Tuesday, December 23

Weight Lifting And Running

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

God has brought me through the most incredible years of my life and through God’s grace, I have had victory over many areas in 2008; Discontentment, Complaining, Instability, Poor eating habits and a Victim mentality.

My failures have become an opportunity for me to rise again - more intelligently and… I have failed many times. It takes courage to admit you’ve been wrong doesn‘t it?

I encourage you as I encourage myself, don’t have regrets. Cut your losses but don’t waste them without learning the lessons. We cannot control when God decides to poke His finger in our lives. What we can control is how we respond during those times and how we maintain our personal relationship with Him.

We are about to turn the corner of another year. What‘s the first thing in most of our minds on New Years Day? My 2009 Goals are on my mind. As we set new goals, we ought to “lay aside every weight;” It’s good to reflect on our last year’s incomplete goals and then “let us run with patience the race that is set before us…” as we move forward with a desire to achieve our best. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but as we set our eyes on target “Looking unto Jesus…” it suddenly becomes achievable doesn’t it?

I’m not afraid to show some of my weaknesses in an effort to show you Christ. Become what you need to become to be able to get done what you need to get done. I want to make a difference in someone’s life but first, I must be willing to let God make a difference in my life. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

And that’s where the few days left in 2008, and where 2009 must begin - with God. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Revelation 22:13

One of the incredible lessons I have learned and continue to be reminded of is this: “It’s not about me.” I would like to share what I wrote in my journal on Saturday, September 17, 2005;

“When you come to Jesus with a broken heart, and when you are prepared to say - It’s not about me; when you tell God you will not be bitter but would somehow, someway serve Him in the circumstances you are in. He lifts you up and you realize that the purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, peace of mind or even your own happiness. If you want to know why you are here and why you suffer anything, you must begin with God. You were born for His purpose and for His glory."

“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10

What does 2009 bring to your mind? Do you have peace in your heart? Is home a happy place? Do you like your marriage the way it is? Are your children drawn to God through your daily testimony? Are you alone? Are you happy with the way your life is running and the choices you have made thus far?

Most people are not content. There is something that can cheat us of our joy and may poise a daily threat. One of the principle lessons I have learned is that the root cause, in most cases, which robs us of your joy is - ‘self.’

A Joy Robber’s Remedy

We must start our day with God and allow Him to reshape our character and rebuild our courage. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…” and just as the clay requires work to create a vessel, your life requires God to carve your character, smooth out the roughness and refill the pot with grace.

Nobody is strong in every area, so be weak in the areas that will affect you the least. We must learn to overcome the wrong weaknesses. Perhaps this involves our reactions. When we react to a person, whether it is our husband, our mother, sister, friend or child - it defines what’s going on inside! What we believe at our core level manifests itself during stressful situations. The heart is filled with thoughts and that pool of feelings spills over into our speech. Are our words a pond of praise or a bucket of bitterness?

God tells us how we are to think; “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45

A personal weakness I have been working on in 2008 is laying my research aside when my reading time is up. I have other weaknesses but for the sake of this illustration, I’ll keep it boringly simple. Whilst that may be a minor to you, it is a major one for me. I want nothing to captivate me to the point that all else is neglected - that's discipline!

What’s important for you to grow as a complete woman for God?

Some months ago, I went for an eye examination and the Doctor asked me, “Are you over the culture shock?” I looked at her and said, “Oh yes! I dealt with that issue very early in the picture.” She looked surprised and as I walked out of the office toward our car, I praised God and thanked Him for giving me the grace to overcome my shock - a shock associated with loosing the sameness of life. The daily sameness that I had taken so much for granted, had gone!

What got me through were the CONSISTENT PRINCIPLES I base my life on - the sameness of God and His Word. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8

God has not removed the storm in my life - He has given me peace in the storm! I was told by a great man of God that a great Christian is a good Christian daily. God promises if you draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to you. Draw close to Him about your goals; draw close to Him with your besetting sins; draw close to Him with your marriage, children, loneliness, overeating, critical spirit, financial hardship, overcoming areas in your life that have gripped you for years; fear, perceived failures, and a victim mentality. We can overcome and have victory – it’s not over! Allow the door of opportunity to finally open.

Some of us carry long-term sadness and I hurt for you. I have worn the shoes of despair many times. Thank God that happiness is a decision; a conscious decision to walk forward in obedience and He does give you an inner peace that people will notice.

I use my hardship as my crown of glory - that’s my testimony! Anyone can be happy when the going is good. It takes courage to make a decision to be happy, but the testimony of that decision is powerful and life changing. Don’t expect people or your circumstances to change. God has those people and those circumstances in our lives to teach us the lessons and to grow our faith.

Joy is the result of a thankful heart and the only true character a woman really needs to possess is a grateful heart! That’s the seed upon which all fruit shall bear. It’s exciting isn’t it? “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

If you want more stability in your life, start with God. He’s the only stable one I know!

You are not alone! Take a step at a time and if you fall, pick yourself up and continue on. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you one area in your life that needs balance, or transforming---when you overcome that, move onto the next locale. Don’t give up because you have a lot of ground to cover. Be patient with yourself. Like a great pianist, you start with the scales and a lot of practice. Then after many errors and much practice, the rhythm is delightful. Your life will be delightful with God!

Keep practicing those keys and remember that a disciplined character also means the mastery of moods. A slight shift in the life of even the steadiest of characters will occur; physical weariness, a poor health report, a misunderstanding or perhaps a touch of nostalgia or loneliness.

What do I do when a cloud settles down over my spirit or when I feel my sorrows? Well, what do you do when you are setting the table and a shadow falls across the room? Take a quick look to see if a serious storm is brewing and then go on with setting the table. When a cloud comes across your soul, take a quick look to see if sin has brought darkness. If you find no sin, just go on setting the table for the Lord! That is mastering our moods and that too, is maturing.

Has it ever occurred to you that most of the world’s work is done by people who don’t feel like it?

Have a plan and set some achievable goals. Be diligent and discipline yourself to persevere in it. If you fail during the day, don’t give up! Start tomorrow with a resolve to overcome your weakness, and submit yourself to the Spirit of God – He is with us all the way! As often as it takes, pray for His strength and power to overcome the area that concerns you the most (and God will reveal that to you).

This is the best advise I can contribute to your life and it will also nourish you as beautiful women for God‘s glory.

My Goals

1. A Continuing Daily Bible Reading Schedule - enjoy the life lessons that God has given me through His word and saturate myself! Continue to set aside a time - preferably first thing, God commands us - “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:33

2. Praise - Praise is perhaps the most powerful tool for a Christian to have victory over sin and temptation, and it is one of the best ways to draw closer to God. Every day, I aim to take a few moments to appreciate God’s creation, including YOU.

3. Hymns and Spiritual Songs - A hymn is a song that brags on God. A spiritual song is a song that lifts our spirits and encourages us or reminds us of good things in our lives. As I will choose a hymn and a spiritual song each day, I will read the words, and think about the good things the song says about our glorious God.

4. Prayer - It is impossible to be a good Christian without a consistent prayer life. My prayers consist of choosing a Prayer Promise each day to claim as I pray to God.

5. Set Joy – Some of us live very tough lives. Sometimes, the circumstances that fill our days are not always going to move on or change. I think of those with acute illnesses, disabilities, and long-term suffering. We can bear our sorrow when we set joy before us. Allow this hope to influence you during some of the most difficult trials. Jesus endured the cross as He set joy before Himself---knowing He would be at the right hand of His Father.

6. Acknowledge – Our goal setting must begin with God and end with Him. As we begin our day, this pattern needs to continue. Christ is our beginning and our end!

“Looking unto Jesus [literally looking from afar] the author [going before us as the Originator of our faith, and the Leader whose matchless example we are to follow always] and finisher [perfector] of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

It is the presence of Christ with us all day long that will be the key to a life of obedience and lasting change; that is the mystery behind our achieving set goals, overcoming weaknesses and becoming everything God wants us to be in 2009.

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu's blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu's name."

Get ready for a new beginning for 2009. I don’t know what a sinner you are, but I know what a Saviour He is!

I Love You

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