You are what you eat!

January 31, 2007

As i sat munching on a dried fig yesterday i found myself transported back to the time of Jesus in my mind, the times when fig trees were used in His illustrations.  I began wondering what Jesus ate besides fish and figs?

I love chocolate and pastries but for two weeks now i’ve been eating healthy.  At first i was a nightmare to be around… irritable Maria Syndrome was the diagnosis i gave myself.  In fact, it was my body reacting to withdrawing from addictive foods… all the ‘e’ colourings and preservatives and gunk.

People often say a mediterranean diet is the best, but for those of us living in the west it’s really not all that practical.  We know that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, yet we continue to abuse them in so many ways: we fill our minds with that which does not build up our souls, we fill our stomachs with addictive unhealthy foods, we fail to exercise to keep our bodies in tip top shape for the Lord.

It’s so easy to say, ‘i must be fit and healthy’, but quite another thing to bring it into reality.  Food has a hold over us – it affects our mood, and so many areas of life. 

God wants a marvellous life for you, one full of joy and energy but believe it or not, the food you eat could be getting you down.  I’m not suggesting that you suddenly try to transform your diet altogether (that’s not easy at all) but start small and reap the harvest – both white flour and white sugar are addictive… start by cutting those out and see your energy levels grow.

I want you to be the best you can be for God because food could be holding you back from claiming the life on earth God intended for you.  God give you strength and courage.

Who you doing it for?

January 30, 2007

When you do something who is it for?  Is it the people who’ll see you doing it?  Or the people you’ll tell?  Your family?  Your friends?  Yourself?

We are called to do everything for God but it’s easier said than done.

In the past my motivation for action tended to be: ‘will this look good on my C.V.?’.  Having such an attitude meant that i missed out on alot.  I may’ve passed by helping someone out if it can’t be written on my C.V..  In this i can vere towards hiding my sin, and my failings and weakness in false actions.

Like the apostle Paul i must boast in my weakness, not in the qualifications and seeming achievements.

Are you more likely to help someone if your church members are around to see how you respond?  It’s a challenge to us all.

Disobedience!

January 29, 2007

Disobedience has a cost.  In fact it changes history.

When God asked Noah to build an ark, or Joseph to move his family to a new location, if they hadn’t obeyed there would’ve been consequences for you and i today!

Believe it or not, your every decision is of vital importance.  As a small example, whether you go to a particular meeting one week will affect who you meet and possibly what happens in the future.

Sometimes God asks us to do things which are hard, which go against the world.  God gives us a supernatural ability to endure and risk.

Years back when i was planning to go to University, discerning where to go, i totally surrendered to God, taking risks, and 2 weeks before the start of term a new place got created at just the right Uni for me.

If we’re willing to step out and be different amazing things can happen!

WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO FIT IN WHEN YOU’RE SOMEONE WHO’S CALLED TO STAND OUT?

Write the vision down!

January 27, 2007

I woke up this morning with the verse from Habbakuk in mind, it’s the one about writing the vision down on stone tablets.

As i live in the 21st century i’m not going to go out and find some stone slabs, and a suitable implement to carve out a vision, however realising that it takes effort to erase something after you ‘carve it in stone’ was a useful thing to reflect on.

Can i ask you to do something today?  Would you do me the favour of getting some paper and a pen (not a pencil!!), and writing down the things you’re passionate about and would like from life. 

It might seem odd that some stranger from the UK should be asking you to do this, but i think it’s a really important thing to do.  So often when we make decisions in life we can ‘um’ and ‘er’, not knowing what God calls us too.  Equally we can sell ourselves short, allowing human limitations to restrict what God can do in us.

You might write something like this to begin with: ‘I would like to preach with signs and wonders following’.  Even if it seems an impossible dream, not least because you may have a fear of preaching, write it down anyway.  Or you might write ‘I want to bring relief to the emotional pain orphans in a home experience’, or ‘I want to live somewhere where i can have an outdoor life’.

Next you may say: ‘but these are just my dreams, they’re not what God wants for me’.  I would say: ‘write them down anyway regardless of whether they seem realistic!’.  God will hone the dream over the years – we’re imperfect human beings so will receive His vision for us imperfectly, but if we don’t write it down in the first place then He has nothing to work with.

Our God is a God of the impossible and is not limited by our weaknesses and inabilities – He works in spite of them.  Please write the vision down, then give it to God.  He has planted desires in your heart to act as a signpost to His will.  Ask Him to lessen your desire for anything that is not of Him, and to strengthen passion for the aspects of the vision which are of Him.

p.s. Thank you for the many birthday blessings yesterday.

How shall i celebrate?

January 26, 2007

Birthdays come but once a year, but how people respond to the day is markedly varied. 

Some people bemoan their getting old (suggestive of another year ‘lost’ or a step closer to pensions and less mobility), others revel in the thought of organising a party, some love the opportunity to give thanks to God for the gift of another year, others like the day to smoothly sail by without much mention… and the list goes on.

A birth-day is thinking about the day of your birth (a day most of us have no memory of!): the day you entered the world.  Some people have two birthdays – either because they are the Queen, or because they have one for the day they entered earth out the womb of their mother, and one marking the start of a clean slate after agreeing to put God in the driving seat for the first time.

I suppose a birthday could be a time to reflect on why God brought you into the world, to look back on past blessings and mistakes in an attempt to move forward in the will of God.

Maybe it could be a day when things are reversed: instead of people giving to you, you make an effort to bless others – perhaps buy them something, or make a card saying thank you for who you’ve been in my life, help them out with something… generally show others appreciation for the role they’ve played in getting you to another birthday.

Say THANK YOU to the precious people in your life before it’s too late and you regret not having done it. 

Confuser for God

January 25, 2007

Have you ever been in a situation you have desperately wanted to resolve or get out of?

It’s those dark moments where there seems to be no hope, no way forward, no solution, only bleakness.

I’ve been challenged of late to praise God in spite of the circumstances, to sing praise to Him no matter what i’m feeling, even if everything around appears to be crumbling. 

The Devil gets confused when we praise God in the middle of despair, because his great achievement would be to get us to spiral down into greater pain.

Through praise our situation will be made smaller and God will be given a door through which He can enter to bring healing.

Dissatisfaction

January 24, 2007

I often suffer from the disease of dissatisfaction.  I can be like a stroppy toddler who wants some unhealthy food my parents won’t allow me to have, or a particular toy to play with – I can say to God ‘i don’t want to be here, i want to be somewhere else’.

While out walking the other weekend in the slippy slidy mud on the hills i looked across the way to see a beautiful hill, so green as the sun shone on it.  Looking at the hill i was standing on i saw that the grass was not as radiant where i stood…. ‘how nice it would be to be on that stretch where it’s sunny’, i thought! 

As the day went on the sun then moved and shone on where i was walking, but because it was so bright i was unable to see whether the colour of the grass was now more defined. 

In life it’s good to desire more of God, more from life, but if i end up getting so frustrated with the present then i will end up getting stuck in the place which is bringing me anxiety.

Until i appreciate the NOW God can’t move me to the next phase.

Inadequate!

January 23, 2007

A sense of inadequacy hits us all at one time or another; feelings of ‘i can’t do this!’ can whell up.  When we were born there was no manual on how to interact with others, on how to be a parent or a friend. 

We might feel inadequate because we don’t have a job, because we’re not the best brother, sister, spouse or friend we can be, because we’re not as capable as others we know in a particular area.

God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.  He doesn’t love those we might aspire to be like any more than us.  God loves each of us the same, not based on our achievements or our failings rating.

Peace be yours because God loves you as you are, and smiles over you.  Peace!

Gossiping Goose

January 22, 2007

Words are powerful.  A simple ‘yes’ can result in a couple spending the rest of their lives together.  A simple ‘no’ can result in someone being told they haven’t got the job.  A ‘maybe’ in any situation can fuel confusion and fear.

It hurts alot when i hear people being spoken of badly.

Why do we humans feel the need to gossip and talk about others in a derogatory manner?  Is it to build ourselves up and present ourselves as better than others?  Is it because we feel insecure about who we are?

Today’s challenge: Say something positive to those you meet, and precede every word of negativity or criticism with something uplifting.  And ask yourself WHY you are going to say something before you say it.  THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!

The Unexpected!

January 19, 2007

Last night something was said to me which i wasn’t expecting and wasn’t prepared for. 

Many times a word has been spoken to me and at the time it has seemed hard to digest, but on reflection it has proved be a life changing word, causing me to think about things in a fresh way.

A friend of mine who is wise in spiritual matters once very gently told me that my greatest gift and indeed my greatest weakness was ambition.  At the time i was cut to the heart and slightly perturbed.  Now looking back it was one of the most significant and important things that could’ve been said to me.   It made me see my need to test my motivation for every action. 

I have come to realise that every gift we have can be used for God’s glory or for the opposite of that – we have a  choice.   Praise God for our brothers and sisters who out of Love for us and a desire for what is best raise issues which may challenge us and cause us to grow in holiness.