Thursday, 5 May 2016

F is for ...



Facing the Giants. 

So this post is about two things which come together... I hope!!! 

Our church AGM was on Thursday night and as usual our Pastor started it off with a devotional. This year it was based around 1 Samuel 17 - where David has arrived to the site of the big battle to find out no one is willing to face the giant Goliath. 



As part of one of his points, the Pastor talked about Saul talking a good fight, and trying to give David his armour to wear, but not actually being willing to fight the fight himself. He pointed out that we can do this too, telling people what we think they should do, but not doing anything ourselves. He also mentioned how God equips us all differently and so really the only person wearing our armour for the battle should be us. This REALLY got me thinking. 

You see I am very good at telling other people what I think they should do. Whether it comes as a friendly conversation, directions in work or advice to someone I'm helping to disciple, I have lots of ideas of what will help them and solve their issues... Yet I'm not ready to do anything about my own.

If you happen to be blessed to know me personally ( and yes that's sarcasm - blessed is not what you'd be!!!) you will know that I have lots of issues. From my weight, my issues with food, my inability to keep on top of my house and my habit of never finishing anything... I definitely have lots of things I need to work on in my life. But it's just so much easier talking about someone else's life. 

And I'm not talking about this in a 'take the log out of my eye before I help you take the speck out of yours' way.  I'm talking about having a heart to genuinely help people to grow and to face their giants, but finding that actually I do this sometimes because it's easier than facing my OWN giants. 

If you think about it it makes perfect sense. If I am helping someone else to get over an addiction or an issue in their life it is because it's so much easier to do that than to admit that I am struggling with my own addiction to food. I can give them all the advice I wish I could take... but am too scared to try. I spout off the verses that I know will help them through - but that I don't want to let into my soul because I know the change that will come. 

But God gave me these thoughts, strategies and verses to get MY life in order, to really focus on Him and to give Him the glory. I'm not saying I can't use them to also help others, but I need to be honest enough to know that I need them first. He doesn't want me to stay stuck in this hole, facing a giant that He's already beaten, just because I'm scared of what will change in my life. 

For me it's simple. I can't remember a time when I was slim, fit and healthy, and I panic at the thought of being that now. I know that it may bring more attention as people watch me change, whereas I am happy right now to sit in the background and be the 'cheery fat girl'. It will mean that I automatically will need to do more - from simple, wonderful things like go swimming with my boys on a Friday night, to things like feeling obligated to do some things to help other people which I'm incapable of doing at the size I'm at now. 

So I'm happy to stay fat, unhealthy and unfit. Because I fear change and the victory. I let that fear be the giant I'm telling everyone else to beat, while I sit back in my tent and watch. 

But God has already beaten ALL of our giants. No matter whether it's something big like addiction, weight, fear, self-confidence, or something smaller like the wall that seems to rise up at my front door if I ever try to go talk a short walk... He has beaten them all and through Him we have the VICTORY!! We can truly face every giant and be the conqueror, just like David. 

"For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you
against your enemies to give you victory."
Deuteronomy 20:4

All through God. 

So back to the beginning... 



'Facing the Giants' is one of my favourite Christian movies. It's an amazing film by the team that also brought us Fireproof, Courageous and War Room films and is a definite to put on your 'to watch' list. Yes, it's about a college Amercian football team, but it is about so much more than that. You are literally yearning for them to go that extra mile at one point, and you want everything to work out. It's about the power of prayer, trusting in God no matter what's going on around you and learning that in Him all things are possible. 

So if you get a chance to watch it, or if you've already seen it, comment and tell me what you thought of it - and let's get facing these giants together. 

Keep shining xx 

Monday, 2 May 2016

Psalm 119


This term I am spending some time reading Psalm 199, working my way the LOVE GOD GREATLY study for the Psalm. So I thought since it is a wonderful Psalm with some major challenges in it, I'd share some of the things I'm getting out of my daily coffees with God. 

This week I'm going to highlight 3 different passages that have really touched me and made me reevaluate my relationship with God, looking at where it is and where it should be.


"Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. 
Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”
Psalms 119:1-2

Wow - right in at the deep end!!! Does my life reflect His commands and His glory? I would definitely have to say no. I sin way too much each and every day, and my attitudes (esp laziness, selfishness and pride) are not at all God-glorifying. I am so in need of this reminder. I long to live a life of integrity and know that I reflect Him but there is so much in my life right now that doesn't. I am truly praying that I'll really see God work and transform me over this study - I need it! 


“I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. 
I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.”
Psalms 119:14-15

I need to spend time with our Father to really understand what He wants of me and how I'm supposed to live my life. He has laws for a reason - not only to help me live right, make the right decisions to be the best version of me, but also so I can see exactly how amazing the gift of His Son is. His Word should impact everything I do - and I definitely need to work on that! I want to be able to rejoice, to be glad when I'm found wanting in some areas, because I know that that is when God can come in and work His power in my life. If I ignore it then I'll never ask for His help and too easily fall into thinking I can do it all on my own. 


“Keep me from lying to myself; 
give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.”
Psalms 119:29  

This verse really struck me. I am forever lying to myself about my failures or issues. For instance, I eat something I don't need, but tell myself I needed it... Or I don't exercise and tell myself there was a very good reason... Or buy so sing online and pretend to myself that it wasn't very dear, I really need it and I have the money so why shouldn't I get it... 

Even though I know that I eat too much and too emotionally, I need to exercise or I will end up not being able to even move, and that the money would be much better spent elsewhere. 

And because of this I self-sabotage anything good I try to do. This is a continual cycle of behaviour that has to change. Not only is it destructive to me, but it also impacts everyone around me. 

I need to get back to the Word, to stop kidding myself and learn from the source what I should be doing. God is the only one who can help me so I need desperately to give it to Him.  




And so it continues... This Psalm is amazing and I'm so pleased to get another chance to study it. What are you studying right now and what is God teaching you? 

Keep shining xx 



Sunday, 1 May 2016

Meddlin' Madeline Mysteries...

When I first read about the chance to be on a launch team for 'Sweet on me' I was so excited! Chautona Havig is easily one of my favourite authors. She got me hooked after I read 'Ready or Not' (Aggie's Inheritance Book 1) so much so that I immediately bought and read the other two books in the series!!! 



So it was with great excitement that I signed up, ready to read the first book of a brand new series. And boy was I surprised! Not only did it completely surpass my expectations, but now I'm just devastated that I have to wait until she writes the next book in order to read it!! I'm not the most patient of people! 

Madeleine is an amazing character and I bonded really quickly with her quirkiness, her independence and feisty spirit. I love the fact that she is lost in her own thoughts at times, and I adore the way those around her interact with that! The 'will-she-ever-notice-him' is lovely and I can't wait to see what happens as the series progresses. 

This first story focuses on Madeline's suspicions of her friends fiancĂ© as she follows him to investigate and see if he is what he claims to be. As she explores the seedier side of Rockland her eyes are opened to a different side of life. I don't want to spoil it for all of you - so you'll just have to buy it to find out what happens!!!! 

Meddlin' Madeline is now a fantastic friend and I'm looking forward to seeing what she gets up to next!! 

Keep shining xx 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

E is for...

Empty... 

When my hubby and I were off during the Easter holidays we took a little trip together. It was lovely but one thing really struck me as we walked around and visited some of the places.


This was the scene in more than one church/place of worship. You see it was the week before Easter - known as Passion Week and the Roman Catholic Churches we visited all had their crucifixes covered because "Jesus isn't on the cross yet" (reply from one of the guides when I asked!!) 

It struck me as sad that the rest of the year they portray Him still on the cross with their crucifixes, yet cover Him during Passion week. 

I'm here to remind you that the cross is as EMPTY as it was during Passion week! He isn't there anymore - in fact He was only there for one day - Good Friday. 

We need to remember that He died, was buried and on the third day HE ROSE AGAIN - so not only is the cross EMPTY but so is the tomb!!! 

He's ALIVE!!!! 

So then next time you think about Him - while it's wonderful to remember what He did for us when He died for our sins on the cross - please remember He's not there anymore - He's alive!!!  




Keep shining xx 


Sunday, 17 April 2016

And we're back!!

'Happy Easter' and 'Happy Springtime' everyone!! 

(Photo - Dayspring Ecards)

I'm sorry I just kinda left you all hanging before the holidays but I've had a very busy few weeks and forgot to post on here!!! 

So what have we been up to? Well we had a lovely little holiday during the first week of Easter, enjoyed some quality family time during the second week and then we've been getting back into routine and school-mornings - oh the fun!!! - for the last two weeks. 

So I'm back and ready to share some very lovely things I found out over the last month and I hope you enjoy reading them. 

Plus - I'm involved in another book launch and so far I'm half-way through the book... You'll hear all about it soon but suffice to say it's FABULOUS so far!!! 

Speak to you tomorrow, when we'll be continuing our journey through the alphabet - with the letter E. 

What have you been up to over Easter? 

Keep shining xx 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

D is for...


dis·cern·ment

This is a word that has been very important to me over the last few weeks. And yet it’s only now, when I'm looking into it for this, that I realise how important it really is.

Discernment is a noun that comes from the verb 'to discern'. Let's look at a few definitions first. 


dis·cern·ment

NOUN

1. the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgement and understanding.
2. the act or an instance of discerning.


dis·cern

VERB (USED WITH OBJECT)
1. to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognise, or apprehend.
2. to distinguish mentally; recognise as distinct or different; discriminate.

VERB (USED WITHOUT OBJECT)
3. to distinguish or discriminate.


Basically, from our Christian point of view, discernment is the ability to differentiate between truth and lies, decide between right and wrong, and to carefully consider everything we hear as we hold it up against the infallible truth of God's Word. 

At this time with so many new religions, so many branches of main stream religions, and so many ways to find god (yep - with a small g) it is essential for us as believers to know what we believe and to know where that belief comes from. Even in Christian circles, from big multi-million dollar ministries, to the prosperity gospel to mainstream churches, we need to know what we should be listening to. 

This past weekend I attended a women's conference and I loved it - as usual! However there was one major difference this year. This year one of the two main speakers was very controversial and said quite a few things that a lot of people disagreed with. At one point she said some quite potentially damaging things about ADHD, Alzheimer’s and cancer, so that put a lot of people off listening to anything else. But at the same time not all that she said was wrong. 

And so this is where the whole discernment comes into play. When we go to hear a sermon, talk or listen to a podcast, we need to ask God for the gift of discernment so that we can tell if things we are hearing are coming from Him or from someone who just likes the sound of their own voice. 


"Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. 
You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. 
For there are many false prophets in the world."
1 John 4:1


The issue I had with the guest speaker at the weekend was that she stated things as facts, even though they weren't necessarily facts, and she said things in her talks that could really have impacted ladies in a very negative way, but it was said as a sentence and then passed by as if it wasn't life-changing. Examples included talking about depression, anxiety, mental disorders etc - and as a sufferer of one of these, I found her rather lacking in love and compassion as she basically told us to pick ourselves up and think ourselves well!

But, as I said before, not everything she said was like that. There were several really interesting things that I am looking forward to implementing in my 'focus challenge'. But more about that later in the month!!


"Then we will no longer be immature like children. 
We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. 
We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies 
so clever they sound like the truth."
Ephesians 4:14

The main thing we have to go back to every time we hear something is whether or not it holds to the truth of God's Word. His Word will never contradict itself, so if we are hearing something that doesn't sit right, or goes against what we know from His Word, then chances are it’s not right. The Holy Spirit lives in us and we need to learn to listen to His voice because He's there for a reason!! He will always talk to us when we're listening to sermons etc - whether to help us understand what’s being said, or to caution us against what we're hearing. I know of several ladies who had to leave some of the talks at the conference because they felt so uncomfortable. But likewise I know several other ladies who loved the science-ness of her talks. The problem was it was too sciencey for a ladies conference, and didn't mention God as much as I would have wanted. 


"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, 
and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
Philippians 4:8

So what do we do if we sit under false teaching, feel uncomfortable about a message or a speaker? We need to go back to the truth. We need to get back into God's Word, test out what was said and make sure we take time to listen to God in our times with Him. We can't get around this - time spent with God in His Word and in His presence is the only thing that will help us to really discern what we hear. 





So for World Book Day - get into the one and only book that will matter!!
So get those Bibles out, make some space in your day and get reading! 
And keep shining xxx



Tuesday, 1 March 2016

It's March!!!

Wow! This year is flying by!! This year I've been trying to focus on a different thing each month but honestly it's not been going very well! 

But that's about to change :) This weekend I was at a conference and one of the speakers explained a very interesting thing about why people say it takes 21 days to make a habit. I'm a bit of a science fan so this really appealed to me!! Apparently (because I know nothing about this!!) after 7 days a 'bump' type thing forms on your dendrites (the finger like things at the end of your brain cells) - then after 14 days it's increased to a lollipop - and after 21 days it becomes a mushroom and is able to be stored in your memory as a habit. 


Sounds fantastic doesn't it!! It may be a load of rubbish, but the thought of something real actually happening as I put the effort into focusing on things really helped me visualise why I'm doing this year.  

Well we've the start of March and a new month means a new focus... 


I have 4 wonderful boys and I really do want to spend some time focusing on them and learning more about what they need from me in this season of life. They are 14, 11, 9 and 7 so they are all experiencing different things, from picking GCSE subjects to attending a Lego club in school!! Each week I'll be focusing on one child and doing something fun with him as well as loving him and giving to him. 

"Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him."
Psalm 127:3

I'll let you know how it goes!!! In the meantime I'll continue to focus on my Bible readings and my health, so it'll be a very exciting month!!! How is your year going so far? 
Keep shining xx