Have you ever given thought to what draws a moth to the light, bee to nectar, fish to the water, dog to a bone, people to love? Within our DNA is knitted the need to love, beloved and nurtured. A moth is not drawn to the flame that destroys it, rather to the light. Have you ever noticed that a bee will only drink the nectar from a flower that is open wide, a bit like people are drawn to kindness that is shown to them.
Kindness is a invitation and is understood because love resides in each of us. Many try to camouflage love with words, yet truth is seen and experienced through the actions that follow. When someone tells you they love you, test it before you get too close.
Always keep in mind, engrave it on your heart not all that things that glitter is gold, just as not all who say 'I love you' mean it from the heart or will express it with kindness. Love does not hurt, does not boast, does not envy, does not dishonour, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs - in essence love does no harm,
Don't get me wrong we can be hurt from loving someone, when they don't love us back the way we expect them to or the way we understand love.....; but love does not cause shame, fear or guilt. If you are drawn to someone who is hurting you; be it physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially... its time for you to consider why you are drawn to the flame that you know is causing you pain. It is possible that you don't believe you deserve love or you may have a misrepresented view of love.
One way to test if something is genuine is to engage with our senses. Does what you see, compliment what you hear and what you feel? Is the charming words adding flavour to the behaviour that follows and is it long lasting or short lived? Keep in mind language can be behaviour and behaviour is can extension and expression of words, the two must compliment each other.
Have you ever wondered about your gift? What have you got within you that you are willing to give to another person? When did gift giving become so complicated? How much do you spend? Will they like it? Then there is that theory that it is the thought that counts. I had a friend visit me yesterday and even before she sat down, she reached into her bag and pulled out a gift for me. There was no occasion attached for gift giving, she just likes giving is what I have come to realise. Her gift giving always starts with a hug.
After my last article about the opposite of faith (the-opposite-of-faith.html), I started to ponder that opposites are not often what we think they are. I am sure most would have expected me to say that the opposite of faith is doubt. I began to consider that the opposite of love is not hate, rather it is fear. Fear keeps us from moving, it keeps us from giving.
If you are wondering what does all this have to do with the greatest gift within each of us, Glad you had that thought; the greatest gift within us is love. We are born with love in us, love to give. Fear holds us back from giving love and makes us question who and why we should love. Hate comes from fear, fear that if we give love we will run empty or get hurt or it will not be appreciated or how much love should be given.
Have you ever met anyone who didn't appreciate kindness, patience, honour, trust, encouragement, understanding... These are just a few things love encompasses, yet we don't often think of the impact we can have by simply loving someone. The more we give love the more room we have to receive love as well. I often hear people say they don't know what their gift is or that they don't have a gift. Love is the greatest gift within each of us.
Today, simply start by offering smile, compliment, listening ear to a stranger or a friend and trust me you will make a difference, because you just shared the greatest gift within you.
I think we would all agree that amongst the many uncertainties in life; one thing is certain, life is filled with challengers. We are surrounded by some form of challenge daily. If you are not facing or have never faced any challenges, would you please contact me. There are soo many things I would like to know.
Certainty is the firm conviction in someone or something; it is the truth, confidence, assurance, reliability of what is seen and therefore known. Faith on the other hand is the complete trust, confidence, hopefulness, reliance that is placed in someone or something before it is seen.
I don't know about you, but my ability to get a good nights rest not just sleep and wake up each morning and face the day comes from faith. I have come to realise -
I believe that our external senses gives us certainty and this is what aids our survival, yet it is our internal senses that give us faith and aids our living. When we are able to be fully aware, externally and internally we position ourselves to a life of thriving.
Now according to the Bible our sense of hearing is important in the activation of faith. Therefore, we need to listen with intent. I believe we fail to understand or comprehend the options we have in life and how to choose wisely because we fail to listen. Instead we hear what we want, interpret it to our liking and respond to what benefits us at the time because we act our of certainty rather than faith. Hence we believe that we don't have what it takes to move mountains, part seas, kill giants, walk on water, follow passions or to choose life.
My encouragement to you today is, whatever you are facing in life; choose to move with faith one step at a time and one day at a time being certain that God is with you and He loves you.
There is a process in which precious stones and metals go through before its true value can be appreciated. These precious stones and metals are not easy to find and if anything it is hidden in the darkness. It takes skill, time and effort to find it, then it must go though a transformation process from cleaning, refining, melting, blasting, separating... before it is appreciated for what it is and the possibilities of its use can be understood.
To find things that are precious we must be willing to go fully equiped with light in search of hidden treasure within us. Each of us have gifts and talents that our hidden within us. We all have a purpose and this purpose is precious. In life we go through hardships and challenges, how we respond can keep us in a dark place or can release us into new things and possibilities. Now is the time to turn those hardships into precious treasures that will be beneficial for us and can be a gift to others. The purpose doesn't change its value because of hardship but it can add significant dimensions, skills and talents that increases the value in the gifts within us.
Don't discard your experience; in a safe environment shine light on it, learn from it, heal from it and re-purpose it. If your stuck in the darkness, keep seeking light and apply truth. Truth and light is the process that we must apply to every situation in order to gain understanding. Next time you are in a dark place, be the light. Jesus is the light we need and His truth is liberating.
Can you count how many test or trials you have faced in your life thus far? Well, if you haven't had any I would love to hear from you. From the moment of possibly conception we are faced with challengers to survive and more so to live. These challengers are what make us stronger, what give us our story and ultimately what becomes our testimony. That says we have done, we have passed we have made it.
Our testimony is the living proof of our story. If we haven't been through it, it doesn't belong to us. I would love to say that on the picture on the left is me. That I climbed that mountain and captured that breath taking view of the valley beneath. But the truth is I didn't. So, I can't testify to what it felt like, how my body felt or the emotions that were stirred within me as I looked back on what I had achieved. All I can do is admire the picture through the lens of someone else.
If you are anything like me, I don't particularly care for test. In fact although I know it is a part of life, it is not the thing I look forward to when I wake up in the morning. Yet, once I have gone through what I know to be a test and I look back and can see that I made it, the relief is shear joy. A test can last a for hours, days, weeks, years, essentially until we learn how not to let it stop us from living life.
Our testimonies are our stories. If we were to write a book, I am sure we could write many volumes not just chapters in a book. Our stories capture the good the bad, the ugly and everything in between from start to the end. I think our testimony on the other hand captures the journey through the particular test, highlighting how we made it out to the other side. It is our testimonies that often bring the most inspiration to others, offering hope and building faith.
I would like to encourage you, to share your testimony. Have you survived the loss of a loved one, have you made it through an illness, have you overcome or are you overcoming physical, spiritual, social, emotional or mental challengers, or perhaps you have learned how to deal with living with a disability or mental illness. I would love to hear your testimony.
Our test your test and more so how you have made it thus far could be the inspiration for someone else and their testimony. Can you imagine being part of someone else's testimony.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and your testimony.
I often find that when I ask people about their creative abilities, they begin to speak about arts & crafts. I bet you were thinking along the same ideas. Have you ever considered the fact that we all have creative abilities, but we don't think of the things we create on a daily or moment by moment basis.
Take a moment to reflect on the things you have created today; it might have been meal, an assignment, a smile, a memory, a piece of music..
I would like you to ponder on how you created time to do all things that you felt you needed to fit in the day. You might be thinking I can't create time, time already exists. You are correct, time as in how many hours we have in a day already exist. Yet, what we do in those 24hours is how we create moments of time that make or complete our day. Have you ever wondered how some people appear to fit more in their day than others, or squeeze time to catch up on social media, go to the gym, stop for a catch up with a friend...
To create is to bring something into existence; to produce, manufacture, construct and shall I add memories. We are constantly making memories that stamp or even more so tattoo our mind with moments that often last a life time. Time is one of the most valuable gifts that we have in life. It is so precious that once it has gone it can never be recreated.
I would love to hear your comments on what you create time for or what you have discovered as your creative abilities since reading this article.
From the moment of conception we begin a journey of transition. From a fetus to infancy, childhood, adolescence.. Each stage proposes varies changes and challenges. How often do we think about that first moment when we transitioned from being what would have felt safe in our mothers wombs to being in a new environment; the great unknown was and is a head of us.
Do you remember how much courage it took for you to trust your limbs as you began to crawl or walk? Do you remember the transition time when you went from being safe within your parents care to going to school and spending all that time with strangers. How about the big leap of uncertainty as you stepped into the world of employment or moving out of home or even into a covenant relationship. All the stages of our lives is part of transition. In the journey of life I don't think we often think about how much courage it takes to step out.
Transition is moving from one thing/moment to another and it is the inevitable of life. We move from morning to afternoon and night. How much thought goes into all that takes place in those moments of 24 hours. We all have a measure of faith and we constantly put it into practice, yet we don't think much about it. I recently read a quote by an unknown author that goes like this 'A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings'. Trust is faith in action while courage is taking a step of faith because of trust. The bird trust its wings because it has courage to fly and faith that its wings will carry it. The bird transitions from a position of being held by the branch to being reliant on its wings.
Moments of transition can at times be scary and uncertain. I encourage you to be courageous, that regardless of the stage in your life or the transition that is a head of you, you have made it this far. You have made many transitions and you will make many more. You may not have a clear plan of action or you may even be uncertain of what the future holds. Be certain you can trust God who not only knows your future but knows what the future holds for you. Put your faith in God, He will not let you down, regardless of how life has been, embrace the lessons that have been teaching you to fly/walk and take courage.
For those of us who believe in Jesus and who have just celebrated the death and resurrection of our Saviour what does Easter Monday mean?
So, on Good Friday we reflect on the cross and the price that was paid that we might choose to be reconciled to God our Father. On Easter Saturday we rest in the abundant love, grace and mercy of our God. Hopefully realising that the price can never be repaid and that the death of Gods Son on the cross is the end to us as humanity trying to earn our salvation.
Easter Sunday, we celebrate our risen Saviour. I have realised that only through he resurrection that Jesus Christ becomes the Saviour. If there was no resurrection, would it still be as powerful ? The price would have been paid and we would have rest from trying to find a way to the Father but what then? The resurrection overcomes humanities greatest fears - death, disconnection, unloved, not belonging and replaces it with hope, assurance, acceptance and undeniable love.... Takes away the impossible and makes all things possible for those who believe in Jesus Christ.
This is all great, but now what? Where do we go from this point on? What do we do with the reflections, rest and celebrations of who Christ is? I believe once we have reflected, rested, celebrated it is time to start living.
Easter Monday marks a new beginning. It's the opportunity to start a fresh, not waiting for or looking for the messiah but knowing and believing that He came, He lived, He died, He conquered death and gives us the opportunity to not just live but live a life of abundance, with hope in freedom offering His grace, mercy and love to others.
It is time to lay the burdens/baggage at the cross, recognising that Jesus paid for it and there is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation nor do we have to carry it anymore. If we are still carrying a burden, then either we are not acknowledging that what Christ did was enough or we are thinking we are not worthy of it. These deceptions/doubts/lies will not set you free and Christ gave His life that we may know Freedom and live in Freedom.
Yes, we all sin and fall short daily, this is why we take it to the cross. But we don't stay at the cross for His love, grace & mercy (blessings) goes with us, and is renewed daily (Lamentations 3:23). If this is a promise before the cross, just imagine the measure after the cross and empty tomb.
I encourage you to leave all that holds you back at the cross and now learn to enter the throne room. Through Christ Jesus we can come to our heavenly Father and as Jesus did we can seek our Father for direction. Now with the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave living in us we are able to follow the commands set before us by Jesus to go into all the world (Matthew 28:18-20). Your world might be your household, your street, your workplace, it is wherever you have been place to live life.
As Jesus reinstated Peter (John 21: 15-18), I believe He reinstates us to do likewise, once we have acknowledge our sin and believe in what Jesus has done for us. After Peter denied Jesus; Peter had time to reflect on all that Jesus had said. After the death of Jesus; Peter had time to reflect on what had been taught by Jesus. After the resurrection of Jesus; Peter had time to reflect, to rest and celebrated Jesus. After the Holy Spirit was sent to the believers; they started to live not unto themselves but unto God.
Today is a new day as each day is new and I encourage you to choose to live each day, each moment unto God through the empowering of the Holy Spirit and glorify God in so doing. For in glorifying God I believe we declare and celebrate who Jesus!
Jesus gave His life that we may live life abundently in freedom understanding Gods love that dispells fear. Furthermore it is His grace and mercy that sets us free from guilt and shame.
Jesus gave His life, it wasn't taken from Him, He freely gave it; the purpose was that we may not just have life but have life abundantly (John 10:10). If you are reading this article the chances are that you have life, my question to you then is are you living your life in abundance or in freedom? The chances are that if you are carrying a burden that is too heavy for you to carry or that is not intended for you to carry then, you are either doing life or surviving but not living life in abundance.
Jesus lives so that you and I can also live life to the fullest with - freedom, peace, joy, hope... God sent His Son (John 3:16) and Jesus gave His life (Galatians 1:4) that we may not just enjoy the abundance on earth but into eternity as we believe in Jesus Christ who is the risen Messiah.
This Easter take a moment to stop and look at your cross/burden/sin you are carrying that is keeping you from living life to the fullest. Take it to Jesus, His life, death and resurrection will make a difference in your life, if you surrender your life to Him. Its in the surrender that you give up your cross, why do you want to carry a cross, when He is not on a cross? Surrendering something is not the end but the beginning; the beginning of new possibilities, discoveries, living in freedom...
Many of us think that joy and happiness are the same – well it’s not. Joy is a state we choose to be in and requires us to act for it to come alive. Happiness is a feeling, its emotions that come out of choosing joy.
To cultivate joy we need to express it through
* Rejoicing - this is about being thankful
* Being glad - this is about how we think
* Cheerful - this is about our attitude
In order to nurture joy, we need to know who we are. We are not an accident; we were born to live a life of purpose. To realise and live a life of purpose we must be thankful for all that we do have. Being thankful in all circumstances gives us hope which builds us up rather than pulling us down. Our thoughts have the ability to separate us with lies that stem from fear. Truth sets us free from fear and the truth is that we are loved by a gracious and merciful God that will never leave nor forsake us. In order to live a life that is governed by joy we must have regular checks on our attitude, our attitude can either make or break us.
Joy is an act and state of the heart, where as happiness is an emotion that springs out of our thinking. Is it time to mend your broken heart so that you can think more clearly? It is possible that you have been living a life filled with fear? Is it time to find out the truth for your life? Do you want to live a life filled with JOY?
When we make joy a choice then we can make happiness a lifestyle. Each morning as you wake up express joy, then throughout the day choose to nurture it.