Author Archives: Angie

Really Bad Advice On Your Love Life From a Good Friend

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A wise perspective…

CROSS-SHAPED STUFF

Bad Advice
PHOTO CREDIT

When it comes to your love life, let me offer you some friendly advice, don’t take friendly advice, because your friends give the worst. Let me explain.

Tyler’s relationship guarantee: Someday, before you die, you’ll have at least one … ehhhh… maybe two “disagreements” with your significant other. I know that’s hard to believe for you folks dating out there (and I know you’re out there, you compose a significant percentage of our readership), because you found Mr. Right. And she’s perfect. He’s amazing. Cue Canon in D and call Stephenie Meyer because you two aren’t vampires, but your love is something to behold.

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Marriage Isn’t For You

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Not what I expected…. very true though 🙂

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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Self-help Part 2 – Determining God’s will

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In Self-help Part 1 I talked about the quote “God helps those who helps themselves”.

The main points were:

  • This quote is not from the Bible,
  • We shouldn’t and can’t really help ourselves outside of God’s plan, and
  • We shouldn’t sit back and do nothing while waiting on God to make His move.
  • Finally, the quote was updated to the more correct “God helps us to help ourselves

So the question still remains:

How do we know what God wills us to help ourselves with?

The issue of doing God’s will is a challenging one for a lot of people, myself included. I’ve been asked by at least two friends recently how we can tell what God wants us to do. I personally have never heard God explicitly say “Beloved child, do X” That would make life super-easy, but would result in no maturation on our parts! For me personally, I have a few principles I try to apply in determining what God wants me to do in a situation:

  1. If the Word explicitly says what to do, do it.

    This one is pretty easy in terms of knowing if what you are doing is right or wrong. Knowing what is right is easy, doing it is tough! Often I know what is the right thing to do but don’t feel like doing it. We should try not to live by our feelings though, but by our principles. For example: you might not feel like being nice to a person who hurt you deeply, but God’s word says to love your enemies. No matter how much this person hurt you, shower them with love (note God isn’t asking you to go out of your way to be nice to the person or to even like the person, just to love them and be a good neighbour if and when the situation arises.)

  2. Let peace decide.

    If you don’t have peace about doing something, don’t do it. I like the amplified version of Colossians 3:16

    And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually)
    in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds,
    in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live].
    And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

    Whenever I have a tough decision to make, and I really am torn about what to do, I look for that feeling of peace. You may not like the decision but it’s the right one when God sends peace after making it. The last part of the verse is important too. Continue to be thankful no matter what situation you are in. Thank God for all the things that are right in your life instead of focussing on the difficulty of your decision.

  3. Pray for wisdom specific to the situation.

    Here’s a prayer that is guaranteed by God to be answered once we ask in faith.

    If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6

    When I have no idea what to do in a situation, when I’m unsure about something, or when I feel totally lost, I always pray for specific wisdom. For example, I’m in the process of preparing a huge document but did not know where to start. I asked God specifically for wisdom concerning where to begin and how much time to spend on each part of the project. Thankfully, my prayer was answered almost immediately. However, this verse does not say when God will send his wisdom. Sometimes you may actually need to go through a process to gain that wisdom. The process is useful because you learn and mature along the way, which is usually preparation for future promotion. Other times you miraculously just wake up with an answer. In both cases, God will grant you wisdom in perfect time once you prayed faithfully.

  4. Loving God, loving yourself and loving others.

    This one is just a bonus. Sometimes we just don’t have the answer. We have no idea what to do. In some difficult situations, I have felt like the Bible does not say something specific to my situation, no decision seems peaceful, and I’ve prayed for wisdom but have not received it yet. The situation thus becomes a waiting game and an exercise in patience. What do I do while waiting? I go back to number 1…

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

    If you are going to do what is right, it hangs on loving God and loving your neighbour. While waiting for answers from God, take your mind off the situation by going out and doing something nice for someone. Be a blessing to a person in need, or a person close to you that you might be taking for granted. In my experience the answers usually come when you’re distracted in being kind, which is a double reward.

    I hope this helps with the tough decisions coming your way!
    Angie

Potential

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Window to Dreams

It is Saturday morning. I’m standing at the window of our house. I had moved in one week ago; half unpacked boxes were strewn across my living room floor, bordering the heavy blanket and limp pillow where I had spent the past 5 nights. I bought the house one month ago, a short sale, the day after I accepted the supervisory position to the job I initially applied for. I guess the interviewers saw my potential. My monthly salary would be more than I had made in the past 6 months.

Three weeks ago I bought the ring. It was a simple band of Tungsten. The jeweller said it was scratch resistant and so hard that in case of emergency you would have to destroy the ring or destroy the finger to remove it. I remember thinking “Are you really trying to sell this ring?” Somehow his tactic worked.

Two weeks ago, I called my parents and told them my plan. I even called his mum and asked for her blessing. They laughed at the unconventional idea, but secretly began planning the details of our wedding.

One week ago, I packed the box in my purse, dressed in a simple white tunic and a clean face, and headed to his apartment. He had just come home from a three-week assignment abroad. I simply asked, without flare, without drama. He was an undemanding and straightforward guy. So straightforward that his answer was “No. I can’t marry potential“.

It is Saturday morning. I’m standing at the window of my house.

~o~

Just another short story… it’s been awhile. Leave a comment if you liked, leave a comment if you didn’t like 😛

Angie

Parenting your child leader

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Sooooo my friend Darryl WROTE A BOOK!!!

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I’m so proud of him and what he’s accomplished at only 28.
(Are you 28 Darryl? LOL).

It’s available from amazon if you are interested in picking up a copy and here’s their description…

“Darryl Bodkin has written a wonderful treatise on child development and leadership. He writes from a child’s perspective on parenting and provides invaluable insight on the subject of leadership growth and development… I commend Darryl Bodkin’s book to you for your enjoyment and personal growth. I believe every parent who reads it will benefit from the lessons taught on parenting and will gain an understanding of how to encourage the development of leadership qualities in children. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a sterling reminder of the potential for vital Christian leadership within every child that is born into God’s big world. Dr. Stan A. Toler Bestselling Author Oklahoma City, Oklahoma”

Congratulations D!

~Angie

How I Know My Wife Married the “Wrong” Person

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Wow this was really interesting … there’s also a Pat 2 linked in the post
🙂

CROSS-SHAPED STUFF

wedding 2
Photo Credit: Suni Danielle Photography

Today my wife Lindsay and I celebrate our two year anniversary. Two years ago, we tied the knot and took the plunge. Two years ago, the cutest girl in Indiana was taken off the market! Two years ago, we launched the beginning of the rest of our lives. Two years ago…

And after two years, there’s no hiding behind the dinner-and-a-movie façade of dating life any longer. I can’t buy enough flowers to conceal it. I can’t open enough doors. I can’t say enough “I love you’s.” She knows (and painfully, so do I) that she married the wrong person.

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Self-help Part 1 – God helps those who help themselves

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“God helps those who help themselves”

I trust many of us have heard this saying, and probably use it subconsciously or deliberately as a life principle. I have been thinking about it a bit more critically as despite popular belief it is not a quote from the Bible yet  it is often thrown around in Christian forums as if it was the word of God itself!

First, the extreme interpretations:

Extreme 1:

God won’t help you if you don’t help yourself first.

I believe this is directly contradictory to Scripture, especially the gospel of grace (unmeritted favour from God). We do not have to perform tasks to earn credit in God’s bank of blessings and help.

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.
However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly,
their faith is credited as righteousness.- Romans 4:4-5 

Moreover, as believers, we should trust that God will help us at the times when we cannot help ourselves (which is all the time).

But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…
– 2 Corinthians 12:9

For example, when the 75 year old impotent Abram was told he would be a father of nations, his barren wife Sarai did not believe she would be the mother of these nations but she did believe God’s promise. So she set out to “help God”.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.
But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar;
so she said to Abram,
“The Lord has kept me from having children.
Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
– Genesis 16:1-2

In the end, many years later, Genesis chapter 21 says

 Now the Lord was GRACIOUS to Sarah as he had said,
and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.
– Genesis 21:1 (emphasis mine).

God’s grace, not Sarah’s scheming, helped Sarah! God did not help Sarah because she “helped herself”, He helped her despite helping herself!

Lastly, we cannot really help ourselves without God enabling us. This is explicit in the gospel message from John.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing.
– John 15:5 (emphasis mine)

English: "A Helping Hand". 1881 pain...

~

Extreme 2:

Helping yourself is ungodly and we should sit back and wait on God.

 I believe that this is also contradictory to the Word; Specifically, the “sitting back”, not the “waiting”. There is merit in waiting on God. There are many scriptural references to patience but the one that comes to mind is:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
– James 1:2-4

Patience is important for our maturity. It takes a really mature and humble person to truly believe that “God’s timing is better than mine” (*my struggle*) and to wait expectantly.

On the other hand, there is no merit in doing nothing at all while waiting. Think of a good waiter in a restaurant.

While he is waiting for your order, he busies himself serving other customers (blessing others), maybe he’ll pour you a glass of water (service) or converse with you about the options (prayer) until you finally at the right time place your order (God’s order in your life). A waiter who disappears in the back for a smoke break will probably miss when you are ready to order, but a waiter who genuinely serves well and expects your order, will be ready for that order… and may even get an unexpected tip!

A Waitress taking a breakfast order at Kahala ...

~

So we’ve dealt with the extremes of the quote “God helps those who help themselves”. We’ve found that we should not and cannot truly help ourselves without God; neither should we sit back and do nothing. While waiting, we should pray and serve God and others genuinely. Though it leaves to be explored how do we know what actions we should take, which I’ll discuss in Part 2!

Thinking about the extremes, though, has inspired me to modify the quote:

“God helps us TO help ourselves!”

Have a great day,

Angie

Tapestry

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Detail of Woodpecker tapestry designed by Will...

My life’s a woven tapestry, I so often fail to see,

The perfect weaving of the loom at work inside of me.

Everyday, I look unfinished, and find it hard to understand,

My tapestry’s great splendor seeking all my Lord has planned.

In times of pain and suffering when trust and pain collide,

I long to see the finished work, but only view the underside.

A tangled web of knots and threads, caught up in such a mess,

I know His works unfinished, and in His tender hands, I rest.

His needlework is perfect, in every stitch His love is told,

The crafting of His handiwork in priceless threads of gold.

I must trust the master weaver, who knows my life’s great plan.

So I’ll let Him sow his perfect will, though I may not understand.

My life’s a treasured tapestry that I shall walk in faith to see,

As I feel the nails as needles sow his tender love through me.

And when His work is finished on the topside may I see,

The perfect image of my Saviour, on my life’s great tapestry.

– Allan Mitchell

Source: Our own transformation by Donna Mitchell

Thoughts on “It isn’t good to be alone”

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I’ve been reading a lot these days and came across an interesting article called “It isn’t good to be alone”. Perhaps I should explain why I found it was interesting, besides that absolutely tantalizing title!

I’ve been single for a while and still struggling a bit with being rejected by someone I care deeply about. The whole situation led me on a very introspective journey. For a while now I have been praying for God to help me address deficiencies in my character. To be clear, I don’t mean deficiencies in any self-deprecating way. I mean that I have realized that as long as I live, there are things I can improve about myself; I’ll never be perfect but I can still aim for optimum.

A woman thinking

During my character-building journey, I realized that I had developed a subconscious idea that God would not bless me with a good man to love until enough of my deficiencies or attitudes have changed i.e. until I was “good enough”. For example, on the days I was depressed and just couldn’t pull myself together I used to tell  myself “God wouldn’t let you meet anyone if you continue with this ungrateful crying” or “No one would like you like this” or  even “You are not ready for any relationship if you can’t even be normal by yourself”. But after reading this article and some Bible scripture, my mind has drastically changed. (Thank God!)

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Heaven knows God didn’t wait until I had it all together in my singleness to give me my husband. And I know many women experiencing infertility who struggle with the same idea. “What is the lesson I have to learn before God will give me a child?!” No, friend! Your sisters in Christ with husbands and/or children did not EARN that good gift by their obedience or faith…”

What a revelation! I was so glad to be reminded that I do not earn blessings with my works! And what a relief it was to realize that God can still bless me in my mess.

And then I remembered so many Biblical examples of how God used people who seemingly weren’t “ready” or “suitable”. Abraham and Sarah were ancient and barren when God said Abraham would be the father of many nations. Moses wasn’t a very good speaker yet God made him leader of the Israelites.David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons, with no royal blood, yet God had him anointed to be king. Peter was a fisherman, not a theologian, yet Jesus called him to be a disciple. The list goes on and on.

So I hope my little epiphany helped someone out there who needs to hear it. God loves you unconditionally, not dependent on where you are right now. I’ll continue trying to be a better person every day with God’s help and armed with the knowledge that He sees my effort and doesn’t reward me because of it but blesses me despite it.

Love,

Angie

My testimony

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My blogging friend, Robin over at “A Christian Overcomer“, recently asked me to share my testimony for her blog page. I never really gave much thought to how I came to accept Christ as my Saviour. I have always heard awe-inspiring stories of former drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, abusers and abuse survivors, accident survivors, and the list goes on. The theme was that something really challenging in your life brought you to understand that you need God. Well, that wasn’t me. I had no “story”.

However, I’ve been thinking about my life off-and-on since Robin asked me for a testimony. I grew up in a Christian home, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour at a very young age while at a Bible camp. My parents were married and together and owned their own house. My brothers and sister treated me well enough (sibling rivalries existed but it was all in good spirit). I never went to bed hungry. I did well in school and went to a prestigious school. My tertiary education was free. I had time for co-curricular activities and made a lot of friends as a result. Yes, an immediate family member died in a car accident, but my family is all the more closer for it.

The point I am making is that my testimony is that God protected me from a challenging life. So Robin, this post is for you. I hope anyone out there who feels that they have no testimony because they did not have a dramatic turn around, realizes that they do!

Love,

Angie

Reining in thoughts and emotions

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I’m an emotional person. It’s always been my excuse for my mood swings and uncanny ability to summon tears at the drop of a hat. In the past, I have let my emotions get away from me… and I am not talking about happy emotions. Being moody or throwing a pity-party is no fun for us or for people around us. Sadly (or sometimes happily!) emotions are here to stay. God gave us emotions, but He also gave us some important information and advice about managing them.

English: Emotions

First, we must recognize that our emotions come from our heart and our mind, which are sometimes described as two different but very intertwined elements of our inner person. As I understand it, our heart is where spirits live; in a born again Christian, it would be where the Spirit of God lives [1]. Our minds are our thought and memory centers. [2] It would follow that in order to manage our emotions, we must manage and be responsible for the thoughts in our minds. How can we go about doing this?

Start with a promise

Earlier this year I wrote my self a contract. It simply said:

“With God’s word to teach me and His Spirit to help me,
today is the day I will begin to take responsibility for my thoughts and emotions”

I signed it, dated it and kept it close to me. That was the beginning of a conscious effort to control my thought-life. Because the contract starts with God’s Word, the next step is…

Renew your mind

Renewing your mind involves studying God’s Word [3]. It is not a one time action, but a daily renewal. The wording of my contract implied that in order to be taught by God’s word, I had to study my Bible every single day. For me it meant getting up earlier (and I disliked being up super early), for others it may mean struggling through the old style text, and still others despise reading in general. My advice is to pray for God’s grace to help you with whatever sacrifice you have to make to make this happen. With time it will become easier and a habit. (I heard it takes about 3 weeks to 2 months to form a habit, so aim for at least 3 weeks of consistent reading).

If you’re new to regular Bible reading, a good place to start is the gospel of John. You could also start with the “story books” like Ruth or Esther, or if you like bite-size nuggets of faith, try Proverbs. Alternatively, you can do a search for verses that speak to what you have particular difficulty with e.g. Google “Bible verses peace” if you want to know what God says about peace. The point is just to start somewhere and let God guide you. It may be a good idea to have a close friend keep you accountable as well by offering to read with them daily, but make sure they are as committed as you are to this lifestyle change.

Use the knowledge and be on your way

When we’ve been reading the Word for a significant period of time, we build up a knowledge and memory of what the Word says. However, we need to actually do what the Word says [4].

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me,
or seen in me— put it into practice…

Philippians 4:9

One morning I woke up and immediately started to cry because my uncontrolled thoughts immediately went to a situation I was facing. I opened my Bible to 1 Samuel 16. Lo and behold God spoke immediately in verse 1.

The Lord said to Samuel,
“How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel?
Fill your horn with oil and be on your way;
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem.
I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
1 Samuel 16:1

I was convinced that God was saying to me to take action and STOP my incessant crying because he had something more suitable in store for me than what I thought I had lost and I should “be on my way” and MOVE ON. I have to admit that I felt embarrassed and since then I decided to purposefully try my best to BE joyful and not just read about being joyful or know I should be joyful in all things.

Keep your peace

For me this is by far the most challenging part of controlling thoughts and emotions. Peace is a huge topic that I’d like to write about if God lets me. As Christians we can have peace whenever we want because when Jesus left, he left His peace [5]. Though the peace is a free gift, we are encouraged to actively pursue it [6]. When are we most at peace?

  • When we do not have conflicting beliefs or thoughts, or a nagging conscience

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. – James 1:8

  • When we trust God because we know that He is all-knowing, can handle all our problems and will protect us from harm

Be still, and know that I am God… – Psalm 46:10

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

  • When we are doing what God has asked us to do

The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” – Judges 18:6

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. – Psalm 119:165

  • When we make wise decisions (God-wise not world-wise)

Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. – Proverbs 3:17

  • When we are grateful for God’s blessings and mercy

…with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

My favourite reference to peace is this:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose
minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. – Isaiah 26:3

It pointedly tells us to keep our minds steadfast, firm and unwavering. The only thoughts that can be perfectly unwavering are true thoughts. The only thoughts that I know that are ALWAYS true are  God’s thoughts, so we feel at peace when we align our thoughts with the Word.

Focus! Focus! Focus!

Finally, do not lose focus. We need to consciously avoid the triggers of our unpleasant emotions by “Girding up the loins of our minds” [7]. Anything that distracts us from God’s Word and truth, makes us disobey God, or makes us lose our peace needs to be avoided as much as possible. If  it can’t be avoided, remember that God said that you can do all things in Christ no matter what your situation is [8]. He can help you to focus in the midst of storms [9].

I hope these strategies help if, like me, you battle with fluctuating emotions. Remember God wants us to be stable, so we need to trust and hope in Him and banish any thoughts that make us do otherwise.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8.

 

Keep smiling, Angie

[1] See Romans 8:272 Cor 1:22, and Galatians 4:6. We should note however, that our mind is not always in communication with our heart/spirit (See 1 Cor 14:14).
[2] See Ezekiel 38:10 and Jeremiah 3:16.
[3] See Romans 12:2.
[4] See James 2:17.
[5] See John 14:27.
[
6] See 1 Peter 3:11.
[7] See 1 Peter 1:13.
[8] See Philippians 4:12-13.
[9] See Psalm 50:15.

Quote

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on attitude adjustment. It’s all about taking your focus off your circumstances and putting them on God’s grace. It’s about being responsible for and taking control of all your thoughts. It’s about being grateful for every unseen mercy and every blessing God has bestowed on us. And sometimes it’s about removing yourself from a situation that is bringing out the worst in you. As such I share this quote:

“Suffering only has meaning provided that the suffering is unavoidable. If it is avoidable, the meaningful thing to do is to remove its cause for unnecessary suffering is masochistic rather than heroic. If on the other hand one cannot change a situation that causes his suffering, he can still choose his attitude”

Victor Frankl, Jew, neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor

Check out a really short old post on this topic: God’s trial or my trial

Angie

Suffering

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“God’s way isn’t to make everything okay. God’s way is to give us strength to endure and the vision to see that our circumstances – no matter how dire or grim – are never as big as He is.”

Still Standing: 8 winning strategies for facing tough times by James Merritt

I’m reading this book now amongst others.
It’s a light read (I’ve laughed through many passages) and very encouraging. 
Pick it up or check it out from your local library if you can.

Angie

“God’s way isn’…

Waiting on God 2

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I wrote about waiting on God before here. To summarize that post, I highlighted three aspects of waiting:

1) waiting with joy, patience and prayer (Romans 12:12)

2) giving up control to God (1 Peter 5:6-7)

3) realizing that God’s time and not our time is what matters (Philippians 4:6-7

Today I want to write more on waiting based on Psalm 52:9.

I will praise thee for ever,

because thou hast done it:

and I will wait on thy name;

for it is good before thy saints.

I never really thought about what it means to “wait on God’s name”. So I went back to a post by Ms. B called Who is God? where the many names of God were outlined:

Elohim (Deuteronomy 10:17) – God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God

Waiting on God’s name means we understand that God is great. His greatness means that He is greater than your circumstances. (Deuteronomy 3:24)


El Elyon (Genesis 14:18-20) – The most high God

Waiting on God’s name means that we understand God is high above all things and can do more than what we can ever think to ask. (Ephesians 3:20).


El Shaddai (Genesis 49: 24-25) – God almighty – The All–Sufficient One

Waiting on God’s name means that we recognize that all the unmerited blessings that He has provided up to this moment are enough for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).


Jehovah-Jireh (Genesis 22:14) – The Lord who provides

Waiting on God’s name means that we trust that God will provide all our needs exactly when we need them, not early or late (Philippians 4:19).


Jehovah-Rapha (Exodus 15:26) – The Lord who heals

Waiting on God’s name means that we believe he will heal us from physical, mental and emotional pains and that we understand that all healing takes time, some healings longer than others (Isaiah 57:18).


Jehovah–Rohi (Psalm 23:1) – The Lord who is my shepherd

Waiting on God’s name means that as sheep we follow Him and listen to and recognize His voice (most often manifested in His Word, although sometimes a physical voice or speaking through others). We are not distracted by the voice of Satan and we align our self with God’s will (John 10:27).


Jehovah–Nissi (Exodus 17:15) – The Lord my banner

Waiting on God’s name means we know that the battle is already won because God is our battle-standard. He has gone before us and fought for us and the victory is ours to claim. (Deuteronomy 20:4).


Jehovah-Sabaoth (Psalm 46:7) – The Lord of hosts

Waiting on God’s name means that we can believe that He commands his Angels to guard us so we are always protected (Psalm 91:11).

We need to keep these Bible truths in mind because the devil tries to lie to us all the time and convince us that we are waiting in vain and that God does not hear our prayers. The devil especially comes when he sees we are doing well. He wouldn’t chase you if you were not running away from him and closer to God. If we stumble (and we will! (Psalm 37:24)) we should not beat up ourselves, because God will not let us fall permanently. We must refocus and look to the Lord for the strength to get up and try again. He will lift us up because it is His nature and name to be our Greatness (Elohim), our Healing (Rapha) and our Shepherd (Rohi).

Be sober, be vigilant;

because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,

walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

1Peter 5:8

Here’s a song that always lifts me up, I love the bridge counter-melody:

“You are Lord of Lords, You are King of Kings, You are Mighty God, Lord of everything, You’re Emmanuel, You’re the great I AM, You’re my Prince of Peace who is the Lamb, You’re the Living God, You’re my saving grace, You will reign forever, You are ancient of days, You are Alpha, Omega, beginning and end, You’re my Saviour, Messiah, Redeemer and Friend, You’re my Prince of Peace and I live my life for You.”

Amen!

Have a truly blessed day in God’s name,

Angie

Give your brain a break!

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Hey everyone,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. I haven’t been particularly inspired these days to write, and I would rather the Spirit move me than I just write something random that comes to mind.

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Today I just wanted to share this excerpt from a book I’ve been reading: Trusting God day by day (365 daily devotions) by Joyce Meyer. I only picked up this devotional last week, so I’ve been catching up in January while reading the regular daily messages for February. I’m so glad I picked this book up though! (I fully intended to buy a particular sci-fi novel but the store did not have it and I did not want to leave empty-handed.)

Here’s the excerpt from January 31st – Give your Brain a Break

“As we grow spiritually, we have to remind ourselves over and over again to: cast our cares on God, be anxious for nothing; trust Him in every situation. As we are diligent to do these things, we find ourselves resting in the Lord more and more, and that is where we find peace, clarity, wisdom and the strength to face each day.”

I myself have been struggling a bit with completely  trusting God. It’s easy to trust God when everything is great in life, but a lot harder when things are not working out like you thought they would! I hope these words encouraged you as much as or more than they encouraged me. I especially like how the devotional says that we should “remind ourselves over and over again”. It really mirrors Apostle Peter’s address in 2 Peter 1:12-15 – he emphasizes that he knows that the recipients of the letter know what the Christian virtues are (vs 5-8) but feels it is his duty to keep reminding them over and over so that the knowledge remains fresh in their minds. It’s so important for us to keep repeating the truth over and over especially when we feel like our trust and faith in God is waning.

Birthday cake

Finally, this blog turned 1 on Valentine’s Day. I’d like to thank all those who subscribed over the past year, and all those who just passed through, all those that read our posts religiously and all those that couldn’t pass sentence one, all those that commented or shared and all those that checked out our page on Facebook. We appreciate every one of you!

Lots of love,

Angie

P.S. Here’s the associated scripture to meditate on.

1Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Philippians 4:6-7  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Hebrews 6:11-12  11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 4:9-11 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

A study of Philippians 4:6-7

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety is defined as a displeasing feeling of fear and concern (http://www.reference.com/browse/anxiety). We are told to not be anxious but God knows that there are concerns in our lives that we will be tempted to be anxious about. For this reason he gives us an out: 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1Peter 5:7

God says that He’ll handle it, so we don’t have to. We don’t have to control our circumstances, we just have to surrender our problems. And let me tell you, it takes a measure of humility to release control of situations.

Let’s look at the definition of anxiety again. It is a “displeasing feeling“. Feelings come from our hearts.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

The reason why the heart is deceitful is because our heart’s feelings depend on the thoughts we nurse in our hearts. Our heart condition depends on what thoughts are there at the moment, and these thoughts are not always true and are rarely consistent! (It follows that we need to take control of our thoughts and I blogged about that recently here.)

Furthermore,  the definition of anxiety talks about “fear” and “concern”. When you allow yourself to be fearful, it prevents you from being faithful. God never gave us unholy fear as a gift.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Further, we sometimes concern ourselves over situations that we can honestly do nothing about. God has already said to cast your anxiety on him and after you do that you should try not to take it back. God asks us to be still and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10). When we let go and we acknowledge that God is God, we acknowledge His promises can only be the truth and that He cares for us in the best way possible and He will take care of our situations when we cannot.

The study verses also say that the alternative to being anxious is to pray and petition. Prayer is the way we talk to God (and the way we listen to God – a conversation has two sides after all). I believe one of the most direct petitions we can make is to ask for wisdom. The Bible says that once we ask in faith for wisdom, we are guaranteed to get it. Believe it, receive it!

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. – James 1:5-6.

I also found it interesting how the writer describes wavering faith – like a wave of the sea driven and tossed. It’s so true because when we are anxious and fearful and lacking faith, we truly feel like our emotions are all over the place. So we must keep faith while we pray.

God also says that when we feel we are in trouble that we can call upon him and he will deliver us (Psalm 50:15). What we must never forget is that the deliverance will come, but only in God’s time. It’s so easy to give up when you see no change in a situation. You can get so weary and frustrated waiting on God, but you must keep praying and keep your faith alive for the deliverance will come.

Remember you can ask for anything from God (Matt 26:39) but pray that what you are asking for is what you know God wants as well; with wisdom, we will be able to discern what it is God wants, which is why I think that God said when we ask for wisdom we will get it. We need that wisdom to get all our other prayer desires in line with God’s desires  and ultimately have our prayers answered.

Faith is not the only element in your prayers. Prayers should always have an element of thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for and do not underestimate the effects of an attitude of gratitude. I have had a bout of depression recently and after months of crying, one day I was told by a church friend to just be grateful for everything else that wasn’t bothering me. I went home, sat in silence for an hour, thought about how ridiculous it sounded, but still did it. I can’t tell you how many times I repeated “Thank you God” but I felt this peace just surround me instantly! After the fact I did realize that that was exactly what the Bible said in the study verses above. That peace we receive replaces all the negative emotions, fears, anxiety and whatever other thoughts we had in our hearts and minds. This peace from God guards out hearts and minds by filling our hearts and minds with only holy thoughts and preventing unholy thoughts from getting back in. There’s no space for anxiety, unhappiness and fear when peace is already there! 

I hope this study helps someone. I am so grateful to God that I flipped open the Bible to that page when I did and that the Spirit of truth revealed so much in those two short verses. It has really helped me reconcile what I know in my mind and what I felt in my heart. The feelings I have had for the past few months, I would not wish on my worst enemy. I was often so ashamed to know that I am inspired by God to write this blog, but I couldn’t even take my own advice. So if you are reading now and you feel like there is no end to your struggles and you feel like your faith is gone and you feel utterly hopeless, just remember that God hasn’t left you. Hand over your situation to him and start with a simple prayer of “Thank you God”. It is my testimony that it works!

God’s peace to you,

Angie