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September 2017

20 Sept – Honour what you have

be grateful for what you have

There is a thinking that says, “I’ll be happy when I have this happen in my life”. We then can go through life always wishing that things were different, yet never acknowledging, thanking and honouring what we already have. God is all for us seeing and believing for better things in our future, but one of the keys to being joyful in the midst of believing  is honouring and being thankful for what God has given us right now.

Focusing on what we don’t have is a sure fire guarantee that we will go through life in a state of frustration and dissatisfaction. Even when desires are fulfilled many people still won’t feel happy because they simply move onto the next thing they are wanting, and forget to honour God with what He has blessed them with already.

An antidote to living in this state of dissatisfaction is to learn to honour and be grateful for what we have. Instead of looking at our partner and wishing they were different, we can honour them for who they are already. We look for the positives and the attributes we do appreciate rather than the things we don’t like. Rather than complaining about our job, workplace, family, church or wherever we spend our time, we can honour and respect what we do have in these things, and remember to be grateful.

Rather than complaining about not being able to go on holiday, we can think of ways to have fun at home. Some people even go to the airport in their home and then act as if they are tourists visiting their city for the first time. They have a great time exploring and seeing their city or town with fresh eyes.

If we honour what we have we will end up focusing on the good things about our home; our job, surroundings and relationships. The result is we will become more patient, loving, considerate, satisfied, and have far more fun in the process.

When we honour and appreciate what we have God also knows that He can trust us with more. He knows we won’t just brush aside His hand of blessing on our lives. That we will appreciate the people He brings into our world; the children He blesses us with and the work, skills and talents He bestows upon us. When we honour what we have He knows we can be trusted with more.

Whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. If then, you have not been faithful with worldly wealth, who will entrust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:10-12)

Today honour and think about what you have, rather than what you don’t. As you do you’ll soon realise your life is far better than you’d at first realised, you’ll make the most of what you have, and God in His time will trust you with more.

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful” (Colossians 3:15)

Prayer: Lord please help me to have eyes to see, and a heart to acknowledge all that I have in my life. That I would not spend my time and energy always looking at what I don’t have and therefore miss everything I have already been blessed with. I honour and give you thanks for everything and everyone in my life today, and especially that I can know you. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 Sept – No Drama

drama

Many people love a drama, and I’m not talking about the movie or TV type drama’s but the one’s unfolding in or around our lives. We all know or may even be aware of our tendency towards being a drama queen or in the masculine form some one who fusses and carries on like “a pork chop”. We may have even jokingly commented about one of our kids or friends being one.

Actually I wonder if some thrive on a good drama unfolding and relish all the gory details, intrigue, hurts, strife and pain.

The problem and negative effect however with continual drama’s being allowed to unfold in our lives is that we are not designed for it, and being surrounded by drama, drama, drama all the time has consequences. Apart from being down right exhausting, it eventually takes it’s toll upon people’s health, peace of mind, and their spiritual, emotional and physical state, plus the damage it does to relationships.

Instead God has created us to live in and at peace, and to take authority over those issues and forces that would come against us to steal our peace, cause strife and create havoc. We can all become so accustomed to drama around us within our families, workplaces, friendships, churches and pretty much wherever there is people, that even if we see drama coming, we often allow ourselves to be sucked into it, and in doing so also give up the gift of peace Jesus gave his life for.

Instead God wants us to learn to discern when things are bothering or causing us pain, so that we can quickly take the best course of action to deal with them accordingly.  No good comes from simply pushing issues aside or under the surface, for they will just pop up later when they have grown to such a capacity that they now can freely cause drama in our lives.

When external situations look like they are fast turning into a potential drama God doesn’t want us to get down in the thick of it, but instead have the wisdom to rise up and over the drama and react with calm and perspective regarding what is happening. Then we will be able to deal with the “drama” far more appropriately and effectively.

Even drama’s that are difficult to avoid don’t have to overtake and overwhelm us if we refuse to be sucked in by their whirlwind tactics. We must instead step back and ask God for wisdom and strategy on how best to deal with the situation. Nobody from my experience has ever been helped much by others simply becoming part of the drama, or becoming dramatic ourselves.

Today, watch out for the dramas around you, and refuse to be sucked into their current. Instead seek God, His wisdom and solution and remember to hold onto your peace.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

“Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you”. (1 Peter 5:7)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Prayer: Lord please help me to recognise that a lot of the fuss and bother around us is just that…fuss and bother, designed to steal our joy and peace. Help me to be compassionate to others and to have the wisdom to help, but also to stay out of the drama. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

18 Sept – Who am I?

snowflake-3317-423a9ae38f3342e0c130c5473fee6d3c@1xGuest blogger today; my magnificent daughter Rebekah!

​I think everyone is guilty of trying to be someone they aren’t. And I am totally no exception to this fact! I’ve tried acting like my favourite celebrities, friends, and even family members. I think it’s the whole Cinderella complex that gets us all in a spin. ‘If I could just get that guy/girl to notice me’, or ‘I could just get better at’…get the picture?

We usually show our best sides when we don’t realise it; when we think no one’s watching or when we have ‘released our inhibitions’. There is such a freedom in being who you really are. Take Lucy from the Narnia series for example. Lucy is this amazingly deep, strong, kind character that arises to any challenge no matter how dangerous. She changed the lives of so many around her and we watch her develop into her full potential throughout all 3 movies. Yet, in the third movie, Lucy tries to become someone she’s not because she can’t see that she is worth so much more as herself than any other person she could imagine! Now I absolutely love this movie for many reasons! 1. Because let’s face it, Prince Caspian is Christmas, Valentine’s Day and National Chocolate day all rolled into one. But besides that, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sheds light on this Cinderella Complex that everyone falls prey to, even guys (although to keep their macho man appearance in tact we probably should come up with another name!) When Lucy is wishing she was Susan and finds a way to change herself, she realises the value she holds. None of her siblings would have discovered Narnia and had their lives radically changed for the better if it weren’t for her!

So instead of talking ourselves down, why don’t we try looking at our lives and count every small moment when we did something well, stepped out of our comfort zone, challenged ourselves, or wore that dress we thought we would never be brave enough for…just to name a few. If you need to, write it down and save them in a jar for a rainy day. I can guarantee focusing on the fun, colourful, vibrant, kick-butt parts of life, you are well on your way to becoming a happier, stronger you who no longer looks anywhere but to Jesus for happiness and approval!

God created us in His image, He shaped us to be like we are. Why would we want to be any different?

If you are having any doubt about what God wants for your life, or why you are the way you are, I would recommend reading Jeremiah. God shows how intricate the detailing of our lives is and His hand in all of it!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for how much you care for me. Help me to remember that Your plans for my life, even when I can’t see what they are, are so awesome that I couldn’t even dream them. You are always in control, help me to hear your voice and see the opportunities you have created so I don’t miss a minute of your awesomeness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

17 Sept – Plant a seed, reap a harvest.

seed sowing

I love spring. It is a yearly visual reminder all around us in creation of how life works, and the spiritual principles that govern our world.

Spring is all about the simplicity of planting a seed, taking care of it and seeing that tiny seed grow, multiply and then produce a harvest. Why? Because it’s designed to.

It is the same for every area of our lives. The Bible says in Galatians 6:7 “For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.”

What and who we welcome (sow), and allow into our lives is what is going to be produced in our life (reap). If we allow attitudes, actions or even individuals into our life, which aren’t good or profitable for our spiritual, emotional, mental or physical health then those are the “seeds” which are going to start to produce in our lives. Those “seeds” will in time produce a harvest – either for good or for bad depending on what we have sown.

God says to choose life and blessing, and if we don’t like what our life has been producing then all we need do is start sowing into those things that are profitable and good for us; those things we actually want to have in our lives.

The bible says it this way, “Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10 Message Bible)

Start sowing seeds today for the harvest you want, for as you sow so shall you reap.

Prayer: Lord help me to choose a life of peace and blessing so that I will receive a harvest of these things in my life, instead of the weeds of anger, bitterness and strife. I choose to sow good seeds today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

16 Sept – Mum tips – (but not just for Mum’s)

This week I was thinking of some of my best Mum tips that I’ve learnt from being a mum of six kids. Here are my top three:

Tip No. 1 – Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a slippery slide to us feeling bad about ourselves; It leads to negativity, feeling alienated, unworthy, creates poor self-esteem and causes us to doubt ourselves as parents and/or individuals. We need to “back ourselves” and believe that what God has blessed and entrusted us with He will also provide, strengthen and enable us to handle. God doesn’t compare us. He just loves us for the unique amazing creations we are.

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.  For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” (Galatians 6:4-5)

Tip No. 2 – Pray. It ‘s when we try to do everything by ourselves that we most often run into problems. Prayer quietens our souls, sharpens our minds, edifies and fine tunes our spirits and enables us to off load our burdens so that we are then able to hear from God and glean from His wisdom and the best way to go about things.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

Tip No. 3 – Be prepared and find all the necessary underwear and socks and lay them out for the next day. This is all about being prepared in the little things of daily life. It may sound funny but from small children to adults the socks, jocks and knickers issue seems to be widespread. It’s the one thing that can mess with our morning schedules and facilitates more than one person to end up in tears. I’m sure the washing machine eats socks so that we are constantly left with odd or missing ones, and that in a strong wind the underwear blows over the neighbour’s fence never to be seen again. Daily life is filled with things we just have to deal with – like socks and jocks, but being prepared and organised in the little things of life then creates for us precious time, energy and space to focus our imagination and intellect on less mundane things.

God wants us to be able to be focused and prepared for the things he has planned for us to walk in. Failure to be prepared in the everyday necessities of our life will more often than not be our undoing, and cause us to be so stressed that we easily miss God given opportunities right in front of us.

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep a clear head, and set your hope completely on the grace to be given you when Jesus, the Messiah, is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:13)

Don’t compare yourself, make time to pray, and be prepared. It will bless your life, and subsequectly the lives of those around you.

Prayer: Lord help me to have confidence in who you have made me to be, to talk and listen to you everyday, and to be prepared, especially in the little things of life that can easily cause a lot of problems. Help me to walk in wisdom today as I listen and lean on you. In Jesus name Amen

15 Sept – Look on the bright side of life!

always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-life

Today I celebrate my 27th Wedding Anniversary with my husband. We have been very blessed already in our life together with six amazing children, a fantastic son-in-law and a beautiful little granddaughter; plus an amazing church family and too many other blessings to fit in this blog.

However one thing I have learnt over 27 years of marriage is to always look on the bright side. This may sound obvious, but for me it did not come naturally. I am a details person and if left to my own devices I have been known to fixate on problems, and to worry far too much for my own good.

But it’s the ability to look on the bright side, and to realise that the things I’m stressing over I probably won’t even remember in 20 years time that has been one of my greatest lessons. Most things are as Paul says in the bible are momentary concerns and if we choose to look on the bright side; to look for the positives, on what we have learnt through our difficulties, and how we can do better next time that will give us strength and understanding to keep growing stronger and stronger as the years go by. Looking on the bright side also means recognising God’s hand upon our situations, and then searching for His strategy to bring us out out the other side of any trouble.

We will no doubt be tougher from gaining a few bumps and bruises, but we will also gain some faith muscles to show for our journey.

Today, choose to look on the bright side; to look for the positives and even the smallest sliver of light that you can then head towards. God is there, and He always has a way through. He promises strength and comfort for the journey, better things ahead and a  strategy to walk you out of darkness and into the light.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

Prayer: Lord thank you that anything I may be facing doesn’t have to last, and that you have a way through. Help me to look on the bright side today; to look for your hand and presence in my situation and for your strategy to overcome whatever situation I may be facing as I grow stronger in you every day. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

14 Sept – Fear Not!

fear not I hold your hand

One of the biggest things that can come against us in life is FEAR!

Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of being disappointed, fear of not being worthy, fear of our past, fear of our future. Fear of the “What if’s?”

Fear has been defined as False Evidence Appearing Real. It makes you think that the worst will happen!

Jesus said in John 10:10 “the devil comes to rob, kill and destroy, but I have come to give you abundant life”.

We sometimes get a glimpse of that abundant life that Jesus wants to give us, and then too often it is stolen from us by the cares of life, and our fears and worry.

The devil is called the “father of lies.” He uses the natural emotion of fear against us to make us feel helpless in resisting him. He wants us to doubt God, and ourselves because it makes him and his sidekick fear appear stronger than they really are!

The devil’s tactic is to make us feel like we are all alone and his objective is to warp our image of God, the world we live in, and how we see ourselves.

He tries to make us believe we have to strive for success and achievement before we are acceptable.  He speaks the lie that we have to live in fear and intimidation, and all too often we listen!

We are all created in the image of God, and are precious in His sight. God wants us to not give in to the lies of fear but instead to grab hold of all that He has given us.

To know “who” we are in Jesus and what He has done for us, and the great power that is available to us when we trust in Him. That power at work in us and for us will remove and turn around every fear, every sickness, lack, failure, and make even our mistakes to prosper.

Today imagine if  you only believed, and only said “what God said about you”.

What if you only spoke what God said about others and life’s situations?

How different we would all be! 

God has so much to reveal to us and for us to experience in Him; He wants to take us each by the hand and help us to really “LIVEthis life He has given. (John 10:10)

Let’s not allow fear and intimidation to blind us to how much God loves us and how much He is for us!

As a reminder to not fear Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Choose to combat fear by knowing and then only saying what God says in His Word about your life and  future. Know that He is faithful to His promises, and that as you seek Him He will answer and deliver you from all your fears. Let that be your tactic against fear today!

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

“I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:11

Prayer: Lord thank you that you love me and know all about my life and my future. Help me to give all my fears over to you today and to put my trust in your goodness and love for me. That you would deliver me from all my fears, and perfect and fulfil the plans that you have for me. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

13 Sept – Brain power!

power of our brain

Our brains are designed for continual growth and learning. Science is discovering some amazing things about how the human brain works and how our minds are naturally designed to develop skills, think creatively and continuously learn.

The question therefore to ask ourselves is what are we choosing to learn and think about, and what skills are we developing? Are we navigating our thinking, creativity and learning towards those things that are helpful, edifying, and a positive influence in our lives, or are we filling our time and minds with those things that cause stress, negativity and worry.

There is so many wonderful, exciting and amazing things around us we can choose to be inquisitive and learn about. So many skills and interests we can discover and develop, yet sadly many people focus on the negatives; the bad news stories, the terrible illnesses they could get, the horrific state of the world and anything else they can find to sap their joy and energy. Whereas how different would we all be if we used the incredible power of our brains to learn something constructive; something good, pure, lovely and worth giving a enthusiastic shout about? I wonder if we encouraged this thinking and  behaviour more, how significantly our stress levels and anxiety and depression rates would decrease?

God’s word gives great wisdom on what to put our brains to work on when it says, “to think about such things that are 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)

Today thank God for the amazing capacity of your brain, and then choose carefully what you will fill it with. Instead of scrolling through Facebook, the internet or the news and being inundated with negative non-productive information, why not turn your attention and brain power onto something that is constructive and will actually benefit and bless your life today. What different cultures, people, inventions, scientific discoveries, natural and spiritual wonders, skills, problem solving, creative ability, wisdom and understanding of God and His word can you discover, and how will you choose to use that knowledge today?

For what we think about and behold is what we will ultimately become. 

Prayer: Lord help me to use my amazing brain power to think on those things that are beneficial to my life, and the world around me rather than focusing on those things that will steal my joy and peace, and not help or aid in any way those around me. In Jesus name Amen.

12 Sept – Celebrate your wins!

celebrate your wins

There is a saying that “success is a series of small wins”. However when we are busy working at our life; our career, family, work, and the process involved in achieving and reaching our goals we can overlook and underestimate a powerful source of daily happiness and joy in our lives. This source is to be found in celebrating our accomplishments, our to do lists that we managed to get done, our wins! For there is power in winning, no matter how big or small, and a feeling of fulfilment that comes from progressing in our goals.

There is a temptation in many of us to incessantly be driven forward, to keep climbing the ladder; to always be focused on “what’s next”, whilst negating the importance and energy generated by taking the time to acknowledge and properly celebrate our progress.

Wins like getting up to exercise and eating healthy today. Wins such as tackling a difficult project, trying something new, or pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. Wins like  facing and overcoming a fear or negative habit; having a daily quiet time and spending regular quality time with God; stepping out to share our faith or pray for someone; building into our relationships, making time for our partner and kids, and taking the time to do the things we love.

God is also totally into celebration as is documented all through the bible. For example the shepherds, wise men, and angels celebrated the birth of Jesus with gifts, songs, and prayer. God gave Israel many directives to mark their calendar with celebrations such as the Feast of Booths, year of Jubilee, communion and baptism.

Jesus said that He came to give us joyful, overflowing life (John 10:10). He actually expects us to celebrate at every opportunity – both in our relationship with Him and  also in every win we experience in our daily life. It was never God’s plan for us to live dull boring, lives, and Jesus’ example shows that. He was even criticised for partying too much by the religious people of the time. Documenting our achievements and special moments and then celebrating these wins regularly helps us to get in the habit of living in the celebration frame of mind.

Today give yourself permission to celebrate your wins. Document when and where you have accomplished something this week or month, remembering it’s the small wins we can easily forget about in the daily routine. Wins like managing to exercise and eat healthy for a certain amount of days for the week or month, or finishing a project, or facing a challenge. Keep track of these things, and then reward yourself. Treat yourself in some way; pause, thank God, and savour your achievements, understanding that these wins are the very things that fuel our progress, add to our sense of happiness and give us the motivation to keep going.

At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres.” (Nehemiah 12:27)

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Prayer: Lord please help recognise and celebrate even the small wins in my life. That I would be able to see the progress and steps I am making to become all that you made me to be, and to recognise your hand of goodness upon my life. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

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