A Different Road

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Growing up in Australia and driving across the interior a fair number of times, I was used to driving on mud roads that were full of deep ruts or grooves.  Oftentimes  you would want to avoid these ruts because if you ended up in in one it could keep you “stuck” for many miles.

I think as people we can get stuck sometimes in character “ruts”, habits, or self protective mechanisms that we developed over time in response to situations in our lives.
And that’s where I find myself today.    Stuck down my well-travelled rut.
Reading from 1 Peter and conversations with my husband have really helped me see some deep things in my heart.  Two things specifically.
Two ruts actually: Control. And Criticism.
When I am hurt or wounded I like to go back to my ruts. When I am fearful, I like to go back to my well travelled rut. Most of the times it’s unconscious. They appear safe, and predictable. And quite harmless. Right?
Wrong. My ruts hurt people and expose a deep lack of trust in the Almighty.
1 Peter 2:21
“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing.”
Christ’s example is such a deep teaching. To be wounded for the sake of another. To choose to Love when hurt.  It is the Essence of a Godly marriage. Unconditional love.
Please walk with me (and share your thoughts) as I choose new roads to LOVE.
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Only One

Let us be Thankful

Let us be Thankful

Thursday night, we gathered. Old friends and new, to share a meal and God’s word. (http://www.meetup.com/Golders-Green-Bible-Discussion-Group/events/154380452/?fromEmail=154380452). My husband, Michael, read from Luke 17:11-19. We know the story. Ten outcasts, diseased and despised. Lepers. It struck me. Ten were healed but only one was set free.  Only one realised the King was in her midst. The odds are high that many will be touched by God’s grace, but only those who respond with gratitude, dedicating their life for His Kingdom, will receive His full blessing and acceptance; Salvation. The gate is indeed narrow.

 Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him.

Hebrews 12:28

The Power of Acceptance

 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

Romans 15:7 
 
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When I met the real Jesus for the first time I was a woman steeped in shame, fear and self-hate. Like the sinful woman in John 8 I felt the gaze of condemnation and disapproval from the “crowd” around me, but when my Savior looked at me I saw love and acceptance in His eyes and that set my heart free (v. 11).
 
Acceptance can be defined as “the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable.” (Google) Other ways its described in our language is, reception, embracing, adoption, and integration.  Isn’t that what God does when He sees His prodigal daughter? He runs to meet her, embraces her and throws a huge reception to celebrate her home coming (Luke 15:20).
 
Wow.
 
No condemnation. Just…
 
I am enough.
I matter.
I am worthy.
 
Someone once said “To be accepted by another is to have all your parts, the good, bad and ugly received by another without condemnation.”  And that is the power of acceptance. To stand “naked” and exposed, yet completely loved.
 
Thank you Jesus for accepting me into your Amazing Grace. Help me to accept others and provide opportunities to share our good, bad and ugly parts with one another so that we can be truly healed (James 5:16).

Help for our Emotions

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to (wo)man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

What an amazing promise for emotional women like me!  God says no matter what I may be feeling, He will not let me be overcome by the temptation to act upon my feelings….but provides me a way out!  Oh how many times have I wished that I took the time to let God direct me to the right “way of escape” instead of letting my feelings overtake me and lead me into saying and doing things out of anger, pride, impatience and hurt.

I did this study on emotions a few weeks ago for myself and the women in my church.  I thought I would share it with you today.

What are emotions? According to Dictionary.com they are:
– a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
synonyms include:       feeling, sentiment, sensation

The five basic emotions are: mad, sad, glad, afraid, embarrassed….but there are many more….joy, compassion, grief, rage, trust, anticipation, surprise, disgust, pride, hate, envy to name but a few.

Where do feelings come from? As stated they are triggered by circumstances, mood (hormones) or interactions with others…but they are born from our hearts.

“Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” Luke 5:22
The Bible often refers to the heart as the seat of emotions and also the part of us that generates thoughts and beliefs ( see also Mark 2:8)

The world says “Follow your heart!” but our God says:

1. Don’t follow your heart!

And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”  Genesis 4:4-7

….what were some of the feelings Cain was experiencing?
– anger, depressed, self-pity, sad

God warned Cain against following his heart! He provided a way out for Cain.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

But Instead Cain listened to his feeling and “followed his heart”. This choice led to the murder of his brother, and a lifetime of emotional misery. The bible describes him as a “Restless wanderer”.  A L O N E…. not close to God or anyone else.

– if we are not careful emotions can destroy relationships and cut us off from a relationship with God!!

It is God’s will for you to master your emotions.
What is Satan’s will?
For Sin to master us!
When you are not controlling your emotions, they are controlling you!

Proverbs 14:12
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

The world says go with your gut instinct, follow your heart, the majority rules (so it must be right),  but sadly often the  course that feels right usually leads to death, and this is why we need to only trust God’s truth for guidance

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart (emotions) and mind (intellect) and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”

I have the privilege of knowing an amazing sister in my church who struggles with her mind. In her humility she is able to accept that her thinking is essentially flawed and only trusts in God’s word for her reality.  How amazing that her “weakness” is actually a gift that allows her to embrace Proverbs 3:5-6 wholeheartedly, acknowledging Him to direct her thoughts and life.

We cannot choose how we feel, but we can choose how to respond to our feelings. And choosing according to the truth rather than our feelings actually reshapes our feelings over time.

And this is why I must cling to the daily washing of God’s word to renew my mind and remember Gods truths!

2. Take No Prisoners!
– be ruthlessly aggressive or uncompromising in the pursuit of one’s objectives.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (The Voice)
We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.

We need to be aggressive and uncompromising in taking prisoners of every negative thought and emotion that comes into our mind and making them obedient to the God’s truth.

2 Peter 1:3,5-9

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Christians should be Growing! Otherwise we are Dying!
We are all works in progress..but need to always be striving to add to our faith Godly qualities, so we can be effective and fruitful!

Us older women need to be examples so we can teach the younger women to be self controlled (Titus 2:5)

Proverbs 16:32
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Look at how powerful a person actually is who can control or “master”  her emotions. she is more powerful than an army. In contrast, the person who is under the control of emotions is like a person overtaken by an army.

Proverbs 25:28
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

– we become weak when we don’t exercise self control! Why! Satan is croachung waiting for opportunity to take over! More vulnerable to spiritual attack…demonic.

Matthew 12:43-45 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

This should make you shudder and fear God! Demons thrive on negative emotions (bitterness, hate, malice, unforgiveness), and it’s a wide open door for them to move right in on a person and develop many spiritual, mental and even physical bondages. That  is why we need to make sure we’re adding to our faith and filling our hearts with good things.

Ephesians 4:27
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold”
– deal quickly with a sinful emotion and or attitude!

Take No Prisoners!
*create a list of “NEVERs”
I will never raise my voice, I will never question my husband in front of the kids, I will never curse, I will never slam doors, throw things, destroy things, I will never lash out with mean words, I will never hang up the phone on someone, i will never spank my children in anger, I will never let the sun go down Angry! I will never miss a meeting of the body because of my emotions. I will never talk negatively about someone behind their back I will never send a harsh/mean text/email.  I will never speak in anger to my sisters or brothers. I will never seek revenge.

Psalm 119:112
My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.

I challenge you to write a list of NEVERs and share them with your husband, and discipler.

3. Strictly Come Dancing

Galatians 5:22-26
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

– ballroom danced? Not easy!
– it is about being in step, together, becoming one
– one person has to lead and the other follow, and when it’s done properly the result is something beautiful

– Paul wrote we that we need to keep in step with the spirit
– God is inviting us to dance with him! we need to let God lead and follow his lead!

Practicals:

1. Prayer
Ecclesiastes 7:3
“Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better and gains gladness.”
Hebrews 5:7
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”
– pour out your heart to God – healing!
– why was Jesus heard? Because he submitted himself to God!

2. Phone or text a Friend – Get Open – be vulnerable
Psalm 32:3-5
“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and nightyour hand was heavy on me;my strength was sappedas in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”And you forgave the guilt of my sin. ”
James 5:16
– confess, prayer, healing

3. Identify the root

– write out my emotions…..especially anger! Once I get it out I am able to identify the root (which is usually being hurt) and then get a plan to resolve it.

4. The Power of words
Proverbs 12:25 NKJV
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.”
– Change your heart and mind by changing how you say things and how you think things
– there’s power in words!
– think good thoughts, give people the benefit of the doubtless
– forgive – most people don’t hurt us on purpose.
– Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
– anxiety and fear….think the worst…I challenge you to think the best!

5. Look at your lifestyle – stressors
– exercise
– rest
– good nutrition
– music! Saul – angry spirit….David would play harp
– time with God
– being in bible studies