Monday, 31 August 2015

The one thing you need to make it through Monday

May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! Romans 15:13 (MSG)

I’m not a big fan of Mondays. 

Not because I don’t like my job. I’m fortunate enough to have work that I enjoy (most of the time). 

I'm not a fan of Mondays because I don’t usually know what the week holds. 

Monday’s come with a lot of unknowns in my experience. And I’m not a big fan of unknowns. 

For example last week Monday I only found out after lunch that I wasn’t taking a 3-day business trip from Tuesday. 

Xylon teases me all the time that I like to be in control. It’s true. I like my life ordered and organized and predictable. 

Yes – I need to be in control but even more than that I need to know that God is in control. The funny thing is I’m finding that the more I pray for God’s joy and peace to fill me, the more I believe that he is in control. 

I don’t know what you’re facing as this week begins. But I'm guessing there are a lot of things you wish you didn’t have to do, a lot of meetings you would rather not attend, and a lot of people you would rather not encounter. 

Maybe you feel like not just your Monday is out of control, but your life. And I wish I could come and make everything just fine but I can’t so instead I offer this prayer for you: 
May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

Because sometimes hope is all you need to make it Tuesday. (tweet this)

Ponder: Did your Monday morning throw you a curveball? 

Prayer: I want to share a verse and pray for you from Romans 15:13 as we look forward to this week: 
May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

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Thursday, 27 August 2015

How to dwell in peace on your most anxious days

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. Isaiah 26:3 (VOICE)

Lately I’ve been seeing the word “Dwell” a lot. 

I saw the word, “DWELL” painted on a sign while rushing through airport last week. 
Then I saw it again on a billboard while I beat my fingers on the steering wheel in traffic. 
I found it again in a graphic while browsing on line. 
I even used it in the post I wrote on Monday.

I’ve learnt that when something keeps coming to my notice that God might be trying to tell me something. (tweet this)

Ironically, I haven’t had much time lately to stop and think about the word, “dwell”. 

And I think that might be why God is trying to make me notice it. 

After all “dwell” isn’t really a common word these days. I even had to look it up in the dictionary just to make sure I knew it’s meaning: to live (in a specified state)

Then this morning this verse in Isaiah 26:3 caught my attention, You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. 

Immediately after I read I thought: “DWELL”

It was like the word, dwell” and Isaiah 26:3 were meant to be together all along. A bit like caramel and salt. They are good on their own but together…yum!

I don’t know why but this verse made me think of living in a state of peace. A peace that isn’t of my own making but that comes from God, that comes from the one who hears our prayers saying, “Abba, I belong to you.”

I’m breathing this in today. I’m trying to dwell in this verse. I’m trying to let God dwell in my heart and bring peace. 

God knows I needed this message today. Tomorrow, Xylon goes for his first scan post our scare 3 months ago. And I’ve found myself unceasingly praying for zero (again). We’ll only get the results on Monday and already I can feel anxiety building in body, tensing in my back. 

But then there is this reminder to dwell away from anxiety, to dwell in peace: 
I, Abba, will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in Me, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to Me.
For those who dwell in me.*
*Paraphrase my own

Ponder: I don’t know what kind of hard thing is stopping you from finding space to dwell today but I’d like to invite you to stop and take a moment to read this verse in Isaiah 26:3 again.

Prayer: Thank you that you will keep the peace, a perfect peace for all who trust in you. God, I dedicate my heart and mind to you. Help me to dwell in peace today. Amen.

I’m also sharing “A prayer for peace when you’re feeling worried” over at ibelieve.com this week so make sure to click this link to read that. 

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Monday, 24 August 2015

Truth for when you feel like a failure

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. Hebrews 12:1 (VOICE)

Last week Thursday I failed to write a devotional for this blog.

It completely slipped my mind. 

It’s the first time since I started this blog that I have forgotten to write a post. 

For a moment I felt like a failure. 

In the grand scheme of life forgetting to right one blog isn’t a huge failure. 
I’ve failed much worse before.
I have failed University exams. 
I’ve failed friends who were relying on me. 
I have failed to always speak the truth. 
I have failed to deliver at work. 

I know that there are people reading this who feel their failures are much bigger or harder to come back from. 
I know because our language has phrases like: “failed marriage”, “failed conception” and “failed state.” 

However, on Thursday night as I held my phone in my hand, and gasped slightly, because I forgot to write a post, I remembered one simple truth about failure: everyone fails. 

Failure is part of being human. 

When I read through the Bible I even see that many of the heroes of faith failed at one time or another. The important thing is that they didn’t let failure define them or stop them. 

There is a bible verse in Hebrews 12:1 that I find encouraging on the days when I feel like a failure: So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.

In essence when you feel like a failure:
Don’t dwell on your mistake. 
Ignore the jeering. 
Listen for the cheering. 
Shake failure off. (Say sorry if you need to).
Focus on the finish line. 
Do the next thing.

I don’t know about you but when I fail, at one thing, I often feel like I’ve failed at life. (tweet this)

This verse reminds me that life is more than one or two (or even 103) failures. 

It’s not easy but the race isn’t a short one and we’re the not the first to run this route.

I love that Hebrews 12:1 reminds me that others have gone before me and stumbled, and picked themselves up.

Lining the sides of the roads are people who have failed in dramatic ways. A few glimpses at the people in the bible remind of this. 
Paul: persecuted Christians. 
David: committed adultery and had another man killed. 
Rahab: a prostitute. 
Just read the bible you’ll find a host of people who failed. These are the people cheering you on, “You can do this!”

It’s not a hollow type of cheering but a shout of encouragement that comes from the heart of those who know how hard it can be to leave the past behind and move forward, “You can do this, because I’ve done it too!”

After I failed to write a devotional on Thursday there was a part of me that thought, “Well, that’s it, I don’t need to post again.” 
There was a part of me that whispered, “You can stay here in your failure. No one even noticed you didn’t post. No one will notice if you let this blog fizzle out.” 

For a moment I wanted to listen but then I shook it off, listened out for the voices of the one’s who have gone before, the one’s who said, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (1 Thes 5:11). And I shook failure off and wrote this post. 

You can do it too. 
You can overcome the failures in your life. 
There is a whole host of us who have failed and picked ourselves up telling you to keep running, you’re almost there. 

Ponder: In what area of your life do you feel like a failure? Which of these steps do you need to take to move forward: 
Don’t dwell on your mistake. 
Ignore the jeering. 
Listen for the cheering. 
Shake failure off. (Say sorry if you need to).
Focus on the finish line. 
Do the next thing.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for being my biggest cheerleader. I ask you to help me drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to me and slackens  my pace. Help me to run with endurance the long race set before me. And when I feel like giving up open my ears to hear the voices of the heavenly hosts encouraging me. Amen.

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{You might also like these posts}
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In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Thursday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck