Saturday, 03 October 2015

G - Gratitude

I have found in my life that when I get to an emotional crossroads, I'm either going to crack, like a dropped egg!!!!  Or, I need to do something to turn the tide of negativity and potential depression.  Its in these times that I have learnt to just start counting my blessings, one by one...

I get a pen and paper, cup of tea (of course) and I start listing the things I am grateful for.  It depends on how long I have let the emotional seesaw go, on how long the list takes.  Sometimes its all I can do to find 3 or 4, but soon your mind bends round to thankfulness and the list grows.  Slowly at first...

I find the next morning, tea in hand, I already have a few things to add to the list before I sit down, and the next morning, more....  And so my mind starts to operate more in gratitude than in negativity.

Now it may seem like a very simple and wasteful activity.  But I have truly found that I start to react more positively in the day.  People don't wind me up as much, my patience peeps out from under all that reactive behaviour and I look for opportunities to encourage others.  Flowers look brighter, sky-art catches my eye, and I start to look outward instead of inward.

Psalm 118v24:  This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  

Psalm 136v1:  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His steadfast love lasts forever.

What a great tool the Lord has given us to keep our minds and our hearts from being fractured by all that life can throw at us.

My encouragement to you today is no matter how you feel when you wake up, try to find something to be grateful for, then find another, and soon you start to see things more positively and you are able to encourage someone else who isn't able to yet.

God bless

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that gratitude is a tool He has given us to cope with our day to day lives.  Gratitude changes our minds from negative to positive and we become someone the Lord can use to help someone else.

Friday, 25 September 2015

F - Frustration to Fruit

I truly have been so frustrated lately....  And in my frustration I have become a bit of a nasty person.  I'm snappy and intolerant and super super frustrated.  My frustration stems mostly from not being able to do anything about a situation or two.  So, finally, that same frustration leads me to the Word.

Yes, I eventually head for God's word in search of that inner peace I so desperately need and want in my day to day handling of the things I can do nothing about.  I am so grateful for God's word.  Because even though it offers no "quick fixes" that we sometimes hope the Lord will dish out, His word is alive and His word is power-filled.

So, it is in reading His word that slowly a balance is restored.  I feel more peaceful.  More at ease with those things I cannot change, more tolerant of those around me, more able to exhale, more able to be patient, more long-suffering (well, sort of) and generally a better person to be about.

This leads me to fruit.  Yes, the fruit of the Spirit.  I believe that in spending time in God's word, I am giving the Holy Spirit licence to renew my inner me.  I am giving Him freedom to start the healing processes.  The more I read His word, the more freedom I feel to extend the very same grace that has been extended to me.  The more I read His word, the lighter I feel on the inside, and that spring in my step starts returning.

What is going on here?  Seriously, reading God's word, leaning in on Him, resting in His arms through His word, all these actions lead to less frustration and more fruit.  I am watering the tree I am, with the word of the Lord, and it is producing better fruit in me...  For this, I am grateful.

This is as good a time as any, to reflect on what the fruit of the Spirit are....(and I love the Amplified version):
Galatians 5:22-23:  (22) But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness,(23) gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Yup, the solution of going from Frustration to Fruit is in the reading of and leaning into God, through His word.

God bless

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that reading His word leads to reduction in frustration and growth of fruit.  Reading His word is always the right thing to do.

Friday, 18 September 2015

E - Endurance

Do you ever feel like giving up?  I do!  God instructs us to run with endurance the race in which we find ourselves.  And not only that, to try to do our best whilst running this race of life.  I find it very tough sometimes.
Matt 24 v 12-13: (12)Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. (13) "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

God is our strength, He is our strong tower, our hiding place, our place of refreshment and it is because of Him that we can endure whatever it is we have to.
Psalm 18 v 2:  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

As I was driving this morning, I was wondering what to do about a situation with which I am entirely, overwhelmingly frustrated.  I was mentally voicing my discontent to the Lord, and the thought came to me, "Praise Me, lift Me up, and let me do the rest.  You do not need to know the "how" or the "when"!  You just need to praise Me and I will do the rest."

The thing about this approach is that it removes the necessity of getting tired, because, well, we are letting God do things instead of trying to do things in our own strength.  I find I waste alot of time and energy trying to figure things out, or trying to make things work, when in reality, its a spiritual thing right?!  Sounds iffy, but true.  I have, in times of letting go and letting God, been amazed at the outcome.  You would think I would have learnt but we are constantly needing to relearn things.  At least, this is how it feels for me.
Heb 12 v 1:  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

So back to endurance.  If I am choosing to praise the Lord in my circumstances I am releasing all that pent up anger and frustration to Him, and in the praising and worshiping of the Lord, comes the solutions.  He makes things work together for my good.  Its hard sometimes to let go because maybe we don't want the results we think the Lord will deliver but at the end of the day, His results are better than any result anyone else could deliver.  My point being I will not be wasting my energy resolving things, but using my energy wisely by directing it to praising the Lord, and in that, the ability to endure comes.

My encouragement to you today is to know that God will give you the endurance to run the race that is our lives, but we need to stop trying so hard to fix things ourselves and we need to submit our will to the Father's.  In doing so, He renews our strength and we CAN endure.

God bless

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe the Lord is showing me that endurance does not need to be emotionally and physically draining.  If I choose to worship and praise Him in my circumstances, He will give me the ability to endure and have joy in the process.

Friday, 11 September 2015

D - David

One of the things I love about David of the bible is that he was 100% human!  He raged at the Lord, and He praised the Lord.  He humbled himself when he realized the error of his ways.  Although pride got the better of him occasionally, when he recognized it, he surrendered himself back to the Lord and asked forgiveness and moved on in worship to our God.

Reading about him makes me feel normal.  Does that sound odd?  Its because sometimes I really let the Lord know what I feel about an issue.  And then I feel awful.  Reading about David has got me to realize that he too let the Lord know how he felt.  When he felt defeated, or depressed, he went to the Lord.  When he felt strong and courageous, he thanked the Lord.  When he felt joyful, he was joyful unto the Lord.

And when you realize that David suffered the consequences of his actions and he did so with grace and humility, and he STILL loved the Lord, and he STILL knew that every breath of his was from the Lord, and he STILL worshipped and praised the Lord, it makes me realize how gracious and merciful the Lord is to me.

I deserve way worse in consequences than I often get and I believe that this is because of the Lord.  Not because of anything I do!  He remains faithful, even when I am unfaithful.  God cannot change who He is, because He is, well.... God!  It is me, and you, who need to keep seeking to be more like Him.  David is an amazing example of a human being with lots of frailties, but a heart that wants to be more like his God.  A man who knows without God, he is nothing.  It is through David and his Psalms that I see a God with a father's heart!  His discipline and guidance are for our benefit, not for some control and mind games because He rules.  No, God disciplines us because He loves us.  David shows us this in such beautiful ways in the God-inspired Psalms that he wrote.

One of the most important things I have learnt through David is to constantly ask the Lord to examine my heart.  Its not always easy to recognize ones motives through all the subjective emotions of the day.  So, David, I thank you for being real!

Psalm 26 v 2:  Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;  test my heart and my mind.

God bless my friends

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe that David is an example of man being real.  Who of us is always happy, always on fire, always encouraging, always perfect?  None of us and by seeing that neither was David, gives me hope and relief that I too can be real with God!  He is not overwhelmed or frightened or put off by my hurt and anger, nor my happiness when it bubbles over.  He made us, He knows us.

Friday, 04 September 2015

C - Cross

I have had the DVD the Passion of the Christ for, shoo, 9 or 10 years now and I have never watched it.  I knew it was going to be gruesome, and I knew it was going to challenge me.  So, I ignored it and always had a reason why NOW was not the right time to watch it.

We are currently into week 3 of retiling and redoing ceilings etc, and the dust is overwhelming.  Also, the TV is disconnected and as hubby and I were feeling starved of visual stimulation we decided to reconnect at least the DVD player and watch some old favourites.  There was nothing we really wanted to re-watch, and then we saw "The Passion".  Sigh.... I suppose NOW is the time.......

So we set it up and started to watch.  First I was a bit taken aback by the fact that it is all in Aramaic with sub-titles but it didn't take me long to get into it.  Secondly, there seems to be some artistic licence being taken but maybe that is more my lack of knowledge?  However, my reason for not watching it in the first place was definitely on point!

It was horrific, gruesome and I found myself holding back tears A LOT!

But, I needed to see that.  I have been a Christian for a lonnnnng time.  I know Christ died on the cross for my sins, I know He took on the world's worst!  I know He conquered death and the grave, and rose again.  And I know He has overcome every and anything!  He is after all, the Son of God.  However, I have never been able to emotionally connect with that.  I know it is truth, but the reality of what Christ went through, for me...... for you...... for those who don't even care..... WOW, that has been mind-blowing!

It has sat in my heart this whole week.  The knowledge of WHAT Christ went through, TO BE THAT SACRIFICE for us, its overwhelming.  The agony of getting the cross to its final resting place, the heaviness of it and all it represents, must have been staggering.  The thoughtless people, the prideful and arrogant, the lost, all of them laughing and cursing Him as He went.  The physical pain and anguish, I cannot even imagine!

This movie has scarred me, but in a good way.  It has refreshed my spiritual memory with an emotional burst of reality!  I needed to see what my Saviour went through for me, and us all.  I needed to get my senses engaged to acknowledge the enormity of what He has done for us.

And greater still than all He went through for us, He conquered death, He has risen!  The cross is empty, and death has lost its sting!

I know that I will NEVER see a cross and not think of all my Saviour has done for me, ever again!

Let us rejoice together in thankfulness and gratitude for the cross, the empty cross, and what it represents.

Luke 23 v 26:  And they led Him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross and made him carry it behind Jesus........

Luke 23 v 46:  And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.......

Luke 24 v 6-7:  He is not here, but has risen!  Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee (7) That the Son of Man must be given over into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise from death.

God bless my friends

#wisdom  - What is the Lord teaching me here about wisdom?

I believe that the Lord reminded me, through the medium of this DVD, all that Jesus did for me, bringing to emotional recognition of what He endured for my soul.  Yes, the wisdom I see here is to KNOW what the cross represents and what Christ did on the cross did for us all.


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