New Habits!

So on Wednesday it was nice to release it all and be honest with you.
And immediately I got responses from people who have been experiencing the same thing (see image below).

UW Journey back comment

Of course all Glory to God for being so perfect and for always knowing exactly what His kids need, at the right time.

But here we are with the issues on the table, now it’s time to ACT, in order to turn those flaws around.
If we acknowledge them alone and just keep on in our own ways, we’ll be failing even more. Instead we have a responsibility to ‘live a new life’ (Romans 6:1-4), and thus be practical and intentional about pressing in with the King.

We’ve discussed it here before about Scheduling God in, and being intentional about allocating adequate time to fellowship with Him. Have a read of that post (linked above) again to refresh your memory of the tips shared.

Here are more suggestions for us to choose from, in order to become even more intentional about growing our relationship with God:

1. Create a Daily Log

The purpose of this is to see the stats of your engagement on a daily basis. It seems quite a technical and formal approach, but I believe it will permit a clear visualisation of how much time we’re spending in prayer/reading scripture/worship/conversation or just anything kingdom-related.
Whether you want it in a physical diary, or just in the notes on your phone, all you have to do is make a note of every time you intentionally spend time doing ‘God-stuff’.
Go the extra mile: by logging the duration too.

2. Get accountable

The purpose of accountability is to encourage us to truly to stick to what we say we’re going to do!
You can easily use your log with this suggestion too, as you can show your partner/group the stats. Aside from that, with an accountability partner/group, you can set goals amongst one another to do certain things within a day/week/month, and of course feedback to one another how that’s all gone by the deadline.

3. Join a Fellowship/Bible Study Group

Personal interpretation is a very important aspect of learning the word of God, however also gaining numerous perspectives of the same word, can further deepen your understanding of just one scripture! Fellowship groups or bible study groups are a good way to do this, and often there’s a leader who is well-versed in the word of God, who can be of great help if anything ever becomes unclear/up for healthy dispute.

4. Make it Fun

Games and competitions always add that extra element of fun AND drive to any activity, so how about creating a few challenges for a group of friends in order to motivate you even further.
Ideas for this could be:

  • Memorising and Reciting scriptures
  • Creating a bible quiz
  • Spelling tests (some of those names in the bible have such peculiar spellings!)
  • Plus many others…  (haha, tell me your ideas too)

5. Netflix and Chill

Haha! Shocking that this is here, but if you have a Netflix account, swap your comedy or drama or thriller, for the word that gives Life! Check out The Bible Series on Netflix, it’s a visual depiction of the word of God, and it’s really interesting to see the word acted out. It covers many of the major stories of the bible.
Word of advice: Read the story for yourself before watching, as some details may be missed out some times.

6. Create a Gospel/Christian Music Playlist

Worship can happen anywhere, at any time! Having and listening to a playlist of Christian music should help you to worship God (with song) more times in the day. This genre of music also has a good rep for giving hope, and uplifting spirits, so definitely a good place to start if you’re ever feeling a bit stuck with prayer or overwhelmed with concerns.
If you don’t know where to start, here are some artists’ names to search for:

  • Tasha Cobbs Leonard
  • Travis Greene
  • Nathaniel Bassey
  • Hillsong Worship

These are just suggestions of course, and I hope at least one or two will be helpful. I pray that God will also minister great ideas to you of how to get closer to Him and enjoy His presence daily.

 

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

#WorkingOnIt
#NewHabits

Love With a ‘No’

From a young age, for many of us, ‘No’ has probably been one of our least favourite words to hear.

Usually associated with refusal, rejection and denial – ‘No’ is almost always seen as a bad word, that stimulates negative emotions.

But have you ever realised that we can also Love with a ‘No’?

Did you know, that sometimes,

No can say – ‘You’re not ready’

No can say – ‘I want you to learn’

No can say – ‘I want you to grow’

And ultimately, No can say – ‘I want you to depend on God’.

Today I want us to understand that as friends/siblings/parents/partners – whoever we are to the people in our lives, we each have a responsibility of knowing when to say ‘No’, for the right reasons.

I get it – we would do absolutely anything for our loved ones, just to see them smile and just to make sure that everything is alright for them.
I mean we literally just spoke about being our brother and sister’s keeper on Sunday, and ensuring that we’re always there for them, so why would we now be discussing the concept of denying them of what they may request from us?
Well, what God is telling us with this post, is to ensure that we get the right balance.
Loving and caring for someone goes beyond giving them what they ask for all the time, but actually sometimes requires us to be tough and disciplined, in order to produce the best them they can be. 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
[Hebrews 12:11]

Whilst this word can sometimes have negative connotations, what the bible attributes to discipline are good things like self-control, wisdom, knowledge and growth.
Therefore without making the other person seem inferior, our ‘No’ can serve as good discipline, which is important in order for them to grow and learn from their situation.

Now let’s be real, some of us will struggle with this.
Particularly those of us who have fallen into a cycle with a friend or family member who keeps finding themselves in the same situation as a result of poor decisions. Each time they cry for help, we run to their rescue.
Firstly, God bless you for your diligence in supporting them all the time. And please don’t entertain any feelings of guilt as you now read this post, but rather be encouraged and led by the Holy Spirit to know that one day you will have the strength and wisdom to say ‘No’, in order for them to benefit from the crucial lesson that awaits them in the midst of that circumstance.

Yes it will hurt.
In fact the bible already says it will be painful, and this can be true for both us and them – we may feel like we’re letting them down, whilst they may feel unloved/rejected.
But let us not lose focus on what really matters…

You see, though our intentions our good, we fail to realise that sometimes we may end up depriving people of the growth and development that God has purposed a situation for in their lives. And this isn’t at all a post to blame us, but it’s just to make us mindful of the fact that in some cases, we ought to take a step back, and let God be God in their lives.
Let them remember that they ought to always depend on God.
And rather than us trying to take over His role, let us ask Him for the wisdom for us to know when not to intervene, so that He can take control and His perfect will be done.

Looking at the verse again, it says discipline produces a
H A R V E S T  of  R I G H T E O U S N E S S,  which means that our timely ‘No’ can positively contribute to the building of good and proper character – a man or woman that seeks God’s heart, and whose ways are pleasing in God’s sight.
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, some of us have fed our friend’s bad habits for so long, simply because we haven’t said ‘No’.
With this verse in mind, we ought to make the conscious decision to refuse to encourage any detrimental behaviour, and instead be a light in their lives by saying ‘No’, in order to push them to break away from every practice that doesn’t glorify God.

Now I know some of you will be thinking, ‘But a ‘No’ from me doesn’t necessarily stop them from seeking help somewhere else, which could be even worse’.
This is where we remember the importance of prayer and taking everything to the throne.
After seeking wisdom of when to say ‘No’, we must remember to pray that they will receive the ‘No’ with love and will appreciate the training it eventually provides.
Most importantly, our prayer should be that they shift their focus away from man and unto God, and that they seek guidance from Him alone.

Before we go, let us take note of this for ourselves too…
We also must learn to be open to receive a ‘No’.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but whoever hates correction is stupid.
[Proverbs 12:1]

In loving discipline and knowledge, and taking into consideration what we’ve discussed above, when we find ourselves on the receiving end of a ‘No’, let’s first remember that this isn’t because the person doesn’t love us.
Let us be reminded that we should depend on God, seek His hand in every situation, and pray not to miss the lesson.

With the promise of God in Romans 8:28, we can be confident that whether we’re saying it, or it’s being said to us – the right ‘No’, will surely produce good fruits in our lives.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

 

#LoveWithANo
#TrueLoveSaysNo
#MoreThan100PeoplePraying

Dare to be Different…

You have no business blending in!

This is what the word of God says about you;

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” 
[Matthew 5:14].

If the bible tells you that you cannot be hidden, then please tell me why you spend so much time ‘fitting in’?

Some of us have come to believe that the best way to get through life is to follow the norms and just do what everyone else is doing.
So even though our light is there, we ourselves have covered it up by failing to embrace the differences in us that we actually ought to use to proclaim Christ and make Him known to others.

What I’m getting at, is the fact that as children of the Most High, we haven’t been called to look and live like everyone else;

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
[1 Peter 2:9]

Therefore, we need to start getting comfortable with standing out, standing proud, and in some cases, standing alone

I get it, it’s good and fun and nicer to have company as we work our way through this journey of life, but let’s be reminded that pleasing God is much more important. And in fact, when we wholeheartedly live to honour and stand for Him, He provides us with peace and boldness to do so!

Now let’s make sense of the title of this post…

Daring to be Different isn’t about making a scene.

It isn’t about seeking attention or seeking to be noticed and praised by others, but rather it’s about plucking up that courage to step away from the things that displease God, even if it’s the most popular trend, or the ‘in thing’ according to the rest of the world.
It’s about loving God enough to let go of our fleshly desires and the worldly pleasures that we’ve become used to, and focus our hearts on the things above.

“Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
[Romans 12:2]

This verse is one that is popularly quoted amongst believers and I want us to pay attention to the faithfulness of God in this verse…

It tells us that God does the transforming. And I believe we ought to find comfort in the fact that this means that He doesn’t leave us to figure it out on our own, or struggle with the temptation that comes with trying to get rid of our old ways.
This verse tells us that if we can shift our focus away from the world and sin, and unto God, then He will work in us and renew our minds.
He Himself will teach our hearts what His ways are; enabling us to develop a better understanding of how to live for Him.

Now we’ve spoken before about standing out and standing for God, when we looked at the story of Daniel, in the post titled ‘Can they See you?’

Daniel stood out in quite a bold and outward way, and in some cases, we will need to do this in order for us to show others who our God is.
But whilst looking at this topic further, what God showed me is that sometimes our ‘standing out’ needs to be in terms of the smaller things, the inside things, and the intimate things…

Daring to be Different transcends all the way into our private lives and the things we do in secret that no one else (but God) sees…

Maybe we skip paying our train fare.
Maybe we’re engaging in fraudulent activities.
Maybe we stream music and movies illegally online.
Maybe we’re engaging in sexual intimacy in our pre-marital relationships.

The things that we could never tell anyone openly, but we know each time we do it, we get an itch about it being wrong.
Yes friend, God is asking us to take the right Stand for these things too, even if it means standing alone.
In fact, it’s with some of these smaller and more intimate things that we may feel like we’re losing out or missing out more, initially.
These ‘behind closed doors’ things that have become so deeply embedded into our lives may actually be the ones that hurt to give up most.
But over time we’ll see that the more God transforms our minds and our beliefs, the more we’ll understand and embrace the beauty of doing what is right and pleasing in His sight.
The more we’ll appreciate the pain it took to stop these things and Stand for God in the first place.

Please understand that I’m not calling you out, but I want us to be convicted today by the Holy Spirit and the word of God;

“My son, do not walk in the way with them,
Keep your foot from their path;”
[Proverbs 1:15]

“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners takes 
or sit in the company of mockers,” 
[Psalm 1:1

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
    or walk in the way of evildoers.
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
    turn from it and go on your way.
[Proverbs 4:14-15]

Some of us have been hearing that ‘Stop it’, for so long, but have allowed ourselves to become okay with ignoring God’s voice.
Let today be the day that you take the BOLD step to make the change.

I want us to chase God and chase His ways.
Crave God and crave His ways.
See sin, despise sin, and choose to Stand for a True and Living Christ.

Understand this, we aren’t doing it to prove that we’re better than anyone else, but it’s simply to show Jesus that He means everything to us and that we are preparing our hearts and our lives for His second coming.

You will see, that your Stand will inspire, encourage and push others to draw nearer to God, and even cause unbelievers to want to know Him.
When people see a Difference in our attitudes towards life, our reactions and our mannerisms, one day they’ll be forced to enquire about this Jesus that we choose to honour.

I’ll end by telling us this –

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
[Matthew 5:13]

We have a responsibility to season this world with Christ – let us Dare to be Different, Confident and Firm in the things of Christ, and trust that the world will follow us and move towards the things of God too!

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

#DareToBeDifferent
#MoreThan100PeoplePraying

When He Shows you…

I’ve once written a Facebook post on the Untainted Word page regarding this topic, here’s an expansion, in a FoodForThought type post…

The original post says this:

As God’s Beloved, 
There will be times when He will show you certain things (about situations and people) in order to protect you, but it won’t be everything that He’ll want you to act upon.

“Father, teach me my next move” is such a crucial prayer to say, because it ushers down Divine Wisdom to know how best to deal with that situation.

Sometimes God will say, ‘Do nothing’.
Other times, He’ll say, ‘Address it, by doing x, y, and z’.

The key is to make sure you 
W A I T for God to speak, 
L I S T E N to what He tells you, 
and O B E Y that instruction.

Him showing you, wasn’t for you to take matters into your own hands and REact.
Therefore be led by the Holy Spirit to 
Act Graciously, 
and bring forth the best result from what could actually be a total mess, if dealt with in a way of the flesh.

 

In the Facebook post, we briefly and succinctly address the fact that we must seek out the instruction of God, to know how to act next.
It focuses on the fact that we should deal with the information with wisdom and not jump, based on what our human feelings tell us to do.

Earlier this week, after seeing an image which read ‘Never reject what God reveals!’,
I knew that it was important to include this aspect into the message too – Not Ignoring God.

The reality is this, some of us like ‘the comfortable’, ‘the norm’, and ‘the how things already are’.
And so when we come across anything – anything whatsoever that could possibly compromise the contentment we have in that present stage of life – we block it out.
Our desire for things to remain the way they are, causes us to shy away from accepting anything that could cause a potential stir or change, as the truth.

This means yes, we will hear God speak, but we will convince ourselves that the Big Man didn’t say a word.
He’ll show us crucial things in our dreams, yet we’ll attribute it to the fact that it was just our imagination whilst sleeping.
He’ll show us clear signs, but we’ll reassure ourselves that it’s just a coincidence

Is this you?

Do you realise that your lack of boldness to ever accept or induce change in your life, leaves you stuck in seasons which you should have graduated from a long time ago?
It keeps you stuck with people whose purpose in your life has expired, and rather than adding any goodness to you, their expiration, and past-use-by-date presence in your life is causing you to become sick (spiritually, mentally) – even though you may not notice it or admit it.

‘NEVER REJECT WHAT GOD REVEALS’

Don’t Ignore What God Says/Shows/Tells

This takes C O U R A G E.

I don’t dispute that.

And I say this because sometimes what God will show you will make you uncomfortable.
You won’t have a clue what to do about it, or how to make sense of it sometimes, but this is where I need you to remember to not lean on your own understanding.
When He shows you this thing, go back to Him and ask Him what needs to be done (as it says above).
Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but that lack of comfort is what you need for things to be propelled to the next level, or for you to be saved from a toxic relationship, or for you to avoid making a terrible decision (the list goes on).

You may ask, ‘But if I’m content as you said, isn’t that all that matters?’

Well, I’m going to say NO!

In fact, I’m screaming it!!!

The false and lazy type of contentment that some of us possess, is what causes us to settle for a substandard level of living.
Substandard fulfilment in relationships.
Substandard job.
Substandard intimacy with God…

Friend, today and always, you must realise that God has greater plans for you, and the longer you stay in a place that is no good for you, the more you become unsettled, unrested, and eventually you become robbed of your peace.
That environment can no longer contain you, it is no longer conducive for you to achieve your goals and excel in life – therefore you need to trust God, Acknowledge the Revelation, and act upon it appropriately.

All in all, when God reveals things to us, we need to realise how much of a privilege it is to be Loved so deeply by Him.
Loved so dearly, that He wants to share with us, ways in which we can have a better and more fulfilling journey of life.
Loved so fully, that He entrusts us with information that He reveals to no one else.

What I’m encouraging you to do, is regardless of how uncomfortable the potential change may seem, please please Do Not ignore God when He speaks.
As mentioned above, many times these things shown to us are for our own protection, enrichment and growth in life, therefore rather than hinder ourselves, let us Thank God for the revelation, Accept it as something that needs to be dealt with, and then Obey His way of dealing with it.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

Schedule Him In

This is somewhat a PFP, but soon I feel I’ll need to announce that less, because I can feel God transforming the tone of this platform.

That out of the way let’s talk…

If you’re someone who already actively makes time for God, and spends time with Him consistently, then well done, but still, keep reading.
There is something in here that God has for someone you know, and it is your responsibility to share it with them.
So make sure once you’ve read it, and God shows you exactly what you need to show them, you share it with them.

Now getting into the post…

Today I led a short bible study titled ‘Using your free time wisely: Getting closer to God’.

Now while the emphasis is not necessarily on the fact that it’s only in our ‘free time’ that we should attempt to grow in God, the point here is simply Making Time for God.
So truthfully, for many people who may not already actively spend enough time with Him, yes, it may start out that you find you only want to fit ‘God stuff’ in when you’re less busy – but I am sure that once you begin studying Him more, and growing in Him, you’ll understand that He deserves much more than just your left-over hours of the day.

Now let’s look at something – many of us will proudly and openly say that we love God. This is great.
However moving on to knowing God, it’s likely that fewer of us are able to claim this so boldly.

So I asked during bible study today, ‘How can you love a God you don’t know?’

I mean it’s already one thing that we don’t see Him, but then to not really know much about Him either – how is it possible to love Him?

Well here’s what we raised in our session – yes, we can still love our God without knowing Him properly.
How?

Well, it’s because we know of Him, we hear of the things He does, we are cultured and steered by peers and parents to believe in Him, we ourselves are direct beneficiaries of His kindness and mercy and grace and so much more, and most simply, because we are recipients of His love. The bible tells us that we are able to love Him, because He first loved us – (1 John 4:19). All these things enable us to love God, or rather, have love for God, despite not necessarily knowing Him.

So here’s the thing, knowing of God, is not knowing Him. Knowing of Him is not understanding Him, ‘getting’ Him, relating with Him, knowing where He’s coming from.

Friend, knowing of God is therefore probably good enough to love Him superficially but it’s hard for it to go any further than that.
And the thing is, I’m sure you desire more.
I’m sure you desire to worship God in spirit and in truth, and honour Him with your life, and Love Him with all your heart as the bible says in Matthew 22:37.
I’m sure you yearn to love Him deeper and grow in Him more than ever before.

Which is why we need to make time for God.
And in making time for God we’re studying His word, we’re opening our hearts and ears to Him, and we’re drawing closer and closer, day by day.
In drawing closer to Him, we’re learning more about Him, about His mind, about what pleases and displeases Him, and essentially we are walking and living in a way that exudes a true deep Love and Reverence for God the Father

Now I like practicality, so I’ll share a few ways how we can begin to spend more time with God, and doing the things of God.

Remembering that this is a PFP, please understand that these ideas are simply suggestions of resources, as well as people/ministers whose teachings have personally agreed with my spirit and have benefitted my walk with God.
There are also some suggestions included below that were raised by other individuals at the bible study today.
I want you to note that this list isn’t exhaustive, nor a guide to being the perfect Christian (if that exists at all), but rather it provides (hopefully) relatable and realistic ways for you to take an active step forward in Getting Closer to your God.

Before anything on the list –
The first step is to make time for God!
Whether you start by dedicating five minutes of your lunch break everyday, or by deciding to get up thirty minutes earlier each day – decide a realistic (but worthwhile) period you want to set aside for God, set it aside, spend that time with Him and just see how it goes.

Now here you are, different things you can begin to incorporate into your life, to get closer to God:

Watch videos of teachings, preachings, sermons, topics, bible discussions and so on.
Swap that music video, or reality TV show for a word of God – initially you won’t really want to do it, but just click on it (the God vid), and you’ll see how your day becomes transformed by the presence of God.
Examples: I follow One Church LA on YouTube and enjoy teachings by Pastor Toure Roberts and Sarah Jakes Roberts.
Also on YouTube, Ify Alexis has a range of messages/sermons, as well as a young women’s ministry called Love Limitless.
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – seek that Christian video/word and click it instead of skipping past it.

Read the bible – Joshua 1:8.
Now this is one of the most obvious ones, but possibly the hardest to know how to do.
A suggestion I have is to select a book in the bible, skim through to see how many chapters there are, and then create a reading plan for yourself with an aim of when you would like to read it all by e.g. one week, a few weeks, a month.
Tip: Always ensure to pray before reading – for God to give you understanding of His word and ability to apply it to life where appropriate.
If you don’t have a physical book bible, it’s easy to download any available bible app on to your phone, or access one online – I often use BibleGateway for my online bible, easy to navigate.

Use The Bible App.
There are many reading plans on this App that encourage a structure to read the bible.
Look through and pick one/some that suit you, and begin them. Once you’re done, choose another, or you may at this point want to do the above, and create your own reading schedule of a particular book in the bible.
I’ve enjoyed many of the plans written by Joyce Meyer.

Read articles on Christian blogs/platforms from people of relatable backgrounds.
This could be someone at a similar stage of life to you e.g. student-student, or someone at the stage you’re aspiring to reach next e.g. single-married; whatever you find resonates well with you for whatever topic/topics you’re seeking to learn about.
Examples: Hopefully this platform (Untainted Word) plays a helpful part in being one of the platforms you can come to, and learn.
Love Limitless as mentioned above.
My friends have also enjoyed and shared with me words from desiringgod.org.

Read devotionals.
These are words (and in some cases prayers too) that encourage you for the day, and also give a few scriptures for you to read as well.
Examples: UCB’s Word for Today was suggested at bible study today.
But you can also type in ‘devotionals’ into Google, and see what it brings you.
The Bible App above also has many of these.

Pray.
This is another obvious one and a very very important one but sometimes a difficult one when it isn’t a common practice. A suggestion raised today was to set a timer and don’t stop praying until it rings. You may only set it for 2 minutes initially, but just start with something, and gradually increase the time.
What to say when you pray? Friend, I’m not telling you what to say, I’ll just remind you that God is YOUR Father, you are HIS child, therefore be free with Him and just have an open and honest conversation with Him, and hey, don’t forget to listen back for Him speaking too.

‘Alone-time’ with God; Dates with God.
This could be dinner for two – where the other party is God, or a walk in the park, or a sit-down in the coffee shop – dedicate moments of pure ‘alone-time’, listening-time, with God.
You’ll be surprised how much He’s been waiting to share with you – He just needs you to give Him those moments.

Now go ahead and choose a couple…
I encourage each of us to select Prayer by default – as we know that this is key, and the bible does say to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), so let’s try not to go another day without a prayer, from today onwards.
From the rest of this list, I hope there’ll be at least one or two more things that you’ll be willing to try out – starting today!!

I want to end by saying this…
Having shared so many different suggestions, and opened you up to many different platforms being led by other people in the Christian faith, it is important that we always always always seek out the truth. I’m not saying question everything you read or hear, but simply pray beforehand that God will direct you to resources that will teach sound doctrine, and enrich your spirit in the way He desires for it to be!

I hope you’re excited for a new walk and a new level of Loving and Knowing God!

(Please please feel free to talk to me – let me know how this goes, how you find some of these resources and share with the rest of us some other things that maybe work well for you.)

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing,
God Bless you.

 

*Disclaimer: (and I chuckle as I write this, but it’s important that I do) I haven’t been paid to ‘advertise’ any of these ministries/platforms/websites/resources. These are genuine suggestions from myself of resources that I personally use and feel benefit my walk with God.*

Embrace YOUR Relationship With God

How amazing is it that each person’s relationship with God is exclusively unique?
God does not share the same relationship He has with you, with anyone else.

So tell me, why do we always seem to weigh up our relationship with God, against everyone else’s.

Jenny prays twice a day.
Emma fasts every week.
James has been on a pilgrimage.
Dan has read the bible cover to cover…

What other points have you highlighted from someone ELSE’s relationship with God?
Why does it matter so much to you?

We get so caught up in how other people choose to worship God and build up their relationship with Him, that we don’t invest enough time and effort into understanding exactly what and how God wants us to develop our own.

Yes, in life it is quite normal for us to see what others are doing, and use it as an encouragement to be better, however when being like so and so becomes our sole focus, we end up creating unnecessary pressure for ourselves, which results in us becoming ineffective even in what we were able to do before.

In our relationship with God, it can be the same.
When we see our brothers and sisters at a certain level in their walk with Christ, or when someone describes a method of prayer/worship that ‘brings results’, we desire to experience the same thing, so we adopt their methods and we copy.

But to copy, is to imitate, and it is at this point that we lose the authenticity that we ought to have when worshipping and fellowshipping with God.

It is worth asking ourselves why we’re copying in the first place.
Is it because we truly want to move forward in God, or is it because we want to look good, look holy, and look ‘right up there with God’ to others?   

Let us remember that God searches the heart, and knows the intentions behind our actions – Proverbs 16:2, 1 Chronicles 28:9.

The bible also tells us that God desires us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth;

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
[John 4:24]

Therefore we should realise that in the midst of our copying and trying to do it Jenny’s way, we lose the truth.
In fact we may find that gradually, we feel less fulfilled when we communicate with God, because what we’re doing simply does not work for us.

Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely beautiful for us to desire to know God better, and love Him better.
But rather than pursuing a relationship with God that looks like someone else’s, let us simply desire to be the type of men and women that God seeks out; men and women after God’s heart – 1 Samuel 13:14.
Seeking God’s heart is something we should definitely long to do, because this is someone who God can trust to do His will.

“And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’”
[Acts 13:22]

The more we seek God’s heart, the more we will grow in intimacy with Him.
As we grow in intimacy with Him, God Himself will reveal the different ways in which He desires for us to worship Him, serve Him, and live for Him.
Not only will we have restoration of authenticity in our relationship, but very simply put, our relationship with God, will be Special.

Finally, I want us to remember, that no matter how big we describe God to be, He still definitely cares about ‘little ol’ you’, and He truly does understand you – every detail about you.

So whatever your relationship with God looks like at the moment, embrace it.
Yes, you should forever strive to get closer to God, but strive to get closer in your own special way, not anyone else’s.
You aren’t competing with Emma, James or Dan, so simply focus on having an exclusive and genuine relationship between you and the God who made you.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

Gracious Words; Speak Life!

“I’m blunt”,
“I say it how it is”,
“I’ll tell him or her about themselves”.

These are statements that some of us may take pride in making,  believing that this form of ‘honesty’ is a good thing – actually, it can be extremely ineffective.

Let’s read:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
[Ephesians 4:29]

I appreciate that you desire to be ‘honest’, and want to address an issue that you may have observed concerning your neighbour, however it is important for us to consider a few things before we speak;

  • Their emotions – how will they feel after you say it, in the way you want to say it?
  • Is it your place? Is it appropriate for the comment/critique/statement to come from you in particular? (Think of your relationship with this person – will it be better if someone else addresses it?)
  • Will it benefit them? Will it help them to change something negative into positive? Or will it simply just be something you point out (possibly spitefully) and then it’s just left in the air?
  • Are you able to be constructive in providing a suggestion of how they could improve or change the habit/behaviour/attitude/issue (if applicable)?
  • What is the best way to say this thing, in order for the individual to receive it in love and desire to act/reflect on what you have said?

We must learn to differentiate between when we are doing something for ourselves and when it is truly for the benefit of others and the glory of God.
Yes, we have the responsibility as the body of Christ to point things out and correct one another, however the bible tells us to speak the truth in Love! – Ephesians 4:15.
This means your comment/correction should not come with the intention to put someone down, but rather to help better them and contribute to their upliftment.

Along with the notion of, “It’s best for them to know”, we also commonly justify an impolite or insensitive comment with the fact that the truth will set us free.
However when Jesus said this in John 8:31-32, He was referring to the truth which lies in His word and in His teachings.
Therefore this verse does not justify you telling someone their dress is hideous, or their hair smells, because firstly, Jesus does not teach this – (He teaches us to Walk in Love); and secondly, many things we consider as ‘true’ are simply just our own opinions – therefore subjective.

When we just speak – we end up saying far more than we need to. But when we think first of the implications of our speech, revise what we are going to say and most importantly ask the Holy Spirit for direction before we speak, we will find that our words will indeed build up our brothers and sisters as the verse above advises us to.

Always remember,

“The tongue has the power of death and life, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” 
[Proverbs 18:21] 

I believe this verse, in the most simple way, reminds us of the fact that the words we speak (whether into our own lives or into the lives of others) have the ability to produce completely opposite outcomes, depending on what we choose to say.

I pray each of us will choose words that bring life; into our relationships, finances, jobs, schools, and our entire lives.
Take that into this new week; ‘I choose to speak Life!’

Have a read of these verses, and let us use them as a foundation to ensure we know why we should endeavour keep our words as pure, positive and gracious as possible.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
[Proverbs 16:24]

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” 
[Colossians 4:6]

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
[Proverbs 15:4]

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,” 
[Matthew 12:36]

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
[Psalm 19:14]

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you