus used that word to describe His followers (Christians) for a reason. He wants those who profess to be Christians to not just be a group of people who might get together on a Sunday, but to also be people who stand up and take responsibility to govern.

Jesus called the “church” so that as His followers we would  take our petitions, matters of “government” and importance here on earth to the courts of heaven and do business there.

It’s why He said we could boldly approach the throne of grace to receive help and mercy in time of need.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”. (Hebrews 4:16)

Jesus said “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew18:18).

When we gather together it is to encourage and support one another, but it is also to spur one another on to step up and govern in the courts of heaven, and to bring change on earth.

 There is a place in Scripture where Jesus painted a picture of what is happening in the spirit realm when we pray. It is in Luke 18: 1-8. Jesus places prayer in a courtroom; not a battlefield, but a courtroom. In this story Jesus speaks of a widow before an unjust judge. This widow keeps presenting her petition and case before this judge. She is asking for a judgment against her adversary. She is asking for justice. For some time this judge will not grant it, but eventually agrees to render a verdict because of this woman’s persistence.

Jesus says in this parable to hear what the unjust judge says. In other words, the logic Jesus is using again in His teaching is that if this woman can get a verdict from this unjust judge, how much more can we get a verdict from the just and righteous Judge, who is our Heavenly Father. Jesus places prayer in a judicial system and a courtroom. We can come to the Judge (Our heavenly Father) when we are dealing with resistance and an adversary.

Therefore the protocol of heaven is a court room but too many times we haven’t bothered to get legal things in place first so we can get breakthrough instead of backlash.

It would be absolutely ridiculous to go to court without being forearmed and prepared. Our weapon is the Word and promises of God. The enemy (the devil) loses in the courtroom of heaven as we present our case with the truth of God’s Word.

I read a quote today that made me think about what a difference we can make to our world if we as followers of Jesus realised how much impact we can make. If we would only understand the responsibility we have to pray and bring our petitions directly to the courts of heaven. If we would then just step up and govern, and open our mouths and hearts and share the truth about Jesus and what He has done.

John Wesley said: “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.” John Wesley was a man whom God used to bring incredible change to a country spoke those words. Some say he brought the country back from the brink of revolution.

 England, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was in a moral quagmire and a spiritual cesspool. Thomas Carlyle described the country’s condition as “Stomach well alive, soul extinct.” Sir William Blackstone visited the church of every major clergyman in London but in most sermons he heard, he said “it would have been impossible to tell just from listening whether the preacher was a follower of Confucius, Mohammed, or Christ!”

Morally, the country was becoming increasingly decadent. Drunkenness was rampant; gambling was so extensive that one historian described England as “one vast casino.” Newborns were exposed in the streets; 97% of the infant poor in the workhouses died as children. Bear baiting and cock fighting were accepted sports, and tickets were sold to public executions as to a theatre. The slave trade brought material gain to many while further degrading their souls. Bishop Berkeley wrote that morality and religion in Britain had collapsed “to a degree that was never known in any Christian country.

But there were people who decided to stand up for who and what they believed in. They stemmed the tide of immorality, lawlessness and godlessness.

Because of their committment things started to change, and the subsequent move of God and revival cut across denominational lines and touched every class of society. England itself was transformed by the revival. In 1928 Archbishop Davidson wrote that “Wesley practically changed the outlook and even the character of the English nation.” Some historians maintain that the revival so changed the course of English history that it probably saved England from the kind of revolution that took place in France.

 Isn’t it time those of us who profess to be followers of Jesus step up? We have a job to do. It is our time.

I encourage you to pick up your bible again, and read what it says about the things we are facing in our country and world. Seek Jesus. Others have paid a great price, they have stood up, and spoken up. If the tide has been turned before – and it has, then it can be turned once again, to goodness, purity, godliness, and love. Let’s take our petitions directly to the courts of heaven, and to our righteous Judge, and make what we believe count in both heaven and earth.

 

 

 

28 June – Unconquerable

I’ve been reading the story of the Wright Brothers who were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful airplane.

If you ever take the time to read their story you may wonder why they bothered. They didn’t need the money. Their bicycle shop was doing well. Bicycles were one of the main modes of transportation in 1900. Cars were in their infancy, and compared to the horse and buggy, a bicycle was modern technology. And flying? Do you really think man can fly? Man wasn’t meant to fly! Leave flying to the birds. Get a grip on reality, man will never fly.

Or so went the traditional wisdom of the day. But a small band of determined inventors dreamed of the day that man would fly, and were determined to make that dream a reality. Among them were these two brothers: Orville and Wilbur Wright.

In many ways, their quest was ridiculous. Little was understood about aerodynamics. Birds flew, and kites flew, but precisely what made either happen was still largely a mystery. The lack of knowledge didn’t deter the Wrights. They had a dream. And somehow, although they didn’t at first know how, they believed it could be done, and they were determined to learn whatever was needed to make the dream a reality.

Their quest began in earnest in the winter of 1900, but it was not until December 17, 1903 that the first successful controlled flight was made. It lasted 12 seconds.

From that first 36.5 meter, 12 second flight, we have progressed a long way. Not in their wildest dreams could Wilbur and Orville Wright have foreseen the progress that would be made in powered flight over the last 100 years.

But as amazing as the invention of the airplane was, these two men, and the many others who have also dreamt big dreams, goes far beyond the process and technique of a new invention or the ingenuity of flight. It has taught us a lesson in perseverance.

As my son and I have been reading the story of these two remarkable men I have learnt of all they went through to achieve their dream , and I can only be encouraged, and inspired. Through mishaps, discomfort, accidents, and the countless hours spent studying and perfecting their flying machine; these two brothers are both astounding examples of the power of belief and perseverance. Quite frankly they just refused to give up.

Today if you have a dream, know that just because everyone else may think it’s impossible and may even laugh at you, does not mean you are crazy or have a problem. Know that with God all things are possible; that He gives us strength to keep going, to keep persevering.

Two bicycle mechanics with a dream changed our concept of the world, and our ability to travel around it because they refused to listen to those who said it couldn’t be done.

The Inscription on the Wright memorial reads, “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Conceived by genius. Achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.”

There will always be two groups of people in the world: those who point out the possible, and those who set out to achieve it. Let’s be the latter, and be people who also have dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith!

Know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Prayer: Lord thank you for the amazing ability you have placed within us to persevere. Help me to strengthen this resolve in me to keep going, to persevere and to not give up. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

27 June -The Shepherd

My family love watching Australian football (AFL) and we are pretty passionate about our team.

My husband decided this week that AFL must be God’s game because they “shepherd” in Australian football.

Shepherding is a technique used in AFL to prevent a player from the opposing side gaining possession of the ball, or from tackling a teammate.

Shepherding is a legal form of obstruction and can occur even if a player is not in possession of the ball. Normally, shepherding is carried out by a player using their body to stop their opponent from reaching a contest, which is usually achieved by rigid outstretched arms and using body weight between the players.

Another form of shepherding is bumping, which is when a player uses their hip and shoulder to bump another player, not using their arm. This technique can be carried out by anyone against any opponent as long as they are within five meters of the ball, and is normally a hard physical hit.

The more I think of it the more it sounds like Jesus and how He guides, protects, defends and helps us as our shepherd. (Psalm 23)

He made each us with a purpose and a plan, and He wants us to run with it. I guess it’s a bit like “picking up a ball” and running with it to reach our goal. God promises that He will lead, guide, protect and have our “backs”. He says that He will command His angels to keep us in all our ways, and that He will watch over and coming and our going.

King David in the bible is talked about earlier in his life as a shepherd tending his herds out in the fields. He watched over those sheep, making sure they had food to eat, water to drink and safety. When a lion and a bear came to attack any of his herd David defended them and he tells how he killed both the lion and the bear. God calls David a man after His own heart, and chose this young “shepherd” boy to be the next King of Israel. (1 Samuel 17:34)

Jesus is like the guy on the football field protecting his teammate. When a player has the ball they are protected by their team. Their job is to prevent the opposing side gaining possession of the ball by tackling or “taking them out”. The one “shepherding” uses their body to stop the opponent from reaching their team mate with the ball.

Jesus shepherds like that guy on the field. He used His body to protect us from the wicked schemes of our opponent the devil. He put His own body on the line when He went to the Cross for us.

Now He says to us run; run your race. Pick up the ball – pick up your purpose, and your vision and get out there on the field of life. He promises He will be there to “shepherd us”, to obstruct any plan of the enemy when he tried to oppose us, or attempts to gain possession of our vision, our God given gifts, abilities and purpose. In actual fact Jesus says He and the angels (our other team mates) will bump – “hip and shoulder” anyone who attempts to come up against us. They have our backs, either side, and they even go before us.

For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone”. (Psalm 91:11-12)

We have a lot of help. Our “shepherd” is no wimp and He’s not one to be messed with. He also says His power and presence resides within each one of us if we invite Him to, making us someone our opponent will think twice about tackling!

Today make a decision to keep running with your ball – your purpose. Don’t look to the left or the right but straight ahead. Shake off the things that so easily entangle us, the sin that tries to hold us up. Hold that ball firmly in your hands, and go for it. You have the best “shepherd,” and His mighty helpers the angels as your teammates running along with you, and they don’t mess around when the other side is coming at you. They will use every tactic and strategy in the book to bump them right out of your path, getting you to where you need to be.

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14)

Therefore we also since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you are the best shepherd I could ever have. You not only lead and guide me, but you and the angels back me up every step of the way. Help me to pick up my “ball” – my purpose in you and run with it. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 June -What are you doing with your measure

There’s something about living in Australia that helps us appreciate the wide-open spaces.

When you get out into the countryside, or even just to a place like the beach, hills, or anywhere where you can stand and see the horizon, there is space; and with space comes the feeling of having room to breath.

Having space is something most of us crave, because when we feel that we connect with freedom.

And it’s in freedom that we find the ability to dream, to vision, imagine and unlock the deep things within our spirits, which God has placed there. It is very hard to focus in on that place if we are feeling enclosed, and surrounded by unhealthy boundaries and limitations.

God wants us to have vision: To “see”, and call those things that are not yet manifest as though they are. That is the dynamic of faith. (Romans 4:17)

We are created in the image of God and we just need to take a look around us to see that He is a creative God; He had a vision for the universe.

Because we are made in His image, in His likeness we have hardwired into our very being creativity and the ability to see, and speak into reality those things that are not yet seen or manifest.

 Faith is not believing in only what we can see with our natural senses, but believing that what we see within us, with the eyes of our spirits, our future, will be made manifest – that we can then see, feel, and touch it in this realm.

As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations, before him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17)

God wants us to go from “faith to faith”, ever increasing in our ability and capacity to believe. When we’ve climbed one hill, to go to the next one, continually climbing higher until we are not just standing on the top of little hills anymore, we are now standing on the mountain summit.

The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:19)

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.” (Psalm 18:33)

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped”. (Psalm 18:36)

 We have all been given a measure of faith. God expects us to do something with that measure. He expects us to grow it, and use it to call those things that are not as though they are. That’s the process that God uses to bring the revelation or vision he gives us to pass.

When we look at some of the mighty exploits of people in the bible, when we read about the men and women who believed God in our own time, we can sometimes feel inadequate. But we shouldn’t. They have simply grown their measure of faith to believe for what they “saw” was possible in God. They held onto God’s promises, fed their faith and got some faith muscles.

It’s not a secret for a select few; we can all do something with the measure of faith we have been given. Use it and grow it!  God says He is not a respecter of persons; He does not show partiality, but He does reward those who diligently seek Him. (Romans 2:12)  

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”. (Hebrews 11:6)

Today God wants each one of us to wait on Him for the vision He has for us. It will no doubt be bigger than your faith right now; but don’t be discouraged or let go of the revelation He reveals to you because it seems impossible or too hard. Build your faith by going to God’s Word and finding out what He says about your vision. When you do it will grow your measure of faith, and cause those things you “see” to come to pass.

But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.(Daniel 11:32)

Prayer: Lord reveal to me the vision you have for me. I take my measure of faith and choose to use it and grow it, so that I too can carry out great exploits and fulfil all that you have planned for me. In Jesus Name Amen.

25 June -This needs to be sorted out!

When we talk about having a vision or purpose for our lives we often ask ourselves “What am I here for? Is God saying anything to me, what has He prepared for me to walk in?

But first there is something of utmost importance that needs to be sorted out.

Are we yielded to God?

The bible encourages us to really think about this attitude of our heart. “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

We are entreated to “present” ourselves; to hand ourselves over to the care, keeping, guidance and love of God.

It is not the idea of sacrifice; but a sense of surrender, of abandonment, of giving up the control of ourselves to God.

And this is our “reasonable service,” or, as some would say it is our common-sense service. (Romans 12:1)

It certainly is the most profound common-sense if you take time to think about it.  If we are ill, we put our trust in the hands of the great physician, or if we are lost, to put our next steps into the hands of a safe guide; into the care and keeping of the God who made us, and who loves us, and who alone can care for us the best. When you think about it that way, it’s certainly the most profound common-sense of all.

To yield to God means to belong to God, and to belong to God means to have all His infinite power and love engaged on our side. A man is bound to take care of anything that belongs to him; and so is God. Therefore, He invites us to yield ourselves to Him.

However there are two forces at war that we need to take into account. The old desires of the flesh which try to get us to side with our old sinful selfish nature, and the new God nature, which in contrast wants to lead us in righteousness and safety with God.

Since we have the Holy Spirit within us we have to power to choose which path we will yield to.

When we follow sinful desires, our life will produce these results: sexual immorality, lust, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred discord, jealousy, fits of rage, self ambition, envy drunkenness, orgies and the like. (Galatians 5:19-21) From what I can ascertain these things only lead to a lot of pain, loss, wasted dreams, potential and unhappiness.

However when we follow Jesus, our new God- nature will produce these fruits of the Sprit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23).

But we have to understand how to yield to God and conquer sinful desires.We are to know and think upon the fact that sin doesn’t rule over us anymore, Jesus does. We  “reckon ourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11)

We look at things through the truth of who we are now that we know Jesus. That sin is not our master. Jesus is.

We have a new nature and we have power over sinful desires. We are not slaves to every whim, or dare I say stupid decision. With Jesus and the power of the Holy spirit within us we now have power to choose.

Our part is to yield our wills and take God’s side against any part of our old self that tries to redirect us away from God, while the Holy Spirit deals with anything that  “wars” against our new life in God.

Jesus said it quite simply and bluntly, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we love Jesus we will follow what He says. We yield to Him. We, and only we can choose not to follow our old ways, the habits and practices of old friends, the opinions or morals of the latest popular opinion, media or any other voice.  If we love Jesus we follow Him and put aside everything else!

The huge benefits of getting this vital step of choosing to yield is that when we do to, He is able to direct and guide us.

 He wants us to be so in tune with Him, and so yielded that He can rely on us to trust and obey Him instantly. But really it’s up to us.

God promises, “ I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near.…” (Psalm 32:8)

God longs to speak, to release vision, to reveal mysteries; the secrets of heaven and His plan and how and why we were born in the first place.  He promises He will tell us what’s next for our life. But the first step is being yielded. Yielded to listen, trust and obey. That we would go where He says go, do as He asks, know His heart, call Him our closest friend, and be ready and willing every minute of the day. 

When we live like that our lives are just one big adventure. Now that sounds like common sense to me!

Prayer: Jesus I choose to yield to you today. I give you my life that you may lead, and  that I will follow you. Forgive me where I have been wilful and fighting your guiding hand. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

24 June -“Tank”

My husband and I have six children, four of them being daughters. Our third daughter is much taller, and admittedly a lot stronger than her other sisters. They call her “tank,” and if there is ever a need to lift, carry or reach anything and she is home we call or rather yell for her help.

I think we all need someone who is “tank” in our lives. Someone who can help carry the load, and be there for love and support. We know we can rely on them when we need help.

We all need help at times. Jesus said He is our helper and He will lead and guide us. But He also likes to surround us with “tank” people to aid us in life’s journey. Some of them might be “tank” in different way. We all have particular areas of strength and something we can give to others. Whether it’s being a great listener, someone who can be relied on to pray, the person who can be trusted to cook a meal when needed, or offer practical help in other ways.

God says to “bear or carry one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). He planned for us to have people around us to help. In actual fact He calls those people family. He’s not just talking about our biological family, but also God’s family. God’s family consists of anyone who is a follower of Jesus. On asking Jesus into our life we instantly have a whole tribe of people who God refers to as our “brothers and sisters.” (Matthew 12:48-50)

Consequently you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household” (Ephesians 2:19)

God wants us to be surrounded by “tank” family, each with their own particular gift. Not only that, He has made us with the ability to be “tank” too. Sometimes we just need to be encouraged in where we can be a blessing and help to others. There is real meaning and purpose when we make ourselves available to help others when they are in need. Our own lives are usually brought into perspective as we think of others above ourselves. It’s good for us, and feeds our very souls.

The benefits of helping others is enormous for us personally, our family, and our community. Studies have actually discovered that helping others aids in reducing stress; nothing relieves stress and aids our mental and physical health better than a meaningful connection to another person.

Plus we often make new friends and strengthen existing relationships.

Making ourselves available to assist someone else often means we have opportunities to learn new skills, and even advance our careers. We are able to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organisation. We often feel more comfortable trying new things at our place at work once we’ve attempted these skills elsewhere first.

I know that I have grown as a person and attempted a far more diverse array of tasks from making myself available to assist others in their time of need. When we put others first we put ourselves aside and we are more likely to give things a try if it’s going to help.

By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.

Children watch everything we do. By giving and helping others we show them firsthand how we can all make a difference, and how good it feels to help other people. It’s also a valuable way for us to get to know people outside our immediate family.

God knows how we are hard wired. He made us. He knows what will ultimately bring us the deepest joy and happiness. So it’s no surprise that helping others has been shown to kindle happiness, as many studies have demonstrated. When researchers examined the relationship between helping others and measures of happiness in a large group of adults, they found the more people helped other people the happier they were.

We may not all be able to reach the top shelf or lift heavy things like my daughter, (she’s also the one that understands our crazy technology system) but we do all have something to give to one another. Everyone can do with a little help sometimes, and just as importantly we can ask for it ourselves too.

Today think and pray about where you can help someone, and use the gift you have no matter how small you think it is, to bless and lighten someone else’s load. And if you need help, know there is someone “tank” in the area you need assistance. Sometimes we just need to swallow our pride, put aside our fears and ask.

Prayer: Lord help me to ask for assistance when I need it and show me who and where to ask. Where I can be a help to someone else please lead and guide me. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

23 June -“Help! I’m uncomfortable”

Sometimes in life we face the prospect of forced change. Most of us don’t choose to change of our own volition, but because we find ourselves uncomfortable, and are forced to make a decision about our circumstances.

I have a saying “Being uncomfortable is a catalyst for change”.

Over the years I have noticed that some of the biggest changes in my life happened after months of prompting from God. A quiet nudge, a gentle whisper, a confirmation. But when I consistently chose not to listen I would suddenly find myself in an uncomfortable position.

Several years ago God led our family to this lovely house in one of the better parts of the city. It was cheap rent when everywhere else the rents were doubling, and we had no doubt that God had led and provided for us in living there.

However after four years I started to feel like God was saying “it’s time to move”. But I didn’t particularly want to. I was quite happy living in my little white house on the hill. This house was in a great spot; walking distance to one of the best school’s in the city, a park and shops nearby, the beach minutes away and the first great neighbours we had ever had.

I kept disagreeing and arguing with God about moving to the other side of the city where I didn’t particularly want to go. However as you may have discovered God loves us, and when He has a plan He is persistent. So He kept nudging me. Then things started to happen. Our job situation changed and we were no longer living close to work, we had another baby and now we had 6 children squeezed into a 3 bedroom house, with the youngest two sleeping in our room. Then there was the sudden massive leak in the games room and the subsequent mold problem, which took months to fix.

Finally I was so uncomfortable in my little white house I said “Ok God can you please fix this”. My discomfort became the catalyst I needed for change. I was desperate, annoyed and very uncomfortable. And that is when God was able to act and get the blessing that He had been planning all along to me. Within months we had moved to a home of our own, with five bedrooms and twice the living area, and I was no longer uncomfortable.

Today if you are feeling particularly uncomfortable, stop and listen. Is God trying to say something to you? Is He trying to get something to you? Being uncomfortable is often the place God allows us to get to as a catalyst for the change we need to transition to new and better things.

God is good, and He loves us and has a plan to bless and prosper us. Even when everything else is changing He never changes. If you are feeling uncomfortable today, look for God in the midst of your discomfort and let Him lead you through. He has blessing on His mind.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 4:7)

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19)

 Prayer: Lord help me to listen to you, and for when you are wanting to bring change in my life. Please help me to recognise that being uncomfortable can actually be a catalyst for change, and the need for me to transition to something new in my life. In Jesus Name. Amen.

22 June -Run your own race!

Today on my run I was contemplating running in a race. As I thought about the implications of entering a race where I would be running with others I wondered whether I’d be up to it, or if I would try to run too fast so as to keep up with the other runners and run out of “steam” too early. I have a habit when I run of automatically pushing myself to be in front – my kids laugh at me and call me “Pharlap”.

As often happens while I run I felt God speak to me saying, “Run your own race”.

Running our own race is actually a life lesson, and as usual on my morning running conversations with God, who I call my running coach, He took the opportunity to share a “running” lesson with me.

We all have a “race to run”, and a specific purpose for being here. But it’s our race and nobody else can run it for us.

My husband recently bought me a new iPod to run with, and engraved on the back is the bible verse “run to get the prize”

It’s from a passage in the bible that gives us the principles for running our race well. The thing to realise is that to run a race and receive the prize we actually have to “be in the race.” We have to begin, and part of beginning is understanding that it is our race to run and no-one else’s.

God is calling each one of us. He calls us to relationship with Him, and then He starts to show us what an amazing and good race (life) He has planned for us to run. He promises it will be far above anything we could ever ask, think, dream or even imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) But we have to begin, and He wants us to begin and stick with Him.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)

We all want to run our race well. I want to run physically well, and I want to be able to run far. But even more importantly I want to run my life’s race and look back and know that I have ran it well, and I have received my prize. I want my words to be like Paul’s in the bible who was able to say before he left this world.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-7)

 As I was listening to God speak to me today, He keep emphasizing the importance of running my own race. We can’t be looking at what others are doing and try to imitate them. We can’t run our best race whilst always comparing how we are “running” compared to others around us. Everyone is created with their own purpose, their own look, style, technique and way of doing things. Some ideas are great, and we can examine those ideas and methods of “running,” of doing life,  but if we try to copy someone else’s race entirely we will most likely fall flat on our face, or run out of “steam” half way through.

There is no way I can run the same as my son in law. He is about 6 feet tall, is younger than me, has long legs, and therefore much longer strides than me, and I’ll admit can run faster than me (well maybe).

If I try to run like him, I’ll end up getting a stitch and wishing I had never left the house. Why? Because I’m not built or created to try and run like my son in law, but I am made to run like me.

Instead I need to listen to my own body; I need to run at my own pace, allowing God to instruct and guide me. I’ve discovered He is a great running coach, and if I listen He helps me. Just like He will help us in all we do, enabling us to live fulfilled and purposeful lives.

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8)

God says, “Keep your eyes on my purpose for you, and not someone else’s. He never asks us to do things exactly the same as that someone next to us. He created us all uniquely, with our own gifting’s, abilities and with a special plan for our lives.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14)

Today, make a decision to throw off any weights of expectation, or comparison. We each have a “race to run”, and the point to remember is that “it’s our race, and nobody else can run it for us”.

Go out and run your race well.

Prayer: Lord please help me to look to you on how to “run my race,” would you be my “running coach”, and instruct me on how to be the person you created me to be. Help me not to compare or feel intimated or discouraged by others and what or how they may be living their lives. I have my own race to run. Give me the wisdom and strength to run it well. In Jesus Name. Amen

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