dull day

Essential Ingredients for Life

Do you find that you have too many lacklustre days?

Ones where nothing seems to happen; that are just filled with the mundane. Is it that you’re just getting older and life isn’t as exciting as it used to be? Is it time to change jobs, find a new partner, take up an extreme sport or splash out on a fast car?

Well you could, but I’m guessing that in a short while the mundane days will return and then it will be time to make another change.

So, what are the essential ingredients required for a fulfilled and happy life? Is it the right job, the right partner, the right pastime. Is it the chasing after your dreams, ambitions or next exciting purchase?

Whilst all of these things have the potential to bring happiness, all will ultimately disappoint. I believe that there’s something else that has the potential to transform the mundane or stressful days regardless of our position.

Ingredient 1: Understanding Your Purpose

First and foremost, it’s vital to know that you were created on purpose and designed with purpose. God decided to create you. It wasn’t simply the decision of your parents. Nor was it just the lack of use of the appropriate method of contraception. No. God decided that he wanted a ‘insert your name here’ in the world so he created you. And why did he want one of you? Because he desired to have a friend to share creation with, someone to share his love with, someone to be in his family.

It is written in Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Ingredient 2: Take Your Eyes Off You

A focusing on our own situation is a sure and certain way to find unhappiness and dissatisfaction in life. Why? Because we’ll always be constantly aware of how very inadequate we truly are. This leads to only one conclusion, that the problem cannot be me but must be the people and things around me. I can’t possibly be at fault!

If we’re going to get a true perspective in life we must take our eyes off ourselves and look first to Christ, our perfect saviour. We first must see that Christ is the answer to our inadequacy. We are only truly complete in Him.

Acts 17:28 says, “For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Colossians 2:10 says, “So you also are complete through your union with Christ.

Ingredient 3: Find Your Function

Tools work best when they are doing what there was designed to do, not something else. Have you ever tried doing a piece of DIY with the wrong tools? It’s hard work and usually ends in a botched job or a poor result. We need to the use the right tools for the right job. And that goes for people as much as it does for tools. We’re each created with a set of distinct abilities, gifts and talents. God had a purpose in mind when he created us. Why? Because he so values us he wants for us to share in his work. Therefore it’s essential that we find out what job has given us and start operating according to the maker’s instructions. Operating in any other way is going to make a botched job of both your life and others.

1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for creating me; for choose to make me as you designed. I praise you for wanting me, for loving me.

Forgive me when I’ve not acknowledge you, when I’ve focused on my own needs and desires, and have not operated according to your plan.

Help me Lord, to live my life out in your service; that I might help fulfil your great mission. Give me your spirit and increase my faith so I can accomplish all that you have set out for me. May I be a blessing to all that I meet today.

Amen

He lovingly leads us

He lovingly leads us

As a self-employed person, I’m in the business of giving advice and supporting other self-employed people running their own businesses. Although, being self-employed has it’s benefits it is often tough, bringing new pressures to bear. Not only do you have to balance responsibilities at home and work, but you also have to be a master of many skills, not just in what you’re selling to your customers. For instance, you also need to be a salesperson, marketer, strategist, product manager, accountant, administrator, secretary, receptionist, host and so on. Knowing how to prioritise everything can be very challenging.

The other difficulty for someone in charge of their own time, is the temptation to be drawn into new opportunities. For instance, when someone comes to you for help and they are willing to pay you, it can be hard to say no. But if that activity isn’t part of your strategy then it can prevent you actually achieving your goals.

And this is where I begin to thing about God’s purposes for my life, whether that conflicts with my own plans. As someone who spends a lot of time developing strategies, it can be a challenge to know when it’s right to divert from a plan. On the one hand, diverting can both delay and dilute the original goal but on the other, we cannot simply ignore everything around us in order to fulfil our own goals; life’s not that simple.

We need to allow time to reflect on where we’re going and we need to be willing to occasionally put down our plans in order to help someone else. Whilst goals are a valuable tool for many aspects of our life, we shouldn’t become a slave to them and exclude all others. After all, the journey really is more important that just getting to the destination.

If you’re task or goal oriented, here’s some tips on how to prevent losing sight of the here and now:

Schedule time to listen and reflect

I schedule time first thing in the morning to focus on the various roles I fulfil. On Monday’s I think about the people I come into contact through my work. On Wednesday’s I think about my friends and family, on Thursday’s I think about people linked to the charity I work for. This practise ensures that I am being regularly mindful of people despite my busy schedule.

Schedule time for people

Make space in your diary for people that doesn’t involve work. All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, but tells people you’re more interested in projects than people. No matter what our work is, the work is always people and not projects. Put time in to have lunch with others, to go places together and intentionally try to find out about people. Show an interest in others, and this includes your partner and your family; don’t neglect them because of your busy schedule.

Make time to discuss plans and ideas

Having a mentor is one of the most beneficial things you can do in business. It’s invaluable to be able to share your ideas with someone who can help you put them into some sort of order, who’s able to ask you questions you haven’t thought about. Getting someone else’s perspective prevents me from taking on too much and keeps me focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. I actually have several mentors that I meet with monthly. Each one supports me with different roles, such as my charity work or my business.

Make time to think about the bigger questions

No matter what your personal beliefs, one things for certain and that each of us have specific gifts and abilities; we each enjoy different things. It’s important to make the most of our opportunities in life, that means spending time to discover our natural gifts and abilities, looking for opportunities to use them and investing time in developing them. This might not be as hard as it seems. I spend time praying and meditating, I also read specific books and articles and I seek out people with similar talents to myself. What I find is that I learn more about who I am each year that passes. This spurns me on to be the best version of myself that I can be, and to seek to put my talents to best use helping others.

Cultivate a good attitude

Whilst fighting hard and being tenacious are good qualities, it’s important to recognise when it’s time to stop. This means having the humility to admit defeat at times and defer to another course of action. This might mean letting someone else take over or shutting something down all together. It’s may also mean needing to forgive others and choose to have a positive outlook for the future. Carrying unnecessary baggage around is going to seriously slow you down!

As a follower of Christ I am continually reminded that he is my guide. He doesn’t just give me wise counsel and advice but he leads me. He comes into my situation and leads me out and up. When I lose my footing or stray from the path, he returns for me, takes me by the hand and leads me back. Mistakes are forgiven, hope restored and we begin again.

Bible Passages

Jeremiah 29:4-11 v11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

James 4:13-17 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Red Wine Stains

Accepting Limitations

Recently I have started to get up early each morning around 5:30am. I was tending to find that staying in bed until 7-8 o’clock left me feeling drowsy and I found it very difficult to get into gear. Furthermore, God had specifically told me many years ago that this was a discipline that I needed to master, since it was going to be of major benefit to my life.

Typically I come downstairs, as quietly as I can so as not to wake up everyone else in the house, go into the lounge, and spend time talking with God and planning my coming day. Over the last few days I kept being drawn to an old, circular purple mark on the hearth in front of the fireplace. It looks like at some point, someone placed a wine glass down and some of the split liquid had soaked into the stone. I think it has been there ever since we moved into the house 11 years ago, but for some reason I was really drawn to it this time.

I decide to take a closer look at this offending blemish that ruined what was a beautiful plinth of fine marble. I ran my finger across it; it felt slightly rough to the touch. With my thumbnail I scratched at the surface to see what I was dealing with. “Is it really such a permanent mark?”, I thought to myself. I began to scratch at it with a bit more urgency, applying greater force. To my amazement this seemingly unmovable disfigurement began to disappear. I slowly worked my way round the shape watching it get gradually lighter and lighter until it refused to lighten any more. I then marched to the kitchen and brought back a cloth and a knife. I continue to rub at my tenacious adversary. Almost gone now, I applied the knife and gently scrapped at the surface. In just a few minutes, what had stood for over a decade was gone without a trace.

The question I asked myself was this – “Why didn’t I do something earlier?” With such minimal effort the issue was resolved in such a short space of time. I’d presumed that this issue was a permanent fixture and it hadn’t even occurred to me that there might be way to remove it. How often can this be said of many of life’s issues. They linger with us year after year, niggling away at us. Not too irritating that we take positive action to address them, but they stop us to scratch regularly only to forget about it for another day. I think that God occasionally reminds us that he is our healer and that even the most long standing of issues can be resolved. We sometimes just need to listen for his prompting and go with the leading of the holy spirit. And when we do this we typically find that God does something quite incredible, something that makes us stand up in amazement.

So don’t just accept things as they are, no matter how long standing the problem might be. God can resolve it because he does not want us to go through the whole of life living with the hurts of the past. Who knows, maybe today is the day when God says, “I want to do something really special for you today. You know that thing that’s been niggling you and holding you back? Well today I’m going to take it away; erase it completely.” Get ready to receive something wonderful from the father that loves you more than life itself.

Luke 4:18-19a

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

How do I find my purpose

How do I find my purpose?

Evidence shows that finding meaning and purpose in your life is one of the main contributing factors that leads to happiness. Knowing that your life has meaning and that you are valued and loved for who you are, and not what you contribute, leads to true joy and satisfaction. The difficulty is that many do not know what their purpose is in life and do not feel at all valued by others or God. Dare I say it, but christians can also be amongst those feeling as if their life lacks purpose.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing” is something I’ve often heard said. It’s typically someone who changes jobs regularly, often buys new outfits or changes the style of their hair. They are normally the kind of person who complain a lot about life in general. They are restless. How do I know this? Because I was a complainer and job changer for much of my life!

I’ve always had great ambition, ever since I was a young man. Even though I’m somewhat older, that ambition for greater things remains very strong within me. At the age of eleven I made the decision to become a christian. I felt such a powerful sense of purpose and just knew that life was never going to be dull. I knew that there were great things in store for me. This wasn’t just because I’d been told this at church. I felt it within my very core. The problem I had was that I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to be doing that was so important!

I was desperate to find out where it was I was going and arrive at my final destination. I didn’t realise that life was a journey. I had the tendency to focus on the end goal and not look at the here and now. What happened is that I often missed what God was trying to show me right then. I had very little ability to see what it was that I was supposed to be doing on any given day. For this reason I tended to be easily distracted.

The other problem that I suffered from was waiting. I was neither patient nor pro-active. Waiting for something to happen was my default position. “God should just do something as I try my best to wait.” And I did try my best to be patient but often I would lose interest and go and do something else instead, something not at all helpful like going out drinking with my friends or playing computer games for hours on end.

So what’s the answer I hear you say? Should I wait patiently, continually praying, reading my bible, meditating and practising being thoughtful? Perhaps then God will reveal what I am to do?

Well, yes and no. Do you want to know the answer to life’s biggest question – why am I here. Are you ready?

You’re here because YOU ARE his purpose. He purposed your very existence because he wanted you to exist and to be in relationship with you. He loves everything about you.

So what do you do with your time knowing that you are created for God’s enjoyment? Firstly, enjoy it. You can’t go wrong. How can you have any worries knowing that a loving God created you without making any mistakes. He designed you and planned out your life from start to end. So make every effort to live a life worthy of the investment that has been made in you.

Next, move into action and get out of your seat. Go out today and expect to see God’s purpose everywhere you go. There are no coincidences in God’s kingdom. He has purpose for you each and every day and provides continual opportunities for you to be of value in this world. No matter what anyone else thinks he sees all the good deeds you do and will reward you for each and every one. That’s not to say you are earning the approval of God; if you love him you already have it. No. You should simply want to please the one who loves you.

Go and speak to people and find out about them. Find out about their interests, passions, pains and potential. Be God’s purpose in the lives of those around you. Visit places and learn about the activities that go on there, the organisations that contribute to the local economy, the charities that seek to support those in need, the churches that seek to serve their local communities. Find out what’s on, where people gather, where they go to unwind. Find where God is leading you to be his purpose.

Don’t just make a difference but be a difference. Give it your best shot. You weren’t just designed to make a difference in this world, but you are the difference to this world. For God so loves you that he made you unique, gave you gifts and abilities and provides you opportunities to make a real and lasting impact.

So what are you waiting for? Get up and go. He’s with you all the way.


 

Col 1:10-13
Live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Busyness

Eyes on you

I don’t know about you but when it comes to looking after number one, I’m pretty good at it, ashamedly so. I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess to how much of my day I spend looking after my own priorities – by that I mean thinking about my own needs instead of those around me.

Some would argue that this is no such thing as a selfless act, that even when doing things for others the giver is still benefiting for the warm glow of satisfaction. I think that this is going too far. There are certainly many acts of sacrifice that people make everyday that they neither enjoy or get satisfaction from. Anyone who is a parent knows this. Disciplining our children is always difficult for a parent but it’s a very necessary and vital part of the child’s development.

Looking after number one can take a lot of time. There is a lot to sort out! By the time I’ve written my many lists of all the things  I have to do there is little time left for anyone else. Of course, many of the things on my list are necessary and are often for the direct benefit of others, so what’s the problem?

Well, it’s not the list of tasks or the actual acts that are the problem. It’s the focus. Even in the planning list of priorities, whether for myself or others, there is the potential to focus on the wrong things. I therefore start rushing about doing things that are sometimes unnecessary and occasionally completely unhelpful. This isn’t just about whether I’m being selfish, thinking of only of myself. No. It’s about first and foremost having my focus on the only one that can help give me a clear perspective on life.

By focusing my attention on God I stop looking at my own needs, stop looking at the list of everything that needs doing, even stop looking at the needs of everyone else. And as I gaze at my father I find total acceptance, complete forgiveness, wholeness and peace. He then helps me to order my thoughts, shows me things I hadn’t noticed and then I can begin to get my priorities straight.

My outlook for the coming day has fundamentally changed. Now, as I go about my tasks, I am mindful of the people I meet. I am sensitive to what is going on in their lives. I am relaxed when trouble comes my way. And at the end of the day, I find that everything that needed to be done has been achieved. Why not start today by getting your focus onto the one who can help determine the right steps for the coming day?

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
A greater source of strength

The New Starter Test

Don’t you find that life is full of patterns. As if there are a set of laws that have to be followed. For example, the moment you make a decision to change or to start something anew there comes an immediate challenging test to try and wreck our plans. It’s not even been five minutes since we decided to turn over a new leaf, or to try extra hard from now on. We’ve made what seems like a tough and real decision to do something good. Then BANG! Not so quick, now you’ve got your special powers you can fight this monster problem.

This happened to me only yesterday. I’d been thinking and praying about whether to take on a new role within a charity I am involved in. It’s a position with a lot of responsibility and I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the job. After spending time talking to various people and listening to God everything seemed to stack up. I decided that it was the right thing to do and knew that the time was right. Before I’d even informed anyone about my decision, out of the blue came a major issue that had the potential to change my mind straight away.

This is where the rubber hits the road. God’s wants to know how serious I am, and whether I and going to trust in his ability or my own. This is one of those patterns that we see all the time and are never seemingly prepared for no matter how obvious it is to others.

My first instinct is to draw up a plan of action and to start firing off emails. My mind is spinning, desperately trying to conjure up ideas that will fix the situation. I’m in serious danger of falling at the very first hurdle. I’m thinking to myself, “I’m not up for the job. I can’t do this.” I’m already not relying on God.

It’s then as I sit down for morning quiet time and begin to read his word and clear my mind of the troubles that he softly begins to speak to me. He tells me that I am to struggle and strive for his purposes but not to use my strength and energy. I’m to use his! How on earth is that possible I ask myself. Can someone strive and wrestle a problem with another person’s power. Wouldn’t that be great if it were true. I could dream up the best person to handle this situation and use all of their gifts and abilities instead of my own.

Well, apparently it is possible. Colossians 1v28 says ‘I labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” So how do I use God’s power instead of my own? Firstly I need to talk to him about my challenges and allow him in to my situation. Secondly, I need to start trusting in his ability and believe he’s going to help me. Lastly, I need to revise my plan and expect him to do all that I cannot.

So it’s time to start trusting this morning in the one who is our inexhaustible source of strength, who is for us and with us in every situation.

Busy Bees

I’ll take care of it

Just when I begin to get everything sorted out, with all things in their right place, someone messes up what I’ve spent so long putting straight. Do you ever feel like that? The days are not long enough and all the time seems to disappear. I’m a list writer and without my lists I don’t get very much done. They are a necessity that keeps me from procrastinating or being drawn off at a tangent. They help me focus on what I need to do and remind me where I was if I get pulled into something else.

The problem with lists is that they can become rather long, especially as I being to plan out all the various things I have to take care of. There’s stuff to do round the house, there’s my work, there’s church, places I need to go, people I need to see. Something is always being forgotten.

Then there are the things that I didn’t even think about; thoughts that didn’t even enter my head. How on earth did I forget to get a mother’s day card for my wife from the dog? Why didn’t I think about what we would have for dinner this evening? Why didn’t I see that big problem looming up and do something about it sooner? There is just so many things to consider; sometimes it seems as if the world is just too big.

And, of course it is. The world, even my little part of it, is far to big for me to manage all of the details and it’s kind of inevitable that I’m going to fail to look after it all. It’s a pretty good job that, first and foremost, none of my failings are held against me. God’s word says that he keeps no record of wrongs, that I’m forgiven and nothing is held against me. Secondly, he says that he will take care of everything that I forget or neglect to do. Everything!

This means that after I’ve finished doing my work for the day, I do not need to worry or even think about the things I’ve not done. All I need to do is focus on the here and now, just today. That doesn’t mean I don’t plan for tomorrow, it means that I don’t need to worry about it. If those plans get blown off course or never come to pass then that’s alright. I can only do what I can do. Just when I need it I can rest without any guilt or condemnation. I am accepted and loved for who I am and not what I achieve.

Psalm 130:3,4 NIV If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Philippians 4:19 MSG You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.
Try Praying

Have you ever tried praying?

Life can be tough, but is it tough enough to seek help?

I think each one of us has a certain level of determination to be self-sufficient, a need not to rely on others. Some have tremendous levels of drive and are fiercely independent, seemingly able to operate in total isolation without any support. Some appear weak and feel the need to tell everyone their troubles as they desperately look for someone to share their burdens, secretly wishing they were stronger and more readily able to withstand the pressures of life.

For us Brits it’s often a sense that we don’t want to be a burden on others; that somehow we will be inconveniencing people if we ask for their help and if we are too much of a burden they will no longer offer their friendship. Or we think they will see us as pretty pathetic and we’ll feel even worse about ourselves. So we continue to aspire to be like the many people around us, that are doing the exact same as us – being independent and standing on their own two feet.

So here’s the thing. Most, if not all, are not doing very well at this self-sufficiency thing. It might appear as if they have it all together by themselves but it’s all a front. Unseen by others they are in one of two camps or somewhere in-between.

Camp one: not doing very well. In camp one people spend a lot of time and energy planning, covering up, distracting themselves, being busy and avoid problem. People here are either tremendously busy doing seemingly nothing of real value (by that I mean stuff that needs doing but that virtually no-one will remember) or they are trying to cheers themselves up. They are always talking about the next thing they are going to do or buy, and tend to focus on themselves more than most.

Camp two: they have a secret supply of help. In this camp people have friends that they talk to and share their problems with. They are actually sharing their weakness and failings with others and are getting help. These people have a sense of security and confidence that is not found in camp one. They are not as independent and strong as they appear. Their secret power supply is coming from others.

So where are you? Are you in camp one desperately trying to get to camp two? Or spending some time in camp two but more often than not you’re visiting camp one?

It’s typically only when things get so bad that we can no longer cope that we reach out for help. And what do we find? We find that people do not judge, they don’t drop us and run, they are pleased to have been asked.

The good news is that there is hope. Sometimes finding friends to confide in can be a tricky business. There is, however, another option – Prayer. There is one who already knows all of our weaknesses and failures but loves us despite them. A person that is ready to listen night or day will never by shocked when they hear what we’ve got to say. God really is good.

So why not try praying today. If you’re not sure where to start then take a look at this great booklet called ‘Try Praying’. You can download a free copy here: http://www.trypraying.co.uk

Storms of life

Who, little me?

In January this year I was having possibly the worst time of my life. I had been accused of causing a major overrun on a project at work and was off sick with stress. Twice I had collapsed at work during meetings with my then boss – a humiliating experience when trying to defend yourself from blame. I was struggling to sleep, often waking at 3 or 4am. My head was clouded and I couldn’t think straight. I had no appetite. Worst of all, I could not think of a plan to fix the problem.

So, where was I? Well, I was precisely where God wanted me – helpless. I usually spend most of my waking moments planning and strategising. My head’s often full of ideas and dreams. A lot of the time I’m thinking about how to fix problems; problems at work, problems at home, my problems, other peoples problems, even God’s problems. It’s a full time occupation!

God said this to me a few years ago, “I don’t need your contribution. I don’t need your help. I do not need your ideas, thoughts or opinions… but I want you.” That really broke me, in a good way.

We imagine that our problems are ours to fix. Quite often we’re the cause of the problem and we feel obligated to try and make amends, and rightly so. But the truth is this – it is often not within our power to fix the situation, nor is it God’s plan for us to fix it.

God chooses us, despite all our failings. In fact, he chooses us because of our weakness. What he wants from us is to trust him in all circumstances.

You see, God is fully self-sufficent. He is not in need of anything. He is not some weak, insecure power that craves attention, who would pop out of existence if everyone stopped believing in him. No. He requires no-one but he desires everyone; because He values us, more than that, He loves us.

We not stuck in our situation because we have a wrong view of ourselves, but because we have the wrong view about how God sees us. We’re not the solution to our problem – He is.

No matter how bad the situation there is someone who is able to be trusted. Let’s learn to trust in the one who values far more than we could ever know.

Dear God

Self-help is not the answer to my problems. I’m all out of ideas. There is seemingly no way out, but I keep on trying to plan.

I recognise that now is the time to stop. I’ve done my best and I’m at the end of the road. I hand over my situation to you – finally. You’re going to have to take it from here.

God, I thank you for being so infinitely patient with me, as I struggle along with life without asking for your help. Forgive me. You are faithful and loving and kind. You value me not because of what I can do but just because I’m me.

Thank you that I can place all of me into your capable, strong hands. I can rest easy in the midst of the storm.

In Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of heaven's armies.
Zechariah 4:6 LT
Who can advise the Spirit of the Lord or be his teacher or give him counsel?
Isaiah 40:13
The battle is not yours, but God's.
2 Chronicles 20:15
The Lord does not depend on weapons to fulfil his plans - he works without regard to human means.
1 Samuel 17:47

 

Debt Crisis

Most western economies have suffered from financial depression over the last few years and analysts would generally agree that the cause is bad debt. Bad debt is money invested with little to no chance of a return. Now, while we didn’t necessarily make those investments directly ourselves, we are all paying the price.

Society is a lot like that. Anxiety and depression is common place in the western world. The cause of depression is bad investments. We have invested our time and energy in the wrong things in an attempt to make our lives more comfortable and our future more secure. The things we thought were sound have been shown to be anything but.

What God requires for the payment of our debts in His economy is obedience, humility and submission. These are not popular themes in modern society. The last thing we want to do is to put ourselves in someone else’s hands, especially when it comes to our money, our family and our personal ambitions. But if we begin to put our ‘ours’ in His hands, then we are investing our most valued resource, ourselves.

God isn’t asking us to put ourselves into someone else’s hands. He’s asking us to put ourselves in His hands. That is the big difference.

Where do we get the idea that we know best? How many of us have heard it said, “If you want something doing, do it yourself” or “Trust is earned not given”. In our arrogance we often believe that we are the only reliable person we know. Perhaps because we’ve been let down in the past and do not want to get hurt again. I have walked that path. But it leads only to myself, my own understandings. I need His understandings; His hands.
In and of ourselves we have little to no ability to be resilient when hurt by others. But we are going to experience pain at the hands of others and this is absolutely unavoidable.

There are many ways people choose to deal with this pain and nearly all of them are self-destructive. And at times they are more destructive than the original offence, whether intentional or unintentional. For it is our response that dictates how we will feel and who we will become, our reaction that causes the damage in our life.

Resilience is not about making ourselves into some sort of untouchable. Hollywood would have us believe that toughness is about hardness, about justice and revenge. It is modelled as something to aspire to, something to work towards; self-reliance the way to a happy life.

Instead God calls us to die to self. To put ourselves into the only truly trustworthy hands – His hands. Only God is able to give us the true resilience to lead a life of love, submission and service to others and to Him. Then we are able to soak up the punches that life throws at us and come out undamaged on the other side. Life’s hands can no longer harm us; we are in His.

God not only promises to pay off our spiritual debts for us but he also promises to put enough into our account to cover our future bills. Just so long as we continue to bank with the saviour we’ll never find ourselves in debt again.

Dear God

I pray that you would forgive me for seeking to protect my own interests. For I have invested my time and efforts in the wrong things. I have yielded to the influence of others and handed control of my life over to those who hate me.

I will refuse to be led down a path of sorrow and despair for I now know a better way. It is the way of love. It is your way.

I choose to lay down my life and put my trust in you – the one true, loving God. I bring you all my debts and thank you for paying all of it. I want to be obedient to you because you deserve it. May my life bring you glory and honour.

In Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out
everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you
do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health; your very bones will vibrate
with life! Honour GOD with everything you own; give him the first
and the best. Your barns will burst; your wine vats will brim over.
Proverbs 3:5-12 MSG
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore
honour God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19b-20
He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his
name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3