Monday, February 10, 2020

Which Man (or Woman) do you want to be?

Do you want to be this person?

Jeremiah 17 vs 5 -6 :
(5) Thus says the Lord:  “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.  (6) He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

Or do you want to be this person:

Jeremiah 17 vs 7 - 8:
(7) whose trust is the Lord.  (8) He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Just remember the following:

Jeremiah 17 vs 9 - 10:
(9) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;  who can understand it?  (10) “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Be encouraged today, God is the God who loves you with an everlasting love.  Turn to Him, and let Him be your strength today.  We all know, at the end of the day, our flesh is weak, and we are strong only in His Spirit.  Jesus alone is our strength.  Lean on Him....

God bless

Monday, February 3, 2020

Love - God's Way!

I find myself to be very unloving in moments.  Sometimes in my actions, sometimes in my lack of actions, and sometimes, just in my head!  And I feel convicted to dig deeper and focus on how God would want me to behave in love.  I also believe that we are capable of love even when we desperately are in need of it ourselves.  This is when we need to remember, no matter how we "feel" God loves us with an everlasting love, always.

1 Corinthians 13 vs 4 - 8 is not only all-encompassing in what love is, but also in what it is not, and how to behave in love towards all, God's way. 

I think the verses before vs 4 are also very important and profound, in that they tell us what is MOST important in our Christian walk:

1 Corinth 13 vs 1 - 3:  

The Way of Love

(1) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 
(2) And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
(3) If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

If you do not have love, your speaking in tongues, or prophetic prowess, knowledge and faith, and generosity, are all worthless in the eyes of God.
So, what then can you determine from these verses?  Love, love, love!  Love is what the Lord is after!

And what is this love that the Lord expects of us?

1 Corinth 13 vs 4 - 8(a):
  • (4) Love is patient and kind; 
  • love does not envy or boast; 
  • it is not arrogant 
  • (5) or rude. 
  • It does not insist on its own way; 
  • it is not irritable or resentful;
  • (6) it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, 
  • but rejoices with the truth. 
  • (7) Love bears all things, 
  • believes all things, 
  • hopes all things, 
  • endures all things.
  • (8) Love never ends....
This is what love is.  Such a practical and direct definition and call to love, God's way.  Chapter 13 vs 8(b) - 12 goes on to say that all the other gifts and abilities will pass away, but love never will.  

And, the chapter ends on an awesome statement: 
1 Corinth 13 vs 13:  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Let 2020 be a year when rediscover how to love others, not with the desire to have that love returned, but purely because Jesus requires it of us.

God bless

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

How much Prayer?

During my quiet time this morning, I was reading through Psalm 55.  David is anguishing over being hurt.  Not by some stranger, not by his enemies, but by a close friend (Psalm 55 vs 12 - 14:  (12) For it is not an enemy who taunts me — then I could bear it;  it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me — then I could hide from him.  (13) But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.  (14) We used to take sweet counsel together). And as he reaches out the God, he asks the Lord to give ear to his plea, he asks the Lord to please not hide from him, etc.

He is really bent out of shape by his friend's betrayal.  But it is verse 17 that caught my attention:
Psalm 55 vs 17:  Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.  As I read this, I thought of all the meetings I've been in, where we have been encouraged to pray, leave your prayer at the foot of the cross, and trust the Lord.  I thought, well, that is not what David did!  No, David prayed morning noon and night about his issue(s).  Daniel prayed many times a day too.

So what then does the bible say about prayer?  
  • 1 Thess 5 vs 16 - 18 says:  (16) Rejoice always, (17) pray without ceasing, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
  • The Lord's prayer:   Matt 6 vs 9 - 15:  (9) Pray then like this:  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  (10) Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  (11) Give us this day our daily bread, (12) and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  (14) For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, (15) but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  • Luke 18 vs 1:  And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
  • Eph 6 vs 18Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
  • 1 Samuel 7 vs 8:  And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
  • Phil 4 vs 6:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

I googled "what does the bible say about praying once only?"  I know, google doesn't know everything 😃.  But some stuff did come up :)  Matt 6 vs 7 says: And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.  This verse points out that one mustn't be repetitive to be heard or to look more holy when praying.  The KJV says it better:  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

I cannot say that I searched exhaustively but I feel I got a sense from the scriptures I found that the Lord expects us to pray unceasingly.  He expects us to bring our burdens and our requests to Him continuously.  He does also say to do so with thanksgiving, seeking forgiveness and forgiving others.  Our prayer life should not be a "wants request list".  

This continual going to the Lord in prayer shows our dependence on Christ for our answers, our solutions, our lives.  It shows that we humble ourselves acknowledging that He is our Creator and it is to Him we come, and that by coming to Him we are not trying to be independent of Him, and looking for help outside of Him, we acknowledge our need of His help, His grace, and His mercy.  I think "praying without ceasing" also reflects our hope and trust that our answers and help are in the Lord.  

So, I do not believe it is biblical to pray once and leave it there as a sign that we now trust the Lord with it and move on in faith.  No, I believe we show our faith and belief in the Lord by praying unceasingly, as the word tells us to do.

Just my thoughts.  I would love to hear from you and your thoughts on prayer.

God bless

Friday, November 29, 2019

You're on God's Mission!

Have you ever felt like "where you are" is a place where you are being hurt, undermined, not appreciated, and generally not treated in the way you want to be treated (or deserve to be treated)?

I have been feeling like that a lot lately!  I have been having loads of pity parties feeling sorry for myself.  I have become very resentful and negative.  I just really have not "appreciated" where I am!  Kinda self-centred right?!

The thing though is that when you get to this point you do not see the shine in anything.  You "feel" everybody is just taking what the want from you and not giving any "sugar" back!  It "feels" like a one-way street in everybody else's direction and not yours.

Then I read this....
Thank you @rachel7remnant for your words!

And then it hit me, like a ton of bricks.  This statement above put into perspective "where I am" and "why I am where I am".
  • I am "where I am" because God has placed me in this mission field for His good purposes to be a witness and a help and encouragement.  I have been placed "where I am" for God's service!
  • The "why" is for whatever purpose God has for me to do!  For example, if my husband feels rejected by his family, God has placed me "where I am" to show him complete acceptance of who he is, and to show him love and ultimately maybe God is teaching him through my obedience to His will, that not all those who are closest to him, will reject him... 
This statement above has done a few things for me:
  1. It has given me instant perspective!  This is a mission field and the Lord has placed me "where I am" for His purposes
  2. Its not about "me"!  Its not about what others can do for me, how others treat me!  No, its about what I can do for others, about how I treat others, so that "where I am" can further the Lord's purposes here on earth.
  3. Instead of feeling "shame, woe is me," I feel empowered, I feel renewed, I feel as though I am part of God's army!  I am a soldier for Christ and my mission, my battlefield, is exactly "where I am."
  4. I have a resurgence of joy.  I feel it bubbling up inside of me, and it has melted away all the resentment built up over time.  I finally have figured out that though I may not be a pastor, or a missionary, or biblical scholar, I am a foot-soldier on the Lord's business, in the mission field He has placed me in, my "where I am".
  5. And peace.  I feel such peace already.  
Now, when I read 1 Corinth 13 vs 4 - 8(a):  (4) Love is patient and kind;  love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant (5) or rude.  It does not insist on its own way;  it is not irritable or resentful;  (6) it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (7) Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  (8) Love never ends....   I see these words as tools, as weapons of spiritual warfare, and not self-denial.  I now see them as gifts from the Lord to do as He would have me do, "where I am".

I now understand what it means to "take back your authority in Christ."  My perspective has changed from being inward and self-focused, to being excited to go about God's work in the mission field He has placed me in and all those things that previously brought me down and hurt me, I can rebuke them for what they are, the devil's mind-games, with the authority given to me through Christ Jesus.

I hope I have encouraged you today to look at "where you are" and realise you are not there only for refining and painful growth, but you are also "where you are" as a soldier for Christ in the battle for the souls of His people.

God bless

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What are you doing with the Talents God has given you?

For the past year I have been back and forth with the whole digital detox thing and anyone who knows me well enough has probably rolled their eyes a time or two at me 👀.

A few months back I deleted my blog which had over 500 posts, it was 8 years old, and I deleted it "permanently"!  And then... a few days in, I regretted it.  Of course because I deleted it permanently, it was gone.  Fortunately I did download a copy of my blog, (but for the life of me, I am unable to get it to upload to my new blog), but still, for another few months I had this daily debate rage back and forth.  I deleted social media attached to it, started again with a new name, did not like it, changed it, regretted it, etc etc etc...  Such a lot of mental gymnastics for nothing.

Eventually, I did a sort of pros and cons list, and decided that unless the Lord told me otherwise, I would now, once and for all, delete the whole lot!

Next morning I get up and have my quiet time.  Before I start I drop a little prayer to the Lord, "if You don't want me to delete it all, let me know..." 

So, I read my bible, highlight, make notes, etc and then - I read Matthew 25.  When I read the following part of Matthew 25, I knew I had my answer and all my back and forth was over:

Matt 25 vs 14 - 30:  (Italics and highlights mine)

The Parable of the Talents

(14) “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. (15) To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. (16) He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. (17) So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. (18) But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.  

(19) Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. (20) And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’  (21) His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  (22) And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’  (23) His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  (24) He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, (25) so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’  (26) But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?  (27) Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.  (28) So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.  (29) For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  (30) And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather!  How much more of an answer does one need than that?!  I truly felt that having gone back and forth for months, making mountains out of molehills with regards to social media, the Lord had finally (in His perfect timing) shone a light on my path.

I want to take the "talent" that the Lord has given me and grow it for His glory and produce good fruit for His kingdom.  I do not want to be like the man who did nothing with what was given to him and thus, ultimately, it was taken away from him, along with any peace and joy!

Well, I was still in a dilemma!  I still was not happy with the new "name changes" I had made, and out of curiosity, knowing it was highly unlikely, I tried all the social media out on the name I had previously chosen for my "new season" (Other words for having deleted all my original stuff 😧)
And miraculously, even on social media that claims you may never get used names back (I know this to be true sadly), every single outlet I use, that name was available!

So (re)welcome to my new spot on the net!  Daily in His Grace!

I hope you find encouragement and biblical truth here as I walk this journey digging deeper in the word of the Lord!

God bless

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fire-Starter or Harmony-Maker?

How often have we been told that to keep things all bottled up will cause us to explode eventually.  All that anger and frustration will just bubble over and burn an acidic route out of your mouth and heart and into your circumstances. 

To some extent I agree.  I do not believe we should harbor resentments and keep everything bottled up inside.  I do believe that we need to sometimes talk to someone trustworthy, someone who would counsel us and guide us with godly wisdom.  And, if there is not that someone, or you do not know who to trust, you can speak to God about it.  David spoke to God a whole lot!  One thing I am realizing though, the Word does not say "Let it all out!"  No, the Word says, "Let it all go!"

Colossians 3 vs 8 - 9:  (8) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  (9) Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.

Paul tells us to put these things off, get rid of them, not let it all spill out of your heart.  He also then tells us to replace these vices with new ways:

Colossians 3 vs 12 - 14:  (12) Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, (13) bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  (14) And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

God wants us to let go the poisonous stuff that harms our hearts and souls, and those around us as that all overflows out of us and replace it with Colossians 3 vs 10:  And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.  He wants us to replace those ugly characteristics with those that are of the Creator, or Jesus, our Lord and Savior. 

How do you do that?  Well, its not easy.  If it was so easy hatred and jealousy and all those things would not feature so much in our world would it? 

  • It is a daily renewing of our minds in the Word of the Lord.  
  • It is choosing to not conform to the ways of the world, but conform to the Word of the Lord.  
  • It is choosing to let anger go, to let resentment go, to let jealousy and hatred go, and 
  • to choose to love in its place.  
  • Choose instead a word of kindness.  
  • Choose to keep quiet instead of voicing your opinion or anger.  
  • Choose to be slow to anger.  
  • Choose to be understanding.  
  • Choose to look at the other person and see into the eyes of someone God loves too.

All of this is possible only because God gives us His grace and mercy daily.  We on our own would not be able to maintain such choices.  It is only because of God that we can.

In the midst of your choosing, choose love:

1 Corinth 13 vs 4 - 7: 

  • Love is patient and kind; 
  • love does not envy or boast; 
  • it is not arrogant or rude. 
  • It does not insist on its own way; 
  • it is not irritable or resentful; 
  • it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, 
  • but rejoices with the truth. 
  • Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

We can with our words (which are tempered by what is in our hearts) start fires or create harmony.  Which do you want to be?  A fire-starter or a harmony-maker?

God bless

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

How's that Attitude working for you?

Lately I have been spending a lot of time in my head mulling over all the bad stuff that has been happening and the people responsible for it.  Partly because I am tired of it and I want it to end already and partly because I suppose, deep down, the whole forgiveness thing is grinding on me in that I need to keep doing so.  For the old stuff and for the ongoing stuff (another post for another day no doubt).  So, yes, lots of unpleasantness going on in the brain.

However, this is not how God wants us to deal with stuff.

I read this recently:  Proverbs 15 vs 15:  All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

Truly, reading this has never made too much sense to me.  But this time I dug deeper.

What it basically means is that a negative person will always be in a negative space all their days.  They will always be on the short end of the stick, their "luck" will always be bad, they will always be the victim, people will always be mean to them.... basically, their perception of their day to day lives will lead to a lifetime of affliction, self-inflicted mostly.

Whereas, the positive person, because they choose joy, because they choose contentment, because they choose to focus on what is good, wholesome, lovely, of good report (Phil 4 vs 8), because they choose to see the good in people, and choose not to take offence, it will be as though their lives are in a place of continual "feast"/ happiness/ positivity, etc.  It is all about your attitude in your circumstances.

My bible's notes say: "Look at your attitudes and then examine what you allow to enter your mind and what you choose to dwell on. You may need to make some changes."

Having considered what that verse means, and having considered my bible's notes on the matter, the one word that literally jumped off the page for me was "DWELL"!  What am I dwelling on?

I have got to say that what I have been dwelling on has certainly tainted my "every day".  It has certainly tainted many of my conversations, and yes, to a degree, some of my decisions.

So it is with a humble and relieved heart that I now choose to "focus" on the Lord, His word, and all the good around me.  Instead of all the muck that pulls one into a life "afflicted with evil"!

I hope this has encouraged you too, to look up at the Lord and focus on Him and the good and beautiful He has placed in your life and environment, instead of the filth the devil wants you to focus on!

God bless