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Dayle's Blog

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December 2017

31 Dec – Seize the Day!

seize the day

 

The term “seize the day” was first coined by the Roman poet Horace more than 2,000 years ago. Carpe diem – or ‘seize the day’ – is “one of the oldest mottos in Western history and there are a range of definitions for what it actually means and different ways to think about it; from seizing opportunities, to spontaneity, to hedonism, to being in the present moment, to facing death and feeling that you’re fully alive.

As it’s New Years Eve I have been thinking about how important it is to seize the day. Not with the thought of doing everything and anything; of only being in the present moment, or doing whatever feels good for tomorrow we may die, but in fact to live thoughtfully, purposefully and with great joy, taking hold of everything for which God took hold of us.

Rather than having a New Year’s resolution seize the day would perhaps more aptly mean for us to live with a life resolution, knowing what our life is about so we can then a go out each day seizing the opportunities God has given us every moment of every day.

When we live with the thought to seize the day and to make the most of every opportunity it motivates us, and at times even catapults us into being who God has called us to be. God doesn’t want us to live lives that are hesitant, fearful, or full of doubt and unbelief. He wants us to soar like eagles, to stand on the heights, to do mighty exploits for Him and to live our lives in such a way that people look and say “they are the ones that the Lord has blessed.” It does us no good to shrink back from who we are created to be, and it doesn’t help or encourage anyone else either.

Seizing the day is living with purpose, for when we have purpose and a life resolution we are far more likely to remain on the path God has set for us, to not get distracted or allow ourselves to be burdened with attitudes, sin, or negative habits which can hamper and slow us down. It is those people with no vision and reason to seize the day that wander aimlessly through life; not the one’s who know what and who they are in God.

Today I encourage you to not set a new years resolution, but instead seek and enquire of God what your life resolution is. If you have a heartbeat God has a plan and purpose for your life and amazing things for you to experience in Him. Don’t sit back being lazy or complacent with the life you have been given, but instead seize the day and endeavour to run your race well. Run into all that God has called you to be and do, seizing hold and making the most of the gift of each and every day.

“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Prayer: Lord thankyou for this day and for the life you have planned for me. Please help me to seize the day and every opportunity you place before me. I ask that you help me to run fully into all that you have for me and the vision and dreams you have placed in my heart. In Jesus name Amen.

30 Dec -Just one word changes everything!

just one word

As a parent of six children there are days when I have struggled not to get into fear and worry. As your children grow you have to learn more and more to trust that what you have taught and continue to teach them will be their moral compass, plus trust that the relationship they have with Jesus themselves will keep them from getting side-tracked and continue to guide their feet on the right path.

Really life is all about trust – about trusting in God or in ourselves; in trusting in His love for us, or in the world’s ability to harm us and  in trusting that what and who we are God will continue to shape and guide so that our life will be more than okay, or letting doubt in and believing that evil will have it’s way.

Trust is talked a lot about in the bible and literally means “a bold, confident, sure security and then living based on that security.” It’s trusting God because He is good, faithful and trustworthy and learning that we can believe in His promises in all circumstances, even in those where the  evidence in the natural realm seems to be contrary.

Proverbs 3:5 in the bible teaches us a few things about trust and says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. This sums up how God wants us to trust Him. He wants us to learn to trust in Him and not in ourselves, nor in our own plans, or the world’s wisdom and devices. We trust in God because He is truly trustworthy and by nature He is faithful and true, and His plans are perfect.

One of the main ways I have learnt to trust and keep trusting God even in the face of contrary circumstances is to take hold of His word on every situation I am facing. Just one word from God is enough when we rely on the truth of His goodness and faithfulness, and one word believed on and spoken forth will literally move mountains, silence demons, shrivel up sickness, release provision and bring God on the scene.

Simon Peter one of the first disciples of Jesus discovered the power in believing and trusting in a word from Jesus. He and his friends had spent all night fishing but had caught nothing and were returning home when Jesus called from the shore, “put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch again”. Simon was tired, probably annoyed and just wanted to go home to bed, but he chose to stop, listen and receive that one word from Jesus, trusting in Him and His goodness, and it paid off.

“When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch. ”Master, Simon replied, we have worked through the night without catching anything. But because you say so I will let down the nets. When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear.” (Luke 5:4-6)

Just one word from Jesus can and will change everything. Today I encourage you to spend some time with Jesus. Get to know Him better by reading His Word in the bible, and spending time in His presence and around others who know Him too. If you are facing a situation or you are feeling afraid or unsure about the future search out and ask Him to show you the answer in His Word regarding what you need or are facing. God says He is “alert and active watching over his Word to perform it, and that the angels hearken to the word of the Lord” when it is spoken in trust and faith. (Jeremiah 1:12; Psalm 103:20)

Hold onto that one word and believe and trust in His love and ability to bring it to pass, because when Jesus speaks it changes everything!

Prayer: Lord I know that one word from you will change everything. Please speak to me and help me to trust in your love and faithfulness today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

29 Dec – Keep the main thing the main thing!

main thing

It’s so easy in life to focus only on things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things, and to neglect the main things. We can allow the urgent in our life – the loud and in your face issues to override and drown out that which is truly important.

Jesus addressed this tendency in us to lose focus on what’s really important by encouraging us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His way of doing things. He then promised that as we did this that all those things that everyone else spends so much time and energy chasing after will be added to our lives as well.

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans pursue all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:31-32)

Jesus actually called out and reprimanded the Pharisees – the religious leaders of the day for missing the main thing and focusing too often on secondary matters.

He said, “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics! —You carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nit picking over commas and semicolons?

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” (Matthew 23-23:26)

Keeping God and His kingdom as our main thing means we spend our lives centred not on external matters or things of little consequence but instead on our relationship with God and with others.

Today ask yourself is my relationship with Jesus at the centre of who I am; am I spending time with Him; Am I reading His word and seeking after His purposes, or am I doing my own thing and only giving Him the dregs and left overs of my life? Is He the centre? Is He the main thing? 

Then take a look at your relationships with others. Are you thinking of others and not just what you want? Are you at peace with those around you or do you have un-forgiveness, worry or offense in your heart?

Jesus said everything is summed up in these two main things. To, “love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them”. (Matthew 22:37-40 The Message)

Choose to make the main thing the main thing everyday as you “make the business of every day to seek to be truly at rest and happy in God” (George Mueller)

Have a listen to this song by Jen Johnson called Gravity to encourage you today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHlRSZkz5vU

Prayer: Lord help me today to keep my relationship with you as the main thing in my life. Please forgive me where I have allowed other things to crowd in, or I have made things that really don’t matter bigger than they should be. I’m focusing on loving you and loving those around me today. In Jesus name Amen.

28 Dec – Distracted

 

distractions

This morning I woke up suddenly and realised I had missed doing something that I had made a commitment to. I couldn’t believe it and sat wondering how I could have allowed that to happen.

However on reflection I realised I had allowed myself to become distracted, and in doing so had lost focus. Worse than that was that my lack of focus was regarding issues that God had already repeatedly told me were going to be alright, and that I really should have given little thought to.

The definition of a distraction is: the process of diverting the attention of an individual or group from a desired area of focus and thereby blocking or diminishing the reception of desired information.

Distraction is caused by: the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty, or attractiveness of something else. Distractions come from both external sources such as visual triggers, social interactions, music, text messages and phone calls. Internal distractions include hunger, fatigue, illness, worrying, and daydreaming. Both external and internal distractions contribute to our loss of focus.

In a world with so much stimuli and our habit of not taking time out to reflect, refuel and reconnect with both God and the vision and purpose He has called us to, it is very easy to allow ourselves to get distracted. It’s why Jesus in the midst of ministering to the crowds chose to say to the disciples “come away and rest awhile”. He knew that if they didn’t take the time to rest, focus and pray that the demands and noise of the crowds could easily sway them away from what the Father wanted them to do, and also exhaust their internal and external reserves.

“Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.” (Mark 6:31-32)

Today, if you are feeling distracted and all over the place take some time to:

Reflect on what you are spending your time thinking on and doing.

Take time to refuel your life through rest, good food, and time out.

Reconnect with God, with His word, and with what He has already spoken to you about your life.

Choose to pay attention to what God says to your heart and through His Word and also be aware of the distractions all around you that can easily contribute to a lack of focus and a diminishing of who you are and what God has planned for your life.

“Pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart. For they bring life to those who find them and healing to their whole body.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get side-tracked, keep your feet from following evil.” (Proverbs 4:20-27)

Prayer: Lord help me to remain focused and to be aware of those things in my life that can cause me to become distracted from what you have promised and spoken to me. Please help me to keep the main thing, the main thing. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

27 Dec – When you feel under pressure!

diamonds under pressure

Most of us would be quite happy never to have any stress or pressure in our lives, and we can all at times long for the quiet life where everything is simple, easy and without drama. This is especially true when we feel like we are surrounded by chaos, noise and demands on our life. We can actually spend a lot of effort seeking to be comfortable, and in the Western World we can seek this comfort above all else.

However Jesus never said we wouldn’t experience pressure; in actual fact He warned that we would have trials and pressure situations. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Perhaps Jesus was warning us about seeking our comfort above everything else, for a comfortable person is very hard to move or motivate to do anything. Plus when comfort is our goal then when we aren’t comfortable we can start to think that God must have abandoned us somehow.

The danger of seeking comfortability and a life of no pressure, (in contrast to knowing inner peace) can very quickly turn into complacency, reticence, and lethargy. Whereas God’s peace motivates and undergirds us to step out; to take risks and to move in faith.

When we seek to live a life seeking after God and His plans and purposes for us there is absolutely no doubt we are going to feel stretched, pressured and vulnerable at times. But it’s in these pressure seasons that our faith is encouraged to grow; we gain inner strength, and discover who we are and who our God is. If we look through history it’s easy to see that some of the most amazing discoveries, exploits and feats of heroism have been achieved when people came under pressure rather than remained comfortable.

God even reminds us through creation that “when we long for a life without difficulties to be aware that oaks grow strong in contrary winds, and a diamond is simply a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure” (P. Marshall)

We are far more resilient than we possibly imagine ourselves to be, and it’s often only as we are stretched in our current capabilities and comfort zones that we grow, develop and learn to rely on God’s strength and enabling. It’s in the very space where “we run out” that we become aware of God’s grace and presence with us and can learn that “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)

Today whether you are under pressure or feeling at ease know that God is with you. He promises that He will never leave us or forsake us and that He has our life in His capable hands. Every season has a purpose and the key in the midst of it all is to seek God and His way of doing things, rather than trying to achieve a comfortable stress free life. “For God’s ways change caterpillars into butterflies, sand into pearls and coal into diamonds using time and pressure, and He’s working on each one of us too.“

 Prayer: Lord help me to see where you are working in my life and to not seek after comfort above what you are wanting to do in and through my life. Please remind me that in all things you work for the good of those who love you, even if that means you will allow pressure in my life to bring out the brilliance, colour and shine in me. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 Dec – Diamond in the rough

Diamond in the rough

When something or someone has hidden exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, but currently lacks the final touches that would make them (or it) truly stand out from the crowd they can be said to be a “diamond in the rough”

The phrase relates to the fact that naturally occurring diamonds are quite ordinary at first glance, and that their true beauty as jewels is only realized through the cutting and polishing process.

There are many people that could be described as diamonds in the rough. At first glance they may seem quite ordinary or even cause us to be offended by their lack of social graces, appearance, manners, or speech. Yet it is often these very individuals who offer the greatest friendship, support or whom God uses to bless our lives in some way. This is mainly because God specialises in giving people a chance, and in pruning or polishing off  rough edges to reveal the gem and masterpiece underneath.

Unfortunately we can often miss these “diamonds in the rough” through judging too quickly or placing people into “types”, demographics, and categories before we have even given them a chance to be seen and heard. In doing so can easily miss the gem of a person God has created and who He might in actual fact be wanting to use us to help reveal who they truly are.

A great example of the concept of finding “diamonds in the rough” is found in the account of David in the bible where many of the broken, discontented and in distress came and gathered around David and he became their leader. In this list of over four hundred men are numbered David’s mighty men who were known for their military skill and the blessing of God on their lives, yet to many they were merely misfits, and men with bad attitudes.

“David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.” (1 Samuel 22:21-22)

Today, determine to not judge others too quickly, but instead choose to look further than the superficial or rough edges that we all can hide behind and carry. Stop making assumptions and instead give people time and space to be seen and heard, and in doing so make yourself available for God to use you to encourage others to be the best version of themselves they can be.

Prayer: Lord please help me to not fall into the trap of judging too quickly situations or those around me, because in doing so I can easily miss the amazing people and opportunities you have planned for me. Help me to spot the diamonds in the rough and be someone who will accept and encourage new opportunities and people to be all they can be. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

25 Dec – God is for us!

 

god is for us

God is for us not against us! What a profound thought. God, creator of the universe that  no one and nothing can match in comparison to His Glory, strength, power, might, knowledge, forgiveness, blessings, riches, love, mercy, grace, omnipotence, skill, handiwork, greatness, holiness, righteousness, availability, sensitivity, patience, tenderness, peace, graciousness, joy, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, love, consistency,  authority, and anything else you can possibly think of, says He is for us!

If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?…(Romans 8:31).

We know that God is for us because of Jesus. He came and He revealed how to love and how much we are loved. He paid the ultimate price to bring us freedom by dying, and He rose again. He calls us His friends (John 15:15), His family, (Mark 3:34) co-heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven, (Romans 8:17) and He clothed us with His power.

He established a New covenant or agreement with us which states He has our backs and that He will be there for us, and will never He let us down. That’s why we can say “if God is for us, who can be against us? (Hebrews 9:15; Romans 8:31)

Today, remind yourself of who has your back; who is with you; who fights for you, who will never leave you and most of all who loves you. Know that when God is for you, everything is, and will be alright!

If you don’t know Jesus, but you want to meet this Jesus who is for you and not against you, invite Him into your life. Seek Him out, read His words in the bible and choose to follow what He says. When you discover that He is for you and not against you, nothing will ever be the same.

Prayer: Lord thank you that I have an agreement with you. That I can trust you with everything, knowing that you always have the best in mind for my life. Help me to live in the truth that when you are for me, who can be against me. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

24 Dec – Fill me up!

are you snacking

I have to say that I love Christmas. I love the presents, the giving, the food, the lights, the laughter, music and family time. I love that we get to remember specifically that Jesus came to bring peace to all mankind.

In our house we celebrate the most on Christmas Day and especially lunchtime. There is a lot of food and if one is wise you pace yourself to be able to eat and enjoy this special Christmas meal. The problem is that leading up to and even on Christmas Day there is always so much other food available before the real meal. You could easily snack yourself full before you even got to the main course, and so spoil your appetite.

As I was contemplating the need to eat in stages and to not fall into the trap of ruining my appetite I realised you could say the same about a relationship with Jesus. In each of us is an emptiness that is designed and vacant for the specific purpose of us having a relationship with Him. If we are spiritually aware we recognise this emptiness inside and choose to invite Jesus into that space in our lives.

We can however also waste a lot of time and energy “snacking” on things that never truly satisfy in an attempt to fill this emptiness. We can even make the mistake of relegating Jesus to the background if we do know Him because we are filling up on other pursuits rather than seeking a deep and meaningful relationship and connection with Him. This snacking can come in many forms such as travel, careers, relationships, and money; the accumulating of material possessions and seeking after success. In themselves these are not bad things, but in comparison to the completeness that we find in a relationship with Jesus they don’t compare and could be typified as snack food when we could have the ‘roast dinner” in Jesus who is the real feast.

Today on the Eve of Christmas I encourage you to not fill up your life on those things that act much like snack food. They taste good initially, but leave you feeling hungry and lacking in true sustenance. Instead choose to feast on the goodness of Jesus and a growing meaningful relationship with Him that will fill all the empty places in your heart and bring you lasting  peace and joy. (John 10:10)

Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 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. “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live.” (Isaiah 55:2)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form. And you have been made complete in Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)

Have a listen to this song by Kim Walker to encourage you today to be filled with His love and presence.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyNYdC5XUmo

Prayer: Lord please help me to recognise where I have been “snacking” on those things that were never designed to bring me lasting true peace and joy in an effort to fill the empty places in my life. Would you please come and fill my heart and life up with your love today. In Jesus name Amen

23 Dec – Making room

make room

I often think of the innkeeper who when Mary and Joseph arrived at his door chose to turn them away with a “no room here” sign. He didn’t make room for Jesus on the first Christmas, and as a result he missed the privilege of housing the Son of God at his birth. His actions didn’t stop Jesus from being born, or God’s purpose being fulfilled in history. But the innkeeper’s choice and actions did prevent him from being in the midst of one of, if not the most significant moments in history up to that point. He missed it, simply because He wasn’t aware enough of what was happening right in front of him; he wasn’t reading the signs as the wise men were, that a King was about to be born; nor had he noticed anything different about the young couple standing on his doorstep on that Christmas night.

Sadly we far too often live as the innkeeper did, unaware of the times and seasons, and what God is doing in our midst. We get caught up in the day-to-day business of life, and all the hustle and bustle around us. Unfortunately when we are satisfied with living in such a way, where as a whole we can’t even remember what all the fuss and bother is  about half the time, our lives can be filled with meaningless activity. Just like the innkeeper we perhaps don’t believe we need more “guests” in our life, and we think we have everything we need.

However God warns us not to be so self-sufficient, or always so busy chasing after other things that we forget Him. “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God”.(Psalm 10:4)

This Christmas take a moment to think upon the story of the innkeeper who turned away Mary and Joseph, and failed to make room on that first Christmas. Don’t miss the opportunity to have the peace, purpose and indwelling power that comes through having God in your life. Because if we never do take the time or opportunity, we could well miss the very purpose for us being here in the first place. We could miss the times and the seasons, and what God is releasing on earth right now.

You might think you have a good life now, much like that innkeeper thought he was having a good night. His rooms were all full, the cash was flowing, and everything looked great. But what if you could have an ever better life; a more meaningful, purposeful, peace filled, joyful life; wouldn’t you want to know about it? Wouldn’t that innkeeper and his family have made it possible for Jesus to be born in their inn, if they had discerned what was about to happen in their neighbourhood?  (Luke 2:7)

Each one of us is born for such a time as this, to be involved and participants in the unfolding of God’s plan and purpose for the world in our lifetime. Don’t miss it, because you didn’t bother to discern the times we are in; and don’t miss the opportunity to know God, the Creator of the universe because you are so busy filling your life with other things.

Jesus said, ”Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together”. (Revelation 3:20)

Make room in your “inn” today, and invite Jesus into your life. And when you do, don’t relegate him to the back shed, or barn, but give him the run of your house, and keep making Him feel welcome with your whole heart, everyday, in every area of your life. For then will you discover the purpose, peace and power that comes through knowing Him.

Prayer: Jesus, I make room in my life for you today.  Forgive me if I have heard you before and answered, but then relegated you to the back shed. Forgive me if instead of welcoming you into my “house”, and making you feel welcome everywhere and in every way, I chose to push you to the side. Today I choose to open every area of my life to you, and to welcome you mwith my whole heart. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

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