Hello fellow-bloggers, precious readers – today I thought I’d go fun and light-hearted and post my response to an old (very old!) Daily Post Word prompt.
I hope you enjoy reading.
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Daily Post Word Prompt:“I’d like to thank my cats.”
What a weird prompt! What a weird idea.
Cats are notoriously selfish and are not like dogs. They do not return your love. They will not protect you (ordinarily), although as I write this, I recall some news story of the recent past where a cat protected a young boy. I don’t recall the details – just that it happened.
But it seems bizarre to me that someone would even say such a thing. Is this jest? Can you imagine someone accepting a Grammy award (or some such other award) and turning to the audience to say: I’d like to thank my cat?
Could we take such a person seriously? Would anyone, apart from a member of CAMHS, (Cats Are My Heroes Society), take that person seriously?
Now, I am trying to imagine what you could possibly be thanking a cat for?
For being a valuable feature in your life?
For encouraging you when you were down?
For pushing you towards your purpose when you so wanted to give up?
For what, or why on earth would someone want to thank their cat? Beats me!
Well, if I really stretched my imagination, I suppose a business magnate who’d become a billionaire as a cat food manufacturer, might be grateful that the hundreds of recipes tried out on his poor moggy finally turned up trumps. I can’t think of any more justifiable reasons at the moment but I am sure if I were to continue to exercise my grey cells, continue to brainstorm, I could come up with a feasible explanation.
I would like to thank my cat.
Hmm No! No further inspiration at the moment.
Wait! Hold up! (Light bulb moment!)
I would like to thank my cat.
You know, this could actually be the genuine response of a grateful actor or cast member from the musical CATS. Someone for whom Tiddles’s tutoring and mentoring has not only informed their acting prowess but also transferred into indispensable life skills. Yeah. I say, give honour to whom honour is due!
How else have said actors honed their ability to purr with contentment over their capacious container, crammed with cream and crowned with smug success?
Or how else could they have learned to stalk past their gainsayers and naysayers, dismiss lowly plebs with snooty disdain, or pounce without mercy upon unsuspecting rivals with the cunning skill and killer instinct of a haunched-down-low moggie stalking a squirrel, or hunting oblivious prey? Yeah! That’s most likely it.
My friend, if someone had told me that I could relate to a person who chose to thank their cat during an award ceremony, I would have said: Sodom & Gomorrah! I’d have thought: unthinkable – you’ve me got sooo wrong!
But now… from between the start and finish of this post, I’ve had a complete change of heart. I can actually see it now. I can believe it too. And, I’d have absolutely no problem with it!
Go actor, go!
Go accept your award and go thank your cat!
Wanna read more or participate? Then hurry along to:
. . . if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Purpose-driven believers, aspiring dream-achievers, are there mountains in your path which you’ve convinced yourself can never be overcome?
Don’t believe the lies of the Enemy who whispers in your mind, taunting you to give up, to ‘get real!’, to let go of your dream, who brings out the catalogue of past failures as ‘evidence’ you don’t have what it takes.
Listen to what Christian Mihai has to say on this subject:
The mountain ahead is not the real test. The real obstacle. The real mountain is your mind. The sky isn’t the limit, your belief system is.
I recently came across the following motivational post by Mihai, which I just had to bring to your attention.
I doubt there is anyone reading these words who will deny this. It’s a phrase I recall my father using quite a lot whilst I was growing up as a child. In fact, I wrote a post on my other blog: Women of Warfare!, about how I came to the very same conclusion once I’d grown up, which you may like to read – (Five-Minute-Fri: Easy).
It has its highs and lows, swings and roundabouts, ups and downs. Sometimes life evokes feelings of euphoria and at other times the feeling of “this is the pits!”
We can either enjoy it or endure it. We can either live it and love it, or bitch about it.
I want to live life with CAPITAL letters. I want to enjoy the abundant life that God says I can have. . . that Jesus died for me to experience. I want to live a purpose-driven life.
As many of you are aware, my heart’s desire is to encourage you to live our best life as a purpose-driven believer. When I read this post fragments of a song came to mind however I cannot recall all the words, or even how it begins. The words are: ‘It’s not about me Jesus. . . ‘
This is a long post but well worth reading to the end, so I encourage you to do so.
Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
I used to work with someone who professed vehemently to be a Christian. In theory, the confession was absolutely true. This person would tell others that God was in control… which He is. Serving in church attending all the services and sharing the experience. Feeding the soul with the Word and good teachers – conversationally this person was living the life. However, at work this person was not a…
MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.
Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts. If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details.
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My Thinking Corner
(NB: Lady Cee aims to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays)
Today, I’d like to focus our thoughts on the concept of SURRENDER.
Whenever I think of this word two images spring to mind.
A wrestling match where one wrestler has the upper hand and is mean, standing (even jumping) without mercy upon an area of his opponent’s anatomy and causing pain until said opponent cries out or signals “I surrender!”
A war situation where the battle is one-sided and a member of the losing side runs out hands in the air, or waving a white flag signalling complete surrender.
In today’s culture no one wants to surrender to another person. It speaks of weakness, or categorises us as losers and in some situations, it can even make us the victim.
However, the SURRENDER I wish to focus on today relates to our relationship with God, as purpose-driven believers and achievers. It is a surrender made because of love, not through fear. It is a surrender that completes us as children of God, rather than diminishes us as human beings.
The following are some thoughts gleaned from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life.
Everybody eventually surrenders to something or to someone. If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to fear, or to your own pride, lusts or ego.
So let’s turn now and examine this concept – what does surrender to our Father-God look like?
Trust is an essential ingredient to surrender. You won’t surrender to God unless you trust him, but you can’t trust him until you know him better.
How well do you know God? Are you seeking to know him better?
Do you understand what true surrender is?
It is not passive resignation, an attitude of fatalism, or an excuse for being lazy.
It is not becoming a doormat or exhibiting cowardly behaviour.
It is not forsaking rational thinking.
Godly surrender is:
Our heartfelt response to God’s unconditional love and mercy.
Our sacrificial dedication of our lives in wholehearted worship and spiritual service.
Our yielding complete control of our lives into his care.
Warren tells us in no uncertain terms that:
…surrendering is never just a one-time event… There is a moment of surrender, and there is the practice of surrender, which is moment by moment and lifelong.
For Further Thought:
…the greatest hindrance to God’s blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself—your self-will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfil God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.
Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden
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Did you enjoy reading this post? Why not share your response in the comment box below and consider sharing it with your social media network(s)?
I’m giving thanks today to my Father God, my precious Lord Jesus and my creative director and associate, the inimitable Holy Spirit.
Why am I thanking this divine trio?
Because today is another day in my writing history where I have cause to flag up some new achievements. I give my thanks and the glory to this awesome holy trinity, because I consider them to be indispensable members of my success team.
And now for the reason for my joy and for this post.
Recently I’ve felt a little discouraged because
Blog growth is slow.
Blog interaction is erratic.
And a recent attempt to rally interest in my first blog challenge event has so far met with zilch response.
But this morning after discovering certain email in my inbox from three individuals, I felt over the moon.
The first was from a blogger friend Kato, a dear and humble minister of the Lord, who was asking whether I’d mind him sharing my post Pick up Your Cross on his site. He deemed it an important message. Would I? I felt both touched and honoured and of course I granted permission. Please check out his blog. Some of you may recall that I’d recently reblogged one of his posts regarding discovering our life’s purpose.
The second cause of joy came from the editor of a Christian women’s magazine. A guest post, Love’s Sacrificial Mind-set, has been published in this beautiful magazine, Ruby for Women. Further, my article has been featured on the main page of the RUBY community website and on the Ruby blog.
Dear reader, even if you have read this particular post before, please check out the magazine. And you writers out there if you’re interested in contributing an article, poem, photograph or other artwork, please check out the submission guidelines. The site also hosts a Christian Community, so why not check this out also?
And the third cause of joy came from an editor of a literary blog, which I highly recommend. An article I’d submitted was published on Monday. I’d be so grateful if you’d kindly go along and visit and support me with your likes and comments. Here’s the link.
Unbeknown to me, whilst I was feeling low, these three emails have been sitting in my inbox since Monday. And so I declare today as Whoo Hoo Wednesday! May there be many more whoo hoo days to come, for me, my lovely followers, readers and supporters, the editors of Two Drops of Ink and Ruby for Women and also dear Kato.
Whoo hoo! I’m a writer – yay!
Whoo hoo! I’m a published writer – double yay!
Credit: CC0 image – courtesy of Oberholster Venita at Pixabay.com
Those of you who have read my posts for some time know that every now and again I share something from an excellent devotional resource that I use, the UCB Word for Today, written by Bob & Debby Gass.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Even if you don’t get on with daily devotional books (for a long time I didn’t!), you can read it as a straight forward book, or dip into it from time to time (as I started out doing). Before you know it, I’m sure you’ll become a fan (as I have!).
The following is an extract from last month, which I feel led to share with you all.
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MIND-SETS ARE patterns whereby your mind automatically operates a certain way. That means you can set yourself up for misery by reacting to the same people and circumstances in…
I’d like to express my thanks to those who have followed me recently and in the past few months (both at this blog and at Women of Warfare!).
I normally like to visit and thank people personally but of late have not always found the time to do so.
I hate ingratitude and rudeness and would hate to think that any of my new followers and visitors considered me in that way. Sometimes, I’ve been surprised to learn about several new followers from my stats page because as far as I’m aware, this was not indicated to me via notifications. I happened to discover this by accident and wonder if there have been other new followers I’ve missed.
Anyway, in case I don’t get around to visiting you all, I’ve written this post, as a way of thanking and celebrating every single one of my visitors. I want you to be in no doubt whatsoever. I appreciate you and thank you for visits, for your kind, encouraging and supportive comments that have both amazed and brought me joy.
I hope the following goes some way to expressing my appreciation.
‘Thank you’ dear readers and followers
For granting your precious time
To read, to like, or to comment,
In response to my prose, or my rhyme.
‘Thank you’ dear precious visitors
For choosing my place to stop by
For making my moments as inspirational blogger
A wonderful joy-induced high.
My sincere thanks to those who linger,
Over posts shared from a heart of love
‘Thank you’ to those who consume, digest and ponder
Who support me with words which affirm and cause wonder,
During my travels in cyberspace this morning, I came across this wonderful post. I just had to share it. I do so for the benefit of two groups of people:
(1) those who may be seeking, who are curious, or who believe yet disbelieve, who sit on the fence because they want ‘proof’ and
(2) those who desire to live a purpose-driven life. Jesus has given us a clear commission and responsibility. We should not be afraid to share the good news of the gospel.
This morning my Facebook notified me of my memories via ‘on this day‘ and amongst them was this post which I shared on my timeline. Now I don’t know if the story is true and, if it is, I don’t know whether the student really was Einstein, but what I do know is this; for someone who has been struggling with her beliefs recently (more on this later)this was a timely reminder of what it (faith) is all about for me.
THE POST (from 2012)
Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor: So, you believe in GOD ?
Student : Absolutely, sir.
Professor : Is GOD good ?
Student : Sure.
Professor: Is GOD all powerful ?
Student : Yes.
Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would…
We are all familiar with the saying “Time waits for no man”. And maybe, like me, when you look back over your life you can see periods of time that were squandered. Those times have gone. We can never bring them back and there’s no point in us dwelling in the land of regret.
We can only thank our Father God for each new day he allows us to awake, knowing that each day presents a fresh opportunity to live purposefully, to honour Him—not just with our lips but also with our lifestyle.
Most ambitious people, or productive individuals will want to see their efforts and achievements extend beyond their own lives. Their desire is to leave a lasting legacy.
Today, we celebrate artists like Rembrandt and Renoir, writers such as Shakespeare and geniuses such as Einstein, who have left us a rich legacy we can still appreciate and enjoy today. They left an earthly legacy. So, it is perhaps not surprising if we feel that leaving a legacy for others to enjoy after we have gone, is the ultimate in achievement.
However, Rick Warren, advises us otherwise. He believes:
Living to create an earthly legacy is a short-sighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy.
When my mother died last year, she left a wonderful legacy behind her. Her life was the epitome of selfless sacrifice. She faithfully served God, her family, the members of her church. Her example inspired and continues to inspire me and I have a great desire to emulate her.
I saw my mother’s commitment and exemplary life as a wonderful legacy—to her children and to her brothers and sisters in Christ. I initially saw her legacy as earth-bound. However, my mother did not only leave behind an earthly legacy. She also built an eternal one. I have no doubt in my mind that the Lord Jesus welcomed her into his kingdom as a faithful and profitable servant.
Warren’s statement has re-aligned my aspirations and re-focused my perspective. Yes, I love the idea of leaving an earthly legacy. However, I see the wisdom of building an eternal legacy. Whilst my ego and self-pride desires to be remembered on this earth, I am now more concerned that I’m known and remembered in heaven.
The Bible tells us that God knows those who are his. And in a recent guest post I warned readers there will be people who mistakenly believe Jesus recognises them as his followers. Alas they were wrong! Jesus dismisses them in no uncertain tones, saying depart from me I do not know you!
Again, the Bible tells us about a Book of Remembrance (Malachi 3:16) and about a Lamb’s book of Life (Revelation 3:5). Now I want to feature in that Book of Remembrance. I want my name to be written in that Lamb’s Book of Life.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, whilst striving to fulfil our goals, or pursue our destiny, let’s make sure our efforts contribute towards an eternal legacy.
Definition according to Chambers 21st Century Dictionary
the object or aim in doing something
the function for which something is intended
the intentions, aspiration, aim or goal
Look around you.
Everywhere you look there are items made for a specific purpose. Laptop. Desk. Diary. Bookshelf, Books. The house in which you sit and which houses all the things you can see. Every single item created for a specific purpose.
What makes you any different?
You have a purpose. I have a purpose. And it stands to reason that if our lives have a purpose, then someone must have assigned that purpose to us. And whoever assigned that purpose to us can be none other than our creator.
I’m sure you will agree with me that the person who wrote that book on your shelf, did not create and decide the purpose of the bookshelf upon which it stands. No! A carpenter created that bookshelf and therefore the carpenter, as creator, decided its purpose.
And guess what?
The carpenter did not make his bookshelf first and then decide what its purpose will be. The carpenter decided in his mind beforehand the purpose he wanted to fulfil and then he created the product that would serve the purpose he had in mind.
So apply that analogy to yourself. You were made for a purpose. And, if you accept this, then it stands to reason that you have a creator. Whether you accept it or not, whether you believe it or not, you are a created being, and your creator is God Almighty:
…the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity,
Whose name is Holy
I say all of the above to demonstrate that it is not up to us mere mortals to decide what our purpose is in life. Notwithstanding what I’ve just said, the onus is upon us to DISCOVER our purpose.
In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren says:
The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. The same is true for discovering your life’s purpose: Ask God.
Do you believe God has a purpose for your life?
Have you discovered that purpose, or are you seeking God and asking him to reveal your purpose?
Ever wondered why you are alive? Why you were put here on this earth? What your purpose is in life? What the meaning of life is period?
These are big questions. Questions that men throughout the ages have sought to answer. Philosophers. Sages. Atheists. Scientists. Intellectuals. Ordinary men and women.
Deep down in our hearts we sense there is a reason, a purpose for our existence. And whilst some will search, speculate and put forward reasoned hypotheses, others will shrug and be satisfied with existing, with going from day-to-day just allowing life to happen to them, or seeking to bleed life dry of whatever advantages, or benefits, or opportunities they can grasp without thought or care for others around them, without thought or preparation for what lies beyond death.
And then there are those of us who realise we are created for a purpose, have been placed on earth for a specific reason and will never rest content until we both discover and fulfil that destiny.
Whichever category of people you belong to at this present time, I believe Rick Warren’s book can speak to you, offer answers and provide a practical guide to discovering and living according to your pre-ordained purpose.
Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, takes you on a guided 40-day spiritual journey. If you are unsure of your purpose in life, if you are curious about the reason for your existence on earth, if deep down you feel that niggle of dissatisfaction about your own philosophy in life, or are willing to admit that there is a troublesome vacuum in your life, and you are open to discovering, exploring and perhaps subscribing to a spiritual concept which:
reveals who can fill that vacuum
guides you towards a purpose-driven life and
offers a blueprint for a God-oriented, successful lifestyle
then I recommend you read this book with an open mind and heart.
Dear reader – don’t delay!
Don’t push the idea, or this invitation away!
Come explore with an open mind
Who know what truths, what discoveries, what spiritual riches you will find?
Purpose-driven believers, dream-achievers, and any sceptics reading this post, I pray God will speak to you wherever you are at right now in your life, that he will draw you with his cords of love into a new revelation and knowledge of his being, into the fullness of his purpose and perfect will for your life.
I came across this wonderful post this morning and heartily agree with the sentiments expressed. As Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha says, life should should be savoured.
Read. Enjoy. And go live your life in faith, peace and with expectation!
Thanks but no thanks WordPress. I still have a lot of life in me. I have no bucket list, thus no item 11 to talk about. This is not something that I have gotten around to doing and doubt if I would do so, even though I know that it might seem the fashionable thing to do […]
Thank you for taking the time to visit me in my corner of this vast realm in cyberspace. You are so welcome!
Whenever I write and publish a post, my heart’s desire is that my words, my message will strike a chord deep within the hearts of my readers. I write, yes to fulfil my artistic leanings, my creative passion. But I also write with a desire to influence, to inform and to inspire.
Today’s post is a message to those among you who may hold views contrary to my own, as a born-again Christian. Today, I am writing for the attention of the atheist. The agnostic. The “free spirit”. The non-religious. Even the religious extremist. I write for the attention of those who may be seeking and searching for the meaning of life, for those who may be wondering about the purpose of their existence.
Dear seekers, searchers, or spiritual wanderers there’s no need to wonder, or wander around clueless anymore. Whenever God wants to reveal or fulfil his will, he uses a human being to speak or to act. This is why he sent Jesus to this earth. And this is why he uses sanctified men and women to speak as his oracle.
Now in this current age, we are blessed to have access to so many resources, including the Bible (God’s inspired Word), through which the God of all gods may communicate. And from amongst this plethora of Christian resources, is one which I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending.
It has been described as a blueprint for 21st Century Christian living. And it is the book which has inspired both this blog, and my fervent desire to live a life that is purposeful, successful and brings honour to the God who created me.
Having reached Day 39 of my 40-day spiritual journey within the pages of this excellent book, I am again convinced that it is a resource which has the power to enlighten the hearts of both believers and non-believers. I am convinced it is a valuable and necessary manual for leading a satisfying and successful spiritual life.
Now if you would open your mind and heart and earnestly embrace the thoughts and truths of this spiritual resource—The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren—I believe my Father God (whom you may have dismissed as a figment of fanciful imagination, or consider to be an impossible ogre, opposed to, or indifferent to your concerns and welfare), will reveal himself to you.
I believe the authentic supernatural experience for which some of you yearn, will be yours—simply by the believing, the asking and the grasping. I believe the principles for raising your life from a mundane existence to a phenomenal plane, if adopted and acted upon, will bring you success and significance.
Dear reader, practically every day you make a choice on the recommendation of a critic, friend, writer or reviewer. Since daily you allow yourself to be influenced by people whom you may not know, people who may be directing you from a certain bias, or with a personal agenda, then today, I’m challenging you to make a choice on the basis of my personal recommendation.
Take that step today. Either beg, borrow or purchase a copy of this brilliant book. Or visit http://purposedriven.com/ to learn more about the concept of pursuing a purpose-driven lifestyle.
What do you have to lose?
Dear reader, making this choice could be the difference between life and death. Spiritual life. Spiritual death.
I hope you won’t mind if I indulge in a little self-promotion.
Out of the blue I received an invitation to write a guest blog post for ‘StylishlyInspired’ and this has been published today.
Do go along and visit her site and support me with your comments and likes (if so inclined).
Thanking you in anticipation!
“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer
I am honoured to have been asked to write this guest post. It’s been a long-held desire of mine that God use my writing to speak into the lives of His people, particularly women in the Body of Christ, so when the invitation was given, I immediately asked the Lord what he wanted me to say. Out of the blue, a story came to mind. I’d not read it for a while and hadn’t really considered it to be particularly inspiring, so God’s prompting took me by surprise.
I therefore trust this post will provoke you and speak to you wherever you are at in your relationship with the Lord. I pray it will not just be another post that you read (hopefully enjoy) and then forget—but that it will challenge, even change you.
But before you go dashing off, let me share two reviews, which might tickle your taste buds:
This one from Amazon rated four stars (4*) even though the book was supposedly not read!
I knew this volume would confirm what I already hold to be true, so I didn’t read it. In that light it’s the best unread book I can remember for ages. Sometimes not making use of a thing can be revelatory.
And this one from Goodreads rated three stars (3*):
So, why did I read this book? Two reasons.
One, I am known to be an overachiever (and after reading this book, this is not something to be proud of, really.)
Two, I hate self-help books and I thought it would be funny to read a book that subtly made fun of all of them at once.
Am I going to start being an underachiever? Probably not. But it did give me perspective. Never be too depressed because you didn’t achieve as much as you wanted, because, truth is… you’ll never stop wanting to achieve more than you already do. It’s a bottomless pit!
Time to sit back with a cup of coffee and stop caring about being productive all the time.
Dear reader, I did find my quote in the end. You may be surprised to learn the name of its originator – I certainly was!
You must always work not just within, but below your means. If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle only five. In that way, the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery, and you create a feeling of strength in reserve.
Everybody, (including myself), strives for this on some level and, in a bid to arrive at the place which we have determined as our marker of success, we set goals or make plans etc. Success on my terms however, or according to the world’s standards, is not the same as fulfilling my life’s purpose.
According to Rick Warren, if I want to discover the purpose which God has ordained for my life, I have two options: speculation or revelation. Revelation (divine revelation that is) requires a personal relationship with God, a knowledge of his nature, his thoughts, his ways and his will.
The onus is upon me to discover what my purpose is. And the only way to discover that purpose is through an intimate acquaintance with God. That means spending time in his Word, communicating with him in prayer, walking that pathway of obedience.
Purpose-driven believer and dream achiever, if you don’t already know the purpose of God for your life, you need to ask Him. And if you do already know your purpose, you need to ask God to help you execute it according to His will. Moses knew he was to be the Children of Israel’s deliverer but zeal, lack of wisdom and acting outside of God’s intent and time-frame, led him to commit murder!
Jeremiah 29:11-13 tells us:
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.
Does it not make sense then for us to ask our Father God what those plans are? Does it not make sense for us to put ourselves in that place where God can speak to us, where we can hear what he is saying and we are willing to follow his directions?
Father God, thank you for your plans and thoughts for our lives. Open the eyes of our understanding. Give us ears that are attuned to your voice. Influence our hearts, to both discern and promptly obey your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Many of you reading this post will be familiar with Rick Warren’s inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. And those of you who have followed me for a while, will be aware that it is this book that has motivated me to live a life driven by, or in accordance with, God’s purpose for my life.
Grasping the opportunity that Lent affords, I’ll be using Warren’s guide-book to embark upon a 40-day spiritual journey. During this time, I’ve decided to tailor most of my posts to my thoughts and observations along the way.
Have you been meaning to read, or re-read this book? Or are you curious to know what your purpose in life is, or what a purpose-driven life entails? If so, why not use this Lent period to draw closer to God, to commit afresh to discovering and pursuing God’s will for your life?
If you do decide to take the journey for yourself, will you let me know in the comment box below? Will you share some of your discoveries, so we can encourage and maybe even enlighten one another?
A copy of Warren’s book may be purchased from Amazon but if you’d like to explore the concept a little more before committing yourself, please visit the author’s official website at: http://purposedriven.com/
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A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
(Proverbs 11:28 – The Message)
Am I pursuing things (material success, recognition, relationships, approval of others, etc) at the expense of pursuing God?
What does a ‘God-shaped’ life look like?
What does God see when he looks at my life – a stump, or a flourishing tree?
Father God, I commit my spiritual journey into your hands and ask that you walk with me and divinely protect me from unseen dangers. Let me not stray into the Enemy’s territory. Direct my paths and lead me into the fullness of your purpose for my life. Help me to pursue you with an undivided heart. I ask this in the name of Jesus.
“The discovery of purpose is a journey, the fulfilment of purpose is the pinnacle of achievement.”
So says a switched-on young man, whom I met today during my cyber travels. His name is Kato Nkhoma and his inspirational words of wisdom kept me happily consuming the well-seasoned meat of his posts.
I had meant to stop over for a brief call and then move on to visit other blogs but God had other plans. Sometimes, what you believe to be a random choice, turns out to be a divine appointment. Thank you Father God, for bringing me across this young man’s pathway!
Now if you’ve been following my PDA blog for a while, you are aware that I am an advocate for discovering and pursuing your God-given purpose. The following post makes keen observations and shares some valuable keys on how one may discover your life’s purpose.
Enjoy the read and let me encourage you to visit Kato’s blog regularly for more insightful posts. Better still, why not follow him?!
The discovery of purpose is not an event. Unfortunately, you also can’t take a course on “Purpose”. Purpose is not taught, it is discovered. The best anyone can do is point you in the right direction, the rest is up to you! The discovery of purpose is a journey, the fulfilment of purpose is the pinnacle of achievement.
For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
This should be your story at the end of your life, that you would have served your generation. “How can I serve my generation?” you ask. You serve your generation by fulfilling your purpose. The scripture above might as well read: “For David, after he had fulfilled his purpose, fell asleep…….”. The will of God for you is your purpose…
The following is a post based around an old Daily Post Word Prompt. I hope you will enjoy reading, as well as gain something that will encourage or motivate you in your own life.
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Did you know that the words you speak to yourself and over your life on a regular basis can become a self-fulfilling prophecy? When I first learned this, I was dismayed. Why? Because for years, decades even, I‘d been speaking negatively over myself and over my life. And when I learned this valuable truth, I realised the problem I’d been facing for most of my life, was not perpetual bad luck, not constant ill fortune, but mainly my own fault. The problem was located one or two inches below my nose—yep! My unruly mouth!
“If you don’t choose your daily words wisely, negative words wouldn’t hesitate to choose a painful future for you.” ― Edmond Mbiaka
You see, I had taken to speaking constantly about the bad things that happened to me, or the bad things I believed would take place. And guess what? It usually did! No surprise really, seeing I had given life to them through my negative prophecies. And then when these things happened, I felt justified. See? What did I say? Did I not tell you so and so was going to happen? And so it went on.
Speaking to myself, conversing with my loved ones, describing negative scenarios about what I believed would happen in the future, re-hashing what had happened in the past, created a negative cycle. And so my world would go on and on in this ever revolving circle of undesirable events—contrary to my hopes and dreams—resulting in despair, disappointment, discouragement; despair, disappointment, discouragement. It seemed I was doomed and my life, my future doomed to more of the same.
The Word of God tells us that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV). That means I have the power to determine whether my life follows a course of death, or a course of life. That power lies within my tongue. It lies within what I choose to say with my mouth. It lies within my choice of words.
It’s been a hard lesson. But a necessary one. When you have spent decades speaking negatively, it is not easy to re-train yourself to do the opposite. But do it I must. Do it I will. And so I decided. No more self-fulfilling prophecies of the unwanted kind. I choose to speak life, prosperity, victory and success. Does that mean bad things will not happen to me at all? Of course not! But the propensity for my life to revolve around a cycle that’s predominantly bad, will ultimately change.
So, bed of roses, here I come. Ouch! I completely forgot that these blessed roses have thorns!
Purpose-driven achievers and believers – have an abundantly blessed week.
Carol, you are a sweet positive minded soul that I’ve been fortunate to connect with in this place. I would like to thank you for all your support, for your beautiful posts infused with wisdom and love. It’s been a pleasure relating with you. A Bit About Me My name is Carol and I am […]
For those of you who would like to have a personal insight into me the individual, the person behind the blogger, I hope you will visit Jacqueline’s site to read this interview.
If you have not already come across her name on your cyber-travels, I would be most surprised, as nearly everywhere I visit, her Gravatar image is already there amongst the likes, or the comments. As I’m always telling her, Jacqueline is one of the hardest working bloggers I know (as a visit to her site will soon reveal – there are sooo many posts!), and her desire to collaborate with and support other bloggers, is just cause for admiration.
If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.
It’s Saturday morning!
This time last year, I was a full-time employee and part-time carer for my beloved mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. This time last year, on a Saturday morning, I didn’t have the luxury of a whole day to myself, with which I could do exactly as I pleased.
This time last year, I was ruminating with regret over past years and decades, when I’d enjoyed a similar luxury but hardly ever spent my spare time in a meaningful way. How I wished I’d used my time more wisely!
Last year, out of necessity, I had to put my dreams and goals second place.
Purpose-driven believers and aspiring dream-achievers, realise that your spare time, is a precious commodity. You never know what your future holds. Don’t be deceived into thinking you have all the time in the world to achieve your dreams, accomplish your goals, fulfil your destiny. And if you are currently a “free agent”, pretty much able to spend your leisure hours doing as you please, don’t be deceived into thinking that your current situation will remain the same, indefinitely.
Fulfilling goals and dreams, or the destiny God has pre-ordained for you, requires diligence, hard work and the productive use of your time. If you are in the habit of squandering those precious moments, spending an exorbitant amount of time on activities that don’t really matter… that don’t add value to yourself… that don’t take you forward in the direction of your dreams, then you may later regret it (as I did!).
Don’t let slothfulness, procrastination, indecision, fear or folly rob you of the quality time you have available now, which could be spent productively on pursuing your dreams. By the time you wake up, or decide to pursue you dream in earnest, circumstances may have changed. You may find yourself having to juggle unexpected responsibilities and having to squeeze in micro-moments for yourself. Take it from someone who knows. Take it from a procrastination queen!
There are two types of wisdom available to you dear reader. There’s the one you acquire from your own hard-earned experience, and the type you gain from listening to and learning from the hard-won experience of others.
In the context of using your spare time profitably, which type of wisdom will you choose to learn from this year?
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
(Proverbs 4:7 NKJ)
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers have a blessed and productive week.
CREDIT: CC0 Image – courtesy of Pixabay.com
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Are you guilty of wasting your spare time, or are you a workaholic?
Did you enjoy reading this post? Please let me know your response in the comment box below. Likes, ratings and shares will be most gratefully received.
“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer
Hello lovely readers, faithful followers and new visitors – I wish you God’s very best for 2017 – may your endeavours be fruitful, your goals accomplished, and your journey toward success, prosperous.
As many of you who have followed me for some time will know, this blog aims to encourage you to walk with God, as a dream-achiever and purpose-driven believer, rather than being driven by impure motives or a negative mindset.
I am aware that I have acquired some new followers during my absences last year. And so this post has been written especially with you in mind. Apologies, if I have not managed to get around to acknowledging your follows.
When I first began blogging, I used to receive notifications for every follow. For a little while now however, I’ve noticed that I’m not always advised when this is the case. I realise I’ve had a few blogging breaks, so perhaps the WordPress process changed whilst I was away, since on quite a few occasions, it is only when I’ve been looking at my stats that I notice the names of new members joining the community of purpose-driven achievers.
So, old and new followers and other visitors, thank you for honouring me with your time, for reading and responding to my posts. It is greatly appreciated and gratefully received. Bless you!
New followers, you may wish to read some of my popular posts of last year, whilst old followers, you may find it useful to re-acquaint yourself with these. I’m always amazed at how quickly we can forget what we’ve read, even when they’ve touched our hearts, or made an impact upon us in some way.
And so without further ado, let me give you my top ten posts from 2016. I’ve divided these into two sections – those which received the most views and those which received the most likes. Where there are two posts that have received equal top views or likes, I have listed both. And I’m pleased to say that a few of the posts have made it to both lists. Happy reading!
I am sure many of you are familiar with the saying: “it takes a village to raise a child”. I’d like to use that same concept and say: it takes a team, or a partnership to achieve success, to fulfil your destiny. Do you appreciate your destiny-helpers? Have you thanked them? And do you thank God for those individuals who’ve made quality investments in your life?
This Blog Challenge post shares personal ramblings and reflections on my creative pursuits: writing, journaling and gardening.
As always, I invite you dear readers to connect with me by sharing your response in the comment box below. Do you have a favourite post from the above selection? If the post you liked most doesn’t feature above, then please let me and the PDA community know which one you preferred. Many thanks in anticipation.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, have a blessed and productive week!
As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection – a time to release old thoughts and beliefs and forgive old hurts. Whatever has happened in the past year, the New Year brings fresh beginnings. Exciting new experiences and relationships await. Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future. ― Peggy Toney Horton
What do you need in the New Year? You need a dream; your dream needs an action; and your action needs right thinking! Without right thinking, you can have only unrealised dreams! ― Mehmet Murat Ildan
We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential. ― Ellen Goodman
Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous New Year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true. – Sarah Ban Breathnach
My heartfelt thanks to all followers and readers for supporting me with your visits, comments and likes. It has truly been a blessing and an honour to share my thoughts with you. I wish you all God’s very best and look forward to the pleasure of your visits throughout the coming year.
Are you celebrating the TRUE reason for this season?
Mistletoe and Wine
Children singing Christian rhyme
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see.
Cliff Richards, Commercialism, Christ
The above refrain taken from a popular Cliff Richards’ song, evokes a warm, wholesome image of Christmas, which pretty much stands at odds to the commercial and secular response often associated with this important season in the Christian calendar.
Many will feast and frolic their way through this seasonal period without giving much (if any) thought to the person behind this important event. With all the clever commercials, hyped expectations and frenetic preparations, it can be easy to forget that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.
Stop and reflect!
And so dear readers, may I invite you to come aside and reflect for a while upon what the Christmas message means to us as purpose-driven believers? I’d like you to consider what lessons we can take away from the nativity story, which will equip and encourage us to live God-glorifying, purpose-driven lives.
A big part of Christmas celebrations involves the giving of gifts. The Bible reveals that God led wise men from the Far East to the Jewish town of Bethlehem. They presented Jesus with gifts—gold, frankincense and myrrh—as part of their acceptance, recognition of, and homage to Jesus, the prophesied Messiah and King.
Make faith your travelling companion
I understand from a devotional article read recently, that it took two years for the wise men to travel from their home town, to their ultimate destination. Two years of travelling through unfamiliar terrain away from creature comforts. Two years of not really knowing where they were going – depending solely on God’s guidance through a star.
Logical reasoning would lead anyone to conclude it a risky and perhaps foolish venture, to leave familiar territory for an unknown destination. However, that’s where faith (the ability to believe without actually seeing) comes in!
Walk with God-focused purpose
Our relationship with God is often described as walking with Him. It is generally depicted as a journey. There is an oft-quoted proverb about success. It goes thus: “success is a journey – not a destination!”
As purpose-driven achievers. we may be tempted to focus on the destination, on the fulfilment of our dreams—but just as important to our Father God, is the journey… how we cope with the vagaries of travelling to the unknown… whether during that pilgrimage we endeavour to be self-sufficient, or are willing to trust and depend solely on him.
Even though it is obvious God was there to guide each of these men on their journey, He nevertheless did not require them to travel alone. There is strength, support, even safety in numbers.
Embrace your destiny-helpers
Even though our calling as purpose-driven achievers is specific and individual, our Father does not expect, or desire us to play the lone ranger. Adam was given a help-meet. Jesus, the Son of God, eventually chose 12 disciples. Since God has placed you and me as particular members within the Body of Christ—the fulfilment of our potential, the achievement of our destiny, depends upon our interaction with and, interdependence upon others.
Let go – and let God!
Dear followers and visitors, as we move towards the end of 2016 and prepare to greet a brand new year, with brand new opportunities, I pray you will find your destiny helpers. I pray that God will surround you with the right individuals, who will challenge, encourage, inspire and motivate you to be the very best that you can be. I pray that our Father God will cause every past disappointment, discouragement, failure and seemingly insurmountable obstacle, to work together for your advantage and advancement, for your emotional and spiritual growth, and for your success.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, I wish you and your loved ones a happy, Christ-centered Christmas. And if you don’t celebrate the birth of Christ (which is the true reason for this season), then I wish you a peaceful and relaxing break over the coming holiday period.
CREDITS: the images within this post are courtesy of Pixabay.com
Did you enjoy reading this post? Did my message speak to your heart? If so, please let me know. I welcome your comments, likes and ratings and would encourage you to re-blog, or share this post with your social network contacts. Many thanks in anticipation of your support.
Tapping into your senses can help draw out memories. What is your earliest memory? How old were you? What happened? Why do you think this is the earliest event in your life that you can remember?
When I first read the thought expressed in the above illustration I did not agree. On reflection however, I believe it is true. Whilst we may not be able to remember some of our memories, I do not think they’ve been permanently erased from our memory banks. I believe they are filed somewhere within the vast reaches of our minds but we either do not know how to access them, or on some subconscious level, we do not choose to.
My early memories are incomplete. They are just fragments of different scenarios. I believe these early memories are from around 6-8 years, then there are a few later ones from when I was around 10-12ish, which is not really early I suppose.
My husband says he has clear recollections of when he was two years old. When he first told me this, I remember being utterly amazed because I can neither recall memories this early, nor so clearly. I had not realised it was even possible.
I understand some people can recall details from just a few months old and some even remember being born. And I hear some people even remember when they were swimming around in their mother’s womb! A-maz-ing!
So my memories are:
Walking up a very long path to the front door of my home. As I walked up the path, high flower borders or hedges flanked me on either side. I believe I was coming home from school but I seem to be on my own. Not sure that would have been correct, knowing my parents, who didn’t give me/us such independence and, considering my age (between 6 or 7?), coming home unaccompanied is most unlikely.
I have a recollection of me sitting in a class towards the end of the school day listening to the teacher at story time. I can recall the class sitting on chairs in a higgledy-piggledy fashion (we were not at desks) and the children in front of and around me listening intently to what the teacher was saying. I was distracted by a beautiful set of coloured pencils that were sticking out of a bag in front of me.
Another vague recollection I have, is of me standing by or outside the gates of St. Mark’s School, looking into an empty playground. I may have been waiting to be collected. I don’t recall anyone else being with me. I believe it was the same school from the above scenario.
At a much later age (maybe around 8-11yrs), I recall having a disturbing nightmare repeatedly. It may not have occurred night after night but I believe I had this same nightmare approx. 4-6 times, if not more. I don’t recall specific details – just what the nightmare had been about.
And that’s basically it. No real detail. In each of the above scenarios, I can’t recall what the weather was like, or what I was wearing. And apart from the story-time scenario, I don’t even remember whom I was with, or why I was there. Have I repressed these and other early memories? Or are they sitting in a certain section of my brain which jealously guards and refuses to release my elusive early memories?
I did a little research and experts seem to differ in their theory about early memories. Some say that after a certain age children suffer from ‘childhood amnesia’. University psychologist Dr Patricia Bauer says: “…research is showing that infants do not have the sophisticated neural architecture needed to form and hold onto more complex forms of memory.”Others feel that some early memories may have been fabricated after children were shown pictures, slides or video and the material discussed.
On reading various accounts of people’s early memories, I found it truly amazing that one person recalled being in the hospital and talking in baby language to a baby that was lying in the crib next to hers. She said they understood each other. That they had this language from inside their head.
I don’t doubt it. After all, God says that he knew us before we were even born (see Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-16). According to Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, we were in God’s heart, mind and pre-ordained plans before we arrived in this world. He says:
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!
I still find it absolutely amazing that some children can remember such early memories and in detail. When I do read or hear about such accounts, I wish that I were one of those children.
Purpose-driven believers, before I close, if there are any negative childhood memories, which you know are still impacting your life today, why not bring them before the Lord in prayer and ask him to heal you and set you free? Our Heavenly Father, is a God who both hears and answers prayer!
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If you would like to explore the subject of early childhood memories a little further, you can check out the following links:
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
As a follower of Christ and a purpose-driven believer, I want to live my best life possible. I want to glorify God, honour his name and pursue the purpose ordained for my life. I am aware that I cannot achieve this on my own. I not only need God’s assistance, I also require the help of others. There are people (past and present) who will play (or have played) a part, whether minor or major, in helping me to accomplish my dreams and fulfil my God-given purpose. To those people I owe an inestimable debt of gratitude.
Amongst those people are two who are dear to my heart—my mother and my very first pastor and father in the faith, Archbishop Malachi Ramsay. Both have now gone on to be with the Lord but both in their individual ways made a significant impact upon my life and left a valuable legacy in terms of my spiritual walk with God.
Just as in the natural, the first five years of a child’s life are fundamental in helping to shape them into healthy and competent adults, so I believe the early years of a Christian convert’s life determines their future spiritual development, competence and maturity.
And so I thank God for placing both these commendable individuals early on in my Christian walk. I thank God for their:
unswerving commitment to Christ,
passion for the lost,
fervency of spirit,
excellence in service to the Body of Christ,
diligence in the spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer,
willingness to teach and model their spiritual convictions to others.
I also want to thank God for their exemplary input into my life, which has helped shape me into the Woman of God I am today.
Are there people to whom you owe a debt of gratitude? People who have perhaps prayed for you? Friends who stood with you in good times and bad? People who believed in and encouraged you? Folks who have invested time, perhaps even money in you? Have you thanked them? Are you continually grateful to God for them?
PDA followers and visitors, let’s take care that we don’t undermine verbal expressions of gratitude with behaviour that sends a contradictory message!
Welcome to day 5 of my “thanks-fest”. If you have joined me on all the previous days to date – thank you! If you have only just joined – where have you been? 🙂
Well, the official Thanksgiving Day is over! I hope you all had a wonderful time with your family and friends.
Perhaps you are now feeling a little sluggish from all that food and drink, and perhaps you are even feeling fatigued with the whole gratitude saga. I hope not. There is only one more day to go of my 6-day “thanks-fest”, so I hope you will bear with me.
I’d just like you to consider one point today.
Have you ever given a gift to someone (maybe a child) and that person had to be cajoled into saying “thank you”. Or have you had someone thank you for something you did, out of a sense of duty or politeness but it lacked sincerity? Not nice is it?
I wonder how our Heavenly Father feels when we treat him similarly?
Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven, for his lovingkindness continues forever.
(Psalms 136: 26 – The Living Bible)
ONE BEAUTIFUL SONG:
“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer
I continue today with the seasonal theme of thanksgiving.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honour come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
(1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
You have said in your Word that we should enter your holy presence through the gates of thanksgiving and the courts of praise.
I am so grateful that I can come into your awesome presence with boldness, because you have made me worthy. I thank you that no matter how many times I fall short of your standards, you love and accept me unconditionally.
Dear Father God, I ask that you cause gratitude to you, for your undeserved favour and mercy, to effervesce continually from my inner being. I ask that you will take great pleasure in the fruit of my lips and from my thanksgiving sacrifices. I pray they will delight your heart, ascending to your throne like sweet smelling incense. Amen.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.
Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
If you are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I wish you and your loved ones a joyous and memorable celebration. Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers be blessed !
We don’t celebrate this over here in the UK but I join with you all across the pond (why on earth do they call the Atlantic Ocean a pond?), in expressing my gratitude. Yeah, I join you all with my own low key celebration (no turkey – just fresh air pie!).
I am thankful!
The following is an extract from my writing practice journal, written earlier this year.
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I’ve just spent about an hour or so editing and reading recent entries. I am struck about how negative and depressing many of those entries are, about how negative I am regarding my life, my future, my prospects.
It reminds me of David and Asaph, who complained to God about the unfairness of life, the unjust challenges they faced, the persecution they encountered. I don’t want murmuring and complaining to be a constant feature of my life. I don’t want to always see things from a negative viewpoint. I recall WJ saying I am not as negative as when we first married. Nevertheless, thinking negatively seems to be my default place. I want that to change.
I liked when I used to write for the blog feature “My Thinking Corner”, since it forced me to think positively, so that I had positive things to share. I miss that and look forward to renewing that feature, and re-introducing that attitude in my life, in my thoughts. And so, I thought why don’t I make this entry one of positive reading? Why don’t I focus this entry on the good things in my life?
So first of all, I am so thankful that I am saved, that somehow God opened my eyes and took hold of my rebellious heart and drew me toward him. I am glad, I’m not the same person I was when he saved me some 30 odd years ago. I love that God LOVES me unconditionally! I love that there is nothing I do that can or will change this fact. God loves me! Period.
I’m thankful that I have someone to share my life with and that this someone (WJ) is thoughtful and at times considerate and we get along fairly well. I am grateful for our home and I’m thankful that we are both working and have been in full-time work for much of our married life. I’m grateful that we’ve been able to pay our mortgage and bills and enjoy leisure activities and pursue our interests.
I’m supremely grateful for the gift and talent God has given me to write… for the joy I experience when I do write… for the satisfaction this gives me personally and for the enjoyment and encouragement, even inspiration (hopefully) that my writing has provided to others.
I am thankful for my dear, dear mother*. For her prayer legacy. For her example as a committed woman of God and as an intercessor, as a staunch member of her church and for her unwavering love for the Lord.
I am thankful for my ‘ivory tower’ (so dubbed by my husband). My room of my own. My personal space in which to withdraw, to spend time with God, to study, pray and write.
I am appreciative and thankful for the freedom to follow Christ and both enjoy and express my faith through worship and church attendance, even though with respect to attending church, I don’t always take advantage of this privilege.
I love that I am not on my own. That despite my pessimism sometimes, despite my complaints and angst, I know God is with me, has a plan for my life and is in TOTAL control. I am thankful for the assurance that what I’ve gone through in the past, and what I’m going through right now, is not my final destiny, is only equipping me for better days ahead.
I’m thankful for this country into which I was born. It may not be the Seychelles. It may not be Barbados. It may not be the exotic location for which my heart pines but at least the economic climate is temperate. And at least, as a place which adheres to democracy, the political climate is somewhat stable.
I am thankful for each new day. There have been still-births, cot deaths, road traffic accidents, murders and catastrophic events, which have occurred over these past days, weeks and months robbing precious lives. I am still here, still alive and kicking (or alive and sometimes stressing) – praise God!
I am thankful for the assurance that one day (whenever God determines), yes, one day when I leave this life, I will enjoy a new, fear-free, stress-free, glorious life in Heaven. It is hard to conceive that one day I will inhabit a place where the brilliant, pure and stunning light of Jesus, which emanates from his holy, illustrious being will flood that awesome atmosphere, so that there is no need for the sun or moon to shine. He will be the light.
My mind can hardly conceive the possibility of seeing a world with gates made out of a single pearl, foundations made from precious stones, roads and pathways paved with gold, animals of prey co-habiting in peaceful existence with weaker animals, even children.
It is hard to imagine a world of perpetual peace and happiness, of continuous, inexpressible joy. A world peopled with the likes of King David and his son Solomon, with faith-giants such as Abraham, prophets like Elijah and Elisha, disciples such as Peter, James and John, leaders like Moses and saints of the ilk of Paul the apostle.
But, most of all, it is hard to conceive that on that momentous day, I will actually see face-to-face the beautiful shining countenance of the one who loved and loves me, the one who died for me, interceded for me, cherished me, had high hopes of and for me, sustained and preserved me.
For all these, I am truly thankful.
*Since writing this entry in July of this year, my dear mother went to be with the Lord.
Years ago, when I was a care-free, rebellious soul I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. I certainly wasn’t going to buy a poppy to commemorate people I didn’t know, or a cause about which I had no regard.
After all, I was born in a country whose people showed me in no uncertain terms that because of the colour of my skin, they did not consider me to be one of their own, so why would I, in fact why should I celebrate these dead combatants, who hail from a nation of bigots… a nation who made my parents’ lives, and then subsequently my own life, damned difficult?
So they want me to commemorate and celebrate people who’d sacrificed their lives, so I can enjoy so-called freedom? What freedom? Nope! As far as I was concerned, Remembrance Day did not mean squat to me.
Fast forward a few decades and my care-laden, much-humbled and enlightened soul has a different attitude. After all, I live in a country where I am not oppressed by a dictator. I live in a country that is run by democracy. I live in a country where I enjoy the freedom to openly worship God, and follow my faith. I am supremely grateful.
Now since God has a divine purpose for me, I have to accept that He has orchestrated certain aspects of my life. I have to accept that certain components of his ordained purpose include the parents to whom I was born and the country in which I was born and raised.
Listen to what Rick Warren has to say in his best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life:
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!
…God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose.
I could have been born in a country within the developing world, facing famine, drought, poverty, dictatorial oppression, or religious persecution. However, God has placed me within an environment where I can pretty much please myself to my heart’s content. But that freedom to do as I please comes along with a responsibility. A responsibility to serve others, to be a voice for the voiceless. It is not a freedom to despise, hurt, or sabotage.
And so purpose-driven believers and aspiring dream-achievers, take heart. Your nationality, even the colour of your skin, is an integral part of God’s purpose for your life. Don’t let the likes of the American president-elect, Donald Trump, colour your view (pun intended) of who you are. Don’t allow anyone’s opinion to personally pigeon-hole you, decide your potential, or dictate your future.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, the onus is upon you to know God for yourself and become acquainted with his Word. Embrace, meditate upon and regularly recall what the Bible has to say regarding the matter of your self-worth and your potential success.
The following passage is just one of many scriptures our Father God has provided to counteract thoughts and words designed to undermine our hopes and self-esteem:
“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”
(Jeremiah 29:11 – New International Version).
Today, whilst you commemorate those brave men and women, who have laid down their lives in defence of your freedom, let me encourage you to remember another man, who willingly laid aside his royal pedigree and sacrificed his sinless life for you… for the entire world, so that we can know the truth (Jesus is the Truth), and so that our knowledge of and, intimate acquaintance with that truth, will ultimately and irrevocably set us free!
I wrote the following article some years ago, to encourage myself and other wannabe writers. I think the fundamental message of this post can also be applied to newbie bloggers, or to anyone pursuing their dream (whatever that might be), or to those who perhaps feel discouraged during their journey towards achievement.
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Very often we view success in much the same manner as a gorgeous gem within a jeweller’s window display. We’re attracted by the lustre of those diamonds, the flashing brilliance of those stones and the fine quality of gold.
We forget these beautiful jewels have been specially crafted. We forget those precious stones and polished metals had a beginning and that if we were to retrace the journey of those glittering jewels back to their origin, we’d see those finished products from a very different perspective.
We’d discover that the item nesting alluringly against a rich velvet backdrop and shining so brilliantly with the help of strategically arranged lighting, started out in a place of complete contrast. It started out in the bowels of the earth.
Once extracted, if you didn’t know what you were looking at you’d maybe throw it away as a valueless lump of rock. You wouldn’t realise it had the potential to be a thing of beauty, something that evokes admiration, even desire of ownership. You wouldn’t appreciate its capacity to bring pleasure.
The journey of an unpublished writer is very much like the above scenario. We ooh and ahh over the creative brilliance of polished writers. We appreciate their carefully crafted words set against the backdrop of an artfully arranged world. Attracted by another author’s style or success, we long to ‘own’ similar achievements.
However, in our approbation of these works, we often leave a relevant factor out of the equation. Much like our appreciation of a beautiful diamond or sapphire, we forget that this artistic work, these authorial presentations had a fairly insignificant genesis.
Perhaps if we didn’t forget this, we wouldn’t feel despondent, frustrated, or threatened about our own endeavours. Perhaps we’d give ourselves a break, stop mentally flagellating ourselves because we haven’t crafted the ‘perfect’ article, short story or novel.
Perhaps we’d stop dismissing the raw materials mined from the bowels of our creative imagination and instead realise: “Hey! This may not look like much now but given time and patience, it can actually become something of value”.
And perhaps, instead of constantly comparing the finely crafted pieces of other writers with our freshly mined lumps of untreated ore, we’d start to appreciate, even enjoy our modest beginnings. We’d begin to see our pursuits, not as a path of frustration and defeat, but of learning and adventure.
Fellow writers (I speak to myself as much as to you), let us view our beginnings and efforts with less negativity and more realistic expectations. Let us put our goals, dreams, aspirations and the different paths we take in order to achieve these, into the right context.
Let us not fixate on publishing prowess as the ‘be all and end all’ of authorial accomplishment. Let us not be in such a hurry to arrive at ‘Success Street’ that we forget to enjoy the novelty and nature of our quest.
As aspiring writers, bloggers, purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, let us find encouragement in, and take the following words of Ben Sweetland seriously to heart—Success is a journey, not a destination!
I just wanted to post something short, sweet and motivational to set you up for the week ahead. This song has been revolving around my mind for several weeks and I managed to find a short video that I think serves my purpose. Listen. Enjoy. Reflect and be inspired!
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, have a great weekend.
Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.
My sincere thanks to all those who visited, commented, followed and sent messages of support during my absence.
Given that I had not been on the blogging scene long and given my recent 3-month absence, your kind words have touched me.
I am back!
However, circumstances beyond my control mean I cannot maintain my previous blogging schedule. I realise this goes against expert advice but future posts will be uploaded as and when time allows. Please bear with me.
I count it a real privilege to ‘have your ears’ so to speak and, I trust God will continue to use my writing to encourage, inspire, motivate and provoke my readers. I also hope you will continue to dialogue and engage with me and the PDA community.
Wishing you peace and victory in your lives and ongoing success with your endeavours.
When I first started blogging I had no idea just how time-consuming this would be. I had not reckoned on the time it takes to interact with others, or the amount of time required to maintain a site. Even though I don’t post as regularly as some others, I’ve found my posting schedule difficult to maintain.
For various reasons, I’ve decided to take a 2-3 month break from blogging, so this will be my last post for a while.
I’d like to thank all those who have visited and supported me with your comments, likes and encouragement and trust you will still be around when I return. And I’d like to thank all those bloggers who have, despite their personal trials and busy lives, made time to share their inspirational posts, creative endeavours and beautiful images which have truly, truly blessed me these past few months. Keep up the excellent work and I look forward to re-connecting with you in the near future.
Hi PDA followers and visitors. Are you a blogger? Do you want to increase your traffic and influence? Then here’s a fun way to do this – participate in Jacqueline Obyikocha’s “Meet & Greet” shindig. Happening now!
Some of you will be aware that I have another blog (Women of Warfare!). At this blog I participate in a blog event called Five-minute-Friday. Following last Friday’s prompt UNITE (follow link to read my perspective), I came across the following post from Marie Gregg.
Her message deals with intolerance and pride – something that I feel can easily become an issue in our lives as writers, as dream-achievers, as purpose-driven believers pursuing success.
I loved this young lady’s perspective on this prompt and felt you might enjoy reading it also. I pray that with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, you will allow this message to speak into and regulate your life. Enjoy!
There’s no such thing as simple disagreement anymore. So often discussions dissolve into grudge-matches, winner take all. Sycophants take the place of friends. The teeming, scraping diversity of life is replaced with an echo chamber. We surround ourselves with others who are too afraid to challenge, too afraid to question.
Too afraid to be themselves.
Pride clouds our vision. We fail to see our own shortcomings. We hone in on the insecurity of those around us. We pick, we prod, we poke. We tear down.
We think we’re smarter than we really are.
I am fearful tonight. Or perhaps weary and wary are better words. In this age of “tolerance” it becomes ever-more acceptable to be blatantly…
Have you ever felt like giving up on your dream? I know I have.
It is all too easy when you’re feeling discouraged, hurt, tired, or uninspired to want to throw in the towel. Or if you face obstacle after obstacle after obstacle, you might wonder whether the prize (the realisation of your dream) is really worth all the effort, the heartache, the pushing through. And, if your efforts do not appear to be appreciated or celebrated, you might wonder whether there is any point in continuing with what you are doing, or are seeking to achieve. Perhaps even, the voices of opposition, of nay-sayers and dream-squashers have infiltrated your mind and thoughts and may even begin to cause you to concur with their opinions!
That’s why it’s vital to have a supportive community around you. It’s important to have people who will speak a positive word into your life. And it can be invaluable, when that key word is spoken at the right time. I read a post this week from a very switched-on young lady, whose words of wisdom belie her years. I just had to reblog this post and I trust it will be a timely word of encouragement and inspiration to many of you.
Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers, I wish you all a blessed and victorious week!
There are many ways to determine the importance of a moment. To me, one of the best ways is to consider how long the moment stays with you after it happens. There was a small moment I experienced a few weeks ago which seemed insignificant at the time, yet it constantly drifts in and out of my thoughts.
I was at the gym with my friend, taking a kickbox cardio class. Near the end of the class, the instructor said something that stuck with me: “You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” I’d seen the quote on Pinterest before, but it was different hearing it in that moment, when I was exhausted and sweaty and willing the clock to go faster so the class would be over. I had worked hard during the class, and I hearing that quote made me realize that I didn’t put in…
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.
Long, long, long ago, I used to read a regular comic strip in a daily newspaper. The characters were called Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (get it?).
Anyway, one story that forever stands clear in my memory was a Christmas feature. In the opening scene, Tony Broke is given a gift, with which he is clearly delighted. In the next scene, Tony visits his well-to-do school mate, Ivor Lott. He is shown into a room by the family’s butler.
Ivor has a mountain of gifts and is pictured dressed in ski wear and using his skis to negotiate his way up the steep incline of presents to the top. The picture always made me smile. And even now, the memory of that scenario still has the power to raise a smile and chuckle. Poor Tony looks on in envy and suddenly does not seem so appreciative of his one little gift.
Why am I telling you this story? Because I want to draw a parallel here.
Compared with people in the developing world, many of us are blessed with abundance. Yet, shamefully, even as Christians, we can become dissatisfied with our lot and murmur against God.
If you are a constant complainer, be aware that God hears and he hates ungrateful attitudes (e.g. see Numbers 11:1-6).
As purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, we should (like the Apostle Paul), learn to be content – Philippians 4:11-12.
Am I saying we should not have ambition or aspire to be, or do better? No! Am I saying we should not strive after, or enjoy success? Absolutely not!
What I am saying is: we must watch our attitudes. What I am saying is, we must not get involved in unhealthy competition. What I am saying is we need to guard our hearts from covetousness. And above all, I’m saying, let’s recognise and be thankful for the current benefits and blessings we already possess.
Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.
If you do not already make it a habit to give God thanks, make this day, this week, this year, the time you begin to do so regularly. Why not make a list of the benefits you’ve been blessed with, then whenever you feel tempted to murmur, complain, feel hard-done-by, or compare yourself with others who are more successful, read that list, remember those less fortunate than yourself and give God sincere thanks.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, followers and visitors, I pray that April will be a month of lasting inner peace, personal growth and contentment for you all. Shalom!
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.
After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
John 13:3-5 (NKJ)
In recent weeks we’ve been looking at life metaphors. One of mine is that life is a journey. I believe most of you would agree with me that we are all on a journey of some kind—a journey towards our dreams and aspirations, towards God’s purpose for our lives and ultimately towards our eternal destiny.
In biblical times it was the custom for hosts to wash the dust and grime from the feet of their guests. It was an act of hospitality but also seen as an act of servitude. To wash someone else’s feet requires humility, as demonstrated by Jesus when he laid aside his garments to wash the feet of his disciples.
In Luke 7:36-47 we read an account of a woman filled with deep remorse over her past sins. It would seem she was convinced Jesus was the expected Saviour sent by God to save, i.e. deliver people from the guilt, stain and shame of sin (Matthew 1:21). She makes her heartfelt plea for forgiveness… for release from her transgressions, by anointing and washing the feet of Jesus.
I find it ironic that a Pharisee, to whom observance of the rites of washing represented an important religious tradition, would invite Jesus to dinner, insult him by not offering the common courtesies of a host, yet when this woman anoints Jesus’ feet and washes them with her tears, he is inwardly critical of Jesus, he is inwardly dismissive and despising of this woman.
Here is a man who needs salvation. Here is a man, I am sure, would have heard about the miraculous works of Jesus. Did he only invite Jesus to dinner so he could look good in front of his friends? Did he not recognise Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah? Did he not realise that he himself was as much a sinner as the prostitute, who’d gate-crashed his dinner party, who lay prostrate at his guest’s feet, weeping and seeking forgiveness?
We gain further insight into this man’s heart after Jesus shares the story of two debtors (Matthew 26:39-47). In a nutshell, because Simon saw little need for forgiveness from Jesus, his love and respect for his invited guest was measured accordingly. In fact, Simon even doubted the authenticity of Christ’s pedigree: “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
Simon was perhaps only curious about Jesus, or wanted the kudos of being able to say that Christ, a celebrity, had dined at his house. Although he had little love and respect for Jesus, he was willing to use the Lord for his own purposes.
When you do not respect the one who died for you, it is easy to take his life, presence and ability to bless you for granted. It is easy for you to care only about what he can do for you, instead of falling down on your knees in remorse, repentance, gratitude and worship for all he has done for you. It is easy to forget that Christ sacrificed his life for us, even though, as *John Newton observed, we were an undeserving wretch.
The only reason we are now worthy, the only reason we have been exalted to the position of God’s heirs and joint-heir with Christ… to a position of kings and priests in the Kingdom of the only Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15), is because Jesus willingly subjected himself to the cruellest death imaginable, so that I, so that you, so that whosoever wants to, can be saved, healed, delivered and restored.
As followers of and visitors to my blog, I would like to extend to you this biblical hospitality. Figuratively, I would like to wash the dirt, dust and grime from your feet as you pause to rest, before continuing on your journey.
I pray God will use the words I write to wash away the dirt from dashed hopes and dreams, defeat, despair and bitter disappointment. I believe God will anoint my words and use them to remove the dust of self-sufficiency or self-pity. And, I am trusting that God will remove the grime of pride (if and when applicable), whether it be pride of life, status or accomplishment. I pray he will do this both in your lives and in mine. Will you allow Him to do so?
Make no mistake, we all need the water of God’s Word to continually cleanse us, or quench our thirst. We all need the refreshment of his presence, his words of comfort, encouragement and peace. So my invite goes out to you all. Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, come and accept my hospitality. Come, and let me wash your feet, let me serve you with the precious love of Jesus.
*Author of hymn Amazing Grace
And, whilst you’re here, I take this opportunity to wish all my followers and visitors a Happy Easter!