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December 2018

31 Dec – Old self versus new self

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I was reminded today how much I can listen to my old self. The old self that overthinks everything, worries far too much, gets anxious, majors on the details and then gets bogged down in them and thinks negatively. That old self I actually don’t like listening to as she has nothing good to say and wars against who and what God says I am.

We really have no business listening or even contemplating what our old self has to say, primarily because when we invite Jesus into our lives He gave us a new life. Our past, our old self, our mess ups, our guilt, pain and shame…everything passed away. It died and we was given newness of life as we became a new creation in Jesus. Essentially our old self was nailed to the cross just as Jesus was and were were born again.. brand new.

The question then to ask ourselves is who are we listening to? Which self is talking? Are we listening to the new creation us, or remembering and listening out for some dead thing?

Interestingly our Spirit’s know who we are and which self to listen to once we invite Jesus into our lives. It stirs within us when we hear and are around truth and faith. But our minds, emotions and will like to argue with who God says we are and His truth, especially if we spend little time growing in and focusing on our new self, our renewed spirits, and the new life Jesus has gifted to us.

To combat this old self talk which wars against our new person God encourages us to “not copy the behaviour and customs of the world, but let God transform us into a new person by changing the way we think.” (Romans 12:2)

We do that by reading God’s words and thinking about them, spending time with Jesus and others who know Him too, by focusing on heavenly things rather than trying to control and worry over everything down here, and seeking after what God has for us in each day. (Matt 6:33; Colossians 3:2; Hebrews 10:25; Philippians 4:6-7)

Today I encourage you to quit listening to your old self. It’s a dead thing with nothing useful to say to take you forward into the amazing future God has planned for you. Tune instead into the voice of God’s Spirit residing within you, to His voice in the pages of God’s word, in His presence as you draw aside and near to Him and in the remembering of who you are, what Jesus says about you and the destiny you have in Him.

Jesus said, “A thief has only one thing in mind – he wants to steal, slaughter and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect – life in Its fullness until you overflow. (John 10:10)

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you,” (John 14:26)

Prayer: Lord I’m choosing to quit listening to the voice of my old self for you say I am a new creation and new person in you. Please help me to tune into what you are saying and to remember everyday who I am and the future I have in you. In Jesus name amen

30 Dec – Travelling light

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Today our second eldest daughter has been busy packing to leave home to live in Sydney, which is on the other side of Australia and some 3,933.7 km away.

The process of packing up your life is both exciting and daunting. Decisions have to be made as to what to keep, what to throw away, what to give to others, what to leave behind and what you really want and will need. Many items hold a memory, signify an event or remind you of a significant moment. It’s a process and fortunately our daughter listened to the Lords promptings and began sorting and packing several months ago so that today was more excitement than stressful.

Today was space saver bag day which is when we filled these nifty space saving bags with as much clothing as possible and then vacuumed all the air out of them to diminish their size and subsequent packing room.  Clothes suddenly resemble a giant wrinkly mass, but much needed space is saved as the air between clothing is sucked out.

As I helped her space save I thought perhaps it would be helpful if we all regularly imagined we were packing to move interstate or overseas just as our daughter is. Unnecessary weights, baggage and our past could be examined and a decision made as to whether it’s worthy of taking with us as we move forward into our future or should simply be off-loaded and left behind.

We can very easily gather alot of clutter and things which take up far too much space in our hearts and minds let alone our actual homes, and a regular clean and vacum out works wonders to remove the unnecessary and negative distractions from our lives.

Today I encourage you to examine your heart, your thought life, your relationships and your home and think and pray about what you want to move forward with and what is taking up space.

Do you need to off-load some things that are dragging you down? Is what you are carrying within you beneficial and helpful to running your race well or are you getting tangled up and held back from God’s purpose and destiny for your life?

Life is precious and God has a big dream for our lives and wants us to be able to run into our destiny not struggling as we try to carry a whole lot of unnecessary “stuff”. Primarily because that “stuff” often costs us important time, energy, head and heart space and even money (because we’ll often need therapy if we don’t deal with it sometime).

God’s way is far better. He says to off-load all our disappointed, hurt, sin and brokeness upon Him, trust that He’s got our life in His capable hands, look up and ahead and then run the race that He has set before us.

Today is no time to be stumbling about with unnecessary baggage. Choose instead to examine your life, sort through it, keep what’s precious, beneficial and godly and leave the rest behind, because just as I tell our beautiful Sydney bound daughter, “It’s time to fly”.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a 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 that God has set before us,” ( Hebrews 12:1)
Prayer: Lord I give you all the things that so easily hinder and weigh me down and ask that you would carry or remove them from my life. Help me to know what to hold and what to leave behind. In Jesus name amen.

29 Dec – Goal setting

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As the New Year approaches and we think about what we want the next twelve months to look like we usually start to make resolutions and plans for change in our lives.

A helpful tip in goal setting and enacting real change is to focus on positive goals rather than negative ones. Our habits are memories of actions we perform in a particular situation. We can’t learn not to do something, so if we focus only on stopping behaviors, we will never develop new habits.

Instead of looking at our failures and any negatives we want to stop doing it’s much more effective to focus on a positive goal that we want to perform and/or become.

To accomplish this we begin by making realistic plans for what we want to change and specify when and how that is going to happen. For example it’s not enough to say “I want to exercise more”. That resolution has no strategy behind it and is probably not going to happen or last. Instead make a plan to succeed and choose specific days to exercise, what exercise to participate in and where you’ll do it and then determine with God’s help to add that to your daily routine.

God wants to help us succeed in life and for us to become the best version of ourselves we can be. He is there to help us and it’s okay to call out to Him, “I need help with this,” because we were never meant to go through life doing it alone. God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Often the exact space we run out of strength is where God is able to give us the most power and resolve. As we acknowledge our weakness we can discover how to lean on His immeasurable resources and strength, instead of just our own.

As the year draws to a close determine to be kind to yourself, we all slip up and make mistakes from time to time. Choose to focus on the positive actions you want to make a part of your life rather than the negative habits you want to stop doing.

Ask yourself, “What can I do today to improve my tomorrow?”, and then thank God for His strength, wisdom and help as you step out and do it.

And remember every day, not year is a chance to make things right, to achieve your goals and to make your future better.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”
 (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Prayer: Lord thank you that every day is a fresh chance to begin again. Help me to see the amazing life you have planned for me and then please give me the grace and strength to walk in it. In Jesus name Amen.

28 Dec – What’s your One Word?

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There is real power in focus and honing our attention on what is really important. It gives us direction to fix our lives and acts as a compass to guide us when we become confused, weary or distracted.

A helpful key to assist me in keeping focus on the things that truely matter and which will help me to live with purpose is to ask God for One Word for the year.

We are made to live meaningful and purpose filled lives where we have something to look forward everyday. I’ve discovered that having a particular word for each year helps me to remain focused and defines what God wants me to concentrate on each day. It takes faith and courage to not just go through our days existing and it takes knowing our power, purpose and passion to live a life that makes a positive difference in the world.

Having a word for the year where we have inquired after and listened to God about what He wants us to focus and grow in helps us filter all of our life through His “One Word” for us and  that we are not getting off course. Having a word that gives direction as to how, what and where we invest our time, energy and money motivates us to spend our life on what matters.

I love the apostle Paul’s passionate words about what his life was all about. Paul said, “For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognising and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly]”(Philippians 3:8 AMP)

Paul lived an amazing, exciting, meaningful life. Regardless of the high and lows he remained steadfast and fulfilled His calling. And as a result he was able to say towards the end of his life, “I have fought the goodfight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Today Hi encourage you to take the steps to utilise the simple, powerful tool of identifying a “One Word” vision for the coming year. Ask God about possible words that might define your gifts, your purpose, your dreams, God’s plan for your life and the things that inspire you to live your best life so that you too may run your race well and have an amazing year.

Ask God to reveal your one word to you with the question, “What do you want to do in me and through me this year? Then write down what comes to your mind and heart.

Keep your “One Word” where you can see it as a regular reminder of your vision for the year. Share it with those who will support you as you live it out with conviction, purpose, consistency and passion.

Prayer: Lord thank you for vision and a focus for the year ahead. Please help me to discover my one word so that I will make the most of every day and opportunity before me. In Jesus Name Amen.

27 Dec – Inside out

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We all are what I call inside out people”. Inside/out in that what we put into our life as a whole dramatically effects our output; our mood, expression, energy and whole way of being.

This includes the food we eat physically, but also the food we feed our spirits and souls. If we are created as inside out people then what we spiritually, emotionally, and mentally consume will affect our whole being in much the same way physical food does.

If we desire to be fit and healthy we eat and drink those foods which generate health in our bodies. If we desire to be positive we choose to feed on positivity. If we want to be loving, kind, caring and more patient then we feed on God’s word and spend time with Him. We surround our lives with encouraging, loving inspiring words and environments as much as possible. If we want to have great faith we feed our faith. Then our words and actions of faith will start to flow from the inside out. How we live our lives, see ourselves and view the world is all processed and expressed from the inside out.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”.(Romans 10:17)

The good news is that if we come to realise that our “insides’ aren’t that healthy we change things. We change our diet and ask Jesus to cleanse and detox us from the things that cause sickness on the inside of us. He promises to renew and restore us from the inside out if we come to Him and ask, and as we follow Jesus’ way of doing things this healthy life is then maintained and developed in us.

Jesus said, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45)

We are all inside out peoplem so perhaps today we need to consider more carefully what we have and are putting in, because that’s what’s going to come out. If on assessment we don’t like the output, then we have the choice everyday to change the input.

Prayer: Lord help me to see the importance of what I am feeding on and how that affects everything I do, think and who I am. Would you please cleanse me and make me healthy from the inside out. In Jesus name Amen.

 

26 Dec – Bringing good

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As I look back over the past year I am reminded of the verse in the bible that says, “We are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives.” (Romans 8:28 TPT)

God is good and wherever and whenever He gets involved in our lives and circumstances He will work good out of them. It may look and feel terrible when we are travelling through it, but God seems to know how to work miracles out of our messes, make us stronger where we were once weak and bring light into our darkness.

As I reflect today I could say this has been a challenging year. There’s been numerous trips to the emergency ward, operations, broken feet, lost jobs, heartbreak, death and disappointments. At times I’ve wondered where the next “hit” was going to come from. Yet in amongst the difficulties there was and is Jesus. Jesus who always remains constant, steady and sovereign and who promises He will work all things together for my good.

I’ve discovered over time that even if some of that good may take longer to become visible its more often than not in the background, in the hidden places that God works to bring everything together for our benefit. It’s in the hard places that we are often made to shine, much like a piece of coal becomes a diamond only when placed for a time under extreme pressure and heat.

God does not orchestrate our difficulties, but He does promise to override, work in and through and bring blessing to our life through anything we journey through. That promise is regardless of what the world and the devil try to throw or use against us.

Which is why we can face today, tomorrow and the New year with confidence. For even in the midst of crazy days we can and will triumph over them for we are more than conquerors, we are stronger than we think and there is nothing in the universe that can separate or weaken God’s love, care and concern for us. (Romans 8:37-39)

Today I encourage you to reflect on your year. Acknowledge the tough places, give any hurt and disappointments over to God, look for His hand of blessing upon your life and then rest assured that if its not good yet, He is not done.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God who are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

Jesus said, “And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33 TPT)

Prayer: Lord thankyou for being with me every step of the way. I give you any hurts and disappointments and choose today to trust that you are working to bring good out of every circumstance and that there are better things ahead. In Jesus name amen

25 Dec – The Giver

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It’s Christmas day and many people will have spent the day celebrating and giving and receiving gifts. It’s the one time of the year where we are encouraged to stop and think about giving. Yet when we look at the everyday system that this world operates upon the concept of someone wanting to give to us with no strings attached is somewhat foreign. Most people, organisations and institutions want something from us, with little in return. As the saying goes “everyone wants their pound of flesh”. Jesus however is not really interested in taking “our pound of flesh”, mainly because He literally already gave His own when He died on the cross for us.

Jesus only wants to give to us. And the only things He wants to get from us is: our shame, burdens, sicknesses, poverty, brokenness, hopelessness, fear, and every other weight that the world and the devil has tried to put on us.

Today, that’s what I call good news. There is no toil or hardship, no guilting us into anything or pressuring us. Jesus just wants to give to us, not the other way around.

He wants to love upon us, to deliver us, to heal us, to provide for us, to pour out His presence and peace and joy on us. He wants to heal our minds, our bodies, our emotions, and our spirit’s. He wants to give us beauty for ashes, and restore our dreams and hope. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

All He says is, “Come to me, so I can give to you”

Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me;  for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28)

I encourage you to let Jesus give to you all that you need today and that as you do you’ll find rest and peace for your soul.

Prayer: Jesus, I thank you that you just want to give to me; to love me and to release joy and peace in my life. I come to you today. In Jesus Name Amen.

24 Dec – Making Moments

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It’s Christmas Eve and the seasons celebrations for many are in full swing meaning things can be very hectic, noisy and busy. In fact Christmas can become a blur if we are not careful, which is why I am making myself go slower and choosing to savour it. Why? Because time goes by, children grow up, people move and change and unless we stop and savour the moments we will fail to realise the significance of the moments right in front of us and go through life at full speed or on auto-pilot and end up missing it all.

The antidote to all this speed and missing significant moments is to slow down. Taking things slower means being more purposeful. It won’t cause us to fall behind, but rather enables us to catch up – with friends, family, with God, with our dreams, our purpose, our health and what’s really important.

There are some things we may want or need to do quickly at times, but perhaps we just can’t and don’t need to live there for God never intended for us to live in a constant state of motion and stress. When we choose to get into His rythum of doing things He ensures we get what needs to be done whilst keeping our peace and joy. 

This Christmas, in amongst the preparations, the celebrations and all the activity, remember to slow down and savour those special moments and take some time to connect more deeply with God and who and what is really important in your life.

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

Prayer: Lord help me to slow down long enough to enjoy the moment and to understand what is really important and connecting with you and others on a deeper level. In Jesus name

23 Dec – Plans that won’t be stopped.

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One of the things I’ve discovered about God is that His plans won’t be thrawted -as in stopped or prevented. No matter what the situation God will be working behind the scenes orchestrating and lining up things to come together at the appointed time. There may be difficulties, mistakes and even road-blocks along our journey but if we stick with God and continue to walk in faith and love, His plan and purpose for our lives will come to pass.

A great example of God’s plans not being thrawted is the account of Jesus’ birth. No matter how immense the odds were against Jesus safely arriving God just kept on with his preparation and plan to save the world. Threats of stoning Mary as an adulteress, a confused Joseph who was going to quietly disconnect himself from Mary so she would have been left alone and an unwed mother, a census which meant travelling heavily pregnant, no accommodation to give birth in and a murderous jealous King intent on killing Jesus were all not enough to stop God’s plan to bring peace, hope and salvation to the world from happening.

When I read of the faith and tenacity of Mary and Joseph and the out outworking of God’s plan I am encouraged because they were just ordinary people entrusted with an extraordinary call on their lives. They chose to align their lives with God’s purpose and said, “yes” to His plan, and trusted Him enough to step out in faith and believe what He had spoken. They were given the task of caring for Jesus until He grew up and could fulfill the plan to override the devils intent to steal, kill and destroy permanently from all mankind and that plan would not be stopped because God was behind it.

Regardless of any efforts to undermine and destroy God’s plan to bring hope, joy and forgiveness to the world nothing could stop God’s purpose from being fulfilled. He won, and He is still winning because He also says He has plans for each one of us. Plans to give us a hope, plans not to harm us but to give us a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) Plans to do exceedingly more than we can ask or think or possibly imagine. Plans, which when He starts He will be faithful to complete. (Ephesians 3:20; Hebrews 13:8).

Today no matter where you have come from or what you may be going through know that if you stay holding onto Jesus and keep walking in faith and love, His purpose and plan for your life cannot and will not be stopped. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and faithful to complete all that He has started and which concerns you. Bring your questions, requests, dreams, your heart’s desires to Him and trust that as you choose to seek Him and His ways first and to delight in Him with all your heart He will bring it to pass, because our plans when aligned with His plans will not be thrawted!

Prayer: Lord thankyou that nothing can permanently stand in the way of your plan for my life coming to pass when I keep walking with you in faith and love. There may be difficulties along the road but I thankyou that with you by my side I’m going to be okay. Help me to remember that today. In Jesus name amen

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