Category Archives: Character

Posts Under Character Category

Are you flexing God’s muscles?

Muscle 350x350 Are you flexing God’s muscles?I don’t know about you but sometimes I ‘wake up’ and find that I’ve stopped dreaming. I’m no longer believing God for all that He wants to give me and life feels a little flat and routine.

I guess we all get caught up in the ‘day to day’ and sometimes we lose focus on what we want beyond what we think needs to happen in the near future. Does that ever happen to you?
You’re a parent who is focused on helping your kids grow up right or the deadlines at work keep your attention fixed on little else. The bills keep piling up and it’s all you can do to keep on top of them or your relationships are falling apart at the seams and you’re scrabbling to keep them together. All of these things can make you lose track of your own dreams because you’re so concentrated on keeping your head above water right now.

The good news is that you’re not alone. All of us go through phases like this. All of us need a reminder and a ‘wake up call’ every now and then.
That’s when God taps us on the shoulder and reminds us of how much more there can be when we stretch our faith and believe Him for greater things. Things beyond the circumstances we see in front of our eyes. Things beyond the current crises we’re dealing with. Things beyond what is keeping us thinking small at the moment.
His Word is full of Him telling us that He has so much more in store for us. Talk about ‘thinking outside the box’ – God doesn’t even see the box!

The oft quoted Jeremiah 29:11 is just the start: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for”. Wow!
And how about the utterly amazing Ephesians 3:20: “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us”

Let that REALLY sink in for a moment.

God has planned for good things to happen in our lives. Things so amazingly good that they go beyond anything we can even ever imagine. Beyond our wildest dreams. Greater than anything we’ve ever desired. OH MY WORD!
AND – it’s His power that is working in us in order to make them happen!

Now that’s put a big fat smile on my face!

So, what can we do with that?

STOP … and take a little time to step out of the immediate situations and give a little attention to these promises.

Take your eyes off the issues surrounding your children right now and ask God to help you to dream about the amazing things He has for them (and for you) as you’re raising them.

Let Him help you to see your work in a whole new light. Beyond the deadlines that loom and the people around you. See the future that He has for you and the way He wants to bless you by making the desires that He’s put in your heart come true.

Lift your eyes off your current financial circumstances and let Him show you how to access His financial system and way of doing things. When you walk in those ways, He’ll be able to activate His abundant supply and you’ll never have to be worried about being short of money again.

Push aside the feelings of hurt, bitterness and despair you have about your relationships and dream with Him about what they look like from His point of view. Let Him show you what they’d look like as He helps you to walk in love, forgiveness and mercy. Let Him show you how to be happy.

Imagine what life would look like if we took God at His word and stretched our faith and believed with Him for the greater things He so badly wants to give us!

We could dare to do amazing things that would blow the socks off the world.

Our kids could grow up healthy and strong in the knowledge of who they are and what they can do, with God.
Our jobs and businesses could be amazingly successful as we listen to the genius who is the Holy Spirit and let Him show us how to really operate in a way that blesses everyone.
We could have finances not only enough for ourselves, but loads left over to give away to others and help them when they’re in a bind. Living in a way where it feels so good to be able to be a generous giver.
Our marriages could be healthy and filled with love, compassion and joy. Our households could be places that we love to come home to – our havens where we’re loved, nurtured and feel safe.

What a wonderful way to live.

So … STOP and take a little time today to dream with God. Let Him show You all that He’s excited to do in, and through, your life. Let Him show you what He has in store for you beyond your current circumstances. Let Him take you along with Him as He gives you a glimpse of all that He wants to do with you.

Let Him stretch your faith and believe Him for greater things.

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Self confidence – The Truth behind the myth

I love ME

I love ME Self confidence   The Truth behind the mythIt has often been said of me that I’m self-confident. Today, I’m sitting down to figure out what that really means.

The dictionary definition of ‘self-confident’ is:

1. realistic confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, power, etc.

2. excessive or inflated confidence in one’s own judgment, ability etc.

Isn’t that interesting? Where do we draw the line between realistic and excessive or inflated confidence? Who determines which is which and where the one becomes the other? Thoughts differ between societies, social groups and even families. One person’s natural confidence can be seen as excessive by someone who is shy etc.

Basically, when it comes right down to it, it means to be confident in one’s own ability to perform tasks, be successful and generally cope well with life (whether that be realistic or inflated).

Now, as Christians, we’re continually told by God that we don’t have to rely on our own abilities, judgment or power. We acknowledge that God is far greater at everything than we could ever be. And what a relief that is!

Just realizing that God knows more about the situations we face than we do, brings me a great sense of peace. I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that my own limited abilities don’t have to be what determines my success. I can rely on God who knows everything, to come alongside me and work everything out.

 

Now that doesn’t mean to say that we are useless, weak and incompetent. Quite the opposite in fact. God Himself created us for a specific purpose. He lovingly concentrated on each one of us as He put together exactly what we would be like. The color of our eyes and hair, the shape of our body, our personality type, our likes and dislikes and – even right down to our sense of humor and what we would find funny. Such great, specific and loving attention to detail in itself means that we are amazing and have every right to be confident in who God made us to be.

Think about it. There is no-one else like you in the whole world. Even biologically nearly identical twins are their own unique person. Add to that the combinations of different experiences we all go through and the different way we see and react to what happens to us throughout life and you can see that these all contribute to making each of us into a tapestry consisting of millions of individual strands, that make up a unique and intricately beautiful person.

So, when we look at the definition above we realize that we don’t have to rely on only our own:

  • Judgment
  • Ability
  • Power

When it comes to being able to judge a situation, God is amazing at it. He knows just what to do in any given situation, which will cause it to turn out perfectly according to His bigger view of things.

God’s ability to do anything is greater than ours. The beautiful thing is that he wants to do things WITH us. That’s the nature of relationship. That’s Him adding his ‘super’ to our ‘natural’ and making it…(you guessed it) SUPERNATURAL!

God is the most powerful being that exists. Over and over throughout the Bible He tells us that we don’t have to do things in our own power. He is right there waiting for us to ask Him to help. He absolutely delights in being with us as we discover the astounding things He’s put in place on the earth. It puts a big smile on His face when we want to do things with Him, want to learn from Him and want to spend each day with Him.

Wow, what a privilege we have!

When all is said and done it basically comes down to the fact that it is confidence in who God made us to be and what He made us to do, that should be what we measure our ‘self-confidence’ by. Then we’re free to have excessive and inflated confidence in God’s ability in, through and WITH us!

 

 

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Stop the downhill slide…

help

help 350x350 Stop the downhill slide...We all experience destructive thought patterns, every day, don’t we? Thoughts that make us feel scared. Thoughts that make us imagine the worst. Thoughts that get us feeling down and hopeless.

It must be one of the most taught subjects in Christian circles and yet we all still suffer with them all through the day. In my mentoring and counseling sessions, it is brought up over and over again – sometimes to the point where the person can’t even see the Truth of what God says because the fear has taken such a strong hold on them that it’s all they see.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, we know that God’s Truth is the antidote to that poison. It is the only thing that stands any chance of getting rid of fear and anxiety. It’s the only thing that totally turns the fear we’re feeling into a feeling of peace, calm and the hope of good. I guess the thing that we really need an answer to is:

“How do we get to the place where the Word is so real and relevant to us that the process of replacing the devil’s lies, with God’s truth, happens faster than it currently does?”

Hmmmm…now that’s a question!

Let’s look at it logically. The problems are:

  • We slip into negative thinking (listening to and acting on the doubt that the devil is constantly whispering to us)
  • We allow ourselves to stay in that fear until it consumes our thinking and it’s all we concentrate on and it becomes our reality
  • We act from that place of fear and start relying on ourselves for solutions
  • Because we’re applying an inferior solution to the problem (in our own might), we get an imperfect solution which only goes part way to solving the issue
  • We get even more scared and depressed because nothing seems to be completely solving the problem. As a result we feel stuck in the cycle – never really getting out of it and hopelessness starts settling in.

It seems to me that if we can work with God to stop the process at step number 1, we stand the best chance of not going down that route at all. Phew…

So, how do we REALLY do this? Not just theory, but something that REALLY works – time after time after time.

The Holy Spirit has really been helping me with this issue lately. This is what He’s been teaching me:

  • Ask Me to help you to recognize when you’re slipping into negative thinking (my part). I’ll interrupt the train of thoughts long enough for you to become aware that you’re thinking them. (God’s part)
  • Then, actively replace the lie with My Truth. Counteract the fear that is rising up with the solid, loving promises I give you. (My part)
  • This Truth encourages you and lifts you out of the fear. Now, turn and laugh at the devil, reminding him that what he tried to use to break you, is now actually the catalyst for increasing your faith in God! “Take that!” (The Result)

Hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. In fact, I believe it will – if you do your part and let the Holy Spirit do His.

Love it!

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What a relief!

No fear

No fear 350x350 What a relief!There is a lot going on in my life at the moment because I’m asking God a lot of questions. I’m asking Him to show me what He has planned and I’m getting those answers coming thick and fast.

Recently I’ve been getting some real wake up calls about my behavior. Things are being highlighted that have lain dormant for years and it feels as if my world is being turned upside down. I’m beginning to realize that this is all part and parcel of the next level that God is taking me to. He loves me too much to leave me with those issues and, seeing as I’ve surrendered and asked Him to do what only He can do – He’s doing it! It’s all part of the adventure of being a believer.

I had a weird dream the other night, which woke me up in the early hours of the morning. I record all of my dreams because I know that God talks to us through them. After I’d written it out, I went in search of some answers. I know that dream interpretation belongs to the Lord, so I prayed about it and looked on the net for people who are particularly gifted in dream interpretation from a Christian viewpoint.

I came across a website of a well known Prophet and as I was surfing through his site, my attention was drawn to a video. I clicked ‘play’ and settled back to watch the 30 min episode.

Almost immediately he started talking about something that happened to him and, as I watched, the tears just started to pour down my face. I couldn’t stop crying. What he said struck such a deep cord with me and resonated so strongly with what I have been experiencing, that I was totally convicted. I’ve learned that when this happens I need to just let the tears flow and ask the Holy Spirit to let me know what my part is to do, while He does what only He knows how to do.

The tears eventually dried and as I continued to watch, he then brought up an issue that I have seen in my own life for years. I knew that I was being shown how hurtful and detrimental this issue has been in not only my life, but also the lives of my family. I saw how the root of this behavior was based in deep fear and realized that the time had obviously come to get rid of it. I was being given an opportunity to face the fear and let the Holy Spirit help me to root it out of my life – once and for all.

Now what often happens to me is that I begin to feel despondent when the Lord highlights something in my life and I think thoughts like:

  • ‘How long have I been a Christian and I’m still not over this issue?’
  • ‘I’m never going to be good enough, no matter how hard I try, so I might as well just give up’

This ever happened to you? I know, right! It’s like all the voices of negativity and hopelessness all converge on your thinking at the same time, threatening to overwhelm you and keep you bound.

As I was sitting there thinking about what would need to be done in order to deal with this new revelation, and feeling rotten, I had a really hopeful thought.

I thought ‘Lisa, you must not let the negativity get you down. This has been a revelation given to you so that you can realize that without Me, you cannot do all that I’ve put in your heart to do. We are going to need to do it together, so come to Me and let Me help you.’

It was like a light bulb went on in my head and I realized that I had a choice to make. Which thought would I listen to? Which path would I take? Which way would I choose to go?

I literally stood up and made a decision. I knew that dealing with the fear would be painful, but I also know that when the Holy Spirit helps you to face something, He does it kindly and gently and it always has a good outcome. I said out loud

“Holy Spirit, I am so sorry for ignoring this issue for so long and for letting it hang around. I choose to let You help me to heal it. I completely surrender to Your help, wisdom, love and guidance. Do what only You can do and let me know what my part is”.

It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and all the feelings of guilt and hopelessness left. Instantaneously. Make no mistake, the thoughts tried to come back again, but I wouldn’t let them.

I stood and reminded myself of all the verses I’d read in the Bible that tell me that God loves me, that He’s on my side, that He will finish the work in me that He started and all I need to do is to believe that he’ll keep His promise.

A new sense of strength coursed through me and as I ran my bath, I made up my mind to just take a deep breath and rest and let God do what only He can do. What a relief!

Thank You LORD!

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TGIF or TGIM?

TGIF

TGIF 350x291 TGIF or TGIM?One of the amazing revelations that I’ve received lately is the fact that, as Christians, we get to be excited about waking up and starting a new week.

For years the slogan TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) has been going around. It basically means that we’re glad the grind of Monday to Friday is over and now we get to do what we love, on the weekend.

Unfortunately, that also means that we dread going back to work on Monday morning.

I once heard the statistic that more people have heart attacks at 9am on a Monday morning than on any other day or time of the week. How astounding is that? There are really that many of us hating our 9-5 weekly routine? It really causes so much stress that the thought of going back to work at 9am on a Monday morning helps to bring on a heart attack? Wow!

As I sat thinking about this, I asked the Holy Spirit what could be done about it. I’m a born ‘fixer’ so my mind usually looks for a solution.

One of the things the Bible promises us is that the Holy Spirit will help us to do things, so as I sat thinking about this, a load of scriptures came to mind. Nowhere are we told to be afraid or stressed – in fact, quite the opposite.

Over and over again the Bible tells us ‘do not fear’. In fact, that happens over 300 times. God reassures us that He’s with us, that His plans for us are good and that He’s looking out for us. He says that there is nothing that can harm us if we’ll just trust in Him and stay close to Him. I love that picture. It’s like we’re hiding behind His legs and peeking out like a little child does. When the bully sees that our Dad is standing in front of us he suddenly loses all bravado and runs for his life! How cool is that!

So, if the Bible is telling us that there’s no need to stress then why are we still experiencing it? Well, that’s a loaded question right there! I have to get myself off the treadmill of negative thoughts, every day. I know that you do too. They seem to run away with us and before we know it we’re worried about the ‘if’s’ and ‘but’s’ that raise their ugly heads.

For many, many years I read through every ‘self-help’ book I could find. I’d make lists of ‘affirmations’ and repeat them daily while looking at myself in the mirror – willing myself to change. The thing is that I’d feel great for a few hours and then all of the pre-programmed beliefs would just come flooding back. I’ve found that trying to ‘convince’ myself to change only works for a little while and never really produces a permanent result.

One thing I have found out is that when I simply remind myself of what God says about Him and me, I feel better for a longer time each day. Sometimes I have to remember the Truth a couple of times during the day and sometimes the Holy Spirit just needs to come to my rescue and remind me Himself (which He loves to do).

It’s the Truth that sets us free. It’s the Word that has the ability to save our souls. It’s that special ingredient that is missing from self help books, but is so amazingly present in God’s word, that has the ability to get rid of the old mindsets and help us to really believe what God has to say about us instead.

So, we actually get to be a people who can look back at our week and be thankful for all that he has done. We get to be people who can wake up on a Monday morning and look forward, with a whole lot of hope in our hearts, to what He has in store for us in the coming week. Mondays can be a day filled with excitement and anticipation, knowing that whatever the day, and week, will bring, we have GOD on our side and He is looking after us! His plans are to make sure that we succeed and live a life that shows the world who He is. Now that’s something to get excited about.

So, as you wake up to this beautiful Monday morning, take a couple of your favourite verses from the Bible and remind yourself that God already knows what will happen today and He’s going to be with you through it all. Then you get to look at the day and say ‘TGIM’!

Woohoo! Monday, here we come!

 

 

 

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Day 2 – Poison!

Lies Truth

5169044 s Day 2   Poison!

Last night I went to a class that I didn’t want to go to, for a variety of reasons. I could feel the resistance within me from about lunchtime and I felt like a little kid who wants to throw a tantrum because they don’t want to do what’s being requested of them. It’s a really funny feeling, like everything within me is refusing to go. When I look at it though, the reasons don’t seem to be valid. It’s not like that feeling you get when the Holy Spirit is telling you not to go, it’s like a feeling of rebellion against doing what you know would be good for you. (Kinda like the feeling I get when I’m presented with chocolate icon smile Day 2   Poison! )

I’ve begun to be more sensitive to these feelings when they come up, because I know that feeling this way isn’t from God. I guess that it’s my version of ‘taking myself by the scruff of the neck’ and sorting myself out. I’ve actually asked the Holy Spirit to tell me when I’m experiencing something that isn’t from Him. To make me aware of what’s going on so that I can look at it and deal with it according to what He says, instead of just reacting. It’s an interesting journey because sometimes it works ‘in time’ and sometimes I can feel the resistance within me. Sometimes I just want to be able to go with the feeling of self-pity or ‘you done me wrong’. It’s like I want to stay in my little place of hurt and be allowed to feel the feelings of hurt for the way I feel I’ve been mistreated in any given situation 9crazy when you look at it in the light of day)

My thinking goes – “but what they did/said to me wasn’t right – how come I can’t feel angry about that for a while before I need/choose to forgive them?”

Maybe this is where this verse comes into play – ‘Be angry, but sin not’. Maybe it’s the permission to feel the emotion, just not to let it dictate our behavior and cause us to be nasty to ourselves or to someone else.

One of the things that I know happens to me when I allow the feeling to have its way, is that I can physically feel a welling up of what can only be described as poison, within me. I can feel the back of my throat beginning to hurt (like when you’re about to cry). My face contorts into a grimace and I can feel all my insides getting knotted up. The more the thoughts of indignation build, the worse I feel. This, for me, is where the real battleground is. There’s a sort of perverse pleasure to be had out of stacking up the evidence against the person who has ‘wronged’ you. I tend to ‘build a case for my defense’ in my head. Logical arguments that I can present to whoever would like to challenge the way I feel entitled to feel. It’s quite a fascinating process when I analyse it.

Unfortunately, what happens all too often, is that I allow the poison that builds up inside of me, to spill over onto whoever is nearest to me. Now, being a ‘nice Christian’, I manage to reign that in to a big degree when I’m around others, but when I get home, I unleash it for all it’s worth. Isn’t it funny how we do that? Why do we feel that it’s OK to let all that hurt spill out onto those that we’re supposed to love the most? Is it because we hope/know that they’ll be more likely to forgive us because they love us? Is it because we feel safe enough with them, to be able to let the hurt out?

One of the lessons I’m learning though, is to keep my mouth shut when I feel that building up of poison. The things I sometimes say when I let it out, are so hurtful that I know I’m causing damage every time I say them and then, of course, I deeply regret having said them when I’ve calmed down.

So, last night, I got to the place where I realized that if I want people to be faithful to their commitment to attend the talks and classes that I’ll put on, I need to sow the seed of honouring the commitment I made when I signed up for this class. So, I got myself ready and headed out into the cold, dark, wet night and went to the class. I got home in an even worse mood than when I left and I could feel the poison really close to the surface. When I get like this, any little thing can set off a tirade. I walked into a situation that I’ve asked my household to honour me in – for years – and I realized that if I wasn’t careful, I would ‘blow’. So I made the decision to just quietly get ready for bed, all the while asking the Holy Spirit to help me not let the poison build up any more. I took myself off to bed without saying much to anyone. I told Strife to get lost in Jesus’ name and went to sleep!

This morning I’ve woken up feeling much better. One of the things I always do after I’ve had a bad reaction (?) – a reaction that doesn’t seem to be in line with the fruit of the spirit, is ask the LORD why I reacted that way? What is wrong? What hurt or fear made me react in the way that I did?

It’s a fascinating study to do when the heat of the emotion has died down. I always walk away with some insight into what makes me tick and how the Holy Spirit is helping me to heal, little by little, every day.

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A beautiful message

IMG_1488-225x300

This is the dirt accumulated on a public building.
An ingenious person took a stencil and cleaned away the grime and a beautiful message appeared.

Imagine the beautiful message that could appear in your life as you took the time to clear away some of the muck?

Wow!

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One, before the other

Building blocks

Today – this day – is a gift!

It is full of new people to meet and old friendships to nurture.
There will be new places to go and old haunts to revisit.
New conversations to start and old memories to reminisce over.
New experiences to develop your character and old wounds to heal.

Live TODAY to the full and concentrate on the present so that all that has been packed into each day, can be experienced and used. Tomorrow will take care of itself as you’re fully alive today.

As you take hold of everything that today has to offer, it will form a whole and complete building block for tomorrow, creating a strong foundation for the rest of the days of your life that are yet to come.

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3 legged smile

3 legs

On my way into the office this morning I was walking behind a man and his 2 dogs. I looked closer and saw that one of the dogs only had 3 legs. As I was almost by them, she turned around and smiled at me (you know the way dogs do). I was fascinated by the way her body had adapted to the loss of one of her back legs, and how she not only carrying on as normal, but smiling about it too.

What a wonderful lesson. We can adapt to any circumstance and let’s do it with a smile.

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What choice will you make?

Gold Choice tick

9690133 s 150x150 What choice will you make?
When I choose to let go of past bad behaviour, I will make a better impact on the lives in my wake as I walk in new, good behaviours.

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Keeping Your Peace

Bible

We may not have much control over our immediate reaction to things, but we do have control over how we continue to react. Make the decision to keep your peace today.

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