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Dayle's Blog

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January 2017

22 Jan – Come on, get it together!

get-it-together

We are triune beings. We have a spirit, we have a soul, which consists of our mind, will and emotions, and we live in a body. To live a life where we effectively and consistently hear from God we need to get all these parts of our lives together. By that I mean we need to understand we are triune beings, and each area of our being; spirit, soul and body has a specific role to play in our faith walk, and us being able to clearly hear from God.

I read a fantastic thought by K. Copeland, which helped me understand just how our internal world is connected, and how important it is to bring everything together. We have to get all three parts in agreement before we can hear and see consistently and accurately what God is revealing to us.

1.We begin by feeding our spirit on the word of God. Just like the body produces physical strength when we nourish it with food, our spirit produces spiritual strength when we nourish it with God’s word. That spiritual strength is called faith. When we develop our faith, our spirit will remain in charge instead of being dominated by our soul and our bodies.

2.Next we bring our soul into line. We set our mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-2), and meditate, (think over) the word until our thoughts begin to agree with what God says. When we keep our attention on things above and God’s word our emotions, and thoughts will eventually get in line and yield to our spirit. Our minds and thoughts will be transformed by God’s word so that we are not led astray or confused because we are thinking on what God says.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

3. Finally we bring our bodies into line. When we truly get our spirit and soul established on the Word, this won’t be hard. Our body is a follower, not a leader. It will do whatever we train it to do. We begin by teaching our body to act on the truth we have planted in our mind and spirit and it will follow right along

To go the places that God wants to take us we must “get ourselves together” by bringing our spirit, soul and body into harmony with one another.

Then when the Holy spirit starts to reveal things to us, and when we step into heavenly places and start to see, hear and receive revelation we will be able to handle it.

When our soul – our mind isn’t in line, we will argue or just think it is all in our imagination. Our intellect will take over, and dictate to our spirit what God has revealed.

If our body isn’t brought into line then it will rise up and cause us to “lust” or hunger after that which we can see, smell, and touch. We may even see and hear from God on occasion, but we will be led by our flesh or body to do the things we don’t want to do, or what brings instant gratification, rather than lasting peace and joy. People can hear and even see amazing things from God, but if they have not brought their flesh under submission of their spirit, their soul and body will rule their life rather than their spirit.

The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit. That’s why our soul and body must be in agreement with the government of our spirit, to fully hear and see accurately from God.

Holy spirit speaks to our spirit and reveals mysteries, and the deep things of God. Then our spirit (which was born again – or as I say had the light switched on when we asked Jesus into our lives), translates that to our soul – our mind, will and emotions, bringing revelation straight from heaven.

That’s why the more Word we are taking into our life, the more receptive our spirits are to Holy Spirit. We can get dull of hearing if we harden our hearts through complacency, the desire for others things,  sin, disobedience, or un-forgiveness.

Jesus said, ‘”You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has grown callous; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” (Matt 13-14-16)

The more time we spend with God, in His presence, reading His word and seeking to follow His directions for our life, the more we will “get it together” and hear from Him.

“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)

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it! (1 Thessalonians 5:23 The Message)

Prayer: Lord help me to get it together in my spirit, soul and body so that my life is in order, and I can know you more,  and hear you speaking to me more clearly. In Jesus name Amen.

 

21 Jan -The Way!

way-of-love

What is your greatest aspiration in life? Some of us might answer, “to be successful.” Others may say “happiness” is their goal. Or maybe to “to feel no pain.” Is it to be esteemed and recognised by others, or to make an impact on the world so that you will be remembered after you die?

How we answer that question determines our life’s focus and course.

Even though some of us may not of ever considered, “what is our life’s greatest aspiration”, we all have one. It’s what guides us in our everyday decisions, beliefs and actions.

If our aspiration is recognition we will seek to do those things in life that will bring the most recognition. If our aspiration in life is security then the guiding factor in our life will be, “which way is the safest way”. If it’s to have fun, what looks like the most fun way to take?”

But today I thought, “what if our greatest aspiration was to simply live our life “one way”, and that one way was the way of love.

The bible exhorts us to “Let love be our highest goal! “(1 Corinthians 14:1)

Without love being our greatest aspiration and the one way we live, God says everything else we do is useless and empty. We may impress the world if we are a great business person, communicator, preacher, student, teacher, parent, or friend, but if we don’t live the way of love what does it all achieve and mean when we are gone?

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

How often do we major on the minors of life? But what if we didn’t. What if we just majored on the “one way” to live – the way of love? How differently would we communicate, relate to one another, and act and choose our course of action in life?

We can all possess many knowledge, which is highly esteemed in the world,  “But knowledge puffs up, while love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1)

The bible gives some clear directives on what love is, and isn’t.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].”

Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]…. And now there remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; 13)

God does not leave us alone when He exhorts us to live a life of love. He knows our failings and weaknesses, and promises that He can cause even the stoniest heart to become flesh. He is Love, and when we open our heart and lives to him He promises He will flood our lives with a love that cannot be quenched, and does not fail!

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.“(Ezekiel 36:26)

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.” (Song of Solomon 8:7)

Let love be your highest aspiration and goal today. Let it chart your course, your speech, your actions, and your decisions. Let the way of love cause you to reach out to the people you meet, and motivate you to unselfish acts of kindness. Let it foster patience and forgiveness when dealing with those you live and work with, as you choose the one way, the highest way to live.

Prayer: Lord I want to live a life of love. Please pour your love into my heart so that I will have all the love I need as I go through my day today. In Jesus name. Amen

 

 

20 Jan – Strong-minded!

strong-mind

There is a battle going on every day of our lives. It is a battle that goes on in our mind, and it is vicious. Our opponents, the devil and his demons don’t fight fair, and even if we were to give up fighting they wouldn’t fight within the confines or boundaries of any Geneva Convention or truce. The devil fights to the death, and his intention is our total surrender and captivity. (John 10:10)

Mental illness, anxiety, fears, and people held in captivity to their minds and emotions is at epidemic proportions. People are unable to hear God because their minds are broken and they fail to be able to connect to God and hear Him clearly. As Joyce Meyer says – our mind is the battlefield, and it is the one who gets our mind that gets us.

That’s why we need to learn and teach others how to guard, strengthen and renew our minds. To  be “strong minded.”

The bible teaches us that, “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

One of our tasks in the battle is to “destroy strongholds”. A strong hold means every argument, opinion and thought that has taken hold, or becomes rooted in our minds and lives  and  raises itself up against what Jesus has done for us.

Strongholds can be a world view that sets itself up against who God is, or it can be a personal attitude such as worry, fear, anxiety, guilt, and resentment. All of these things can cause strongholds in our lives, and the bible says unequivocally to take these thoughts captive and to pull them down.

“Taking every thought captive” means to control, to conquer, to bring into submission” We are to make it submit, and bring our thoughts under control!

I have a technique where I stop and think about what I’m thinking about. Far too often we allow our minds to be occupied with “stinking thinking”. I discipline myself to imagine taking a net and catching each thought as it flits about in my mind. I pull each thought down and examine it to see whether it is a productive faith filled thought or not. If it isn’t I take hold of it and bring it captive to Jesus, and tell it to go. Then I focus on replacing that thought, and thinking on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

I’ve learnt that when we want to have a strong mind and be free of strongholds, we must:

Fill our thoughts with what God says in His word. I read and listen to His word, and the words of faith filled people.

God actually says that when we accept Jesus into our lives we are given the “mind of Christ’. To have the mind of Christ, we must think as He thinks. But often our thoughts are not God’s thoughts (see Is. 55:8). What we base our beliefs, ideas and thoughts on are often based on our own perceptions of reality that were developed in our families of origin and life experiences.

But the bible tells us it is possible to have the mind of Christ in spite of our life history. We are to “be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s]” (Rom. 12:2)

 

 

We must realize that just because we think a thought does not mean we should validate that thought before we assess it’s worth. In our modern world we are surrounded by so much noise, opinions and the power of suggestion. The world puts suggestions in our minds that are false, and we are bombarded with those false ideas all the time. We must  contend with the Father of liars  the devil, who uses others, or his demons to whisper absolute rubbish to us. (John 8:44)

Our minds are like sponges, and what we surround ourselves with our minds will soak up. If you don’t want negativity, fear, evil, and godless thoughts, then don’t soak and surround yourself with them. You get what you put in. Proverbs 15:14 says, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (NLT). If we don’t want toxic thoughts or things that are going to weaken our mind and our faith, we need to fill our minds with the right things. “Fix and set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

We can also often struggle with confusion in our minds because we are not surrendered and trusting God with the many details of our life. We try to navigate all the decisions we must make with our own intellect, when God wants to help us if we’d only renew our minds with what He says to do.

We need to be strong minded and aware that there is a battle going on. The strength we need to win this battle comes through guarding our minds against lies, and any thoughts and opinions that rise up against Jesus and who He is, and who we are in Him. It is in putting into our lives those things that are good for our minds, instead of soaking up rubbish.

Today take an imaginary net and pull down your thoughts and examine them. Think about what you are thinking about, and assess their worth. Do they line up with what God’s word says about your life, and your future? Do they line up with how God does things, or are they contrary to His will?

“Jesus said, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be known and illuminated. Pay attention, therefore, to how you listen. Whoever has will be given more, but whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”(Luke 8:17-18)

Prayer: Lord I want to be strong-minded and to be free of any strongholds or thinking that is contrary to your word. Please give me wisdom to know the truth and to recognize the lies and thinking that only produces toxic thoughts and weakness in my mind. In Jesus Name Amen.

19 Jan -You tell the storm to be quiet!

speaking-to-the-storm

There is a spiritual principle that when you read the bible you can’t easily ignore. It’s the power of the words we speak. We are cautioned and encouraged to watch what we are saying, and perhaps just as importantly what beliefs and attitudes we have stored in our hearts.

When everything is going well it’s easy to be positive and have our words filled with faith and positivity. However it is also vital what comes out of our mouths when we are under pressure, stressed, afraid, and feeling overwhelmed.

Far too often we can allow ourselves to speak like the world speaks instead of speaking how God speaks. I’ve often had the thought, “What if I only said what God says about my life, my situation, and, my future?” How differently would I talk when faced with challenges, and through the course of my day?

When we aren’t filling our hearts and minds with Gods word, and His way of doing things we can easily stumble and struggle in our believing and trust that everything is going to be alright. We can struggle to really believe that God is in control and will protect, guide, and direct our steps. Instead we start looking at the ”storm”, and it’s potential and ability to harm us.

Some friends of Jesus were once faced with such a dilemma. They found themselves in a fishing boat out in the middle of a large lake, when suddenly a violent storm erupted. Many of these men were long term fishermen, used to the water and it’s capabilities. Yet we read that even they were terrified at the ferocity of the storm, fearing they were all going to drown. Jesus however was resting peacefully in the back of the boat.  (Luke 8:22-25)

Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence! and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass. Then he said to his disciples,  “Why can’t you trust me?”(v24)

When we constantly  look at the “storm” we too will become afraid and doubting. We listen to the news reports, other people, and the circumstances around us and we do just as the disciples in the boat did. We believe and listen to the noise of the “storm” and forget who is with us. That Jesus is with us. Jesus reprimanded the disciples for their fear and lack of faith. He expected them to do exactly what he had done; to stand up in the midst of the wind and the rain, with the waves crashing into the boat and command the storm to be silent and still!

He still expects all who believe and follow Him to do the same. To stand up in the face of our fears, our struggles, finances, health, relationships, work and any other internal or external battle, and speak and take authority over it all. But we won’t be able talk and walk in that authority if we don’t take heed to what we are storing in our hearts; what we are listening to, and what we are looking at.

Jesus said,“if you make yourselves at home with me and my words at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon,” (John 15:7-8 The Message)

Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” (Mark 11:23 NIV)

Today look at what God says in His word about your life and situation. Search out His promises regarding what you are facing. In our family we say “there is a song for ever occasion.” There is also a word from God for every occasion.

Don’t look at the storm. Look to God and what He says about your life. Store his promises in your heart, and then see what a difference only speaking and believing what He says about your life and future makes.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears”. (Psalm 34:4)

Prayer: Lord today I choose to look at what you say in your word regarding my life. I want you and what you say, “in my boat” because then I don’t have to worry or even look at the “storm”. Help me to keep my eyes and heart firmly fixed on you today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 Jan – Bigger on the inside!

bigger-on-the-inside

I often get asked how do you do it? I guess people are referring to me being a wife, a mother of six children, (three of whom we currently homeschool), a grandparent, church planter, and senior minister. It sounds a lot when you look at my life at first. I’m no superwomen although my kids are often asked if I am; I’m just me! But I didn’t start out being and doing all the things I do; my life and my capacity to live it increased little by little.

Capacity is the power of containing or holding something; and an increase in our capacity does not happen overnight, but gradually as we make certain decisions, or are faced with opportunities and challenges.

When we had a first child Anna we were young youth leaders in our Church. We made the decision to keep leading the youth even when we had a baby, and as a result our capacity had to increase. We had to increase our ability to do without sleep, to be more organised, to work as a team with others, and to not “sweat the small stuff”. As I like to say, “we got bigger on the inside”. Three years later our second daughter Shara arrived. Once again we chose to keep ministering; except now we added moving cities so that my husband Philip could further his studies. We had to increase our capacity once again in our finances, our faith, our capacity to change, and our trust in God to provide and continue to lead us.

Sometimes we can be afraid of taking any extra “weight” or pressure in life. It can seem too overwhelming. But not all weight is bad; for us to increase in strength and capacity we do have to undertake an increase, even if only incrementally, in what we can hold and carry. The key is to seek God for His wisdom to know what He is calling each one of us to increase and develop in, and what is simply a burden which needs to be lifted off. 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

Every season, every new addition to the family, every transition to something new, every step of faith, and sometimes just absolute trust that God had our lives in his hands, has meant we have had to make the consistent decision to keep increasing in our capacity. Has that always been easy?  Definitely not. There have been times when we have stumbled, made mistakes and had to take a step back and reconsider. Times where adjustments have had to be made, where we have had to let go of things, and pick up others. But I can say that with each lesson, season, blessing and change I’ve without a doubt got ”bigger on the inside”.

I am not a very big person on the outside, but my desire is to keep increasing my capacity, so I am bigger on the inside.

Some of the areas I have discovered we can make a personal decision to increase our capacity in are:

1.To increase our faith capacity – Faith is trusting God; it is the substance of vision, dreams, and the future. We need increasing faith to be able to believe and see what God sees, and be positioned for whatever He brings our way.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

2.To increase our people capacity – Life is all about relationships, and about caring, loving, honoring and serving people. The more people in our life, the bigger our capacity needs to be.

3.To increase our change capacity -To be honest I am not a great lover of change. However I have discovered we can’t grow and increase without it. We all have to learn how to adjust, and be flexible to some degree. Change is not our enemy as long as its productive change. It is one of the greatest agents of our gaining momentum and moving forward.

4.To increase our hearts capacity – Our heart and spirit are like a container that is designed to hold love, grace and compassion. We can ”hold” people, cities, nations and the world in our hearts. But we have to grow in our capacity to do that. Our attitudes, mindsets, beliefs and values will be challenged and stretched. It can be very confronting to realise how “small minded” or indifferent we can be. However God is so gracious and promises He has, and will continually to shed abroad His love in hearts if we ask. The more open we are to His love, the greater our hearts capacity to hold it will be.

And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, the One having been given to us.” (Romans 5:4)

The world needs big people! People who are able to hold the world and its inhabitants in their hearts, who desire to increase from faith to faith, and who aren’t afraid of change.

We have a limitless capacity in God. We are often far more capable than we give ourselves credit for. What looks impossible alone, is possible with God. (Matt 19:26)

Today ask yourself, “are there areas in my life I need to reconsider and adjust so that I can increase in other areas? Am I doing the things I am passionate about, or just feeling pressured because there are things I do, and carry that are simply burdens and not growth areas?”

Consider where in your life does God want to make you “bigger on the inside” and what steps can you take with Him to increase your capacity today?

Prayer: Lord thank you that in you there are no limits. Help me to increase in my faith, relationships, and love so that I just keep getting “bigger on the inside”. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

17 Jan – Demolition Day!

demolition-day

I was having a conversation recently with someone and I was struck with how vital it is for us to guard our hearts from becoming hardened. It is so easy when we get hurt, disappointed or damaged in some other way to harden our hearts. Our natural reaction is to toughen up, and put protective walls around our lives so as to not allow anyone or thing to cause us any further harm.

The bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

Toughening up and hardening our heart sounds all well and good, especially when it relates to those people in our life that have caused us harm. We harden our hearts towards them so that they can no longer “get to us”.

But therein lies the problem. When we harden our hearts, we harden them towards everyone and everything without even realising it. It is a fallacy to believe that we can just “build walls” around our heart towards certain people, and it won’t affect the rest of our relationships or life. A wall is a wall, and once it’s up, it’s very difficult for us to allow anyone in. We may have a few “gates” we open up to particular people, but we are no longer living our life fully free, open or how God created us to be.

We become guarded, fearful, cynical of people’s intentions, lacking in trust, in spontaneity, creativity, and joy. It’s not the overflowing, abundant joyful life that Jesus came and sacrificed His life to give us. Jesus broke the power of the devil, but we can choose to stay his captive.

We can easily listen to the devil’s lies, that “no one can be trusted, that the world is “dog eat dog” and just think about, take care of, and love yourself because you are the most important thing. It all sounds reasonable and sensible, but it’s an empty, lonely space, which is exactly where the devil wants us. For then  He can more easily come at us when we have little or no “back up” in our life. He is very adept at ferreting under, over and through any gap in our wall so as to deceive, lie, and ultimately destroy us.

Jesus referred to the devil as a thief. He said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

According to these words of Jesus, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy everything good in your life. He wants to destroy your job, your joy, your happiness, your health, your finances, your marriage, and your family. The thief just wants to ruin anything he can get his hands on!

When we were visiting Rome recently I was the victim of a pickpocket. They are very cunning, slipping their hands into your pocket or bag to take what they want, and then being long gone before you even discover they were even there!

Jesus uses the word “klepto” or thief to let us know the devil is like a pickpocket; he is very cunning in the way he steals from people. The devil knows that if he does it outright, his actions will be recognized; therefore, he steals from people in such a deceptive way that he often accomplishes his evil goal before we even know he has stolen from us!

He injects thoughts into a people’s minds to steal their peace, joy, and even their beliefs. The word klepto describes a thief’s uncontrollable urge to get his hands into someone’s pockets so he can take that, which doesn’t rightfully belong to him. Interestingly it’s where we get the word kleptomaniac, which describes a person with a persistent, neurotic impulse to steal. That describes the character of the devil exactly. Just as a kleptomaniac can’t help but steal, the devil can’t stop stealing because it is his impulse and very nature to steal. This is precisely the nature and behavior of the thief Jesus warned us about!

He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44 NIV)

Jesus on the other hand says,” I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)  The word “abundantly” is from the Greek word periossos, and it means to be above, beyond what is regular, extraordinary, or even exceeding. This is not just abundance; it is super-abundance. He doesn’t want us to build walls, and try to protect ourselves, because when we build walls and harden our hearts, we also harden them against Him,  for Jesus promises He will protect us.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Instead of hard hearts and walls He says, “Live a life of love, and forgiveness; trust me and I will be with you all the days of your life. I will lead and guide you, if you would only listen to me. I have good things planned for your life, things I planned before you were even formed in your mothers’ womb. I have places for you to go, wonders for you to see, amazing, generous, inspiring people for you to meet and love, and a family that stretches across the earth, (as well as those who are cheering you on in heaven.)

Today, let it be demolition day!  Go for it, and with Jesus bring those walls down!

Have a listen to this song by Stephanie Gretzinger – “Out of Hiding” to encourage you today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFkDqQtfs0w

Prayer: Lord please help me to let go, and to bring down the walls that I have placed around my heart when life got too hard. Help me to trust you to protect, lead, direct and love me enough. In Jesus Name. Amen.

16 Jan -100% in!

let-go

My husband shared yesterday at our Sunday gathering. He used a particular illustration to highlight the difference between how we can have a relationship with God where we settle for making a contribution, only giving what is comfortable when it comes to our relationship, or choosing to make a commitment with our whole life.

The analogy goes as follows: “Some farm animals were talking about how wonderful the farmer was. They decided they wanted to make him feel special by preparing a wonderful breakfast for him the next day.
The cow offered to contribute fresh milk for his coffee. The chicken offered to contribute fresh eggs to eat. The lamb offered wool to make the farmer’s chair comfortable.”

“Then everyone turned to look at the pig. “What are you going to contribute they all asked?”

“Not so fast.” said the pig. “For you, that’s just a contribution, giving milk, eggs and wool, but for me, it’s a total commitment.”

We can all be quite comfortable in not wanting to give our all, so we contribute like the cow, sheep and chicken. They could have given their all but they didn’t want the inconvenience, or the cost.

It’s an attitude we can have in everything we do, and especially in how we contribute only segments of our life to God. We compartmentalise our life, instead of giving 100%, and then wonder why our life often seems lacking in some way. We give a bit of our heart, a bit of our money, a bit of service, and a bit of our life.
But God wants our all. For us to start our day with, “What do you want me to do?” “Where do you want me to be?” 100%, “I’m your’s”.

Jesus said, “if you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you”ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you”ll find both yourself and me”. (Matthew 10:39 The Message)

Once we get to know God a little we come to understand that He doesn’t want to “take” from our lives, but add to them. But far to often we fight to hold on to our second rate, beaten up old “stuff” when God has the true riches and treasures of heaven for us, and a meaningful, purpose filled life for us to live.

He says why worry and chase after the things the world chases after.He knows all our needs, and He’s got it covered. Instead, “seek first the kingdom of God above all else, and his righteousness (right way of living), and all these things will be added to you”. (Matthew 6:31-33 NLT

Today, make a decision to stop chasing after those things that never truly satisfy. Choose to seek after true riches, letting go of your life so that you can take up the life God wants to give you.

Prayer: Lord forgive me for being half-hearted, and not following after you 100%. I know that you only want the best for me, and that means letting go of my life and way of doing things, and choosing you and your way everyday. Help me to do that today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

15 Jan -What are you hiding?

hide-an-seek-with-god

I woke up this morning thinking about painting. We are in the process of planning to paint the inside of our house. As I was praying and thinking on all that entails God started to speak to me. One of the ways He speaks to us is in the everyday events and circumstances of life.

The majority of Jesus’ interactions and conversations occurred in and around everyday situations. He talked with people about spiritual issues where they were most familiar, and didn’t’ need a special setting to discuss things of eternal significance. Jesus connected with people’s thoughts and feelings, understanding that new ideas needed to be connected with a familiar frame of reference if they were to make an impact.

The bible says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He still communicates with us through the framework we are familiar with, drawing the everyday things of our lives and spiritual concepts together to bring revelation, correction, and direction.

Today He spoke to me through the everyday task of painting. As I listened God shared with me about the importance of allowing His presence and hand into every area of our life. We are all good at only letting God and others see what we are comfortable with. But God wants to touch, refresh and clothe with His power and presence in even the hidden spaces, and the parts we can often become very adept at covering up or tucking away out of sight. 

When you paint a house it takes extra effort to paint in all the cupboards, and little nooks and crannies. We could easily just leave the clothes in the cupboards, the food in the pantry and not bother to move large furniture, when painting a house. We may think, “it’s okay, nobody will bother looking, or see those hidden areas so it doesn’t matter”.

But when it comes to our internal world, somebody does see, and eventually others will too. God sees all. He sees the stuff hidden away in our “closets”, the attitudes, secret sins, habits, addictions, mindsets and anything else we try to push out of sight or cover up from others and even ourselves.

The bible tells us that, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Today I felt the Lord saying, “I see everything, even the hidden things, and I want to refresh every area of people’s lives. I want to clothe with my presence, just like you would new paint, every “cupboard, nook, cranny and hidden area of people’s lives, so that they won’t miss a thing I want to bless them with, and what I am doing.”

When we hide from God. When we “closet” away areas of our life, it causes us to draw near to God only so far, and then we come to a grinding halt. We end up feeling like can’t go any further in our relationship, because if we do, God, or someone else might see the areas of our life we don’t want seen. Sometimes we even hide things from ourselves because to bring them out of the “closet” is just too painful and difficult.

God loves us unconditionally just the way we are. He accepts us, blesses us, and always wants to draw us close. But He also loves us far too much to leave us in the state we can get ourselves in. We may fool ourselves and everyone else, but we can’t and don’t fool God. He sees, and He knows everything about us.

 “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD” (Psalm 139:4).

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you” (Psalm 139:15-16).

Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest?” (Job 21:22).

Today, allow God into even the hidden, closeted away areas of your life. He doesn’t want to harm or condemn us, but simply  to prepare us for new life in Him, so that He might clothe us with His presence, blessing and joy; much like a fresh, clean and vibrant “coat of paint.”

Prayer: Lord please help me to be honest with myself and you about my life. I know that I have things that I keep hidden from others, and sometimes even you. Would you please come and shine your light and presence into every area of my life, so that I am no longer hiding. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

14 Jan -A timetable for life!

the-schedule

Today my husband and I had a lengthy discussion about my schedule, or should I say my lack of one.

A schedule is defined as “a plan of procedure, which is usually written down. It is for a series of things to be done, or events to occur at or during a particular time: Or put simply a schedule is our timetable for life.”

In theory I fully understand the value of planning my day and having a schedule. The busier our life becomes the more essential a daily and weekly plan is to create enough space and time for everything to fit in. It’s how we maintain a healthy life balance.

However as my husband so kindly pointed out to me today, my schedule, or lack of one is a lid in my life. I go from one event, person, need or activity to the next, and in my head I am scheduling and even writing in a diary, but what I think is flexibility has become a bad habit of cramming too much into my day and week. When we do that on a constant basis our relationships suffer, we suffer, and we can easily end up in “burn out”, or giving up on things God really wants us to pursue in life.

So today I bought a diary, even though it’s only January and I usually don’t bother until February. I’m choosing to lift this lid in my life.

Scheduling is an important life skill because it is the art of planning our activities so that we can achieve our goals and priorities in the time we have available. When it’s done effectively, it helps in the following ways:

Scheduling can greatly reduce our stress. A proper schedule gives us peace of mind, as we know that we have formulated a plan of action, and that our goals are attainable.

A schedule helps us to be prepared for obstacles, as part of a good schedule is including a contingency plan, and space in our day for unexpected challenges or emergencies. We should only schedule 60% of our day, so as to leave room for urgent needs, spontaneous moments, emergencies, or someone or something just “messing” with the plan. (If you are a parent this goes with the territory) Without that unplanned 40%, we can get too rigid and legalistic about our schedules, and run the risk of becoming  boring and uptight.

Planning our daily and weekly activities clearly illustrates whether we are staying focused on what is really important. We soon see what we are spending our time on.

When planning a schedule it’s important to understand what we can realistically achieve with our time. God does do “time miracles” to give us extra time (that’s for another blog), but He also gives us wisdom to live by too.

It’s important to schedule enough time for God, family, friends, exercise, hobbies, and just having fun.

The aim of a schedule is to achieve a good work-life balance. This takes wisdom and prayer, so we need to take the time to pray carefully over our schedule, and ask God to lead us.

 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:6)

 Here are a few ways to begin scheduling your time:

1.Set a regular time to do your scheduling – at the start of every week or month, for example.

A simple and easy way to begin to keep a schedule is to use a pen and paper and organise your time using a weekly planner, or diary. You can also use an “app” or any other tool that suits your situation. Make sure it has enough space for the level of detail you need.

2.Start by establishing the time you want to make available for your work, family, relationships, quiet times with God, study etc.

3.Schedule in essentials in your day/week. What you need to do regularly? When we write these daily activities down it quickly reveals to us what we are spending our time on, and whether we should be or not.

4.Schedule in those things that are a priority and important, as well as those things that cannot be delegated or avoided. Plan these high priority activities in your day when you are most productive, alert and energised.

5.Schedule in a contingency plan. This is my issue; I don’t leave enough time for the unexpected, emergencies, or the “I have to deal with this now” moments. The more unpredictable or flexible our life tends or needs to be, the more “contingency time” we need. If we don’t schedule this time in emergencies will still happen and we’ll end up working late, stressed out, always running behind, and at the risk of burn out.

6.Create a schedule that is consistent in the daily essentials, as this will create positive habits. What do you do every day/week that you can build more consistency into? (eg: exercise, Jesus time, family night, date night, etc)

7.Make sure that your schedule is not too intense. Plan in “down time,” otherwise you will end up stressing over your schedule, which is pointless.

8.Put your schedule in a visible location so that it is easy to see and follow. Following a plan is just as important as creating one. We don’t create a schedule with the intent to ignore it, but if it’s too rigid, or hidden away we just won’t look at it.

God promises that He will direct our steps, and give us a heart of wisdom if we seek Him. Every day is a gift from Him, so let’s make the most of each and every day and unwrap them carefully.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Prayer: Lord please help me to be wise with the time you have gifted to me. Where I am not as organised or as careful with my time as I could be please help me to set a schedule and plan in motion. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

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