How weak and discouraged we can become! Oh how easy it is to slip! It amazes me that even with bucket loads of genuine faith, it is still so easy to listen to our own excuses and take the easier options. A profound quote, which I heard recently, comes to mind….
“The blood of Christ can cleanse EVERY confessed sin, the only thing it cannot cleanse is an excuse!”
There are countless excuses to put off doing the often grueling work of a calling. My recent excuse has been my illness and medication. The high levels of medication needed for the past year totally destroyed my ability to be creative. I could barely come up with an idea of what to make for dinner, let alone write something that may inspire any of you!
In His usual merciful way, the Lord gives much needed grace. The pressure to perform work for Him decreases, and even though we keep Him in our thoughts and speak of Him to others, It’s easier to turn to comfort and away from suffering willingly. Instead of researching diligently for motivation and spiritual food, we often give up and lean hard on any distraction.
True to form, the Lord gives us enough rope to hang ourselves with, and as usual He reaches down and intervenes before we can completely destroy ourselves and all His blessings around us.
As the rope tightens, fear overcomes us, discord enters our lives from almost every angle. In my case I became defensive and self-righteous. I had used my excuses for a longer period than God had deemed acceptable. By stepping outside His will we step outside His protection. As a result we become discouraged, full of confusion and despair.
In times like this we need a WORD from the Lord, and sometimes that word is not the full picture but a single step which He directs us to take. A single step of obedience, often a horribly scary and difficult step. However when you get a WORD from God you know that you know what you must do, no doubt at all. It’s a step that takes constant prayer, complete reliance on God’s strength to stick to it, and acceptance of our weakness, our inability to perform it without Him. All trust and Hope must be in Him!
Steps like this usually go against every step we would normally take, it is a step within the spiritual system and appears to be something entirely different to those in the world system. It also comes with intense demonic attack. Attack trying to discourage you so your faith is weak. Attack to distract you from staying within God’s will, and you can be sure you will get attack after taking that step of obedience, as spiritual backlash. This is spiritual warfare at it’s core, a fight within ourselves against our flesh, a fight within ourselves against our poisoned souls and hard hearts, a fight against the armies of the spiritual world aimed to unravel God’s plan. Inner Angels and Enemies in full force BATTLE!
Without knowing the entire message, we must obey, we must take that step and stand there waiting for our next direction. Standing in that tiny square, waiting on God in obedience, is a test. How long we must stay there depends on how long it takes for us to get an A+. God wants us to pass with flying colours and is patient enough to wait however long it takes.
After the time of this test, while standing still, leaning on this WORD, this step, I turned, face first into God’s presence and the moment I did, the Lord began to comfort me. Not many more steps were needed in His direction to receive His revelation, and after my remorseful confession came His wonderful blessing! Stable, Strong, Zealous, and Productive Faith!
I am overjoyed to be useful to Him again! To have Clarity replace Confusion, Faith replace Fear, Health replace Illness, Love replace Hate. God is SO GOOD!
One thing I have found to be a true blessing, along with spiritual faith, is self-awareness. It is one of the most important things we need to achieve growth and inner peace in this life, and something I write about often.
I have lately been thinking about those who may not have as much self-awareness as others, about those people who haven’t changed much over the years, and are still stuck in the same old patterns they have always been.
I read a little something recently, it said:
“If you are the same person, with the same perspective you had a decade ago; then you have just wasted ten years of your life!”
Before I gained some Godly self-awareness, I thought I was self-aware. I thought I was a ‘good person’. I prided myself on having good intentions and wisdom. My heart was in the right place (or so I thought), I knew the difference between right and wrong (or so I thought), and I was a good friend and family member (or so I thought).
Back then I had no regrets, I had no lingering, self-conscious guilt, because I always had a very good explanation for my actions. It was usually something like, “I meant well”, “I felt ….”, “I’m only human”, or “I had no choice” (because of what someone else did first).
I had little or no remorse for my own actions, (unless of course I got hurt in the fallout). I never set out to hurt anyone, and if I did hurt someone else, I found a way to believe I was right, and that made it ok with me. I saw no reason to change, I was onto it (or so I thought). I used my excuses, and understanding to stay in my own spiraling cycle.
When I became aware of how God saw things, it smacked me in the face and it hurt!
I was SELFISH! I saw things from my way and didn’t consider that perhaps there was a better way. Sure I was always rushing to help people, I was thoughtful and did kind deeds all the time. I tried to find ways to show my affection for others so that they would know how much I thought of them. But I didn’t realise that I was really only doing it to be seen as a good person, not because I was actually a good person. I couldn’t admit the truth to myself so I figured all the trials of life were not lessons I had to learn, just tests to see if I was strong enough and if I could keep my faith through them.
Life will do it’s best to help us become aware of ourselves, and if we stop avoiding it we will be amazed by the realisation. And while it is a challenge to work hard and break the cycles you have been stuck in your whole life, it is definately worth it.
In a recent therapy session we were discussing the downfalls of having no self-awareness. My therapist put it this way “If you don’t regret your actions that affected yourself or others in a negative way, then you avoid the reasoning to need to repair the situation, and refuse to take a realistic look at yourself and make necessary changes.” In other words, these people can’t apologise without explaining why they aren’t really to blame, and they don’t see the need to alter the way they handle things.
He also said that “People who excuse their own actions and don’t own up to the pain they caused another, will continue to hurt others and will usually end up very lonely, they will also wonder why”.
How sad is that! Out of a lack of self-awareness we can damage our relationships so badly, and some will never find the inner peace of growth, or a new perspective and the truth about themselves. It may leave them without a clue as to why they feel isolated from others. We can easily blame everyone else yet we refuse to accept blame ourselves, it would simply be more productive if we swallowed our pride and took a good look in the mirror. That is the only area of our lives that we can bring about a true transformation.
The serenity prayer is one commonly found in households all over the world. It aims to tackle this self-awareness problem. We need the courage to face ourselves head on, to see the truth about ourselves and make the adjustments necessary to bring about a change in our lives, one we will never regret.
“God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Santa, Christmas trees, excess, overload are things that hurt my heart at Christmas. As I walk around my daily life at this time of year, nothing reminds me of the wonderful joyful time of celebrating the Birth of Our Saviour. I hope you all have a safe and merry time praising the Name of Our Lord this Christmas. Blessings to you!
Originally posted on Inner Angels & Enemies:
“Lilly sit still” My mother’s voice rings out
“I don’t want to” I say, as I punch and shout.
The fat jolly man on who’s knee I was sat
Thought it ok to give a soothing pat
But his touch didn’t soothe my flighty fight
In fact it didn’t feel quite right
And when I tried to sleep that night
The thought of him gave me an awful fright
I’d heard of Santa Claus and his right
To come into my home at night
Our security screens were in doubt
And wouldn’t keep this stranger out
My parents said “sleep” I must
For “Santa Claus we sure could trust”
But everything else they had taught before
Lay open in warning all over the floor
I knew I hadn’t done my best all year
So why were there so many presents here?
They told me he…
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In memory of my Dear Dad…. It has been 4 years this week since Dad went to the next place. Until we meet again. Much Love. xoxo P.s. The book was wonderful! Blessings to all!
Originally posted on Inner Angels & Enemies:
Until the passing of my Dad from cancer a couple of years ago I had not previously suffered the loss of anyone who was extremely close to my heart. It was such a shock to my inner spirit, even though I consciously knew it was coming, I had no idea how I would handle the grief of such a loss.
He was the most spiritually-powerful person in my life who would fervently pray for me when I was too deep in my own weakness to pray for myself, which of course was when I needed it the most. He was my mentor, my confidant and my friend and the hole he left in my life is proving to be extremely hard to fill.
I guess I am lucky in the sense that he helped me to build such intensely strong beliefs, and somewhat of an understanding of the spiritual realm…
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Before I began blogging, I was disheartened by the lack of people who I could interact with, who pursued a genuine relationship with Christ and God. A rare gem, to discover another person who accepted the way I experienced God. I have a few gems in my life, luckily. Yet I always searched, yearning for more. I was blessed to stumble across many of you who fellowship with me in such a loving supportive way.
Before blogging I found many religious people who knew the scriptures inside and out, who called themselves “Born Again”, but after time they mostly wanted to argue their interpretation and seemed unable or unwilling to accept the personal relationship that I was developing with my Heavenly Father. They tried to direct my path with many different scriptures, expecting me to apply them to my current situation, instead of trusting God to reveal His Word and His Will to me as I walked by His side, under His direction.
Like many others, I found myself directed away from their rigid, graceless, control. I pulled back from their judgmental condemnation of my imperfections or my choices. I didn’t want to draw nearer, rather wanted to protect my fragile heart from their looks of disdain and disapproval as I confessed my daily struggles with the flesh.
How many of us have had people knock on our door, claiming to have the one right way to be saved, the only way, according to them? I have had many. The most recent wasn’t satisfied with my confession of love and devotion to God and His Son. He kept trying to trip me up with vague questions, ones which he had carefully selected the only answer he would accept. For every scripture he threw in my face I gave him back three to think on. Yet he was unwilling to accept me. I was standing in my own home being berated and dismissed by someone who claimed to be encouraging me towards God. Needless to say I informed him of this and sent him on his way with love….. No one has been back to encourage me since then.
Over the years I have begun to understand the reason many people can’t accept our daily walk under God’s direction, rather than under their control. I believe it is unfathomable to many, that we might know how to perceive God’s personal instructions. Simply because God has not revealed Himself to them or just because the are not at that stage of faith yet.
The scriptures often contradict each other much of the time, not every scripture applies to every situation. We must be humble and willing enough to let God use them inspirationally to show us His Will for each of us, at each stage of our lives.
No other human being, not one, knows what God has planned for us, except to say He is FOR us! Only we can discover His plan for us through our personal relationship with Him.
No human, not one, knows who God will show mercy and forgiveness to, or who He will reign down His wrath upon.
No human, not one, knows what actions God will choose to forgive and which He will condemn.
These privileges have not been given to us because we are not GOD, who sees into the hearts of His children, and anyone who claims to know these things is simply playing at being God.
The path is narrow, but your narrow path is not my narrow path, God is omnipotent enough to have designed a narrow path for each and every one of us, if we continue to seek it. He didn’t make just one plan and need to make every different amazingly created human to fit into it.
Enough is enough. If you find yourself using scriptures to make someone else feel unworthy and unloved then you may want to ask yourself if you have missed the whole lesson that Christ suffered horrendously to bring us.
Lately I have noticed that I am praying a lot for tolerance… Tolerance from others while I am at my worst, tolerance for others when I’m irritated by them, and tolerance in others when they need it.
Tolerance is defined, in the Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary as -
*Willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.
*The ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant.
“Tolerance” … This word just seems to keep popping up all over conversations lately. Or is it only around me?
For most of my “pre-therapy” life, and before my Dad began to show me a new way, I used to have very little tolerance. If I thought you were out of line I would call you on it straight away, no grace, no compassion, no self-awareness. I was young, defensive, and quite honestly, very insecure. It made me feel better about myself, if I came across faults in others. I notice this is very common practice in many people.
When my Dad taught me about grace, he made me try to find excuses for all types of behaviours which I regularly found unacceptable. He tried to get me to step out from who I am, what I know, what I think, and see any situation from another perspective. It helped me begin to give grace to others for things I would usually get annoyed at. This didn’t only help others feel more comfortable around me, it also made me feel more comfortable in situations that would usually irritate me. That’s the thing about tolerance, it works both ways. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being irritated or blindly irritating others, so this was such a blessed lesson for me.
After years of therapy and faith, I have noticed something valuable that I want to share with you….
The more I love and accept myself, the more I work on being my best self, the more tolerance I have for my imperfections, then the more I seem to create a buffer of tolerance around me.
I began to notice more and more, that the small annoying imperfections of others generally roll off my back. I no longer go about continuously and harshly judging others because I know how hard it can be to get things right all the time. Snide remarks don’t always make me feel like I must respond and put them back in their place. The criticisms of others don’t always make me defend myself by trying to make them change their mind about me. Almost like a big cushion softening the blows that would normally have me reeling in despair and reacting with aggression. Life has taught me about grace. How greatly we need it ourselves when we are at our worst. How genuinely we can give it when others are at their worst.
Having greater tolerance doesn’t mean you permit others to treat you badly or make you feel bad about yourself. It is that you are less effected by their ill-treatment or irritating behaviour. It doesn’t bother you as much as it does when your level of tolerance is low. What it does give you, is a more stable platform from which you can decide when someone’s behaviour has crossed a line, rather than reacting irrationally out of intolerance. Then you can set a boundary in place to protect yourself, before their behaviour begins to effect you in an extremely negative way.
There is only so much tolerance we can have when we are exposed to nastiness, abuse, and attack. We may tolerate these things for a period of time, but once you stand firmly on a foundation of self-acceptance and put up that boundary, you are stating to those around you that you will not tolerate being treated in a way that lacks decency.
I believe it is important for people to own their actions. Setting in place a boundary, gives you a place of protection until they are willing to own up to their mistreatment of you and repair any damage. Some will, and many won’t, but at least you won’t spend your days being in a state of irritated intolerance. You may even be able to move forward with peace…..
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for tolerance. Help us all come to understand your grace and build up your truths in our hearts and minds. Help us accept ourselves as your wonderfully made creations, and help us increase the amount of tolerance in our lives. Let us know your instructions clearly when it is time to set up a boundary, and give us security in your strength and protection. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name, I pray.
The final post of the series, sums it up and offers some links to keep striving forward in faith. Blessings to you all!
Originally posted on Inner Angels & Enemies:
I’m not going to lie to you, It has been a tough couple of weeks. It took a lot of pouring out my faith to write (and publish) the series ‘Gaining Help from Above’. Draining my faith like that often leaves me vulnerable, I want to withdraw, to protect my exposed soul. If I engage too deeply with another I am often touchy and defensive. My guard shoots back up, because I don’t like the feeling of being exposed, even though I accept that it is worthwhile in order to obey and reach the next phase in my faith walk towards being useful for my Father in Heaven.
I want to set aside this vulnerability and regain some clarity and security in the familiar, the routine, my comfort zone. Yet I still feel pulled to finish off this series with a neat bow, and get back to writing one-off posts…
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I find it so strange to read posts like this, posts that I wrote, yet I have forgotten to apply these principles in my daily life. I hope reading it gives you the same encouragement and thoughtful reminder as it has me. Blessings to you!
Originally posted on Inner Angels & Enemies:
Some thoughts to ponder as we venture towards the end of this current series…..
I wonder what marvels God would bring into our lives, if we ceased taking credit for our accomplishments or talents, if we stopped overlooking God’s input in an opportunity or a blessing, if we stopped giving His glory to all other things? Or if we refused to doubt God during times of struggle.
Our talents, creativity, skills, fortitude, patience, capacity for knowledge or love, perseverance, logic, wisdom, beauty or success…are they simply a by-product of human supremacy?
Can we truly take ownership of these things? Can we tribute genetics or luck?
For those of us in pursuit of God’s help, some serious recognition needs to be given to Him in appreciation. When we lift up God’s name and give Him credit for ALL blessings and achievements, we give Him more and more opportunities to intervene in…
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We all get caught up with the pursuit of comfort at times, I have been extremely preoccupied with this lately. This was reminded me that a willingness to suffer is a key element to gaining help from above and finding lasting comfort, rather than the temporary experiences we may seek out.
Originally posted on Inner Angels & Enemies:
Warning: Contains Graphic Image
One of the main reasons we miss out on experiencing the presence of God in our lives is because our thoughts are too consumed by the physical world. We focus on our material comforts, our desires, our careers, our families, our looks, our fun or our reputation. These are the ‘beautiful things’ placed before the throne of God by the enemy, to distract us from pursuing righteousness. They are responsible for hardening our hearts, and building pride, which prevents God from being able to intimately connect with us.
We protect our own worldly desires and our reputations so much, yet we may be inspired by a vital piece of the puzzle when understanding the lessons constructed within the sacrifice of Christ.
Consider for a moment that the King of Kings, glorified by angels, the highest authority in all the universe, lost His reputation and respect, gave…
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I often get distracted from feeding my heart and soul, instead I am tempted to feast on good food, wine and other distractions. I needed to read this post again, and I hope it encourages you as it has me. Blessings to you all!
Originally posted on Inner Angels & Enemies:
Nourishment is defined as – “The substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.”
This is probably the most obvious post, which many of you knew was coming in this series. The word of God is immeasurable nourishment for achieving a healthy heart and building a relationship with the Almighty. Unfortunately it has been known to fall into the wrong hands, it has been misused as a tool to condemn, judge, and control way too many people over the years. I have come to realise one very important thing about the Bible, and that is that it is a personal book, not a public one. Sure, we share scriptures to back up our theories and we use them to encourage or even reprove others, but all in all what God inspires in each word changes for each person, according to where they are at in their walk with Him…
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