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Dayle's Blog

15 May – What are you magnifying?

what you focus on.jpg

I had a dream recently about a photo being taken but the lens was dirty and the photo as a result was blurry. I believe God often speaks to us in our dreams and in this case that He was saying to fix my focus and to make sure that as I looked at my life and future that any thing that was distracting or clouding my perspective and view needed to be dealt with so that I could then have a clear focus and direction.

A good question to ask ourselves in the process of cleaning our “lens” and fixing our focus is, “What am I magnifying in my life, and are there any things in my life that are obstructing my view? 

If so we can ask God’s help and guidance in how to deal with them, whether that’s by getting His perspective from reading His words in the bible to guide us, or by choosing to “shake off’ and move on from unhealthy distractions, relationships, or pastimes. In a sense it’s whatever we put the magnifying glass on, will be that which speaks and appears the biggest and the loudest voice in our lives. Fortunately we get to choose what those things are.

Perhaps we would all regularly benefit from looking closely to see whether our current relationships and pursuits are helping to make us the best version of ourselves or not. Plus it helps to be mindful of not looking all the time for the negatives and focusing on those things that will “bring us down”. God wants us to have our “magnifying glass” on Him, because when we do He promises to help us keep our view clear, simple and full of hope for the future?

Today take a moment to think about what you are magnifying in your life? What are you looking at and heading towards? Ask God for wisdom as to whether the picture you see is true or does your “lens” need cleansing from untruths, blind spots or distractions. Because an unclear focus will easily lead us away from the life God has planned for us and will eventually steal our clarity, joy and enthusiasm for life.  Ask God to help you clean your “lens” today!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalms 32:8 ESV)

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.” (Psalm 25:15 ESV)

“Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1 NLT)

Prayer: Lord please help me to honestly look at my life and to see if there are any areas where I need to clean the “lens” and become more clearly focused. I want to have a clear view of the plans you have for me today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

14 May – Take a step

take a step.jpg

I recently felt the Lord whisper to me, “Will you go wherever the wind of my Spirit blows you?” I answered, “Of course as long as I know its you Lord.” That answer it seems did not impress God, as again He asked me, “Will you go wherever the wind of my Spirit blows you?”

The thing is when God speaks or we feel led and prompted by Him to act in some way we inevitably desire a guarantee – a no risk of failure clause.

How often do we value safety over growth, guarantees over adventure and promises over stepping out in trust and faith? And how often do we challenge ourselves to step out, like Peter stepped out on the water when Jesus called, rather than sitting in the “boat” watching as miracles, adventures, answers and opportunities pass us by?

The question perhaps to regularly ask ourselves is, “What am I doing that I could not do apart from the power of God?”

Peter could only walk on water because Jesus stepped forward as Peter stepped out. (Matt 14:22-33)

Gideon could only defeat a 130,000 strong army with 300 men because Gods hand moved to help him.(Judges 6)

Joshua could only lead several million people to march around the walls of Jericho and see them come tumbling down as God honored his obedience. (Joshua 6)

None of them could have victory in what they were asked to do unless God was there to meet them. Yet when we desire guarantees over trusting Gods goodness, and promises over obeying His  leading there is very little or no faith involved. IF we can do it alone there is not faith, if it doesn’t need God then aren’t we living under challenged lives.  As a result we can run the risk of missing out on the life God so desires to give us.  God knows that it will take faith to access the plans He has for us, and that we will need Him to walk with us. We can’t do it alone or in our own strength.

If we want to experience and live that abundant overflowing life we know or hear rom others is possible in God, we actually have to take a step trusting God will meet us as we do.  Peter had to get his feet wet, Gideon had to come out from hiding  and gather his men, Joshua had to march around the city for six days with no sign of change, trusting he’d heard right.

Yet all of these men of faith experienced something that all those who sit back spectating never know.  They knew the freedom and exhilaration of experiencing Gods power at work after taking an enormous risk. They came to know God – to really know Him as the one who provides, sustains, rescues, fights for them and works miracles.

Today where is Jesus calling you to take a step? Where is He asking you to get out of the boat? Because wherever and wherever it is you can be sure He is waiting to meet you there. As you consider I recommend that you take some time to calculate the risk, determine if the regret of not stepping out is worse than the risk of failing or being disappointment, pray and seek Gods Word and wisdom and then go on and, “take that first step!”

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5-7)

For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control“. (2Tim 1:7)

Prayer: Lord help me to not be someone who watches life pass me by but because of my fears, desire for guarantees and need for security I keep putting off or ignoring your call to take a step into what you have for me. In Jesus name Amen.

13 May – Increase your capacity

increase your capacity.jpg

I often get asked how do you do it? I guess people are referring to me being a wife, a mother of six children, (two of whom we currently homeschool), a grandparent, and senior minister. It sounds a lot when you look at my life at first. I’m no superwoman, although my kids are often asked if I am – I’m just me! But I didn’t start out being and doing all the things I do; my life and my capacity to live it increased little by little.

Capacity is the power of containing or holding something; and an increase in our capacity does not happen overnight but gradually as we make certain decisions, or are choose to step into opportunities and overcome challenges.

When we had a first child Anna we were young youth leaders in our Church. We made the decision to keep leading the youth even when we had a baby and as a result our capacity had to increase. We had to increase our ability to do without sleep, to be more organised, to work as a team with others and to not “sweat the small stuff”. As I like to say, “we got bigger on the inside”. Three years later our second daughter Shara arrived. Once again we chose to keep ministering, except now we added moving cities so that my husband Philip could further his studies. We had to increase our capacity once again in our finances, our faith, our capacity to change and our trust in God to provide and continue to lead us.

Sometimes we can be afraid of taking any extra “weight” or pressure in life. It can seem too overwhelming. But not all weight is bad; for us to increase in strength and capacity we do have to undertake an increase, even if only incrementally in what we can hold and carry. The key is to seek God for His wisdom to know what He is calling each one of us to increase and develop in and what is simply a burden which needs to be lifted off.  (James 1:5)

Every season, every new addition to the family, every transition to something new, every step of faith and sometimes just absolute trust that God had our lives in His hands has meant we have had to make the consistent decision to keep increasing in our capacity. Has that always been easy?  Definitely not. There have been times when we have stumbled, made mistakes and had to take a step back and reconsider. Times where adjustments have had to be made, where we have had to let go of things and pick up others. But I can say that with each lesson, season, blessing and change I’ve without a doubt got ”bigger on the inside”.

I am not a very big person on the outside, but my desire is to keep increasing my capacity so I am always getting bigger on the inside.

Some of the areas I have discovered we can make a personal decision to increase our capacity in are:

1.Faith capacity – Faith is trusting God; it is the substance of vision, dreams and the future. We need increasing faith to be able to believe and see what God sees and be positioned for whatever He brings our way.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

2.People capacity – Life is all about relationships and about caring, loving, honoring and serving people. The more people in our life, the bigger our capacity needs to be.

3.Change capacity -To be honest I am not a great lover of change. However I have discovered we can’t grow and increase without it. We all have to learn how to adjust and be flexible to some degree. Change is not our enemy as long as its productive change. It is one of the greatest agents of our gaining momentum and moving forward.

4.Hearts capacity – Our heart and spirit are like a container that is designed to hold love, grace and compassion. We can “hold” people, cities, nations and the world in our hearts. But we have to grow in our capacity to do that. Our attitudes, mindsets, beliefs and values will be challenged and stretched. It can be very confronting to realise how “small minded” or indifferent we can be. However God is so gracious and promises He has and will continually shed abroad His love in hearts if we ask. The more open we are to His love, the greater our hearts capacity to hold it will be.

And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, the One having been given to us.” (Romans 5:4)

The world needs big people! People who are able to hold the world and its inhabitants in their hearts, who desire to increase from faith to faith and who aren’t afraid of change.

We have a limitless capacity in God. We are often far more capable than we give ourselves credit for. What looks impossible alone, is possible with God. (Matt 19:26)

Ask yourself, “are there areas in my life I need to reconsider and adjust so that I can increase in other areas? Am I doing the things I am passionate about, or just feeling pressured because there are things I am involved with and carry that are simply burdens and not growth areas?”

Today consider where in your life does God want to make you “bigger on the inside” and what steps can you take with Him to increase your capacity today?

Prayer: Lord thank you that you constantly enable me to change and grow.  Please help me to increase in my faith, relationships and love so that I just keep on getting “bigger on the inside”. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

 

 

12 May – I woke up like this

you are awesome

Have you ever wished you were someone else or that you had someone else’s life? That you had another person’s skills or abilities and looked as amazing as the person you just walked past on the street?

One of our daughters has a shirt that reads, ‘I woke up like this.” But I wonder how many of us actually feel that way and whether we in fact like ourselves very much when we first look in the mirror in the morning before we have had a chance to scrub up, dress up, and cover up?

Moses a great leader who God chose to lead the Israelites to freedom also wondered if he was good enough. When God first called Him to step up Moses was fearful and cried out, “I can’t Lord, I stutter and don’t speak well”. He worried he was going to fail, whether people would listen to him, and he asked for someone else to go instead.

“When the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, he said to him, “I am the Lord! Tell Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, everything I am telling you.”  But Moses argued with the Lord, saying, “I can’t do it! I’m such a clumsy speaker! Why should Pharaoh listen to me?” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pay close attention to this. I will make you seem like God to Pharaoh, and your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet.” (Exodus 6:29-7:1)

Everyone has moments of self-doubt. Moses did and yet he turned out to be one of the greatest leaders of all time, even though he initially doubted his abilities and wondered if he was good enough. Yet with God’s help, he grew into the person and leader God had chosen and planned for him to be.

When it comes to life; to who we are and whether people like or accept us, it is more important for us to like and be ourselves, and to save ourselves the time and energy  trying to make everyone else like and accept us. For the danger in that is that we can lose sight of who we are and hide behind masks where no one including ourselves gets to see the real us.

I‘ve discovered that people “either like you or they don’t”, and it’s actually more important that we like ourselves, discover our God given talents, skills, likes and dislikes, what brings us joy and who God has made us to be. God wants us to use our time and energy in discovering the plans He has for us, rather than trying to fit into everyone else’s expectations.

Today, instead of wondering Am I good enough? Am I good looking enough? Will I fail? Will they like me?” Know that you are special and valuable to God; that He has a plan, and that He made you and thinks you are amazing. Then go and simply enjoy the day being you because “you” is pretty great.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7)

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

Prayer: Lord thankyou for making me who I am. Please help me to appreciate my uniqueness and to discover every day something new about myself, and about how you think about me. Thanks for loving me and making me who I am. In Jesus name Amen.

 

11 May – The source

shine

As a mum of six kids and a pastor it’s taken me a long time to realise that I am not responsible for everyone else’s happiness and contentment. None of us can be that for another, because no one can make a person happy except that person, through their own decisions, beliefs and personal relationship with their Creator. All we can do is love people with open arms and help them where we are able.

Everyone has to figure out our their own path and to the one who brings joy. Yet so many husbands and wives, partners, parents, children, pastors, leaders and friends make the mistake of trying to be the person who makes the people in their lives happy all the time.  I’ve however discovered that when I get comfortable and joyful in who I am and don’t lose my focus on what God has spoken and deposited within me, it liberates and motivates others to find that joy filled space too.

It’s in our happiness and fulfilment that others are inspired as our lives become a herald that it is possible; that you can live a peaceful, joy-filled, and purposeful life. When we seek to live like that we become a testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness and we act like a beacon to lead the way to Jesus who is the source of joy that makes our hearts complete and able to love like He does.

Today don’t fall into the trap of being responsible for another person’s happiness and sense of fulfilment. That’s God’s job not our’s. We are to encourage, pray for and believe the best for others, but we can’t compensate for what they haven’t yet hungered after and discovered for themselves. All God asks us to do is to let our lives be like a light drawing others to the ultimate path of life we all have the opportunity to discover in knowing Him.

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

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” (Proverbs 4:25)

“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:23 NLT)

Prayer: Lord help me not to feel like I have to be responsible for everyone else’s happiness at the expense of losing who I am. I just need to concentrate on living in that space of joy and intimacy with you, so that my life is a testimony of who you are to all those around me.  In Jesus Name Amen.

 

 

10 May – A Guiding Hand

guiding hand

God promises that He will guide and direct our steps and lead us in the way we should go.

Primarily He leads us through His word the bible. It’s our life instruction manual on relationships, how to handle our finances, be a great friend, partner, follower of Jesus and on understanding how heaven and God’s kingdom works.

The Bible says that, “His Word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105).

The Holy Spirit, who once we choose to be a follower of Jesus abides within us, will remind us of God’s Word and speak to our thoughts and heart. He also gives understanding and revelation through dreams, visions, and inner promptings or knowing. He leads and guides through our natural surroundings and circumstances, supernatural encounters and a spoken word by someone you may or may not know. There is no limit to what God will do to keep His hand on our life and for us to know His guiding hand directing our steps. (John 16:3)

The question for each one of us is whether we will sensitive to His hand upon our lives and choose to listen and submit to His guidance, or will we run off doing our own thing?

Sometimes the guidelines God gives are very tight as He makes it abundantly clear that to stay in step with Him we need to allow His hand to remain firmly on our lives. This may feel constraining at times, but that’s usually because where we are or what we are going through requires the Lord to teach us. The more constrained we feel by His hand the more we probably need His protection and wisdom to travel through the space we are in.

However a lot of the time when we feel God’s hand firmly on us we can want to shrug off His guidance, mistaking it for God being hard on us, rather than understanding that its because He loves us and is trying to bless and protect us. His hand protects us from both the enemies tactics and, if necessary ourselves.

God disciplines those He loves and if today you are “feeling” that discipline and you’re frustrated and wanting to run from His loving guidance I recommend you don’t. Even if you don’t see the point of having to wait, walk away, let go of, or be directed to or from a specific place or person, know that God always has our best interests at heart and a plan is in play for you to get to the place that He has destined for you to walk in.

We can waste a lot of time and even risk holding up divine moments and blessing because we are too busy fighting God’s hand rather than living knowing that when we rest and trust In Him we will find ourselves in exactly the right place at the right time.

Today trust God and allow Him to be in control. Make a decision every day to rest and walk with Him so that He can guide and protect you, rather than being like an ass who needs a bit and bridle to direct it where it is to go.

Don’t be stubborn like a horse or mule. (They need) a bit and bridle in their mouth to restrain them, or they will not come near you.”(Psalm 32:9 God’s Word translation)

For whomever the Lord Jehovah loves, he instructs, and draws aside his children with whom he is pleased.”(Hebrews 12:6 Aramaic bible)

Prayer: Lord please help me to trust you and your guiding hand to lead me. When I am struggling to surrender please remind me that you instruct and discipline those you love. In Jesus name amen

 

9 May – Anger Management

a gentle answer

Thomas Jefferson once said, “when angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry count to one hundred.” This technique of counting to ten before you speak and act emphasises two key elements of anger management – time and distraction. While we distract ourselves counting and take time to pause we are choosing to not mentally add fuel to our anger.

Adding the technique of taking a slow deep breathe between each number counteracts the fight or flight stress action that underlies anger and helps us relax and focus our attention on the moment rather than our anger.

Once we are calmer we can carefully consider how we are going to respond, and not react by using the helpful principals of empathy, compassion and assertion.

“Empathy is the ability to see a situation from another’s person’s point of view and as we adopt this stance it opens the way for compassion by providing a deeper emotional understanding of what the source of the conflict is. Being compassionate in an anger-arousing situation allows for the deliberate choice of tolerant but assertive response to resolve the conflict.”  (D Johnson PhD professor of psychiatry and behavioural science)

When we take a stance of empathy and compassion it enables us to not merely react to situations but to respond assertively but in a way that does not crush or violate the rights or feelings of others. God’s word also encourages us to, “respond gently when we are confronted and we’ll defuse the rage of another.
Responding with sharp, cutting words will only make it worse.
Don’t you know that being angrycan ruin the testimony of even the wisest of men?” (Proverbs 15:1 TPT)

Every time we react with a harsh word in a conflict or disagreement we are going to stir up anger, which the bible also says only leads to trouble. Yet when we choose to respond gently and with compassion and understanding we will turn away anger and bring peace.

Next time you are faced with a conflict, disagreement or feel the heat of anger stirring within you take a moment and step back, breathe, count to ten or one hundred if need be, pray and ask for God’s wisdom and self control. Then make a choice to respond wisely, compassionately and with empathy.

A gentle answer instead of stirring up anger is always going to be more beneficial to both our lives and everyone else in our world, as we seek to understand and be reconciled rather than just having our own way and opinions heard all the time.

Let everyone be quick to hear (be a careful, thoughtful listener), slow to speak (a speaker of carefully chosen words and), slow to anger (patient, reflective, forgiving); for the resentful, deep seated anger of a man does not produce the righteousness of God (that standard of behaviour which He requires from us)”.(James 1:19-20 Amplified Bible)

Don’t get angry. Don’t be upset, it only leads to trouble,” (Proverbs 37:8)

People with a hot temper do foolish things; wiser people remain calm.(Proverbs 14:17)

“Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbour a grudge.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

Prayer: Lord forgive me for when I have given way to anger and overlooked the harm and hurt it has caused others. Please help me to face the root of my anger and to be more compassionate and empathetic towards others. I ask for your grace and peace over my life and in my relationships today. In Jesus name Amen.

 

 

8 May – Are you listening?

god nudges.jpg

Promptings or leadings are something many people talk about without perhaps realising they are. When you, or others say, “I really felt to do something, I was drawn to such and such or I just knew”, it usually means we received an inner prompting or leading.

When a person makes the decision to ask Jesus into their life and to follow Him and His way of doing things the Holy Spirit comes to abide with them. Which is why we will invaribly increase in our experience of these inner promptings, because Jesus said He would lead and guide us in the way to go, and that we are to walk in the Spirit and not simply by our own understanding. That means there are going to be times where we will be moved by the God’s Spirit, led by the Spirit, compelled by the Spirit and internally prompted and led to follow, to go somewhere, to speak and to act. (Mark 1:12; Matt 4:1; Acts 13:2; Romans 8:14)

It’s actually quite an amazing and liberating revelation when we understand that we no longer have to know and figure everything out all by ourselves because God is right there with us bringing heavenly wisdom and insight into every relationship, circumstance and situation. He will lead us everyday by gentle promptings, a quiet whisper, a peace and knowing or a specific word or turn of events if we are listening, trusting and ready to move in obedience.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.” (John 16:13-15 NLT)

I’ve discovered that God who created the universe is very interested in both the big picture as well as the minute details of my life. I can be out shopping and I’ll gently hear Him whisper or be led to buy more toilet paper or milk. That may sound mundane but He knows running out of a necessity is going to increase my running around, and therefore my stress levels if it happens late at night or when there is a house full of people. So because He loves me He gives me a inner nudge to buy them while I’m out. Time and time again I’ve experienced this, and have also the regret when I missed listening and acting upon His prompting. As I regularly tell my kids, “it is wisdom to learn to listen and to not ignore a whisper from God; make it your habit to obey, for it will keep you from a whole lot of trouble and might even save your life one day.” 

A best way to know if it is God speaking in a particular area is to test if it agrees with His Word. It it does then it’s likely a prompt from God. If you are still unsure seek Godly mature counsel, pray until you have an inner peace about it and don’t rush making a big decision.

Today listen and practice becoming aware of His leading, for as you do it will undoubtedly make your life far less complicated as you find heavenly guidance in what, where and when to do things. Plus you will discover in a greater way how you can trust God to lead you in the really important things of life too.

Life is so much better when we listen, so “tune” your inner ear to God and listen up today.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8 NIV)

Prayer. Lord thank you that you promise that you will lead and guide me. Please help me to be more and more sensitive to your prompting and leading as I go throughout my day. In Jesus name amen

7 May – A clean, blank slate

clean slate.jpg

God loves us and wants us to live freely without the burden of the past. Part of living in that freedom is that He asks that we do for others what He has done for us. No matter what we’ve done when we come to Him and ask Him He gives us a fresh start; a clean slate and a blank page to begin again. (1 John 1:9) We then are encouraged to be “imitators of God” and to do the same. To think like He thinks, talk like He talks, act like He acts, and to forgive as He forgives.

Imagine if you wrote down all the wrong, messed up, negative, unkind things you have done and you gave that list to Jesus. He would then do one thing with that list – He would take it and tear it up and throw it away – essentially He would wipe your slate clean. If you come to Him He promises that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”. (Psalm 103:12).

Yet how many lists do we hold of other people’s faults and wrongdoing towards us? “Lists” where we have been disappointed or feel like a failure. Where we’ve held anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness in our heart. Lists on our husband or wife, partner, friends, family or workmates. Isn’t it time we extended the same grace and forgiveness we have been offered and choose to tear up those lists just as Jesus tore up ours?

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us”(Ephesians 5:1-2)

Unfortunately too many of us, if we are not mindful to keep short accounts, to walk in forgiveness and choose to live free from taking offence is that we can all have a great many lists. Some we have carried around for a very long time, continually telling ourselves that’s okay.

However God knows our lists both on ourselves and other people and He encourages us to tear them up. In exchange He offers us a blank, brand new piece of paper and for us to offer other people that same gift. That doesn’t mean people won’t mess up or that we won’t stumble ourselves. But it does mean God, if we allow Him will teach and transform us to love and walk in forgiveness just as He does.

And hope does not make ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us”. (Romans 5:5)

Take the time to examine your own heart. What “lists” do you have of your own failings, and what lists do you have of others shortcomings?

Today I encourage you to give God those lists and allow Him to cleanse, restore and make you and your relationships and future healthy and whole.

Prayer: Lord thank you that you offer me a blank page to write the next chapter of my story. I give you all of my lists. Forgive me where I have taken offense and harbored unforgiveness in my own heart. Today I choose to let go of the lists I hold on others and myself and choose to love and forgive just as you forgave me. In Jesus Name Amen.

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