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April 2020

30 April – Stubborn or Tenacious

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I’m admittedly fairly stubborn and can be known to dig my heels in on things. However being married for nearly thirty years I’ve discovered and had to learn the difference between stubbornness and tenacity. Stubbornness is to have dogged determination – not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so. Other synonyms and descriptions for stubbornness are obstinate, stubborn as a mule and difficult to move, remove or cure.

Whereas tenacity by definition is to be persistent, persevering, to have strength of purpose and to be determined.

God talks about this sort of tenacious perseverance in a good way and that we are to endure and be patient. It’s by faith and patience that we inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12) and by not growing weary in doing good that we reap the harvest (Galatians 6:9).

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy always.” (Colossians 1:11-12)

I’ve discovered that some of the greatest character traits and gifts in our life can also be our greatest downfall if not channelled and exhibited through a pure heart and motives. God wants to use our gifts and who we are for good, but the devil is also at work seeking to use and direct those same gifts and traits for evil. 

I can be persevering, display incredible endurance and refuse to give up on my dreams and people, but I can also get offended, hold a grudge and not want to budge on things, which is stubbornness.  I actually asked my husband today if I’m stubborn or tenacious and He looked at me with a look that men usually reserve for when their partner asks, “Do I look fat in this”. He carefully replied, “You’re both”. “You can be very stubborn, especially when your’e wrong, and also extremely tenacious which is an amazing part of who you are.” 

God is always seeking to prune us and causing that which is fruitful in our life to increase. He wants us to keep growing and developing as people and to reach our full potential. But that means allowing Him to direct our characters and gifting in the best possible direction, so as to get the desired result and a blessed, full life. (John 15)

Today, if you know you have a tendency towards being stubborn, don’t stress. Determine instead to cultivate a soft, willing heart as you seek God for His wisdom and humility as to how you can direct that stubbornness into tenacity. For then your enduring, never quit characteristics will bring out the best part of who you are in all your relationships, dreams and pursuits and everyone will truly be blessed to know you. 

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. (2 Peter 1:5-6 NIV )

Prayer: Lord thank you for the gift of perseverance and tenacity. Please help me to always be open to your correction and to have a soft heart so that you can correct and redirect my focus and attitudes when necessary. Create in me a clean heart Lord and a right spirit in me. In Jesus name Amen.

29 April – Keep Saying Yes!

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I remember a few years ago I met up with someone who I’d known years before when they’d been experiencing some really great things happening in their life. However on seeing them again several years later I was surprised to find that they had lost their purpose and energy for life. I asked God why that sometimes happens with people and how and why we can sometimes stop growing. I felt the Lord answer with the words, “They stopped saying Yes to me.

Those words have stuck with me and I’ve discovered that one of the first keys to saying yes is to acknowledge and be prepared for the fact that yes does not mean we are always going to fully understand what we are saying yes to. Especially when it comes to God and His plan for our life. There are times when we may know it’s the right thing to do but we can’t completely see all the steps up ahead or understand how everything fits together. However if we want to live a life of faith and purpose we’re asked to trust God and to also walk by faith and not simply by our sight.

The bible puts it this way….“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. ” (Proverbs 3:5-7 NLT)

Being willing also helps us follow and trust God, and we keep that attitude of willingness when we understand that Jesus only wants good things for us. That He loves us far beyond what we could ever fathom and primarily just wants us to love and trust Him because He has an amazing life in store to bless us with.

Today if you are looking for peace, meaning and fulfilment in your life and desire to keep growing and moving forward, then make it your default setting to say YES!

Say YES to God when He calls, directs and challenges you to deal with any issues.  Say YES to the directives in His Word. Say YES to His promptings and then get willing and obedient to do whatever He leads you in. For if you do, you’ll be amazed at what He’ll do in and through your life and the opportunities that will arise. 

We see what is ahead partially, whereas God sees the whole plan and picture. Trust Him, get out of the way if need be and say YES!

Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commands” (John 14:15)

“If you’ll willingly obey you’ll feast like kings.” (Isaiah 1:19 The Message)

Blessed (happy, favoured by God) are those who hear the word of God and continually observe it.(Luke 11:28 AMP)

“Look at me. I stand at the door. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.” (Revelation 3:20 Msg)

Prayer: Jesus please help me to get out of the way and to say Yes to you. You lead and I will follow. Whatever and wherever you go, I will go. Whatever you ask, I will do. I’m with you all the way! In Jesus Name. Amen.

28 April – 6 Keys To A Balanced Life

 

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We all I think can be prone to dramatics. You know the days when you just want to have a hissy fit or let out what you are feeling in a not so great way. Sometimes it would be nice to just not care for a moment or two. However as a mature human being we really don’t have that option, and especially when you profess to have a relationship with Jesus. Primarily because one of the fruits of knowing him is self – control.

A good measure of how close we are walking with him and how much of God’s word is abiding in our hearts can be seen by how much control we do choose to demonstrate in our everyday lives. I know that when I am under pressure, have had enough of people’s nonsense or I’m not spending enough time with Jesus that my control drops and negative thoughts and emotions threaten to take over and overflow in an unproductive unbalanced way.

So here are six keys I’ve learnt to keep my life and emotions on the level and balanced:

1. Recognise and understand that life is full of both positive and negatives. When something negative happens look to balance it out with a positive. As God says, He knows us far better than we know ourselves…. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:28 The Message)

2. Get God’s word and put having a vital, connected relationship with Him front and centre in your life. If God’s words continually abide in you they will cause the fruit of knowing him to be produced in your heart and mind. You don’t have to strive to produce and exhibit  self – control, love, peace, patience etc as they are a natural by-product of having Jesus in your life. Lean in and stay close to Jesus and let Him go to work in and through you.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

3. Deal with issues quickly. I’ve discovered that when I fail to deal with something that is bothering me it will  inevitably come out in my words or actions. Our words come from the overflow of our hearts and are quickly followed by our actions and behaviours.  When we spend time with Jesus and read His words, lining up our lives accordingly it helps us deal with issues and keeps us on the level and running in the right direction. As I often say, “we can’t run through life when we are carrying heavy suitcases full of stuff we don’t need and that are only weighing us down”. Off load issues and hurts, be quick to ask forgiveness for any mess up’s and keep moving forward. 

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

4. Be in community – It’s so easy to get too much in our heads about things, going over and over our problems and concerns. Being in relationship with others who love and support us is vital in helping to keep us on the level and balanced in our thoughts, beliefs and emotions.  We don’t need to do life alone and weren’t created to, so pick up the phone, get on face-time/zoom etc. If you are able to go for a walk or coffee with someone or invite someone over who is a positive influence in your life.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

5. Exercise and eat regular healthy meals – How we treat our physical bodies will affect our our mood, thoughts and spiritual life. Too often we want to compartmentalise our lives, but our thoughts, emotions and spirit are connected and one affects the other. When we look after ourselves it’s far easier to stay on the level and balanced.

6. Prosper your soul – Regularly do something that prospers your soul – that makes you happy on the inside and reminds you that it is good to be alive. If you don’t know what prospers your soul then explore some hobbies, places or past times that make you glad you are here and that benefit you and the person you are becoming.

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2)

Today, determine to enjoy and be more balanced in your life. Seek to even out the negatives with positives, put Jesus and what He says front and centre, deal with issues in your life, exercise and eat well, prosper your soul and be in community in some way so you can keep it on the level.

Prayer: Lord please help me to choose wisely how I will live my life. Today I’m choosing to seek to be more balanced and to stay on the level in all I do and say. Please help me to  deal with anything that is weighing me down and causing me to be off balance. In Jesus name Amen

 

27 April – What’s In A Name?

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The last few days some of our kids have been doing some detective work into our family-tree. They’ve followed up on both sides of the family some stories we have grown up with and whether their is an validity to them. There is accounts of convicts, runaway slaves, people hung as horse thief’s, land grants as restitution, babies being born without fathers knowing, war torn love stories and a whole array of things that could make a best selling book if anyone bothered to write it.

As a result of this detective work and the subsequent ongoing discussions, DNA testing kits have been ordered, war records, birth and death certificates and all sorts of historical documents are being searched for and investigated. It’s keeping our kids busy during this isolation period as to the truth behind their family history.

However in their search there is one underlying truth and piece of information to remember and that is; whether we do or don’t know our earthly family history and ancestors we can know our heavenly family and who we belong to. 

When we ask Jesus to be a part of our life we get a new name along with a new nature, much like I took my husband’s name when I got married. (2 Cor 5:17) I left single life behind and identified as a wife and also part of a different family. Likewise we receive God’s name and are made a member of His family, with all the rights and privileges that come with being one of His children. We are made co-heirs with Jesus.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (Ephesians 3:14)

“And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.” (Romans 8:17)

So that we can better understand Him, God reveals and calls Himself by different names. These names are important and not only tell us who He is and about His character but also about who we are.

The choice we all have is whether we will accept and choose to embrace our new name or whether we keep our old name and identity

Here is just a few of the names and attributes we now carry….

He is called Jehovah (meaning God) Jireh – The Lord will provide which means we are provided for. (Genesis 22:13-14) “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Jehovah Nissi – The Lord is my banner/Victory (Exodus 17:15) Meaning we who carry and have been given His name are no longer victims but victors. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. (1 Cor 15:57)

Jehovah Rapha – The Lord that heals (Exodus 15:26) We carry the name of one who is healed and whole (1 Peter 2:24)

Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is Peace (Judges 6:24) Our name is peaceful “For He (Jesus) is our peace”. (Ephesians 2:14)

Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6) We are the righteousness of God -(made right before him) “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

What’s in a name you may ask? Plenty if we identify with the owner of that name and accept it as our own. The question is. “have we accepted God’s name and taken it fully as our own, or are we still identifying with our old name and the nature that goes with it?” 

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)

But you belong to God.” (1 John 4:4 NLT)

Prayer: Lord I’m choosing to take your name as my own and all that name entails. Please help me to walk fully in who I am and the identity and inheritance that is mine today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

26 April – In Just One Day

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Most of us are very familiar with having to wait and wait for things that we’ve been hoping and believing for to happen. Some things just take time and it is by faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God.  (Hebrews 6:12)

However, in the middle of all our understanding that we do need to be patient and wait, there is the fact that God also does instantly alter people’s lives. That, “in just one day everything can and does suddenly change”.

In just one day… David went from being a shepherd boy to standing before the King and being victorious against a giant. In one day his life was transformed as he stepped into his destiny and went from being the inconspicuous shepherd, to David the adored warrior who would become King.

In just one day Joseph was transformed from a slave held captive in prison to being put in charge of the entire land of Egypt. (Genesis 39-42)

In just one day the Israelite’s who had been starving to death, trapped in their own city by an enemy Syrian army were delivered, fed and made victors by God. (2 Kings 7:3-20)

In just one day Saul (Paul) went from being a persecutor of Christians to being one of history’s greatest church planters, missionaries and authors.

In just one day a woman who had been an outcast, suffering terribly for twelve years with a debilitating illness was suddenly healed and restored to health. (Luke 8:43-48)

In just one day we can all be transformed from a broken, hurting person, weighed down by our guilt and shame to a forgiven son or daughter of God, who bears his name, inheritance and authority. (Ephesians 3:15)

In just one day; in a moment, everything can and does change!

Whatever you are facing today; whatever circumstance, struggle, or issue you are looking at right now, know that breakthrough is right there and available. For in just one day you can go from being single to realising the love of your life is standing in front of you. In just day from being worn down by sickness to being miraculously made healthy and healed. In just one day from being jobless to having the greatest opportunity of your life handed to you. In just one day the floodgates of heaven can open up. In just one day……

May today be your day!

“For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37)

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Prayer: Lord I believe that everything can and does change in a day. Please help me to keep holding onto your promises as I continue expecting and looking for my breakthrough and the floodgates of heaven to open up over and in my life today. In Jesus name Amen.

25 April – Overcoming

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The basic law of photography is that you let light pass through a negative to get a positive. I think life is much the same and we can especially experience this when we let Jesus’ light pass through every negative situation so that He can reveal the positive.

It’s more often than not our attitude towards situations that determine who we are and who and what we will become. Even if we have had something horrendous happen in our lives, to a great extent we are the one’s who make the decision on how we will allow these events to affect and shape our futures. Many of the world’s greatest discoveries, artistic masterpieces and inventions were made in times of deepest trouble. Tough times can bring out the best in us, and disappointments and heartbreak can become opportunities.

In 1880 a little girl named Helen Keller was born. At 19 months of age she was struck down with an acute illness which left her both blind and deaf. As a result she was also unable to learn how to speak.

But a women name Anne Sullivan taught her not only to speak but to read and communicate. Helen Keller became a recognised author and lecturer and received the presidential medal of freedom. Her lecturing tours were highly sought after. After World War 2 she visited wounded soldiers in hospitals, and spoke all over the world. She is known for her success, bravery , dignity and resolve to rise above life’s difficulties.

We may not be able to change the past and we definitely can’t live there, but we can with God’s help make our future better, which means today has the potential to be our best day ever!

Raphael a famous Italian painter was asked which of his paintings was his greatest work? He thought for a moment and then said. “My next one“.

 

I’ve discovered that when it seems impossible, too painful and I have run out of strength that I can go to Jesus. I look to Him when it is appears too difficult and I’m disappointed. I look to Him when I’m tempted to settle for second best in life. I continually allow Him to speak to me and to put vision and dreams in my heart. He is the healer and restorer of broken dreams and infuses life into our hearts where we felt we were dead and broken inside.

The bible says, “He gives life to the dead and call things that are not as though they were,”  and to, “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and to run with endurance the race that is set before usfixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith“. ((Romans 4:17; Hebrews 12:2)

Winston Churchill another person who “shone” in adversity once said, “Things don’t happen to me, I happen to things“. So I say, “Let’s go happen to things and make the most of the opportunities before us at this time. We may not be able to do everything, but we can do something with the time we have right now.

Prayer: Jesus I choose to fix my eyes upon you and to not settle for second best. I want to live a life “happening” to things, rather than waiting for things to happen to me. Please lead, guide and strengthen me today.  In Jesus name Amen.

 

24 April – Many Waters

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A few years ago we had the opportunity to visit Niagara Falls.  Niagara river flows at approx 56.3 km per hour and an amazing 168,000 cubic metres of water goes over the falls every minute from 54 metres high. There is no doubt the Falls are a demonstration of the power of creation and of God who created them.

God’s Word often refers to water to try to express and explain God’s  love, strength and character to us. God says, that “many waters and floods can’t drown out His love for us, and that, “when we pass through the waters, He will be with us; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow us.” (Song of Solomon 8:7; Isaiah 43:2)

He wants us to know that regardless of the problems or the “noise” of life that so often surrounds and swirls around us, that we are not alone. He promises that His love and care for us will never cease, or be drowned out or washed away.

He promises “that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow  – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)

Everyone wants and deep down needs to know a kind of love that remains; that is overcoming, unsinkable and constant. Which is perhaps why the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is known as honeymoon capital of the world. Its a spectacular sight, but its also a visual reminder and illustration of the power of God, of His love and the strength and capacity to a love that He has given each one of us. God says, “Waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it”. (Song of Solomon 8:7).

Today know that nothing can quench or drown out God’s love for you. Then ask Him to flood your heart with His love so that you will know every day how great the love the Father has for you, enabling you to then go and share that love with those around you. (1 John 3:1)

Prayer: Lord thank you for your love for me and that nothing can ever overwhelm or wash your love away. Please help me to experience and know afresh the love you have for me today.  In Jesus name Amen

 

23 April – Come Out Of Hiding

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Yesterday I watched as my riding coach Trish  began the first steps to training and breaking in a close to wild horse. No one can ride her, get a brush, halter or anything near her and my coach was finally called in by the horse’s owners to help.

I watched on as Trish worked to build connection, trust and confidence. It was amazing to witness the same animal go from one who was frightened and uncertain to only an hour later calmly following Trish around the yard and even allowing her to pat her gently on the nose.

All that was needed was some time and knowledge of what this horse needed, and the effort made to build a connection. There is still a lot of work to be done but a start has been made.

Relationships are much the same between humans. Depending on our history, experiences and upbringing most of us need time to build real, genuine relationships. If we’ve been damaged in some way we can also be like that wild horse and shy away from contact and connection, as we lack trust and confidence both in ourselves and in others. However with some healing of our hearts and being around the right person/people we can learn to trust again and to build real connections.

Jesus is a great place to start this process as He knows what He is doing when it comes to relationships. Just as Trish knew the subtle body language and things to watch for to determine connection and trust level, Jesus does too. As we learn to have a confidence in Him and realise that He will never leave us, but always “have our backs”, we will also begin to be able to build deeper connections with other people, if we will take the time and effort.

Today, if you’re feeling a bit like that skittish wild horse who just wants to get out of the yard and be left alone, know that Jesus sees you and He knows what He is doing. If you’ll trust him and His knowledge and expertise in relationships and understanding of you, He will calm all your fears, show you that you can trust and rely on Him, lead you in the way to go and also enable you to share your life with others. But first you’ve got to come out of hiding and into “His” yard and allow Jesus to reveal who He is and the way He does things. Why not come out of hiding today?

Jesus said, “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29)

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Duet 31:6)

“But, you Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

Prayer: Lord please help me to come out of hiding when it comes to having meaningful deep relationships. But first I’d like to get to know you more and the way you do things, so that I can learn to really trust someone. Please help me to do that we with you today. In Jesus name Amen.

22 April – Promise In My Pocket

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This is a repost from a few years ago, but it’s one of my favourites, so enjoy 🙂

When my husband Philip and I were beginning our life together we had to believe God to provide for us as Philip was busy at bible college finishing his studies and we had two young children. I learnt back then how important it was to not look at my circumstances, the uncertainties of our future or what I didn’t think we had. Instead God taught me step by step to fix my eyes on Him and the promises He had made to me in His Word.

I learnt daily the importance of going to God’s Word every time I got afraid or started worrying and to find a promise. I would then write it down on a card and put it in my pocket. It became my weapon against fear, worry and any lies the devil would try to come against me with. Throughout the day I would regularly take those promises out to look at and declare over our circumstances.

I still keep promises in my pocket from time to time when I am pushing for something to happen or I am concerned. Those promises have seen me healed of sickness, give birth to six babies with no pain, complete my studies, helped me to face and overcome financial difficulties, navigate relationship issues, raise a beautiful, healthy family and see us travel the world with our kids.

God is faithful to His Word – its part of who He is and therefore He is alert and active watching over it to perform it. (John 1:1) When we receive and believe what God says to us our trust and faith is made stronger and what we once thought was out of our reach or impossible becomes possible and a reality in our lives (Romans 10:17).

Today whatever you are facing or believing for God to do, I encourage you to find out what He promises in His Word and then get into agreement and apply it to your life. Write His promise to you down or put it on your phone or other device and every time you think about it or get into worry or stress take that promise out and pray and declare it with everything you’ve got.

Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it”. (Jeremiah 1:12)

For the word of God is alive and active”. (Hebrews 4:12)

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John 1:1)

Prayer: Lord thank you for the promises in your Word. Please help me to find what you have to say  regarding my circumstances and future and to declare them today. I choose to hold onto and believe in the promise I’m putting in my pocket. In Jesus name Amen

 

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