Thursday, September 26, 2013

Disappointments Are Designed To Make You Quit

Disappointments are designed to make you quit, so don't.

Life is full of disappointment. It almost seems like everywhere you turn and with everything you try to do, some sort of disappointment comes your way right. I started the day feeling really excited. There are two things I've really desired in my life. One is a want, the other is a need. Both are really important to me and I believe that it is God's will for me to have both of them, however there has been one obstacle after the next.

A few days ago, I had a eureka moment, a brilliant idea, the kind that could only come from God. I figured out how I was going to finance one of the things - the want.

This morning, I had another eureka moment, again, the kind that could only come from God. I realized that the plan I had for the want would work perfectly for the need instead. EGAD!!!! God had just FREAKED ME OUT! I was amazed, stunned, ecstatic, baffled and thoroughly excited. I was dancing on the clouds, basking in glory and set for an excellent day. That is until I made the phone call that would set things in motion for me. I had a huge spoke thrown in my wheel and it will take a MIRACLE to sort things out.

But guess what. I serve the undisputable king of the universe who holds the world in His hands and makes this go according to HIS plan. So I'm not worried and I won't quit. Disappointments make you appreciate a thing more when you finally get it. I trust God and I'm ready to fight for what's mine.

So though disappointments are designed to make you quit, I have decided that the enemy will not win this round. My God has already fought on my behalf. Maybe you too are faced with one disappointment after another and are almost ready to quit. Don't give up. God has already won the battle on your behalf. Step up and claim what is yours.


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Discussion Day 2

So it's discussion day number two and we'll be taking a look at another excerpt from the same Christian novel. Again, I'm going to tell you which book it is soon, but let's hear your thoughts on this excerpt. Remember it's a discussion so let's have fun! 
Daynia wasn’t sure if she should feel happy or not. She’d been trying to put as much distance between them as possible, but this act of kindness could serve as a game changer.
“Thanks for doing that, I really appreciate it.”
“Anytime Daynia,” he sighed. “You do know that I still care for you right?”
“Did you ever care about me Richard? Come on, answer that question honestly. Did you ever care about me? After everything you put me through, you’ll say that you cared about me?”
“Daynia, look, I’m sorry ok. I know this past year was horrible for you. I was confused about a few things and I mistreated you.”
“Confused? Is that how you act when you’re confused? You lie, cheat and treat people like crap when you’re confused? Ever heard of taking a moment to gather your thoughts? You ignored me, stood me up and made me look like a fool for a year and a half Richard! God forbid that you ever get confused again!”
That last comment hung in the air and continued to sting long after it was said. She was right to be angry with him. He’d been a complete idiot. She was the perfect girl and he treated her like trash. Now there really was no hope for the two of them ever getting back together.
“I’m really sorry Daynia,” he breathed, the sound barely audible. “I know I hurt you, and I’m very sorry. I know that my apology can’t make things better, but I need you to know that I’m really, really very sorry and it makes me ashamed when I think about all the things I did to you.”
“I’ve already forgiven you Richard; I didn’t need your apology to do that. I just don’t understand why you did this to me, that’s all. I mean, the usual excuse that most men give isn’t even applicable here; we had sex every time you wanted to. I did whatever you wanted me to even though it went against my conscience. I was always available whenever you wanted me to be. I never nagged or accused you of anything. I trusted you whole-heartedly Richard. I’ll never understand why you needed to have so many others.”
Richard was silent for several moments. Daynia was spewing venom and it scared him.
Finally, he broke the silence. “I hate to say this Daynia, but maybe you should have nagged and accused. I know you knew what was going on at some point. You may not have had proof, but you had to know that I was lying to you all that time.”
“What!” Daynia shouted angrily.
“Hold on,” he said. “Just let me finish.”
He covered her hand in his with a gentle touch that sent her heart into a nose dive. She fell silent, but before she could succumb to the emotions that threatened to overcome her, she yanked her hand away.
“I’m not saying this is an excuse. I’m just saying that it was easy for me to keep going because you never held me accountable for my actions. You went along with everything I suggested in spite of your convictions. I don’t know if you've ever realized this Daynia, but we men, we’ll misbehave until a woman shows up and hold us accountable. That’s just how we are.”
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard Richard. There is no way that I’m responsible for your ridiculous behaviour.”
“I never said you were responsible hon, I said you never held me accountable for it.”

The air in the car was suddenly filled with a level of tension that was incomprehensible. Daynia willed the line of traffic ahead of them to disappear, yet their slow crawl towards the city and her home continued at the same agonizing pace. 

Let's hear what you think. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Discussion Day 1

The following is an excerpt from a Christian novel -  I'll tell you which one in a few days. Today, I would love to hear what you think, not about the story, but about the discussion the characters are having below. Weigh in, air your views, agree, disagree and send your friends to do the same. 

As the weeks rolled by Daynia finally began to heal. Her friends all stood by her, much to her surprise. Ashley held her pitiful form several times while she cried helplessly, but those occurrences were becoming less frequent and she could now function normally at work. She found her way back into her circle of friends with ease and they made her feel like she had never left.
At church, the expected stares accompanied by whispering was almost non-existent and only occurred among the older more judgmental members who’d gone passed the age where they remembered the indiscretions of their youth. Daynia theorized that they remembered quite clearly but chose to remain in a state of total denial as they could not live with their own consciousness. Whatever their reason, their whispering didn’t bother her too much because her God did no such thing. She’d received total forgiveness again and even though she was beating herself up for making the same mistakes all over again, God didn’t hold it against her so she walked with her head held high.
“It’s so hard for a Christian woman to find the right mate,” said Ashley. She and Daynia were walking along the beach having some girl time. Ashley made a special effort to do things with her friend these days. She needed the company to help keep her focused.
“Yeah, it is isn’t it? He has to line with God’s plans for you, he has to share your passion for God and he has to be willing to wait for sex.”
“Yup, it’s a tall order, even for men with the best of intentions,” said Ashley.  “That’s why we need to wait for God to do the picking; we can’t do a good job by ourselves.”
“You picked a good one.”
“Yeah, Daniel’s great, but don’t forget that I had to wait a while before he came along. God had to fix him first. In his previous state, I wouldn’t have gone within ten feet of him.”
“So that’s the trick really, we gotta wait till they’re ready.”
“Yeah, take Richard for example, he’s not a bad guy, he just wasn’t ready.”
“Oh come on Ash, you’re gonna tell me that a man who spent a year and a half lying to me is a good guy.”
“Yes Dayn, that’s exactly what I’m saying. He needed time to deal with the ghosts from his past. They don’t go away just because you’re now trying to live for God. It’s a process and he didn’t go through his process."
Daynia walked along silently whilst she pondered what Ashley was saying.
“We all had ghosts remember,” continued Ashley. “You have that horrible relationship with your family and all those bad relationships. I had to learn to love myself and treat my body with respect. Remember how I used to dress when I first started coming to church.”
Daynia laughed out loud. “Yes! I do. Those outfits were rather… um interesting.”
“Exactly! Now, I’m a glamor queen without showing my goods to the whole world. I went through my process. You were doing a good job with yours before Richard. You just need to keep pressing. Know what you want for your life and focus on that.”
Daynia stared at her friend for several moments. “When did you get so wise?” she asked, laughing.
“Oh I don’t know, it just happened,” responded Ashley as she tossed her hair back and held her head high in a look of mock sophistication.

“Whatever!” laughed Daynia as she pushed Ashley into the incoming tide. 

So there it is...let's hear what you think!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Getting Over The Big Things

One of the things that trips us up the most as Christians is the ability to move past the things we love that aren't good for us. Often, we realise what is holding back our growth LONG before we actually let it go.  Knowing that something isn't good for us doesn't automatically mean that we are able to let go of it.  It could be a bad relationship, or maybe a friendship that drains you or a job that's sucking the life out of you or a shopping addiction that's killing your finances. It could be anything. Sometimes we just need to make a strategy and take practical steps to get over certain things. 

I've found the following steps to work for me. 

1. Set a deadline  - give yourself a date after which you will no longer allow yourself to pine over what you're about to lose.  Ensure that is realistic or else when the date comes and goes and you're not over your problem you'll find yourself becoming depressed. 
2. Write it down - a visual reminder Sometimes it's all that we need to get over certain things.  If your space is private enough consider putting it on your mirror as a daily reminder.
3. List all the reasons that whatever is it you are trying to get over is not good for you.  Making an actual list will sometimes give  you that jolt you needed to move on. Reality will hit and you will have a stronger mental resolve as a result. 
4. Let it go a little bit at a time.  Cold turkey works for some things.  Other things need to be changed over time.  Break down your problem into parts.  Set mini deadlines for dealing with each part.
5. Pray, pray, pray.  This should come first, in the middle and last.  In other words,  pray the entire time.  Pray for God's wisdom, strength, clarity of thought and focus because you will need it.  You might even consider a fast too.  A fast will  help teach you some self control, this may help prevent you from going back to what you've left behind.

I do hope that these steps will help you leave the weights behind and launch into God's purpose for your life.  Have a blessed day. 

Devotions like this one and others can be found in a handy collection in Kindle or paperback format. 
To grab your copy, click here. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Rich Poor and the Poor Rich

Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. James 1:9-11

The titles of this post sounds rather contradictory doesn't it? It did to me when I first read these scriptures, but upon closer examination, it makes perfect sense. You see, poverty (or less material things) has the benefit of less material distractions. The rich (those with more material possessions) have more distractions and therefore find it harder to get to Christ. Jesus said it himself, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:25)

Let's examine this a little closer. It is much easier for you and I, the working class to have faith and trust God for our provision because daily we see him work on our behalf. Daily we know that when we ran out of money, it was God who sent the tax return cheque to our mailboxes on the exact day that the electricity bill became due. We know that it is God who sends a friend to our doorsteps bearing the extra produce from her backyard garden because she had too much at the exact moment we were wondering what we would feed our families for the next couple of days. When we have less, it is much easier to see God's provision, his love and his tangible blessings and by extension, our faith in Him grows. 

So what's this about the rich being poor and the poor being rich? Well, let's put it this way, the rich (again those with more material things) must learn to remove their trust from their possessions and place it in God. We must learn humility and the transitory nature of earthly things. We must constantly remind themselves that all they have on earth is simply for this life and not for eternity. We must remember that when they die, all their possessions will be left behind. That can be quite a challenging task. That is why Christ used the camel in the eye of a needle analogy. As for us regular folk, we are rich with humility, knowing that God is our sole provider and our eyes are already looking to him for our help. 

So does that mean that the poor automatically make it to heaven and the rich don't. Certainly not. It means that we ALL - rich or poor -  should remember that whatever material possessions we have now are transitory. In other words, one day, we won't have them. One day, we'll be dead and we'll either move to a place of eternal rest or eternal damnation. Treat your material possessions as what they are, a means to an end. Let us not forget that no matter what our station in life may be, it is God who provides, God who sustains and God who delivers. Even if you have many material things, God is the one who keeps everything in order so that we don't lose what we have. 

May you be blessed with more whilst you remember that it is God who has provided it all. Have a blessed day.

Devotions like this one and others can be found in a handy collection in Kindle or paperback format. 
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lives of Honour

Revealing God's character and His presence through your life is one of the fundamentals of Christianity. The very name by which we call ourselves means "like Christ". This means therefore that our lives must pattern after Christ.

So, do our lives reveal the character and presence of God. Can somebody look at us and see Christ's love displayed in our everyday actions, words and temperaments? You see, our biggest testimony here on earth is not what we say, but rather, what we do. We are constantly being watched. I know that in my everyday life, at home, work and everywhere I go, people are constantly examining my behaviour simply because I have declared myself a Christian. I know that sometimes that examination is simply to find my every moment of weakness and amplify it for ridicule, but even that is a testimony. Since we serve the God who is in charge of the universe, our reactions in the face of adversity should display that. God has our backs and when we're backed into a corner, or have been made very angry, we should remember who our God is instead of reacting like the rest of the world.

The rest of the world needs our lives to be an arrow pointing to Christ because lets face it, most of them will never just read the bible on their own or attend one of our churches even though we invite them a hundred times. Our biggest testimony is the way we live our lives because it's what people see and relate to.

So today, let's begin by making a conscious effort to let our lights shine, not by preaching on street corners, but by living lives that will bring Glory and Honour to His name. My goal is that people will start coming to me begging to know how I got through a difficult situation with poise, or how I was able to remain calm when I should have been frantic, or how I'm still alive when I should be dead. That is the biggest opener for sharing God's love with anyone.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:14-16

May God bless you and be with you today!

Devotions like this one and others can be found in a handy collection in Kindle or paperback format. 
To grab your copy, click here.