Category Archives: Blog

Running Low On Joy These Days?

Feeling a little blah? A little, “Where am I going and what’s the point in all this?”   Want to explore some possibilities?

Perhaps it’s a good idea to do your own network check, starting from the most powerful system you own: your brain. What is happening in your mind? What’s the panorama up there?

What do you think about during a day? Uplifting, or depressing ideas? Constructive, or destructive?  If we’re honest, many of us spend considerable time in the realm of negativity, without even considering the effect on our futures.

Do you realize that your time and your thoughts are actually potentially priceless treasures? One is so rare it can never be replaced, and with the other, we can change the world.

Your time and thoughts have higher value than in spending them fostering an offense or nurturing a regret. The only return on these is seeing your life waste away.

Use that energy to cultivate your God-inspired giftings and worthy interests, and you will find enthusiasm, vitality and joy again.

Decide to avoid criticism and negativity, both in yourself, and in your circle of acquaintances.

Choose instead to surround yourself with a positive climate,  of people and activities that value good ideas, nurture constructive accomplishments, and work towards noble goals.

Focus your thoughts on that which builds up, not tears down. It can feel like any other skill-builder, or physical exercise –  very difficult at first!  It may involve a radical re-thinking of familiar negative patterns, and a conscious effort to stop bad habits, and introduce healthy replacement choices.  However, the payback, like physical exercise  or a great investment, is immense, in the outstanding benefits you will gain, both in your outlook , and in your life!

Start by taking the first negative thought that comes to mind, and find a replacement thought that looks hopeful or optimistic. Although this may seem futile at first, you are actually re-training your brain out of negative thought habits, and building new neural pathways.

Persist at it for long enough, and you will actually see and feel the beneficial changes in your brain and body. We have been Masterfully designed for self-repair.

In other words, you will change your own life for the better, just by changing your thought-world. You can offer – and be – that priceless treasure, depending on your choices.

Such is the miracle God has put in each one of us. We just have to accept, and use it!

The Best Vengeance

 

 

 

It’s happened to all of us.

Abuses, injustices, offenses, treachery. Wounds we didn’t deserve. People – sometimes those closest to us – who don’t care to make it right.

What do you do, when your offenders have hurt, misused, and betrayed you? Acted in ways that no decent human should act. Trespassed boundaries, destroyed trust, taken away your rights, and thrown your happiness over the cliff?

Most of us would like to see justice done. We want reparation, and restoration of our peace. We want to see the wrong made right,  the adversary acknowledge their wrong,  see the immensity of their crime, and make amends.

Very sadly, this kind of healing does not always happen. We are often left alone with the heavy burden of pain, grief,  even rage, and no answer or relief appears in sight.

What do you do when the offender has no desire to change?

Sure, we can feel re-victimized, experience grief,  get very frustrated or angry, and feel spiteful against them. Don’t they deserve it, after all?

Have you ever noticed the result of such an attitude?  In my  experience, my posture of anger has never yielded the results I wanted.

I have come to see though, that when I choose a higher way, when I decide  to respond with  healthier behavior  than what they have demonstrated, it often seems to baffle them.

Sometimes changing yourself is the best vengeance you can get.

They don’t know what to do when someone  chooses  to not play the “React and Get Offended” game. They have little idea of  how to adjust to someone who treats them with undeserved mercy and a good example of maturity.

And guess what?

THIS is where I have seen the greatest results. I have seen my offenders change their ways, become friends instead of enemies, or sometimes, give up and move on, because I won’t accept the victim role any more.

I have also learned to question my own motives for revenge. What did I want to achieve by getting back at them? More pain, suffering, humiliation? Did I really want them to learn and grow past their destructive ways, into healthier behaviors, or just suffer for the damage they did to me?

In this searching, I have come to realize yet another truth. Vengeance is God’s right and domain. I cannot have the infinite knowledge to know why another person may decide not to change, or may choose to act in the destructive way they do. But God has chosen to offer redemption to them – and to me too – when we least deserved it. So, I have to let them go from my “You Owe Me” file,  and let God take care of them.

I have higher things to do, and so do you. . God has called us to greater things, and we need to expend more time in finding out what those things are, and put our passion and energy into developing those destinies. They will bring far greater happiness and growth, than getting bogged down thinking  about, and anticipating ‘payback’. Is this an easy process? No, but it’s a valuable one!

Don’t let your past woundings and offenses sabotage you from your greatest hopes, dreams and destinies being fulfilled.

Let go of yesterday, pray for those enemies, reconcile wherever possible, plan for a successful tomorrow, and choose to live joyfully today! Invest your energy into building your own dreams and destiny, and stop wasting precious time and resources in thinking negatively of those people, who  -incidentally – gain no benefit from it. Prayer will yield a far better chance for both of you to recover.

Dedicate your energy into redemption, which is making good things come out of evil circumstances. Recognise who the real enemy is here – the one who wants to destroy every person and every potential. Knowing  that the enemy would ruin you, God has provided for your release from the bondage of a painful past.

However, we can’y deny the situations that have occurred. None of us can minimize the pain and agony of some of these wounds. We certainly  must acknowledge them, grieve, deal with them and heal.   However, with surety, we then work onward towards our recovery and revival. Knowing that God has deeply concerned Himself with our restoration, enables us – if we want it – to give the unbearable weight of these woundings to Him.

Go free and forward into your own destiny and drop the heavy burdens of heartache, offenses and grudges behind you!

To pull this all together, when you pray for your enemies, “disconnect” the freightload of pain dragging you backwards.  Let it drop away,  then find your calling, and commit to maturing into your own giftings. That is the greatest  -and healthiest – form of retaliation known to humankind – to decide you will create good out of evil.

It is also one of the greatest blessings God has offered.  And it is free and available, to every one of us !

The Sacrifice Of Fools

Ecclesiastes 5: 1-3 gives us some very wise advice, not only for our walk with God, but also for any relationship.

It says, “Watch your step when you go to the house of God, and be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they don’t consider that they do evil”.

Note, the phrase “To do evil” translates “to themselves, and to others.”
So, there’s a catchy phrase here, “The sacrifice of fools”.

What does it mean?
Ecclesiastes goes on:
“Don’t be rash with your mouth, and don’t let your heart be hasty to utter any thing before God, for God is in heaven, and you, are on earth. So, let your words be few.”
It’s a good reminder that we’re the little guys, down here on earth, and God is in heaven. He created both us, and the earth on which we dwell. That would definitely give Him the better voice to learn from.

We humans can be very reflexive in our answers. We answer – fast. We tell others our quick opinions after very little consideration. We assume that God and others should listen to us, our opinions, our judgements, our problems and our wishes. Do we consider the other side?
Verse 3  then clinches the thought, by saying, “A dream comes through a lot of business, and a fool’s voice is known by a lot of words.”
We can apply this as well to the goals, or dreams, we wish to achieve. They happen through a lot of work, or busy-ness. A fool speaks many words, but accomplishes little actual progress.
What do you want for your marriage, your relationships, your destiny, and your walk with God?
Learn to walk carefully, and speak thoughtfully, only after you have listened well.  This is a certain hallmark of the one whose heart is ready to learn, and a powerful indicator of the one who wants to grow.

It may not be an easy task at first, but, if  you are willing to do the work of change,  you will see the good effects of progress, both with God, and with your earthly relationships!

So, I’ve Asked God… Why Isn’t He Giving Me What I’ve Asked For?

 

Ah, the age-old question: I keep praying.  Why isn’t God listening?!

You know that Bible piece, “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened…”  Soooo, why aren’t I getting my answers?

Well, let’s explore that one today.

In context of the “ask, seek, knock” verse, look at the situation described in Matthew 7.  Do you see that the before-and after scenes described here show relationships? The chapter starts  by describing a judgemental person. It says, “Don’t judge, so that you yourself will not be judged.” ( Funny how so many of our requests revolve around relational issues, isn’t it?)

Okay, well, let’s face it. We ALL judge. We all see things in  other people that we don’t like. So, take a minute to look underneath the criticism.  Why are you doing it?  Seriously.  Ask yourself,  Am I simply frustrated because I don’t like what they’re doing?  Is it a threat to my security or pride, or are they truly doing something wrong?

Ponder as well,  What do I want from this person?

What – in your mind- would fix the problem?

Now, the difficult question: Am I doing the same thing to them, perhaps in another way?

In our frustration, it can be a challenge to think in this sequence, but it will help define your answers.

Next, are we offering them solutions  that are right and holy and mutually beneficial? Or are the ‘suggestions’  self-centred, based on our own desires? Are you truly hearing  why –  he/she is doing what they do?  In other words, have you carefully considered their viewpoint?

Even though they may be in the wrong, do they feel heard – and understood – by you?

Another key point is this: Are they asking you for your opinion?  If not,  you can ask if they’re interested in your idea  to fix this problem, but, if they answer in the negative,  don’t throw away your time!

This is all prep work,  but it is also good maintenance work.  Every relationship will take this kind of  effort to keep it healthy and sound. You may think it’s time consuming,  but the long-term dividends pay very well!   If your repeated attempts to communicate in a healthy, holy way are refused, then stop  wasting your time!   Don’t throw away your gift, your value, or your time where they are discarded, but don’t lose your own grip on doing what is right  in the process!

So, back to the ‘ask-seek-knock’ question… You see, God sets up an evaluation system so we can judge ourselves too. If we have determined that 1) we are not judging, and that 2)  we’ve cleaned up our own tendency to do the same thing, and that 3) we’re not wasting time trying to change someone who isn’t open to improvement,  then look at this, What are you asking for,  and why?

The book of James gives some great insight into this by saying, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Don’t they come from your desire for pleasure, that wars in you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

Then it goes on with the kicker:  “You ask and don’t receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

God yearns for us to desire friendship with Him first, rather than friendship with things that will never bring us life. True, they may bring amusement and momentary pleasure. Sin is always attractive enough to be very alluring, but always the enemy of the best.

Have you taken your request, be it physical, material, personal, etc. to God?  Matthew goes on to say that He’s a good Father, who wants to give good things to those who ask Him.

Let’s run those unanswered requests through the above filters, and ask if they fit His standards.

Am I asking for what is good and right? Are my reasons self–pleasing, or do they have a holy motivation? Am I willing to hear God,  if perhaps His solution  is  based on my ultimate  good,  but not my immediate pleasure?

What are your thoughts?