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Dayle's Blog

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June 2016

21 June – Small things matter

It’s the small things in life that we can often miss realising the significance and importance of,  and how they relate to the bigger picture.

Small things all put together add up to big things. Like a jigsaw puzzle you often can’t see the picture until all the small pieces are put together.

The human brain is capable of holding 800 memories per second for 75 years without getting tired. Those memories are a culmination of collected moments. Life is make up of small things; of small moments. There are some big events which may stand out, but overall life is a summation of the small things.

Our dreams and visions are not usually achieved all at once but step by step, to eventually reach our goal. It’s in the small things we do consistently every day that cause us to reach our destination.

Lives messes usually don’t occur just in one big mess up, but in the small steps and decisions preceding that final step. eg: adultery started with a look here, a thought there, one thing led to another. Dishonesty, domestic violence, drug addiction, walking away from God. These all happened with small choices; a wrong attitude not dealt with, an offense not forgiven, a weakness not strengthened, a sin not confessed, quiet times with God not had.

It’s in the “seemingly” small decisions we make that may appear harmless which add up to that big decision.

The bible talks about how little things can cause a lot of damage “Catch for us the foxes the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” (Song of Solomon 2:15)

The little foxes come into the vineyards, (which were representative of flourishing places of abundance) and dig holes which destroyed the vineyards, and breed under the vines. Eventually these foxes overrun the vineyard destroying it and leaving it desolate.

Foxes are sneaky, cunning, quick, and sly. They are like the small things which enter  our lives and try and ruin and destroy the good fruitful things about who we are.

God cautions us to “watch out” and catch these small things before they get in and make a mess. Catch the little attitudes and offences, the habits that will try to ruin and disturb our life.

When one fox gets into the vineyard others are attracted also. When we allow one issue/attitude to get in and remain, we run the danger of letting other issues pass our notice. Before we know it what was a small issue suddenly has become a big issue, which has caused a whole lot of other problems also.

Our lives connected to God are fruitful like a vineyard or flourishing tree. He wants us to be fruitful and not be caught out by the little things.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it’s fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither, whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:3)

The other side of the significance of small things is when we sometimes can feel small and insignificant. It’s important to understand at these times that our very existence is part of a bigger picture and plan.

Maybe you see only how you feel disconnected, lonely, and broken. But God sees you as precious, and an individual who He has a special place in this world for.

If we allow Him He will take us – no matter how “out of it” and “wrong shaped” we may feel and place us into His amazing plan and purpose.

A mosaic initially just looks like hundreds of disconnected pieces of tile; but an artist places each piece individually into exactly the right spot creating a beautiful picture.

God is the master artist. He wants to connect us into His plan. It matters if you are not part of the picture. There is a spot just for you.

It’s in the small things each of us do and are that make the picture, the vision come together.

Today ask God what He wants you to do, or where He wants you to be.  Then take time to listen to His answer. You may feel prompted to go to a particular place, call a friend, or send a message or gift to encourage someone. Don’t brush it aside. Little things can make a huge difference in someone’s day.

Small things matter. Take the time to do the small things, and watch out for, and catch those “little foxes”.

Prayer: Lord thank you that you are interested in the small things. You are interested in me, and that you have a significant plan and purpose for my life; where I fit in the picture. Help me to listen and to watch out for the small negative attitudes, offences and habits which threaten to destroy who you have planned and made me to be. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

20 June – “The Shut Down”

There have been times in my life when I’ve felt like I’ve been “shutting down”. I’ve been fighting to “keep my head above water”, and I can literally feel myself withdrawing emotionally and mentally.

When that’s happened those parts of me that are creative, expressive and enable me the ability to communicate and “be visible” to those around me start to diminish and retreat. Much like a turtle inside their shell. I call it “the shut down”, because I know I am shutting down inside as a defence and protection mechanism.

The “shut down” is a response to stressful, difficult situations and circumstances. It enables us to keep “functioning” on the outside, doing the bare minimum so as not to drain any coping resources.

When we are in “shut down mode” it’s not ever who we really are. But sometimes people can be in shut down for so long they forget who they are. They never come out of their shell, and are in a constant heightened state of being under threat.

“The Shut Down” happens because there’s a small part of our brain called the amygdala that thinks there’s something it needs to protect us from. It switches on when it thinks we’re in danger, similar to a personal body guard for our brain. It’s there to protect us. It’s job is to get us ready to run away from danger or fight it. People call this ‘fight or flight’. 
If our amygdala thinks there’s trouble, it will immediately give our body what it needs to be strong, fast and powerful. It will flood our body with oxygen, hormones and adrenaline that our body can use as fuel to power our muscles to run away or fight.

The effects of fight or flight don’t only occur in our brains. Our bodies are physically affected by this state as well, especially when it’s prolonged.

Because our bodies want to use all of our available energy for fighting or fleeing, they stop other energy-spending processes like digestion. That’s why we can feel sick during or after high-stress situations.

You’ve probably felt how fast your heartbeat can get during stressful situations. Our fast heartbeat actually sends a signal to our brains’ prefrontal cortex – the part that handles thought processing and decision making. The signal tells this part of our brain to shut down temporarily and let our midbrain take over. When we’re in this state, instinct and training take over from rational thought and reasoning.

If we don’t need to run away or fight for our life, there’s nothing to burn all that fuel – the oxygen, hormones and adrenalin – that the amygdala has flooded us with. When this happens it even effects our breathing , that’s why we can feel breathless, dizzy, sweaty, and have butterflies in our stomach as our digestive system shuts down too.

The thing to remember in all of this physiology is that God created us, and He knew what we would need to live. He knew we would at times need to be able to respond quickly, to be on the defence in a dangerous situation, or be able to “run” and move quickly. He created us to be able to handle and overcome situations in life. He made us with the “fight or flight’ mechanism.

It’s when things get out of balance in our lives; where we are in constant anxiety and stress, that what God has created for good starts to be unproductive. But we can do something about it. We don’t have to just “keep our heads above water”, we don’t have to live in the “fight or flight” mode, or the  subsequent “shut down mode”.

That’s not what God wants for us. He says, “Don’t be anxious, “Don’t shut down; don’t shut down to protect yourself. Don’t shut down in fear. You can overcome this.”

Self-awareness is a great thing when it is in operation in our lives. And being self-aware is the first step in staying out of the “shut down mode”. It means being aware of how we are feeling and understanding when we may be feeling over stressed or anxious.

God wants us to be strong, and to be self aware enough to know where we aren’t strong so that we can build “faith muscles” in those areas of weakness.

When we are “puny” and weak in an area of our lives, we easily get things out of perspective, and are prone to stress, fear and anxiety.

 God wants us to be strong, and not puny. In actual fact the bible talks about being “fat” so that we might break off yokes in our lives. If you have ever seen a sumo wrestler it’s a bit like that. They are both fat and strong; nothing is going to push them around.

“In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat.” (Isaiah 10:27)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power”. (Ephesians 6:10)

We can be “sumo wrestlers” in our lives by feeding on the things that make us strong.

God says His Word makes us strong because it strengthens our spirits, renews our minds and gives us knowledge of who we are and the resources available to us as a child of God. Then we can be the person that we were born to be.

We don’t have to go into “shut down mode” or have our bodies and brains go into flight mode all the time. God wants us to live balanced, burden free lives where we have fun and enjoy all that He has given us.

Today make time to “fatten up” on the word of God so that you build your strength, and maintain balance and freedom in your life.

If you know you struggle in an area, and it’s been a weak spot; don’t stay weak. Instead get your bible out and find every verse that talks about that issue. Write it down and carry it with you, look at it throughout the day until it renews your thinking and changes your response. Build your faith and understanding of God’s power to make you strong.

 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 12:12-14)

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. (Isaiah 55:2)

God promises us “that He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29)

 Isn’t it about time we came out of hiding and turned our “shut downs”, into “breakouts!”

Prayer: Lord I don’t want to live in a state of anxiety and “shut down” all the time. Help me to strengthen myself in your word, and to come out of hiding. In Jesus name Amen.

19 June -“If you just listen to me…”

Until recently I had a saying that I would joke about, especially with my husband and kids. It was, “If everyone would just listen to me, and do what I say everything would work out just fine”.

We have six children, we pastor a church, and homeschool our 3 youngest children. That means that I have to be organised, and have some sort of structure to keep  things flowing nicely. However as with everyone who is an “organiser” there can be a tendency to over-organise. There is a fine line between being organised and someone  who has to be in control, micromanaging everything and everyone.

Micromanagement is a problem in our relationships, home life and at work. When we micro manage we pay excessive attention to details and avoid delegation of tasks and decisions to others. Anywhere where people gather together there is going to be those who want to take control, and these people can micromanage everyone and everything. Unfortunately when we have to have control of situations we are sending the message to others that we don’t trust them to make good decisions, and that nobody can do anything to our standards.  Worse still we are telling God we don’t trust Him, and instead dictate how things are going to happen. God is not in control, we are.

When we micromanage we often think we are simply helping, and being loving and caring. But regardless of our purpose and calling in life, when it comes to people it is never our role to “manage” people. All God ever asks of us is to set an example, and equip and impart to those we are sharing our lives with. Whether that is our children, family members, at our place of employment, or wherever we may be involved with people. Even at work where we may be called a “manager” – the task is not to “manage people” but to lead and encourage them to take initiative and be more productive and successful in their roles and  lives.

If we don’t learn the difference between control and leading by example and imparting into people’s lives we will end up doing several things:

  1. We will drive ourselves a little crazy. We will constantly be exhausted and stressed from having to keep everything and everyone under control. Things won’t get done, and people will be slow and unproductive, lacking initiative and vision for themselves. Your kids, family, colleagues, and anyone else you have anything to do with will resent you because you send out the message you don’t trust them, and doubt their abilities. It’s not a great way to live and nobody will thank you for controlling and micromanaging them.
  2. Those who you micromanage will go one of two ways. Those with big ideas, skills and knowledge will remove themselves from situations with us, or the other extreme is they will always wait to be told what to do, resulting in them lacking initiative and get up and go. Rather than having the freedom to dream and have ideas of their own, they will constantly wait around for instructions.

The saying “if I want something done properly I have to do it myself” is a classic micro manager statement. Sadly though this doesn’t allow people to grow, to make mistakes, and live their dreams. Any innovation is stifled, and people and places quickly become stagnant because people won’t come up with new ideas or ways of doing things themselves.

Micromanagers get far too busy juggling multiple tasks themselves; they put on hold everyone else’s ideas and contributions because they can’t get to everyone quickly enough to check up on what people are doing.

I’m facing my tendency to micromanage. It’s not healthy and it doesn’t allow us to live a full abundant life that Jesus wants for us.  Usually when we control it’s because we are afraid. We fear what will happen if we don’t keep everything under control. We fear the kids will end up failing, fighting with each other, and not get things done. We fear others will let us down, won’t get the job done and that it will reflect badly on us. We fear we won’t be needed anymore, and so we keep everyone needing us.

But God hasn’t called us to live in fear. He wants us to live free. He wants us to wake up in the morning not feeling stressed and thinking “where we have to be, what we have to do, and who do we need to check up on?” God wants us instead to wake up and listen to what he wants us to be occupying our day with; He wants us to trust Him to work everything out and to help us to relate lovingly to those around us. He wants to use us to encourage others to achieve their dreams, to take initiate and to grow into all that God has purposed them to be.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to Go. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

He doesn’t want us taking the control and dictating to others. He is the one who leads, guides and directs, not us.

Today if you know you have been mircomanaging or trying to control others, ask God to help you. Let go and allow God to take care of your loved ones, to help you at work etc. Ask for wisdom on how to set an example; how to come along side people and bring the best out of those in your world.

If you need a good role model of how to do that, then check out what Jesus did.  (Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the bible). He was and is the greatest encourager, role model and leader the world has ever seen. His friendship and leadership with 12 mostly uneducated men resulted in them changing the world.

Prayer: Lord forgive me for trying to be in control all the time. Help me to trust you and also trust others more. You are in charge, so please give me wisdom on how to positively influence and encourage my family, colleagues and other people in my life.  In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 June -You’re worth dying for!

Every night either my husband or I read the bible and do a little study or devotional with our two younger children.

One night this week we talked about thinking of something they loved so much they wanted to keep it forever. Then they had to imagine that the family needed money, so they sold their treasure to the owner of a pawn shop. However they loved their treasure so much that they worked hard and earned enough money to buy it back. We would say that they had redeemed it.

The word Redeem means “to buy out”. The term is used specifically in reference to the purchase price of a slave’s  freedom, or to free someone from bondage based on the payment of a price by a redeemer.

We are loved just like that precious treasure my kids were imagining, that Jesus redeemed us. We were made to belong to God. We are His treasure, but because evil came into the world and the devil deceived mankind we were enslaved in bondage to sin. We were stuck in the kingdom of darkness, stuck in the “pawn shop” with no ability to buy ourselves out. The ransom was impossible for any of us to pay because the buyer had to be perfect, and willing to give their life for us.

For this is what the Lord of host says… for he who touches you touches the apple of my eye (anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession)” (Zechariah 2:8)

That’s where Jesus comes in. He paid the price for our release from sin and it’s consequences. He bought us out from being in slavery to sin and darkness, by  paying the ransom price of His life.

“For even the Son of Man cane not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28)..”He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone”. (1 Timothy 2:6)

Our freedom has been purchased, and we are no longer in bondage to sin, to death, or to the law of the Old Testament.

Sometimes we can however not know, or perhaps forget just what our redemption (being rescued) includes, and we can still live out our lives as though we were still in bondage to sin and the devil. When in actual fact we have been rescued, bought out, made an heir of God, and given total and complete freedom from any past slavery or bondage.

The benefits of what Jesus has done for us include:

Eternal life: Revelation 5:9-10

Forgiveness of sins: Ephesians 1:7

Righteousness (Right standing before God): Romans 5:17 – we are no longer sinners but saints!

Freedom from the curse of the law: Galatians 3:13 – every pain, sickness, poverty and curse you can think of has been made null and void. We are free from the curse!

Adoption into God’s family: Galatians 4:5 – We belong, sealed with the Holy Spirit!

Deliverance from sin’s bondage: Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18 – We can stop being stuck in the ways of the past, in any bondage, habit or addiction. We are declared free from oppression

Peace with God: Colossians 1:18-20- No guilt or shame, anxiety or worry. Peace that we have right standing before God and He loves and cares for us. He hears and answers our prayers.

Being redeemed is a gift. We can’t earn it! We can’t make ourselves good enough. We can’t do anything to buy ourselves our freedom. God loves us and wanted us back; just like someone who did all they could to reclaim their loved possession from the pawn shop, so God did all He could to free us, because He loves and wanted us.

We were bought with a great price, but He says we are worth it. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Today don’t believe any lies of the devil, religion or anything else.  You are greatly loved and special to God. He thought you were worth paying the ultimate price of His life to “buy you out”. Don’t let anyone or anything tell you that you are still stuck in the “pawn shop” waiting to be rescued. Jesus has done it already. All we have to do is take his hand, and go with Him right out of that place of debt and slavery. He’s done the rest. Today go and enjoy your freedom and live life like you’ve been given a second chance, and a clean slate. Because the truth is you have!

Prayer: Lord I want to thank you for paying such a great price for my freedom, and that you think I am worth dying for. Help me to see myself as worth it, and to make the most of my life, that you paid such a high price for. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 June -“Trust Me, Trust Me, Trust Me!”

There is a passage in the bible which sums up the simplicity of what it is to be in relationship with God. It is:

“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper” (Psalm 37:3)

God doesn’t want us to worry about things. All we need know is we are to trust and spend time with Him. As we do the fruit of our trust and time with Him is He will reveal and direct us where to do good. If you don’t think that will make a difference to your life, try it. Trust God to lead and direct you. Do good and bless your family, your partner, your work colleagues, the people you meet each day. I guarantee it will make a difference to them, and do something wonderful in you!.

Constantly through the bible we find the words “Trust Me”. In the New Testament the word used for trust is faith. Have “faith in God ” which really means “Put your trust in God”.

How often don’t we trust God though? We might think we are, but are we actually trusting in other people and things when it really comes down to it? We can trust others more than we trust God,  we can trust and rely on our own ability, we can easily put our trust in money, and our ability to accumulate it. We can put trust in our jobs for our security.

1 Timothy 6:17 says, Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment”.

God wants us to trust Him so we are not focused on taking care of our needs and wants, but focused on looking for ways to do good and focus on the things of heaven. When we put our trust in other sources, it takes up a lot of our energy and time. We perhaps even get stolen from in our joy, peace and capacity to love others. Why do we do that when God emphatically states “Trust me, Trust Me, Trust Me. I’ve got this. I’ve got YOU!” (Psalm 37)

If that isn’t enough God promises that He will also richly give us all we need for our enjoyment! How great is that?

All God asks is that we put our trust in Him, and look for ways and places to do good. To bless others. Then He promises that He will give us all we need for our enjoyment. Notice it doesn’t say “God will give us just enough to get by, or even just what we need.”. “No it says “He will give us richly all we need for our enjoyment!” 

My Mum is presently travelling in the UK and predominantly Wales. She is an avid traveller and let’s God lead her where to visit. This trip she wasn’t sure where or why she was heading to Wales, she’s already been there numerous times. However the Lord was persistent and so she set off.

I have to say I have not heard my Mum so delighted with the places or people she is meeting for a long time. She has been living out the “God will richly give us all we need for our enjoyment”. Even when she didn’t fully understand what she herself needed, or would even get joy out of, God did. He’s set up people for her to meet, places to visit and stay, truly stunning accommodation and scenery, and great food cooked for her wherever she goes.

All she purposed in her heart is that she would trust and put her faith in God, and continue to do good wherever she went. She has been sharing her God stories and blessing people along the way, and in turn she has been given richly to everywhere she goes, for no other reason than for her enjoyment. That’s God for you!

Today if you are thinking “What should I do, what is my purpose? Don’t complicate it, it’s very simple. Trust in God, listen to His leading, and make it your purpose to do good wherever you are or go. Then you will not only live in safety and prosper, but God will richly give you all you need for your enjoyment.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.         They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.                                 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:3-4)

Prayer: Lord it’s so simple, help me not to complicate it, but just to trust you with all my life, and to do good wherever I go. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 June -In the stillness!

I get frustrated sometimes. Left to myself I’d probably be quite peaceful and centered all the time. I’d be calmer, less stressed. Haha now who wouldn’t? If we were left to ourselves we’d only have ourselves to deal with. Funny thing is; a vibrant meaningful life is not one that is usually lived in complete isolation. It’s not very healthy or even realistic either.

So the question is how do we remain peaceful, balanced individuals when there is often so much activity, and so many demands on us?

I’m discovering more the simple act of listening with my heart, and centering in on Jesus, who if we invite Him is always present with us. It’s quiet in that place with Him. Some call it the “prayer of quiet”, where we bring our mind down to our hearts, and here wait and listen.

We are not listening to the sounds of the outer world, but to the stillness that is within. We find Jesus more intimately there, and it’s in the quiet, even silence, that we can discover a deepening relationship with Him that nourishes our souls.

When we take the time to learn how to centre and quiet ourselves, then our outer everyday life becomes more and more grounded in Jesus; it becomes less hectic and we find we carry peace with us. It’s a peace that carries us through the busyness and activity that is part of most of our every day lives.

If we want to live more often in this peaceful calm space, and to be aware of God’s presence 24/7, I’ve found it’s helpful to learn the habit of the “prayer of quiet”.

It starts with the way we think; that we would not think, say, or do anything that may offend God. That seems like a big ask, but if it’s a relationship with God that we seek, like any other loving relationship, it’s wise to make an effort not to hurt or offend the one we love and respect. When we do, we just need to recognize our error and say sorry quickly, as hopefully we do with any one else. Our hearts therefore do not convict us, and so instead of drawing away from His presence we remain close to Him.

“God is greater than our hearts, and He knows all things. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, and we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight.…“(1 John 3:21)

A centering prayer of quiet enables us to turn our attention towards God. We take a few moments or more to find a quiet comfortable place and:

1. Settle down and let go of any thoughts, tensions and negative feelings we may be carrying. We allow ourselves to rest in God and His love. God says to us, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

2. Sometimes its easier to keep our minds focused on Him if we have a word to say to keep ourselves surrendered to God’s presence.  That word is something that will draw our attention back to God; such as Jesus, or Holy or Pappa.
When you become aware of other thoughts or feelings arising take this as a prompting to return to that chosen word.

3. When thoughts subside and we find ourselves aware of God’s presence, we can let go of saying the word and just sit in the quiet with Him. In the stillness we know Him.In Mark 4:39 we read where Jesus “rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Jesus has the power of stillness. When we take time to be still with Jesus, we know God, we know peace, we know calm, and our lives begin to slow down. In the stillness we find healing and our lives restored.

(If in the midst of this quiet, distracting thoughts or sensations start to stir, gently return to your chosen word to keep focused on God).

4. At the end of this centering and “prayer of quiet”, (aim for 10 minutes to begin with) we can “step back into the day” so to speak, and give time to express our thanks to Him, and take the opportunity to pray for others, and bring to Him whatever needs we may have.

It takes practice to “be still”  especially when we can be so busy, and the “noise” of the world is constant, but its worth the effort. Take some time today to sit with God in the stillness. His peace and rest are found there. 

Then God said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire;  and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-13)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you are with me, and that you want to be part of every area of my life. You are not far off or distant, but closer than the very air I breathe.  Help me to take the time to learn to be quiet, and to discover you in the stillness. May I be more aware of your presence with me.  In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

15 June -“What is the Way?”

When we look at the world we can get overwhelmed by its problems. We often are left  wondering what to do, and quite simply often don’t know where to look or act first.  When it becomes too hard we can be tempted to “put our our heads in the sand” and pretend all the problems, and pressures aren’t there.

We can ask “how do we do this, how do we let out light shine, how do we help people when the need is so huge”?

Ever since the devil came into the picture there has been suffering, death, and every evil work (Genesis 3:6). However Jesus also came to deliver the solution, the answer. He came to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus didn’t compromise his message for the masses, he didn’t chase after the applause or approval of the crowd. Quite often He even offended his followers, and was left looking at his closest friends saying “are you going to leave me too?” (John 6:67)

“The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (1 John 3:8)

Yet the effects of His ministry – His message, His miracles, His sacrifice, and His resurrection have shaped and changed the universe like no other.
He unashamedly stated “ I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, so follow me.” (John 14:6)

If we want to live authentic, real, meaningful Christian lives we’ve no other choice but to live it the way Jesus did.

We can’t love, we can’t share the good news,  we can’t be about heaven’s business unless we recognize and acknowledge that Jesus is “The Way”, and then choose to do things His way. If we try to do heaven’s work in the world’s system, which happens to be the devil’s system, we will never walk and minister the freedom, goodness, joy, and love that we see in Jesus. Why because the world’s system is toil, it’s performance and success oriented. It’s “What can I do, achieve, and gain?” Rather than a realization of “I can do nothing, but in and through me Jesus can do everything.”

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)

 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

What did Jesus do? He did everything in relationship. He only did, and said what he heard the Father in heaven saying. (John 12:29) He taught His disciples in relationship. He ate with them, laughed and cried with them, He was never impersonal or stand offish. He embraced lepers as he healed them, blessed little children, honored men and women alike, loved and rescued the prostitutes, ate with the outcasts, making them no longer outcasts, and wasn’t afraid to be seen with any of them.

Today when there is often so much to be overwhelmed about, and you may be thinking what am I supposed to think or do? Don’t be afraid and put off, or simply put things in the too hard basket. Take your cue from Jesus, who wasn’t afraid to say “I am the way”; He knew His way worked. It worked over 2000 years ago, it’s worked throughout the ages where people have chosen His Way over any other, and it will still work today for you and I.

Start personally, start one at a time, start by simply being a blessing to the one you see. They may not look the same as you, they may not talk the same, or even agree with your beliefs or values. But that didn’t stop Jesus and it can’t stop us. It can’t, not in this hour when the world desperately needs to see that Jesus is, and will always be “The Way”.

Prayer: Lord I ask that you help me to open up my heart to all those around me. Teach me how to hold them in my heart, so that I can share your love and life with all those you bring near. In Jesus

14 June -“The Do Over”

Today our family had a “Do Over”. A “do over” is when everything first time round goes terribly and pretty much fails.

Last night was our family night. A time where we strategically gather all the kids still living at home and take some time to spend quality time together. It has to be strategic and planned into our week because everyone has so many things going on with the constant busyness of work, dance, sport, study, exams and their social lives. So last night we planned dinner and a favourite movie. But even best laid plans can fail, which is what happened last night. My husband and I were the taxi service in two different directions, one of our older girls was at work late, another was studying and cooking dinner for everyone. And that’s when our family night came unhinged. Pickups ran late, ingredients for dinner were missing and needed a dash to the shop, people were tired and grumpy, miscommunication happened, and before we knew it family night had turned into an evening of upsets, tired kids, frazzled parents and a big fail when it came to quality time together.

However one of the things my husband is amazing at is the ability to regroup, recover, and make the best of a bad situation. He decided that we would have a “do over”. So this morning after a last minute dash to the shops last night, everyone was up just after 7am to eat a massive freshly prepared breakfast of bacon and eggs, pancakes, yogurt and fruit salad, and hot chocolates. Then still in our PJ’s we chuckled and laughed as we watched the movie we missed out on last night. Our eldest daughter and grand daughter  visited early this morning and walked into a smiling, well fed, wide awake rest of their family. Plus got to eat some pancakes.

We managed a “do over”, and what could have been stolen from us and remembered as a terrible evening, has been replaced with one of the best family breakfasts and starts to the day we’ve had for a long time.

“Do overs” are important as they teach us the importance of learning how to recover from less than perfect situations, and recognise what we can salvage from a failure to be able to keep going. “Do overs” teach us how to trust God to bring something good out of every  situation.

God is like that. He works good out of fails, and disappointments.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28)

I’m really grateful for my husband’s God given gift in being able to just keep going, to think creatively and to make the best of a situation. It’s an admirable trait and one which is worth imitating and supporting. Often when we aren’t naturally that way inclined we can unthinkingly be the “party pooper” and throw up our hands in defeat. That’s when we need a reminder to have the attitude of “what can we salvage from this failure, what can we do to move forward, how can I be supportive of the someone who may be thinking creatively and “out of the box” to bring good into the situation”.

Today if you are facing a situation which hasn’t worked out as well as you’d hoped, or it’s just a “big fail”, be encouraged. Nothing we do is ever wasted if we learn from it, and one of the mercies of God is that we usually get to have “Do overs” if we take the opportunity to look for them, and think creatively. 

So if you have had a disastrous day, remember you’ve got tomorrow. If your time with others was a complete catastrophe, ask God how you can “do over” that time and make the next time you spend together better. God says we can “boldly 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)

God is the great redeemer and restorer, and He loves to give us back in whatever way possible that which the enemy has stolen from us.

“I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten” (Joel 2:25).

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life”. (Psalm 143:8)

Prayer: Lord thank you so much for your grace and mercy towards me everyday. Even when I mess up, or things don’t go to plan you are the God who loves to bring healing and restoration. Help me to take heart and keep going, and when I need to have a “Do Over” show me how. In Jesus Name Amen.

13 June -What are you calling for?

The unseen realm is a powerful realm, governed by God’s principles and methods of doing things. One of the methods God uses is that He has chosen the things that are not, to bring to nought the things that are manifest. (1 Corinthians 1:28) To bring to nought or zero.

God chose the method of using things that we can’t see with the natural eye; spiritual forces that we cannot necessarily see, feel, smell, and hear all the time, to reduce to nothing those things that are not in agreement with the Word of God.

If we take the time to study Gods methods we’ll see from Genesis to Revelation, and throughout Jesus’ ministry the principle of calling things that are not as though they were. This is God’s method; to call for, and keep calling until the  things that are not manifested are; and that they would replace what is.

The God who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not yet exist” (Romans 4:17).

That doesn’t mean we deny what already exists, but we are called to overcome evil with good. When we call things that are not as though they were, we are calling them to be, and by doing that we nullify the problem that exists. We don’t have to pretend what we see already doesn’t exist, but we don’t have to keep talking about it either. 

If we have lack, we don’t deny we have bills to pay, but we do call for abundance to exist.
If we are sick, we don’t deny that the problem exists, but we can call that we are healed and healthy. For when we call for health we are calling for what will manifest and nullify, or “bring to nought” what already exists. We are simply denying sicknesses right to exist in our body, and instead calling by the power of God and all He is, for health to override sickness and disease.

We are calling for abundance to nullify lack, for peace to nullify strife. Whatever our need, if it is in accordance with Gods word, we can call for it.

It’s not just positive thinking, although getting hold of God’s way of doing things certainly does make us positive. It’s God’s method. It’s the principle of God and the power of His Word over matter.  Jesus moved powerfully in this principle, and we can too. God wants us to learn to call things into this realm, and to nullify what exists contrary to His Word, by calling into being the things the Bible promises.

It’s about knowing for ourselves what the promises of God are; not things that He doesn’t want us to have, but things that God has already given us. That includes such blessings as healing, health, freedom from oppression, lack, deliverance from all evil, that we will be blessed as we come in, and go out, that we will have wisdom, understanding and clarity; and that we will walk in power and authority. 

I could go on because the promises and blessing of God for us are enormous. We just need to understand what they are, that they are ours, and to practice calling, and then keep calling them to manifest, until they do. In doing so we nullify and bring to zero those things that aren’t all that God desires for us. 

When Jesus ministered with his disciples He did this all the time. He asked people to pick up their mat, or stretch out their withered hand, or rise up and walk, when they clearly couldn’t. He was calling what they could not do as though they could. He called it into existence and it manifested.
Jesus was more highly developed in this principle than we are. He spoke only what the Father in heaven said, and He told us to go and to the same. He doesn’t ask us to do anything we aren’t capable of in relationship with Him, but we are called to follow in His footsteps and to grow in the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven.

I (Jesus) will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

“Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored to full use, just like the other.…” (Matthew 12:12)

“Sir,” replied the sick man, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am on my way, someone else goes in before me.” Then Jesus told him, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk. Immediately the man was made well, and he picked up his mat and began to walk.” (John 5:8)

Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.  Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength“. (Acts 3:1-7)

What have you been calling? Do you know God’s promises concerning any need or desire you have?

Isn’t it about time we chose to speak, think and act as God would if He were in our situation.

God speaks the thing desired. He calls the thing that is not manifest, and brings to nothing that which is. (Genesis 1:2,3).

Prayer: Lord help me to understand the promises in your Word more, and that you want me to call those things that are not, as though they were. Reveal to me where I can start to put this principle to work in my life. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

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