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November 2019

30 Nov – What’s Winning?

 

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Today I attended an equestrian event to watch the showjumping. People from everywhere were competing with several special guest riders who were Olympic medalists also eventing.

However as I watched there was one young woman who caught my attention and impressed me more than the others. Her name was Sam and she was impressive not because she won or even placed in the top ten riders for the day. No, what impressed and inspired me about Sam was her sheer determination, tenacity and courage when under obvious pressure.

A horse is a powerful animal and in eventing situations with the crowds, noise, cameras and other horses all surrounding and bombarding their senses it’s not surprising some horses get a little anxious and highly strung. Such was the case with Sam’s mount today. Before even reaching the jumping arena Sam’s horse was having difficulties resulting in him repeatedly rearing, bucking and prancing skittishly around the warm up area close to where I was watching. Sam remained in the saddle, calmly and firmly quieting her horse until she could safely dismount. As I watched I wondered if she’d call it a day as her horse was obviously not happy. However that it seemed was the last thing from Sam’s mind. Upon checking her horse over from the safety of the ground she called for assistance and remounted and proceeded to the arena to compete. Once again her horse started rearing and being skittish but Sam held her seat, firmly pushing her horse towards the first jump and began to complete the course.

It was not a clear round, but every time her horse would refuse a jump, Sam would circle around and do that particular jump again; much to the applause and admiration of the watching crowd. I watched Sam’s face as she exited the arena to see if she would be upset by her difficult ride, but instead witnessed her beaming smile and enthusiastic patting of her horse as she rode past me.

Today Sam didn’t win or place in the top ten, and this wouldn’t have been her best ride. But I think she won in a different way, as she won me and many in the crowd over because she quite simply wouldn’t give up, displaying courage, calmness and maturity beyond her years.

Perhaps its not always in the so called Win; in coming first place, receiving the accolades, prize money, medals and all the other trappings of what we see as success that we learn the most, really win the biggest prize or where we reveal who we truly are. Perhaps the win is also in staying the course even when its difficult: in doing the best you can on any given day, in pushing through the test, not giving up under pressure, in completing your race and living to fight another day. Because as I watched Sam she did more than just win or lose a prize today. Many of us watching her today have never met her, yet we admired her tenacity, guts, skill and resolve, and today I remember she didn’t quit and I also remember her name.

Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. (Galatians 6:9)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. ( Philippians 4:13)

Prayer: Lord please help me to grow in my ability to stay the course and to win. Not only in the accolades of success but also in how I grow to win in my character, strength and who I am as a person. In Jesus name Amen.

29 Nov – Audacity To Dream Big

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Audacity; the sheer guts, determination and willingness to boldly think, dream and act a certain way.

In life I think to achieve, thrive and overcome obstacles in our path we all need to have the audacity to believe in ourselves and our dreams. To have the courage and grit to pursue what we are dreaming of and to believe that God’s plan for our life can and will happen.

However having audacity and thinking and dreaming big doesn’t insulate us from taking a few hits along the way. But it does develop, equip and strengthen us to get back up and continue to move forward when the going gets tough. As Martin Luther King once said, “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward”. To consistently do that however we must have bold belief and faith to believe it will happen.

People may think you’re crazy, laugh at your dreams, question whether you are hearing from God and talk behind your back. But your destiny is just that – your’s. You need to do you. What do you have the audacity to believe you can achieve and see happen in your life?

Today I encourage you to be bold and to see beyond where you are at today. What does your life look like five years from now? Because thinking about where we’d like to be in the future helps us decide how we will live today? Imagine, pray and start to get a clear picture of what you desire. Give yourself permission and ask for God to help you dream big audacious dreams, knowing that as you do you will become what you think and dream about most.

Whatever a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov 23:7)

Prayer: Lord thankyou for the plans you have for my life. Would you please help me to dream big, audacious dreams and to then take steps each day to position myself to achieve them. In Jesus name Amen.

28 Nov – Living Memorial

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This is a repost from several years ago, but as I read it I was reminded that even though its important to look ahead, it is also great to reflect and look back at all that God has done in our lives. As we do we will energize our faith and expectation of God’s goodness for the things ahead…..

Today I spent the morning shopping with one of our daughters. It’s one of her big birthday’s coming up and we are preparing the celebrations. As I sat next to her in the car chatting, she was busy exclaiming how great her new moisturizer smelt on her arms and I was laughing at her enthusiasm.

In the midst of all this talking I glanced again at her arms; tanned, toned and healthy, and I remembered how those same arms used to look. Little arms that were bandaged most days from wrist to elbow, protecting and hoping to bring healing to the angry weeping sores underneath the bandages caused from chronic eczema.  At the worst times we struggled to find a clear spot on her body, as we went back and forth to specialists and hospital appointments, all the time believing and praying for a breakthrough. I would say “one day people are going to say to you what beautiful skin you have, so just keep praying and seeing yourself like that”.

Today I reached across and touched the skin on her arm, which is like a “living memorial” to what God has done and I remembered and smiled. Why? Because people do comment on how lovely her skin is, and there is not a sign of eczema on her.

Given man’s propensity to forget, God is frequently mentioned in the bible asking people to create memorials. The meaning of the Hebrew word used in scripture for memorial is “to remember”.

At the foot of Mt. Sinai, Moses built an altar of stones – a memorial to commemorate God’s covenant with Israel (Ex. 12:14). Moses spoke to Israel just before they entered the promised land. He said, “be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy. 6:12) God didn’t want His people to forget Him and all He had done for them.

Joshua also erected a memorial of 12 stones when he finally crossed the Jordan river with the Israelite’s. He instructed the leaders of the tribes to “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight”

The memorial stones were to be a reminder of each person’s individual breakthrough experience as they came into the land God had promised. The stones were there every time they looked or passed that way to cause them to remember to tell their story, and to keep a clear memory of what God had done for them.

Today I remembered as I looked at the living memorial which is my daughter of all God has done in our family. It’s a memorial of faith and trust in the face of suffering and challenge. It’s a memorial of breaking through and victory. God’s constant provision, healing and love for our family are other memorials in my life of His faithfulness and love.

God knows how we think, and that we can easily forget important things. So He asks us to remember. How often do we sit down and think about the memories, the experiences, all the breakthroughs and thank God?

Those memorial stones in the bible were also to serve as a basis of sharing faith; to remind them to share their God stories with their children. They were to be a signpost to a lost world  “that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

When we remember and look back at our “memorials, God also wants us to remember to trigger us to renew our personal commitment to Him; to understand that He is with us as we go into our future and to take every opportunity to tell others that He is the living God who “parts the waters” and makes a way through.

What are your memorials?  Today take a moment “to remember” all that God has done. Remember next time when you take a bold step of faith into the unknown, of all the times through the accounts in His word, and the memorials in your own life, how He is faithful to get you to the “other side”.

Remember, and keep on telling your  “stories” so that you, your loved one’s, and those you meet on the journey never forget.

“He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate.”(Psalm 111:4)

Prayer: Lord please help me not to forget all that you have done for me.  That I will have my own memorials to your goodness, love and faithfulness. I give you thanks. In Jesus name amen.

27 Nov – Why Bother?

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As I write this I’m on a flight home from Sydney to Perth. Whilst in Sydney I ran the first gathering of our Sydney hub, facilitated a creative workshop, was busy working in my role as manager for our daughter Shara Rose who is a singer, helping prepare for her next song release in 3 weeks (see shararosemusic.com), plus had some quality time with a few of our Sydney friends.

It’s been a busy week, yet as I sit on my flight home I find myself reading. I’m reading a book about achieving your dreams; of living the life God destined you to live and how to attain all that you were made for. It’s a motivational book and I find myself contemplating how easy it is for me to lose motivation; to get discouraged and to say quietly to myself, “Why bother” when things get tough or my dreams and goals take longer than expected to eventuate.

Perhaps we can all get into the mindset of, “Why bother? Why bother to try again when there have been so many disappointments?
Why bother launching out into the deep again when it felt like you failed last time?
Why bother writing down and declaring our dreams out loud?
Why bother expressing thankfulness when today you just can’t think what to be thankful for?
Why bother making goals and new year resolutions?
Why bother changing up our routine so we might continue to grow and develop?
Why bother practicing and practicing so a gift and talent you have been given develops into a skill?
Why bother eating healthier and exercising?
Why bother spending time with God and then doing what He says?

Why bother when lot of what we do; the adjustments, changes and steps in a positive direction often seem very, very insignificant and we can feel like we are so far from fulfilling our dreams?

But the fact is the most successful people in the world; the ones who see their dreams become a reality, they bother with those things that other people can’t be bothered with. They discover their “why” and as a result they keep bothering.

The biggest difference in dreamers and dream-achievers is that those who achieve their aspirations are willing to do what others are not willing to do.” (Terri Savelle-Foy)

Why bother today? Because every step you take, every move you make in the right direction, every day you choose to do what you know to do – to be faithful and diligent in the small things, in the everyday routine and decision to develop as a person, means progress and even a little progress is still progress.

Or as my husband regularly says, ” How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time”.

Make the decision to bother. To draw on God’s strength and wisdom. To determine to be consistent and faithful in your daily routine as you seek to continually grow and be transformed into the best version of yourself – because ultimately you’re worth the bother!

Do not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

People are rewarded in public for what they practice in private”. (T. Robbins)

Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows”. (Galatians 6:7)

Prayer: Lord please strengthen me to keep going and that I will be encouraged to bother with those daily positive routines; with the consistency to keep growing and developing; with the time spent with you and studying your Word, in bothering to make wise, healthy decisions so that I will reach my goals and fulfill that for which I was made. Please help me to keep bothering today. In Jesus name Amen.

26 Nov – Catch Your Thoughts

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Throughout my day I regularly have to check my thoughts. I can be busy doing or thinking upon something and then suddenly I realise I’ve ended up on a negative thought track or I find myself sliding onto a train of thought that quickly leads to fears of failure, death, lack or loss. Unfortunately the more “hits” we have had in our life the easier it is to get onto these tracks, and therefore the more vigilant we need to be to keep our thoughts in check.

Its important because from our thoughts we start to believe and from our beliefs we act in either faith or fear and doubt.

Which is why God encourages us to check up on our thinking and to, “not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

God cares about our thoughts, concerns and worries because He knows what we think affects what we believe and what we believe dictates how we act and live out our lives. He wants us to be free from fear and doubt and full of faith and power, living an extraordinary life. However to be transformed in our thoughts means we can’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world any longer. Instead we allow God to transform us into a new person by receiving His love and forgiveness. Then we choose everyday to listen to Him; to read His words, think upon His way of doing things, believe what He says and act upon it.

For as you know him better, he will give you, through his great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: he even shares his own glory and his own goodness with us!” (2 Peter 1:3 NLT)

Today keep a check on your thoughts and catch any ones that try to lead you off on a thought track of fear, loss, failure and away from what God says is best for you. Those thoughts are not God’s thoughts towards us and if we take time to read and think upon His thoughts in the bible, and the good things He had in store for us we will soon transform our lives.

Today think right, believe right, and then you’ll find yourself living the life you dreamed of. (Ephesians 3:20)

Prayer: Lord please help me to be more aware of the hundreds of random thoughts that pass through my mind so that I can catch the ones that aren’t healthy and throw them away, and ponder upon the ones that are good and choose to act on those. I’m choosing today to think upon your Word, to believe what you say and to act accordingly. In Jesus name Amen.

 

25 Nov – Be Kind To Yourself

 

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In a world where there is often unkindness, it’s so important that we are kind to ourselves.
Sadly though we often aren’t. We compare ourselves, we put ourselves down; we are our own worst critics, and can easily tell everyone else what is wrong with us. Too often we only see the failures, the disappointments, and the hurts we have suffered.

So today I wanted to say You are Awesome, whether you are working at a job that maybe you don’t really like to provide for yourself or your family.
You’re awesome as you do your best at being a mum or dad to your children.
You’re awesome as you keep studying, learning and trying to be better at whatever you do.
You’re awesome as you continue to be a friend, brother, sister, mum, dad, aunt, uncle, and workmate.

The world needs YOU, so be kind to yourself.

What is one thing you can say you do well? Now congratulate yourself!
What’s one thing you give to be a blessing to others? Just keep doing it!

All we can ever do is “Do the best we can with the revelation we have now!”

We can always keep learning and growing, and yes we are always going to look back and say “If only I’d known back then…” That’s life.

Listen, learn, keep a teachable spirit and keep going.

The kids will eventually sleep through the night. You will get to the end of your studies. You can get that better job.
Don’t give up on your Dreams; keep walking, praying, and speaking hope and life.

God is a good God and He is for you; so be kind to yourself and know that you are greatly loved by Him, and it’s going to be Okay.

24 Nov – When Things Don’t Go As Planned

What do you do when things don’t work out exactly as you’ve planned, expected or prayed for?

I’ve learnt that we can’t judge how much God loves us by our circumstances. God loves us regardless of our circumstances, and His plan is always good even when we don’t understand why some things happen.

When something in our life fails to go according to plan there are a few things we would be wise NOT to do.

1.Don’t throw up our hands and give up. There is no point in quitting. Sometimes we may need to adjust our course a little, but if we know that God is in what we are doing, and we are praying and seeking to live His ways, we can’t just give up. Our answer and our results just haven’t shown up yet. It’s God’s job to keep His promises, and ours to keep believing.

 2.Don’t get angry and throw a “hissy fit”. We can all be tempted to get angry when things don’t go our way. But anger just leads to strife and fear, and those two things hinder the working of our faith. God is busy behind the scenes and there is a lot of activity and work that goes into making God’s plans for our life come about. Stay out of anger, in faith and trusting God.

 3.Don’t panic. God knows the beginning from the end and everything in between. He has the answers, the way through, and the break we need. He promises that He knows the plans He has for us, plans to give us a hope and a future. So we just need to relax and rest in the knowledge that everything is going to be all right in the end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

No matter what happens it’s important that we don’t throw away our confidence in God’s goodness. There are times in life where we may not understand what is happening, but we can’t let what has or hasn’t happened dictate what we are going to believe. Psalm 27:13 promises that, “we WILL see the goodness of God in the land of the living”.

When things go wrong or not according to our plans, we’ve just got to trust that God has it under control. Trust is a choice to believe that God is good, and that he’s working things out to our advantage. Trust means holding onto what His word says.

We must be patient and give God time to work on our behalf. We are always in such a hurry, but I’ve discovered God isn’t.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, …He makes ALL things beautiful in His time”. God specialises in the business of restoration and restitution, promising to work all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28)

“The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.” ( Joel 2:25)

Today if you have been disappointed, or things have not worked out as you planned. Take heart, the journey isn’t over yet, and God says with Him your life has good things up ahead. So don’t have a “hissy fit” and give up; keep trusting God,keep believing, and you will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.

Prayer: Lord thank you that no matter what I face, you make all things work together for my good. Help me to trust in you, to keep believing and standing on your promises, until I see your plans and purposes for my life fulfilled. In Jesus Name Amen.

23 Nov – Get To It

How often do we put things off that we intended to “get to?” How often do we allow ourselves to become stressed by a mounting list of things we procrastinate over or we put off doing something for someone, only to forget? How many exercise or healthy lifestyle changes have we planned to do, only to keep procrastinating, so they never ever happen.

The world is full of  people who say, “I was gonna do that, or” I could have done that”.
Meanwhile life passes us by, tasks are left undone, loved ones are disappointed, kids give up asking, and we never change.

Jesus says that “we can do all things because He gives us strength”. (Philippians 4:13)  We just have to make quality decisions to do what we say we’ll do, and not put off for tomorrow what we can do today.

The bible tells us to make the most of all that we have been given. “The one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’”And his master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:22-23)

What are you doing with what you have been entrusted with already? What is your attitude towards your relationships, gifts, talents, health, intellect, experience and skills?

Here are some keys to help you quit procrastinating, and make the most of what you have now!

Start your day right – Get up, get dressed, and ready yourself for the day. If you get ready you have set yourself up to succeed for whatever the day holds. I’m all for pajama days, but maybe not everyday.

Write things down – Whenever you have an important thought, remember something you don’t want to forget, or are reminded of something to do, write it down. This can be done in your planner or in another generalized notebook that you keep with you.

Don’t overwhelm yourself –  If you find that your time is short and schedule is full, consider dropping less important things from your daily plans. If you are doing too many things at once, you will feel unorganized and anxiety-prone.
Cancel plans when necessary to give your head a little more thinking space.
Learn to delegate projects to others.
We don’t have to agree to everything we are asked to do if we simply don’t have time.

Don’t be a perfectionist – . If you only feel that you’ve completed a task when it is “perfect,” you will be leaving a lot of tasks unfinished to clutter up your life.
Ask God to give you wisdom and confidence to know when a project is adequately finished and can be left alone. When you reach a point where it is “good enough,” settle for less and move on to your next item.If you have certain projects that you can’t seem to perfect and can’t seem to finish, take a set break and then come back with a fresh perspective.

Remove your distractions, whatever they are. Often it is the internet, your phone, sleep, or even a good book. Know your weaknesses and ask God to help you put plans in place to prevent you slipping back into them.

“Carpe diem”  Don’t procrastinate another day.

Prayer: Lord I thank you for the gifts, abilities, strength and people you have placed in my life. Help me to be the best I can be, to seize every day, and glorify you with my life. In Jesus name amen.

 

22 Nov – What came first? The chicken or the egg?

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“What came first? The chicken or the egg?” It’s an old saying that is often used when discussing a situation and what came first – the outward evidence of what we are now seeing and experiencing or something behind the scenes that occured previously.

Take for example someone who is fearful or anxious. Are they just wired that way, or did something previously happen to cause them to be fearful?

Or someone who struggles with an addiction? Did the addiction come first which then caused a whole heap of problems or was there a trauma or circumstance of some sort to instigate the formation of that addiction?

The thing is when we look at our lives and any issues we may have we can be tempted to only focus on treating the symptoms rather than dealing with the root or cause. However when we do that the outward circumstances or behaviors may change for a while, but eventually the issue will rise to the surface again. Primarily because everything in life has a source and if we don’t get to the source we will only ever deal with issues superficially, allowing them to then repeatedly cause trouble in our lives. We waste our time, prayers and effort merely treating symptoms rather than dealing with the root.

Today if you know that you”ve been struggling with an issue and it just keeps on raising it’s ugly head. If you’ve talked about it; maybe even had professional help and prayed and that thing still keeps on coming up, I encourage you to ask God to show you what the root is and what and where things are originating from? Then rather than trying to numb the issue or filling your life with busyness and distractions, choose to face it and any of its scars. Jesus is right there ready and waiting to help you through, and if you allow Him He will work gently to make you whole again.

Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 TPT)

Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows. Yet we esteemed him stricken smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him and by his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5)

Prayer: Lord please show me what the root of any issues I may have are and give me wisdom and clarity to know exactly where they are coming from in my life. I want to be free so that I can then live to the fullest the life you have for me. In Jesus Name Amen.

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