Saturday, 14 November 2015

K - Kneel

The past few weeks has seen me have a few pity parties and when I finally took the time to sit down before the Lord and sort out my issues it pretty much boils down to my being discontent, not satisfied and generally kinda a little prideful.

Lonnnnnng sighhhhh...

In the last few days I have had a lot of sad stuff going through my facebook feed.  There is the ever present danger experienced in Israel.  There is Europe's new found fight against Islam... (not sure that they see it that way though....), friends of yesteryear going through some really TOUGH things....

I find myself ashamed of my self-inflicted misery.

I have so much to be grateful for.  By now you are probably wondering where does Kneel come into all this?  For the last week it has come to mind that I should get on my knees and pray.
  • To thank the Lord for all that I have
  • To thank the Lord for my and my family's health
  • To thank the Lord for my husband
  • To thank the Lord for my beautiful and talented daughters
  • To praise Him that He remains the same even though I am a constant changing emotional upside down inside out human spinning top
  • To ask His forgiveness for my lack of grace and patience with others
  • To thank Him for reminding me to un-harden my heart
  • To thank Him for His forgiveness
  • To humble myself before the Lord because without Him I am, and have, nothing
  • To tell the Lord I am grateful, thankful, content, satisfied, joyful and trying hard to shove my pride in my pocket....
There are so many reasons to kneel before the Lord, the above are all personal.  But what about the chaos our world is in?
  • Israel
  • Our government
  • Our president, he needs more than prayer
  • Conflict in the middle East
  • Conflict in Europe
  • Conflict in China
  • The African continent and all its poverty
  • Poverty everywhere

and closer to home:
  • Our friends
  • Our neighbours
  • Our schools
  • Our work colleagues
  • Our pastors
  • Our churches
  • Our children
The lists are endless.  There is no shortage of reasons to go on our knees.  

When contemplating the need to kneel I thought of how the act of kneeling is humbling, submissive, accepting of the One to Whom we kneel, our Lord and Saviour, our Father and Rock.  It is an act of humility, and of acceptance that there is One greater than ourselves and our need of Him is great.  Kneeling before my Father, reminds me of my need of Him... 

Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world  (1 John 4 v 4b)

James 4 v 7-8:   So submit to [the authority of] God.  Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.  (8) Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you.

To kneel is to submit.  I choose this day to submit my will the will of the Father and because I am human, no doubt I will have to do this daily.  But better His way than mine, any day.

God bless

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

I believe the Lord is showing me that all my discontent comes from a place of pride and I need to submit myself to Him, humble myself and kneel and pray and choose His will, not mine.  This is the only way to true contentment and joy.

Tuesday, 03 November 2015

J = Jealousy

Yup, the green-eyed monster!  Jealousy is not called a monster because it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Nope, its called a monster because it brings the worst out in a person.

The dictionary defines jealousy like this:
noun, plural jealousies for 4.
  1. Jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself. 
  2. Mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc.,as in love or aims. 
  3. Vigilance in maintaining or guarding something. 
  4. jealous feeling, disposition, state, or mood.
Ummm, nothing good there right?!

There are many scriptures in the Word that talk about jealousy:
  • 1 Corinth 3v3: for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
  • Gal 5 v 26: Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
  • James 3:16  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice
  • Proverbs 14:30:  A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.
  • Gal 5 v 19-21:  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Jealousy, human jealousy, is not of God.  It hurts the person who is jealous and leads only to more anger, resentment and dissatisfaction with their own lives and the circle just becomes more vicious.  The person to whom the jealousy is aimed is often not even aware of it.

There have been times (I'm ashamed to say) when I have felt resentful towards others but not because of what they have.  More because it "appears" they are sailing through their lives with smiles on their faces and at that moment, in my life, everything feels as if I'm on a sinking ship.  I have learnt that often that is not the case.  They are smiling through their own pain, fear, or difficult circumstance.   

It is much better to focus on the Lord, and not on how others appear to be doing!  Only they and the Lord know their true circumstances.  In focusing on the Lord... you start to learn the art of thanksgiving, letting go of stuff you can do nothing about, gratefulness, and contentment.  Another great way of dealing with resentments and jealousies is to help someone.  Ask the Lord to show you someone who you can uplift, encourage, share a burden with... Doing something like that often opens your eyes to what that person may be going through.

My encouragement to you is to examine your heart and make sure the green-eyed monster does not have residence anywhere in it!  Make sure it has no licence to be there!  And if it is, kick it out and replace it with the fruit of the spirit: Gal 5 v 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.

God bless

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

I believe the Lord is showing me that jealousy must hold no place in my heart and in my emotions.  I need to fill every available space in my heart with His Spirit and the result will be love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, self-control, etc!  Complete opposites of the soul destroying green-eyed monster!

Monday, 26 October 2015

I - Intentions of your Heart

Often times people do or say things and we make assumptions as to why they have said or done what they have.  I suppose sometimes we will be right and sometimes (probably most times) we will be way off base.

It is only God who knows the true intentions of our hearts.  He knows what motivates us to do whatever it is we do.  I believe it is sometimes hard for us to figure out what our own intentions are.  We can think or believe we did or A or B because so-and-so hurt us, or we reacted in this fashion because we determine it to be righteous anger.  Maybe we can convince ourselves of our intentions or justify our behaviour but I think we truly are not very objective where our own hearts are concerned.

It is for this reason, I believe, David says for us to examine our own hearts:
  • Psalm 26 v 2:  Examine me, O Lord, and try me;  Test my heart and my mind.
  • Psalm 139 v 23-24:  (23) Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;  Test me and know my anxious thoughts; (24) And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
  • 1 Corinth 11 v 31:  But if we evaluated and judged ourselves honestly [recognizing our shortcomings and correcting our behaviour], we would not be judged.

Even if we do not search out the intentions of our hearts honestly, God will.  Just because we can fool ourselves, we will not be able to fool God.  Being real with yourself about your intentions is humbling because I think much of what we do (I know this to be true of me) is reactive and not necessarily for right reasons.  My concern is primarily for my hurt feelings where I should be mature enough as a Christian for my concern to be for the other person and to consider, with grace and mercy, why that person is saying or doing what they are.

I think the solution is to ask the Lord daily to reveal the intentions of our hearts, so that we learn to not be fooled or ruled by our emotions.  The ideal situation is to examine one's heart before opening one's mouth.... (my goal indeed).

So, friends, let us like David, spend some reflective time examining our hearts' true intentions and walk more freely knowing we have placed heart health over emotional reactiveness.

God bless

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

I believe the Lord is showing me to dig a little deeper and figure out why I want to react in a certain way.  Is the reason genuine?  Or am I being fooled and ruled by my emotions?  it is always wisest to be honest with oneself about our heart's intentions because God is not fooled.

Friday, 09 October 2015

H - "HELP"

You know, sometimes a person just needs a little help, am I right?!

Lately an old sore (which I have discovered is not yet completely healed - far from it actually) has been festering and old hurts have been coming to the fore.  An event has kind of highlighted this hurt and has been keeping my mind busy with endless potential conversations in my head and "if this happens" or "when that happens" or "if they say or do this or that" and so it goes on and on and on...

And sometimes you just need to reach out for a little help.  Now I am fully convinced that reading God's word is the ultimate and best help available.  But even in His Word God says to seek good counsel....

Prov 24v6:  For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in an abundance of [wise] counsellors there is victory and safety.
Prov 15v22:  Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated, but with many counsellors they are established and succeed.

So yesterday, as I was mulling this problem over AGAIN a person came to mind.  This person is someone I have never met but she has been instrumental in my walk through this hurt.  She is direct, firm, and honest and loves the Lord vigorously!  I knew she would encourage me, advise me or give me the kick in the pants I needed.  

And I was right.  I vented a little and she came back with honesty and put into words what I couldn't.  Also in chatting with her online her words helped me realize that I am still healing, and so my wound can be aggravated and that I have choices.  And of those choices, none are wrong, its more about pacing my actions with my healing if that makes sense.  

Right now, I cannot deal with the people who hurt my family.  I can however, pray for them.  That is a good choice.  In talking to her I realized that when I do pray for them, they have less affect on me and my hurt dissipates... Thus God's healing starts taking effect and I know the time will come when I will see them, and hear from them, and I won't feel this hurt in me anymore.  I will only feel compassion for them.  I'm not quite there yet, but I am getting there...

I am so grateful to the Lord for this lovely woman.  I cannot wait for the day I get to meet her.  She rocks.  Her name is Jerri, and you will find her blog HERE.

My encouragement to you is twofold. Firstly, read the Word.  God directs and guides and sometimes it is in the obedience of reading His word that you start to change, or those around you start to change, or your circumstances change.  His word is alive and powerful.  

Secondly, God's word also directs us to get good counsel.  Do that!  But make sure you are seeking counsel from someone who loves God and who seeks to do His will.  Someone who will not take your hurts and jump all over them, but someone who with the Lord's guidance, will encourage and advise you wisely.  Check their advice against God's word as a double check (His word says so) and if their advice does not contradict God's word, go with it!

Psalm 119v105:  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

God bless

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

I believe the Lord is showing me that reaching out to someone for help is not only a good thing, but also biblical.  The thing though, is to seek the "right" help.  Choose who you seek out wisely.  Make sure it is someone who loves the Lord and whose advice is consistent with His Word.  

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.


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