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July 2020

22 July – Choosing Well

choose well

I have this plastic container in one of my bathroom cupboards that each morning I seem to manage to knock off the shelf and onto the floor. It’s annoying and distracts me every day. This morning however I chose to do something different and didn’t put the jar back as I usually would as I’m rushing to get ready. I stopped and purposely moved it out of the way so that I’ll no longer have the same issue every time I open the cupboard. Simple and easy, yet I wonder why I didn’t change it earlier?

My jar got me thinking about how often there are things in our lives that we continually trip up on or leave unresolved when we could choose to alter our thoughts and actions so we’ll have a better outcome in life.

These things can be a mindset, habit or weakness we have in a certain area of our life. It could be with particular people or in certain situations where we know it would be far better for us to do something else, so that we could avoid the same old things happening over and over again.

My jar falling out of the cupboard may seem insignificant, but it’s an unwanted and totally unnecessary interruption in my day, which with a simple change of location and action on my part is completely avoidable. I don’t have to have a jar fall noisily out onto the floor everyday if I choose to shift and change.

Today I encourage you to examine your habits, mindsets and relationships and how you move through life. Are there areas, which if you invited God to help, did what He asked and took the time to address, could be prevented from tripping you up and distracting you from the life God has for you?

Do you have relationships that cause you to behave in a certain way that aren’t helpful to your growth as a person? Conversations or places which you’d be better to steer clear of because they always lead to arguments and strife? Do you have a person or location that triggers you into a negative place, or habits that really need your attention?

God promises to give us both wisdom and strength to change. As we focus and make Him and His words a priority in how we live He says we will be transformed and enabled to live our best life.

Take some time to examine and then choose wisely how you can, with God’s help move or remove some things out of your life so you can run your race well.

For, “Don’t you realise that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” ( 1 Corinthians 9:24)

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” (Romans 12:2 TPT)

Prayer: Lord please show me where I have things in my life that need to be addressed and either moved or removed out of my life so that they no longer distract or trip me up. Would you please give me the wisdom and strength to act and choose well today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

21 July – Searching For Connection

connection

When my internet connection isn’t working the little buffering symbol on my screen pops up to let me know I have no connection. Until I gain connection I can do nothing on my device, regardless of how advanced the technology may be.

I’ve been thinking that our life can be much like my “buffering” connection, in that unless I am connected to God and who I’m called to be, I will simply spin my wheels but go nowhere fast. I’m essentially buffering, searching for connection and the power to be who I’m made to be. 

One of my favourite passages in the bible is from John 15 in the bible, about the vine and the branches. It relates to Jesus being the vine and us remaining vitally connected to Him like a branch, so that all His power and goodness can flow freely into our lives – like a branch connected to the vine or like my device connected to the internet and it’s power source.

We were created to have a fruitful, amazing life and when we remain connected to God He becomes our power source where all things become possible. He promises that He will complete that which He started in us, and when He says something He will use all of heaven’s power and resources to bring it to pass.

Whenever I am struggling, tired or I’ve experienced loss, disappointment or feel robbed in an area God always says, “Don’t give up; draw near and remain connected to me”, for He is the great provider and restorer of  hopes and dreams and His plans for us are always good. Being connected helps us become who we were created to be. He becomes our source of inspiration, information, revelation and everything we need can and is found in Him.

You are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:10 NKJV)

Today don’t waste time buffering in disconnection and separated from God’s power working in your life. Draw near to God, give Him space in your heart and trust in His loving kindness and goodness to cause amazing “fruit” to be produced in your life as you remain connected to Him.

Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!” (2 Peter 3-4 The Message Bible)

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)

Prayer: Lord I put my trust in your loving care today and trust that you will lift me up and to help bring out the best in me in every area of my life. In Jesus name Amen.

20 July – How To Be Present

beiing present (2)

A few days ago I was watching tv, answering text messages and chatting with the family whilst eating an icecream. The strange thing is that as I finished what should have been a really yummy treat I realised I hadn’t actually tasted or enjoyed what I was eating at all.

I had been so preoccupied with everything going on around me I hadn’t taken a few moments to enjoy what I was consuming at all. I barely remember eating my ice cream, (even though I’d consumed the calories) because even though I’d been physically in the room I’d not really been present.

The idea of being present is to be conscious of life as it happens and to cultivate mindfulness of who and where we are in the moment. The truth is that we can become so focused on our goals and the day to day tasks we are involved in that we can easily forget to enjoy our “now moments”. Life isn’t just about the destination, but also about the joy to be found in the journey.

Being present is an important way to enjoy life to the fullest because when we are mindful, we invariably enjoy our food, friends, family, work and anything we’re doing more.

What’s more if we practice not just being more mindful of our present surroundings but also become more mindful of God’s presence, then even the mundane things can be times of experiencing His supernatural presence in a tangible way.  Try it next time you are driving or cooking and choose to remain fully present and mindful of God’s presence all around you. It takes practice, but when we slow down and think and focus on Him, even the mundane can become special.

Brother Lawrence who sought to stay aware of God’s presence continually said, “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed….Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.
(Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God)

Here are some ways on “How To Be Present” and to enjoy the journey more.

1. Do tasks thoughtfully and deliberately: Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It’s better for your health and will make you a calmer person to be around.

2. Do less: If you do less, you”ll complete what you are doing with more concentration and therefore more proficiently.

3. Put space between tasks: Instead of rushing from one task to the next, give yourself some time between tasks so you can catch your breath and gather your thoughts.

4. Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing: Simply stop and rest. Don’t cram too much into one day. It just leads to stress.

5. Stop worrying about the future: Cast all your cares upon Jesus. Look to be engaged in life right now. We only get today once, so make sure you enjoy it while it lasts.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

6. When you’re talking to someone, be present: Slow down your racing thoughts, look at those who are speaking to you; put away the phone, other distractions and really listen.

7. Eat slowly and savor your food: Enjoy each bite. You’ll probably end up eating less, will compliment the cook more (which is always a good thing), and will digest your food better.

8. Live slowly and savor your life: Your life is a gift so enjoy it as much as you can. Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way; slow down and embrace each and every moment.

9. Listen and look around you at the sights and sounds. Imagine how you would behave if you were a tourist in an amazing foreign place. Practice being a tourist where you live; you might be amazed at what’s  been right in front of you all along.

Prayer: Lord please help me to live in the present more and to not take today for granted. I want to live without regrets and be fully engaged, alert and enthusiastic in this present moment, because today is a gift. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

19 July – How To Stop Reacting

patientce

I witnessed an unfortunate exchange between a customer and a young shop assistant today. The woman was obviously irritated about something and was taking it out on the shop assistant which nearly had the young girl in tears. It was all very nasty and awful to see how one person can allow their temper to cause so much harm to another.

The sad fact, especially at the moment is that we can all become strung out and upset, which leads to us not always being in control of our emotions. However if anything good can come of what I witnessed today is that it really is important to not allow the circumstances we may be facing to cause us to lash out at innocent people. Instead pause and remember that when we are “losing it” over seemingly insignificant things that there will be underlying, unresolved issues festering that we would be wise to examine.

The longer we leave issues “festering”, the yuckier they get and the more annoying we can be to others. God’s best for us is that we have peace and rest in our lives and that we seek to treat others with kindness and consideration. There is a way to get things done, but we don’t need to be awful and rude in the process.

Here are some thoughts to help us stop reacting with those outbursts which only bring harm to ourselves and those we lash out at. 

1. Take a good look at yourself –Stop and ask, “Why am I reacting in this situation. How am I feeling and has something happened recently that I need to process and work through? In other words deal with your stuff and get some help if you need to.

2. Morning pages –The habit of writing down first thing in the morning 3 pages of whatever is on our mind. You’ll be surprised what practicing this simple technique will reveal is going on in our heart and mind and how often God has been speaking everyday.

3. Quiet time with Jesus – Spending time with Jesus and allowing His word to wash through our hearts and minds helps us to keep our lives in balance. The Holy spirit reveals our hearts to us, and shines a spotlight on anything we might have missed or pushed aside. When we listen He will reveal and help us to deal with and offload our concerns and burdens so we stop reacting to life so much.

4. Is there anything you want to say Jesus? –When we are feeling misunderstood, judged, are unsure what to do, feel unhappy or anxious, or have gotten ourselves and our inner world into an angry, stressed muddle, the first thing to ask ourselves is, “Is there anything that Jesus needs to speak to me about? “Is my heart condemn and conscience bothered and trying to tell me anything?”

If Jesus is speaking about something in particular or our conscience is bothering us then  acknowledge it, admit if we have done something wrong, and bring it to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:19)

5. Do something fun and relax – When we are relaxed we think and process better and gain perspective about what really matters in life and remember not to “sweat the small stuff” so much. 

6. Sit down and talk –There is something about sitting down and having a good heart to heart with people who love and care about you that is vital for healthy lives, relationships. When we don’t do that, or others don’t take the time with us a whole world of trouble can erupt.

It’s why it’s worth making the time to build “heart to heart connections” with those in our world. If we or someone else is reacting or “losing it” but we’ve taken the time to build strong heart connections, we can usually work through things a lot quicker.

Jesus knows that our lives are going to involve circumstances that may pressure and even annoy us. But He has a way to do life that enables us to live beyond the realms of how the world operates. (Galatians 5:16) The key is to listen to Him and have the wisdom to stop and check how we are going regularly.

Make a decision today to be both aware of what God is saying to you; and to be self and others aware too. If you are reacting, take some time to assess why? If others are “acting out” around you, don’t respond by reacting negatively. Perhaps find some time to have a “heart to heart” and find out what is really going on.

 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Prayer: Lord help me to be more aware of my inner world and to hear when you are speaking to me. I don’t want to go through life reacting and “losing it”. Forgive me where I have been doing that, and help me to live a more peace filled, joyful life. In Jesus Name Amen.

 

18 July – A Perfect 10

perfect 10

One of the things I love about Jesus is that He always makes me feel better. When I’m having a bad day, He lets me know it’s all going to be okay. When I’m feeling grumpy He cheers me up. When I’m stressed out, He helps me to “chill-out”. When I’m joyful, He adds to my joy.

But one of the best things He does in my life is to help me see myself how He sees me. Which is usually in a far better light than I see myself. He sees the best in me, anc as a result He also expects the best of me too.

This change of thinking has a flow on effect because it assists us in seeing as God sees, and therefore how He acts. Primarily because when the bible tells us to be imitators of God and to copy His example, it means one of the best things I can do is to look for the best in others.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children. and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

John Maxwell calls this putting a “10” on everyone’s head. It’s like giving each person a score of a perfect 10 when we meet them. From the very beginning we assume the best about that person.

When we put a “10” on the head of everyone we meet we are determining to see their value, which causes us to be more likely to take the time with people and to see their value and how we can invest in their lives. Even if it’s just a smile, an encouraging comment, a word of wisdom or something to let them know that they aren’t invisible! Essentially it’s looking for the good in everyone and then helping them to be the person God created them to be.!

Today, take some time with Jesus and allow Him to encourage you. He always has the best on His mind for you. Let Him “put a perfect 10 on your head” and then go out and treat others in the same way.

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”(Benjamin Disraeli)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you always think and expect the best of me. Help me to imitate you and to see others the same way you do, so that I will look to encourage and help others reach their potential. In Jesus name Amen.

17 July – Use Me

use me

How important it is to use our voice and to be available to lift another’s burdens. Especially when we are faced with blatant injustice and wrongdoing.

Unfortunately how often does our voice remain silent and we settle for compromise and complacency. Then we wonder what the world is coming to and can be heard complaining about our communities, as we shake our heads at the state of those we think we are better than or feel sorry for.

However is it not each of our responsibility to speak against the injustice and wrong we see and to put our hand up to be instruments of change wherever we can, instead of leaving it to someone else to fix. For us to pray and declare what God says about our nation’s, cities and communities, rather than just repeating the problems and never being part of the solution. Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 

The fact of the matter is that unless people speak up and act when they see, hear and know that something is wrong then the bad we sense and see all around us will simply get worse.

There are those who need us wherever we are able, to speak up and to act for them. The young, the elderly, the marginalised, the impoverished, the enslaved, the poor in spirit and those limited by their physical circumstances. There will always be people who require an advocate; a person who pleads another’s cause, or who speaks or writes in support of something. The question is how many of us who are able will step out of our comfort zone and speak and act where required. 

The bible says that we are to bear our own load, because that makes us strong and builds resilience and determination. However we are also to be aware of other’s and where needed offer assistance and to bear another’s burden. To be an advocate if necessary because, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” (Albert Einstein)

Today be available. Ask God to direct your steps and your aid so that you help where He directs. If we listen to His guidance He will help us to discern what He is doing in each person’s life and the situations they face. Plus as we listen to His promptings and don’t simply rely on our own wisdom or emotions, we will not end up being overwhelmed or harmed by taking on more than He has asked us to. Even the little you have to offer can help someone who is struggling under a load and will make a difference for good in the world.

“It is a kingly act to assist the fallen.” and , “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” – Mother Teresa

Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17)

Prayer: Lord please direct my heart and what I hear and see, so that I am able to help those in need. To be an advocate for the one’s who are struggling to use their voice and who have lost the will or ability to fight and rise above their circumstances. Lord here I am, use me. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

16 July – Guard Your Heart

guard your heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov 4:20-23).

Everything springs and overflows from the condition or our hearts. If we store up good things in our hearts, our words and actions will be good and vice versa.

Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks“ (Matthew 12:24), so it’s wise to be careful what we are hearing, because what we believe and how we shape our opinions is shaped by the things we hear. The bible teaches that our faith (trust, belief) comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

Our heart is our receptor; we receive and are able to give according it’s condition. When our heart’s are soft and willing before God He can speak and we can follow. He wants to use us to bless and reach the world but the condition of our heart determines how much we can receive from Him.

Hardness or a cluttered heart can cause us to miss the things of God and what He is doing. We can have ability and talent, but if our heart is not in a good place then we can miss God given opportunities because we are not receptive.

David in the bible was called a man after God’s own heart. He was the youngest of all his brothers, yet God chose him as King. His heart was soft towards God and others and even though everyone else looked at the outward appearance God looked foremost at his heart.  David wasn’t perfect; later in life committed adultery and was responsible for a man being killed, yet because he had a repentant and teachable heart and attitude he was able to move past his mistakes and learn from them how to be a better man and King.

What sort of heart do you have? A soft repentant heart or a hard cynical judgmental one?

Take some time to examine the condition of your heart and ask God to reveal to you any “rocks” that need to be removed so that you have a heart that is soft towards God and others. Then you will be ready to receive all He has for you and freely be able to give to others.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23)

Prayer: Lord reveal to me the condition of my heart and forgive me where I have allowed my heart to become hardened. Help me to receive from you today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

15 July – Taking Down Giants

kathi pelton

There are giants in the land and if we are going to take them down we will have to face our own fears, insecurities and feelings of inadequacy.

The reality for most of us is that at some point in our lives we will have to make s decision to either face or run from some sort of giant. A giant being a fear that keeps us from being and doing what we were made for, a past hurt or issue that has left it’s scars. Or being confronted with injustice and wickedness that needs someone to stand up and against it.

If we are ever going to walk in our destiny and live in communities where we are safe from predators, wickedness, the devil’s schemes, and those who would seek to destroy our freedoms we are going to have to acknowledge the existence of “giants” and be available to God and for Him to use us to take them down.

David, (who’s giant fighting skills can be found in the bible in 1 Sam 17 ) knew what it was to face giants. While everyone else in his country’s army were quaking in their boots at the sight of Goliath their enemies champion, David stood his ground and chose to stand up to this fearsome giant of a man and to fight him. The reason He was able to do this is because David had been prepared by God out in the fields as he shepherded his father’s sheep. As he’d built his relationship with God and chose to face and overcome his own fears against wild animals and loneliness he discovered God and His guidance and protection. It was in the wilderness that He build his faith and “giant fighting muscles”. The result was David knew that God was with him as he faced his next challenge in Goliath.

“David said to the Philistine, “you come against me with sword and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45)

Strength to face the giants in the land comes by not backing down or away from our daily challenges; the things that might make our heart race, confront or cause us to experience stress and pressure.

Strength is built in us as we face these everyday “giants”  and learn to overcome them.  We then become stronger and more able to face every circumstance with courage and resolve. The more we step forward instead of retreating, the stronger and more confident we become, and the less likely we are to be defeated the next time we are faced with a bigger fear, difficulty and “giant” in our life.

Right now the world desperately needs people who are ready and able to fight the giants that are appearing and being revealed in our lands. David is a prime example of how we don’t need to be big or powerful by the world’s standards to take these giants on. He was  an unlikely candidate, but he slayed the giant in his land and sent the rest of his army fleeing as well. 

“When the Philistines saw that their (mighty) champion was dead, they fled.” (1 sam 17:51)

Today encourage yourself in God’s Word and who He says you are capable of becoming. He promises to give you His presence, power, protection and provision. Seek Him for guidance and wisdom, deal with any fears and ask that you would be made equipped to take on the giants in the land.

Just as God was with David when he faced the lion, bear and his giant, so too is He with all who put their faith and trust in Him.

“But the people who know their God will be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)

“God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and a sound mind”. (2 Tim 1:7)

The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.” (Hebrews 13:6)

Prayer: Lord thank you that I need not be hindered or pushed down by anything or anyone, for you are with me. Please help me to stand with you and to trust in your power. I want to be like David and be ready and available to be used to take down the giants in the land. In Jesus name Amen.

14 July – Time To Detox

time to detox

This morning I decided it was time for a detox and deep cleanse. It’s been awhile and my skin was looking and feeling dull and polluted. Not only does it it now feel better, but people have commented today how much brighter I look.

Todays simple detox made me realise how important it is to stop and cleanse not only our bodies but also our minds, hearts and spirits. We daily absorb pollutants which affect our bodies, but we also absorb things that can pollute and “block” up our thoughts, emotions and spirit in much the same way.

Unless we take the time to cleanse our inner life we can become so accustomed to the grime of the world around us and the stress and burdens of our everyday lives we don’t even realise how much we are carrying within us and how weighed down we are.

We know that a regular detox for our physical bodies is beneficial, but detoxing our inner world; our minds, hearts and spirit’s is also so valuable to us being able to live to our lives to the fullest.

We can easily pick up and carry burdens and loads we were never designed to carry. It’s why Jesus says, to cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us, to forgive others and to seek Him and to pray about everything instead of worrying. (1 Peter 5:7; Phil 4:4-6; Matthew 6:14-16)

Detoxing our inner world means taking time to examine our thoughts, mindsets and hearts. Are we holding grudges, unforgiveness, bitterness, burdens or some other hurt? What dreams and goals are we working towards? How are our relationships with God and others, and what positive influences, people and places are we surrounding ourselves with? 

Today I encourage you to schedule in some time to detox with Jesus. It will help to cleanse out the grime of the world, the cares you have been carrying and any attitudes, habits or hurts that have been dulling your shine.

Jesus said it this way….”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Prayer: Lord please help me to be more aware of the health of my internal world and to ensure that I make time to regularly detox from the things that would pollute and weigh down my mind, heart and spirit. I’m giving it all to you and ask that you cleanse and bring rest and peace to my life as I make time to detox. In Jesus name Amen.

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