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Dayle's Blog

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February 2019

14 Feb – Run away calendars

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Seeds of gifts and abilities have been planted inside each one of us but for those seeds to grow to their full potential they must be “watered” and given attention to make sure they become fruitful.

Jesus cautions us in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 to ensure we invest our talents wisely. Meaning we’re not sitting around waiting and doing little or nothing with all we have been given. Instead we choose to build into those things that are important and valuable to us. Plus in doing so we often become an answer to someone elses prayers and problem.

However in the pursuit of cultivating what we have had sown into our lives we must watch our runaway calendars because otherwise they will hold us hostage to tangible things like meetings, appointments and projects, without giving proper priority to the intangibles: who we are becoming, our relationships with family and friends, our connectedness to God and our purpose. Without conscious intervention our tendency to over-schedule means that the priorities we care about most and the gifts we are to cultivate will take a backseat to the urgent noise of life every time.

One way we can start is by redrafting our schedule and filling it up the way God would fill it if He were in charge of our time and calendar. A great way is to begin to seek Him, ask for His help and guidance when feeling overwhelmed and time poor and start plugging into the available time slots of our calendar those things that determine who we want to become. Then we will, with Gods help gradually become the kind of people we want to be.

A good question to regularly ask is, “How would God have me spend my day?” And then seek His wisdom on how to manage our time and commitments most effectively to do that. 

Secondlydon’t mistake the urgent for the important. Everyday concerns and presuures often sound important but they’re usually not. They can in fact wait so that you can focus on what is actually important first. Learn to prioritise.

Don’t compare yourself with others. When we get into the comparison trap we can minimise and disregard the gifts and talents God has given us and end up doing nothing to grow our potential.  We can start to consider it pointless to even begin because we’re too busy  looking at others rather than at Jesus and what and who He says we are.

Today consider what gifts and talents have been planted within you. Then make a decision to ensure you don’t disregard, minimise or get too busy and distracted in your everyday schedule that you leave no time or space to cultivate those things that you value and which God has placed within you to bless both your life and the lives of all those around you.

“Everything we could ever need for life and complete devotion to God has already been deposited in us by his divine power. (2 Peter 1:3 The Passion translation)

Prayer: Jesus would you please give me wisdom in my schedule so that I can best use my day doing those things that are important and that help me to become all that I was created to be. Please help me to stay out of the comparison trap. In Jesus name Amen.

13 Feb – What do you value?

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There are so many things we could be doing, yet if we tried to do all of them we quite simply wouldn’t have enough hours in our day. Unfortunately many times we try…we try to do what we think we should, we bow under expectations and what we see others around us or on social media doing, and when we fail to keep up or end up in a frazzled disappointed mess we wonder what is wrong with us.

All round us is the opportunity to try, buy and sample new things. We are inundated with advertising, offers, choices, peer pressure and general noise, which if we are not very careful can influence our decisions and what we spend out time thinking about and doing. The urgent, and “should’s and can do’s” can drown out the important and  our unique call and purpose.

However there is another way of life and that is to examine and ask ourselves regularly, “what am I doing, thinking about and feeling pressured by”?

What are the most important things in my life?

What do I really value?

What things have become a burden of, I should do this but I really wish I didn’t have to?

What things am I involved in that looked and sounded like a good idea at the time, but now are not working?

Being a wife, a mum of six kids, a pastor, homeschooler, as well as everything else I like to pursue, I know what it is to be busy and to have a lot of “noise” in my head.

Along the way I have learnt that some things are not necessary, like a spotless house and everything looking and being perfect. I’ve learnt the beauty of going with the flow where needed, choosing my battles wisely, and understanding not everything we can or should do needs to be done right now. There are seasons for things in life and some pursuits can and will wait for another time. If they are important God will bring them into our lives at the appointed time and when we have room in our life and hearts.

More important is that we discover what we value right now in the season we are in, with the relationships and purpose we have today, so that everyday we can filter all the pressure, expectations and choices through those values. When faced with a decision or we hear or read something that says, “you have got to try this or you should be doing this”, we can then weigh these choices against our values and decide whether they fit or should be put on the shelf for another time or passed by all together.

Today take some time to examine and search out what you value, what is really important to you and what God is encouraging you to spend your time and energy on. Then clear out any mental, emotional and physical clutter, take a deep breath and get on with what is most important and valuable to you and which helps you to continue to become the person God created you to be.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take”. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”. (Romans 12:2 NLT)

Prayer: Lord would you please help me to slow down and to take the time to examine what is really of value to who I am and who you’ve called me to be. Please help me to then declutter my life so that I make the most of my day being and doing what I most value and is important. In Jesus name amen

12 Feb – Focus on love

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The big thing that makes life work is love. Everything works as it should when founded in love; our faith, our hope, our relationships, even the plans for our lives. Primarily because focusing on love affects how we think, act, what we plan, how we see ourselves and others  – everything!

The question is “what are we focused on”? God teaches us that, “our eye is the lamp of our body. When our eyes are healthy, our whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, our body also is full of darkness”. (Luke 11:34)

The light of the body is the eye. The eye is the point of vision. When our vision is focused we will fulfil and walk in our purpose. When our eye is good, our whole body is full of light. But when our eye is focused on the mistakes, hurts or unhealthy negative things, then our body and thoughts fill up with darkness instead of goodness, love, hope and light.

God wants love to be our focus.

If we focus on cultivating love it makes our faith work. When faith is at work nothing is impossible! Mountains of doubt, fear, and disappointment disappear as our faith, fueled by knowing we are loved overcomes and moves obstacles out of our way.

Love causes compassion to rise up in our hearts to care about others. To cast aside fear, doubt and negativity about ourselves and other people so that our hearts become engaged!

Love activates our faith to start believing, to start reaching out to love in action.

I love the account of Jesus feeding the 5000, in Matthew 14:13-21. Jesus exhibits a faith that is motivated by a genuine love and concern for people. In Jesus feeding the 5000 we see that love was the motivation behind the miracle as He had compassion for them.

Read through the Gospels. (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible). You’ll soon discover that Jesus was always motivated by Love. He is love. Love compels Him. Love compelled Him to go to the Cross. Love still compels Him to reach out to each one of us.

The best that God wants for us is found in Love! Let’s put our energy and focus into seeking after and loving God – the source of love, with everything we have, and receiving His love for us so that it can flow over to those all around us.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your love for me. I ask for your love to cover me, to flow through me and to fill my heart with compassion for whomever you lead me to today. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

11 Feb – Changing the way we think.

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It  was only a few years ago that neuroscientists believed that the brain was like a hardwired machine. Any damage or trauma experienced to a persons brain was seen to be incurable and function rather than restoration was the aim of health practitioners.

In the last few decades however science has made the discovery that our brains are in fact changeable and malleable. Instead of us having brains that are “stuck” in certain thought patterns, mindsets, negativity, damage, trauma or even predispositions, our brains are in fact changing moment by moment every day. This change and adaptability is called nueroplasticity.

This nueroplasticity is exciting as it means regardless of what has happened to us or how we may currently think, we can change the physical makeup of our brains through our thinking and choices. Plus everynight while we are sleeping baby nerve cells are being created so that when we wakeup each morning they are at our disposal to replace any negative toxic thinking, to learn and to rebuild healthy thoughts. The birth of these new baby nerve cells is called neurogenesis.

We may not be able to control everything about our day, but we can definitely control our thoughts and consequently our reactions. Each morning those new nerve cells can be shaped and used to replace any thoughts we don’t care to have. Science is agreeing with what God says. We can be transformed, healed, set free and given the ability to start each new day afresh.

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

Today check up and observe your own thoughts and change them if you need to. Are they in line with how God wants you to think? Are they full of love, hope and joy?

Be encouraged by how God has created us. We aren’t stuck with the way we think or the habits we may struggle with, even if we have thought or reacted in certain ways for years. God has wired and created us to grow, develop and change! Reach forward and towards the person and way of thinking and living Jesus has called you to be.

As reknowned nueroscientist Dr Caroline Leaf says, “If you wired those toxic thoughts in, you can wire them out.” 

But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” ( Philippians 3:13)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

Prayer: Lord thankyou that you have created me with the ability to constantly change and develop. Help me to observe and change if necessary the thoughts and habits I have so that I can be the person you made me to be. In Jesus name Amen.

 

10 Feb – All you need is a little….

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We can think that what we have to offer is too small and that those little things that we can do or have a particular gift or ability in are insignificant. But God says that all we need is “a little”…a little faith no bigger than a mustard seed – for it has the power to move mountains. A little jar of oil, that when placed in the hands of  someone who believes can become a miracle of provision, or a little boy’s lunch of two fish and five loaves which when offered to Jesus had the ability to suddenly be able to feed more than 5,000 people with leftovers! (Matthew 17:20; 2 Kings 4:1-7; John 6:8-13)

Far too often we disregard the little we have because we don’t value enough who we are and what we already have in our hands. “From little things, great things can grow,” especially when we link up our “little” with the supernatural power, wisdom, knowledge and ability of God.

Today don’t undervalue what you have in your hands already. The little boy held the potential of a banquet lunch for everyone in his hands, and the widow with the jar of oil held the source of God’s deliverance and provision for her and her sons. ( 2 Kings 4:1-7) All they needed was to stop despising their “little” as insignificant and choose to mix what they had with faith in God. Suddenly God’s miracle provision, favour, wisdom and power to multiply and grow their “little” was activated on their behalf.

Today assess what do you have in your hands already, which when combined with God’s ability can become your miracle? Don’t belittle or mock your very own five loaves and two fishes or jar of oil, but instead choose to bring your “little” to God and let him bless and reveal to you what He can do when you offer what you have to Him and trust and listen to what He says to do.

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Prayer: Lord thank you that even my “little” can become great when you get involved. Help me to see what I already have in my hands and to listen to and trust you with everything, regardless of whether it’s little or not. I believe my “little” will become great when I place my life and everything I have and am in your hands. In Jesus name Amen.

9 Feb – Rock solid

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Tonight I had to do something I’ve been quietly dreading for months, actually if truth be told, for years. It was to hug goodbye to one of our daughters and then get on a plane and fly to the other side of the country away from her.

Its something most parents think about and secretly hope they never have to do. From the moment we hold this little bundle of newborn loveliness in our arms we know the day will come when they will be all grown up and ready to “fly” away from us. We pray, teach, love, cuddle, impart, instruct, discipline and hopefully set a good example to them so that when a day like today comes they will be grown and ready enough to run with everything they’ve got within them into their future.

However today as I said goodbye I was also very thankful for a choice I made years ago, and that was to build my life and relationships on and around a rock solid foundation. It needed to be rock solid because storms have come, winds have blown, hard stuff has happened and change and days like today were inevitable.

Rock solid because it pays to know where and to whom we can depend on to steady us and who we can lean on when we most need to.

Rock solid because all around us are choices and the pressure that there are no longer any absolutes of truth. Without a rock solid foundation we can easily slide down the slippery slope of whatever feels good or blindly follow what everyone else is doing or thinking, rather than walking in wisdom and revelation of what is the right path for our lives.

Rock solid because we need the ground under us to be steady and sure so we always have a safe place to run to and stand upon when everything else can look and feel like sinking sand.

It needed to be rock solid because today I was able to lean on that solid, immovable, steadiness so I could do what every parent has to eventually do – stand back and watch their child go off to run their own race and follow the course God has mapped out for them.

Today as I boarded my plane I said goodbye to our little girl I turned to watch a beautiful, talented, intelligent, young woman walk into her new life. She’s chosen to follow her Dad and my example and to build her life on the most rock solid foundation I know – Jesus. She knows where to run to, who to stand and lean on and where to find the way and the truth for her journey – and for that I am extremely thankful and blessed. As for me I know that even though this really sucks (for lack of a better word), Jesus is holding my heart and steadying my steps and I’m going to be just fine.

Today whatever season of life you are in and whatever you may be facing I encourage you to turn and lean in on Jesus. He is rock solid and won’t let you down. Build your world upon Him, upon His words and upon the way He says to do life and I guarantee that when the challenges roll in and change comes at you like a freight train you will be able to stand strong and steady. Why? Because you have Jesus, The solid rock to support you, His words of wisdom to lead and guide you and His strong arms to provide comfort when you most need it…and yes you will be, like me, just fine.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matt 7:24-27)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you offer to us a solid and sure foundation. That you are the “rock” who we can turn and hold onto when everything else feels and looks like sinking sand, and upon whom we can build our relationships and lives. Please help me to remember that you are there to support and strengthen me through every season of my life and with you I’m going to be fine. In Jesus name Amen.

8 Feb – Better with every day

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To change should mean to grow because we all have the capacity for massive growth and development in every area of our lives.

It really is fear and pride that causes a person to have the attitude: “This is who I am, either like it or lump it”

I read an article this week about marriage, but it really covers an attitude for all or our lives and relationships:

We may fall in love with any kind of person, but the person we choose to marry must embody one particular quality: they must be committed to constant change and transformation.

We should not search for or choose someone to spend the rest of our lives with who we think is perfect. We choose someone who is perfectly aware they aren’t perfect and who wants to get better with every day.

We marry people because we like who they are. But people change. Plan on it. Don’t marry someone because of who they are or who you want them to become. Marry them because of who they are determined to become. And then spend a lifetime joining them in their becoming, as they join you in yours.”

There is something powerful about a commitment to change and transformation. There is something about a person who has vision and purpose and desires to change for the better.

That type of person has a special quality about them, they know who they want to become and are committed to growth and transformation.

God is given an invitation into our lives when we have that sort of attitude. He loves us just the way we are. He accepts us just how we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us like that.

The change we need most is not in our circumstances, but in ourselves.

Today determine to be a person who makes a commitment to growth and transformation. Invite God into every area of your life to grow and develop you to be all that you can be.

Prayer: Lord I invite you to bring growth and change to every area of my life. Help me to remember that you love and accept me just as I am, but you also love me too much to leave me with some of my attitudes and hurts. Help me to continually grow to be all that you created me to be. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

 

7 Feb – Rest

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A lifestyle of ceaseless labour day after day no matter how noble or worthy our cause, is not good for us. God chose to rest setting an example for us that we are designed and created to follow.

Jesus illustrated this model in that He and his disciples often withdrew from people and activity in order to rest and commune with the Father.

The news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31 NIV)

Interestingly Jesus withdrew to rest from the demands of the day at the height of his popularity. There were literally thousands and thousands of people crying out for Jesus to heal, teach and bless them. The need and opportunities were great and yet Jesus chose to rest and take time off because He understood that if He was to accomplish His purpose he had to remain spiritually, physically and mentally strong. And that required regular times of prayer, rest and recuperation.

Rest is the invisible part of our time that rebuilds and remakes us every day.  Without adequate rest we will suffer and struggle to fulfil those things that God has placed in our hearts to enjoy, experience and accomplish.

Today determine to take more time to rest. Schedule rest and recuperation time in your diary and day and honour that time as just important as the other more visible productive parts of your life.

Prayer: Lord help me to understand the importance of rest and to set aside a regular time to cease from all my activity and labour so that I can recuperate, reflect, relax, and fully rest. In Jesus name Amen.

 

6 Feb – Sit and listen

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Before refrigerators were invented, in colder parts of the world they used ice houses to preserve their food. During the winter, people cut large blocks of ice from the frozen lakes and streams and hauled them to the ice houses and covered them with sawdust so the ice wouldn’t melt.

There is a story of a man who lost a valuable watch while working in an ice house. He searched carefully raking through the sawdust but failed to find it. Others helped look but they also failed to find the watch. One day a small boy quietly went into the ice house during lunch break. After a few minutes, he came back out with the watch in his hand. Amazed, everyone asked how he found it. “It was simple,” the boy replied. “I just closed the door, lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.”

How many of us fail to be able to hear like the men who couldn’t find the watch. We aren’t taking the time to be quiet and listen or we’re only listening for the things we want to hear and we ignore the rest. Maybe we are listening, but the noise of everything and everyone else is so loud that we couldn’t hear the voice of God even if we wanted to.

There is no substitute for taking time to be quiet and listen. With the constant daily activity we can find ourselves in, it’s so important to find times of quietness and rest. Time when we can sit and listen to our hearts, consider any challenges and take our concerns to God. Time to sit and listen to His guidance and receive from His strength.

This is what the Sovereign LORD, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength (Isaiah 30:15).

Today take the time to sit and listen. As you read His word and sit in God’s presence just listen. As the young boy in the story found the valuable watch, you’ll be amazed with what valuable guidance, confidence and treasure you’ll find.

Prayer: Lord help me to simply stop, rest and listen in your presence today. In Jesus Name Amen

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