Are you fed up with all the negative news you keep hearing?
It seems to surround us everywhere we go—church in-fighting, family problems, personal catastrophes, society ills, work issues and world disorders.
At times it can feel overwhelming.
At times I feel like shouting: STOP THE WORLD – I WANT TO GET OFF!
Jesus warned us of times like these. He mentioned a future ahead when men’s hearts will be perplexed.
As purpose-driven believers what should be our response?
Trust in God
Be ready to share the good news, the hope of the gospel with others.
The following are quotes I found online, which I share to encourage and motivate.
The bad news is nothing lasts forever, The good news is nothing lasts forever. J. Cole
The good news is that every morning we have the choice; not to be controlled by circumstances nor our past but by purposely designing our day, hence our lives better. Not to react to life but to respond with love. Bernard Kelvin Clive
Our chaotic, confused world has no greater need than to hear the message of good news—the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Billy Graham,
The Christian belief is that Jesus, as God, is the only one who can bring humanity back to God. He was the only person in history with such a pedigree. 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us plainly, “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” As a man, he could represent humanity. He was tempted in every way, and yet he never sinned. Jesus is our proverbial “best foot forward” as far as humanity goes. Jesus is also God. As such he is able to serve as a “middle man” and usher us into the very presence of God.
The amazing thing is that Jesus offers his righteousness to anyone who will receive it. Rather than being receptive to this offer, we complain there are not other ways to God. While it is incredibly gracious that God would offer any way back to him, people complain that he did not provide ten ways.
The offer for salvation is available to all. Instead of being exclusive, Christianity is actually very inclusive. Everyone is welcome to come to Jesus. It does not matter who they are, or what they have done. The Bible tells us, “…whoever believes in him shall have eternal life” (John 3:16). Whether they be Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Greek, Canadian, African, athlete, entrepreneur, lawyer, or academic, the offer is there — come to Jesus. Jon Morrison, Clear Minds & Dirty Feet: A Reason to Hope, a Message to Share
Dear reader, open your heart, soul and mind to the good news of the gospel. Open your spiritual ears to hear the specific good news that God has for you.
Enjoy a mega-blessed and tranquil weekend!
CREDIT: CC0 image courtesy of Serena Wong at Pixabay.com
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…
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.
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/
*** *** ***
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…
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.
(see above link for details on how to participate)
How was life for you 5 years ago? What were your interests from 5 years ago? What was your most memorable time from 5 years ago?
5 years ago?
Wow! I can hardly remember what I was doing 5 days ago.
After checking various records (online for news events, my pocket diary and devotional journal), I was able to piece together certain aspects of my life from that time.
2011 was not a particularly productive year in terms of my writing. There’s evidence I’d worked on a long-term project from May to July. There’s absolutely no evidence in my Practice Journal that I’d written consistently, even spasmodically that year.
I did however, discover an attempt at a poetry exercise, where you were required to write a prose sentence and then rework it into a poem. The result was as follows:
Find myself in the
Sorry state of
And historical regret,
Wouldn’t it be wonderful
If this year,
I actually accomplished
One of my goals,
One of my dreams,
A long-treasured aspiration?
2011 was also the year when I discovered the delights of gardening. Having gained most of my knowledge through research from that ever flowing fount of knowledge—the world-wide web—I planned both the front and back borders and was pleased with my efforts. Believe me, for someone who did not know their weeds from their herbs—this was a considerable achievement!
In the back garden, I planted tulips and daffodils in pots, pink, white and mauve trailing Fuchsias in two hanging baskets. Another pot held white lilies with thin black edging called Eyeliner.
In the earth, I put orange crocosmias, ferns and shrubs (a deep red rose bush, a pretty pink camelia, an evergreen with creamy-white margins, two yuccas, a pink and white hebe and another evergreen shrub with glossy foliage, called fatsia japonica).
I recall a decorative wooden plaque which hung on a wall in our family home. It said: You are nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth. Certainly, whenever I sat out in my newly-created garden, I’d bask in its air of tranquility. I’d sit, survey and take pleasure in the fruit of my handiwork and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
On a miniscule scale, I could relate to how God might have felt after creating each aspect of his magnificent creation. The Bible reports how God looked and saw that it was good. I can relate because I’ve been made in His image and likeness. We share the same spiritual DNA. And so, when I looked around my little garden, I too felt a sense of personal satisfaction and I too saw that my efforts were good.
When I started writing about this post, I thought 2011 had been neither productive nor memorable. Thanks to my foresight in keeping garden records, I was able to recall a positive period and rejoice in that memory.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, if you don’t already do so, may I encourage you to keep some sort of journal? Apart from it being a great record which you can consult later, journaling is generally deemed to provide positive mental and emotional benefits.
Hello Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers. I do hope you are joining me for the second day of this 30-day blog challenge. If you have no idea what I am talking about then let me invite you to visit this young lady’s site for further details. You will learn everything you need to know, to participate.
It will take a little time, so grab yourself a coffee, settle down into your comfy chair and I’ll begin. All ears? Okay!
Once upon a time I had a dream. This dream was a long, long, long-held desire to be a writer. I couldn’t shake this urge, I couldn’t squash this hunger that demanded fulfilment.
At the same time as cherishing this dream, I had distinct immobilising fears and uncertainties that kept getting in the way of my aspirations. I believe it all stemmed from an incident that occurred at secondary school. You see my English teacher had set the class some homework that I was mega-excited about. We were to write a short story! Furthermore, the best one would be read out to the class.
Well, as a proverbial book worm, I’d read hundreds of books and I just knew in my heart that I was going to deliver the best story. My competitive streak and my ego duly assured me that this was indeed going to be so!
I crafted my short story along similar lines to an Enid Blyton adventure. I hugged and hugged myself with a sense of deep satisfaction and excitement, waiting for the homework deadline, waiting for my story to be selected, my story to be read out and held up as an exemplary model. I know it’s a cliché but I waited until then with bated breath.
So when my teacher read out another class-mate’s name and the title of his story, I literally could not believe my ears. Numb with shock and disbelief, as the story was read out, I became even more confused. The story was definitely inferior! Now, whilst I may not make such a claim out of sheer modesty, I certainly don’t say this from sour grapes, or out of malice.
When growing up, in order to teach us humility, my mother often used to say: “Self-praise is no recommendation!” However, dear reader, please believe me when I say that this so-called “best in the class story” was not in the same category as my own. Far from it!
Confusion and dismay roiled in my stomach. Our exercise books were handed back at the end of class and I hastened to see what mark I’d been given. There was no mark! Disappointment deflated me completely and the quiet confidence with which I’d arrived at class was now displaced by a queasy feeling. Why has Mr Williams not marked my story?
I approached him. I asked him.
His response stunned me: “I did not mark your exercise because I did not ask you to copy something from a book!”
Now at the time, I wasn’t familiar with the phrase but he was effectively denouncing me as a plagiarist! I protested. I denied his accusation. I assured him with utter conviction that I had not copied my story from any book. I had used my imagination and I’d made it up. However, I was waved away with contempt.
I walked away from that teacher dumbfounded. All sorts of silent accusations hurled themselves at and deafened me. Cheat! Liar! Shame shrouded me. Low self-esteem whimpered within me and abject misery consumed me.
By way of explanation for this nightmarish occurrence, I subsequently surmised why that teacher had so unjustly accused me. I began to have a suspicion, as to why he was not even prepared to give me the benefit of his doubts.
You see, black children are not meant to be proficient at reading, let alone have such a good command of the English language, as to be able to write a cracking good story. So how could I have written it? Thus goes my theory!
Now I didn’t come to this conclusion until years and years later—having suffered repeated episodes of racial prejudice, having had the benefit of hindsight. I surmised that this broad-framed, dark-haired and knock-kneed English teacher had most probably indulged in racial discrimination against me. To my mind, only an explanation along these lines, could account for his bizarre behaviour, since I knew in my heart and God (who knows all hearts), also knew I had written the offending story.
The rot however, had set in. I’d heard about “automatic-writing”. Had I been taken over by some being? (laugh). But no, I’m positive I’d written it. It was my thoughts, my ideas – wasn’t it?
It’s no wonder that over the many years since that fiasco, although I secretly entertained a dream to be a writer, my crippled ego, my crucified confidence just couldn’t rise to the occasion.
So now you know my secret dear reader. And that’s partly why I started blogging.
I believe God has given me a writing gift. I don’t want to be like the ungrateful servant, who hid his one talent in the ground. It’s perhaps conceivable that fear of once again being falsely accused, contributed to my years and decades of suppressing this ability. Who knows?
I do know that I’m responsible for what God has entrusted to me. I do know that through the sands of time this gift within me may have withered from lack of use but somehow it has also absolutely refused to lay down and die. I do know that blogging provides me with wonderful opportunities to hone this talent, to use and share this treasured gift, speaking into the hearts and lives of others.
Blogging, has given me a new lease of life. Last year, when I started my blog, I committed it into my Father God’s hands along with my writing ability. And do you know, when I started using this gift, just as the protagonist had declared in Chariots of Fire, I sensed the pleasure of God?
I blog because I believe it will become a gateway to the fulfilment of other dreams. I blog because it allows me to write. Writing is my re-claimed passion and writing is an important expression of who I am. I blog because I can!
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PS: since writing this piece, my husband happened to mention he’d been watching a programme where Diane Abbott (MP), a black woman in the same age bracket as myself, revealed she had written an essay and her teacher asked her: “where did you copy this essay from?” Ms Abbott explained: “she could not believe that a chubby little black girl had written it!”
Given my own experience, it seems this may have been the prevailing attitude of teachers in the UK at that time, towards black pupils. Interesting!
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Purpose-driven achievers, precious visitors, have you experienced set-backs whilst pursuing your dreams? How did you recover?
Please share your response in the comment box below. I look forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile, have a blessed weekend.
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!
Why not take a leaf out of Jacqueline’s book and spend a little time detoxifying your mind?
Be good to yourself! Instead of worrying – spend a few moments meditating (i.e. filling your mind with precious nuggets of life-enhancing thoughts).
This week my three snippets focus on FRIENDSHIP.
It’s been said that “Friends are a gift from God”. Are you a gift to someone? A gift delights, surprises, brings pleasure. A gift is something given. Therefore, give of yourself—your time, your encouragement, your love and support.
A friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17) – so don’t be a “fair-weather” friend!
Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold (source unknown).
To reach, realize or attain (a goal, ambition, etc), especially through hard work
To earn or gain (a reputation, etc)
To be successful
(Chambers 21st Century Dictionary
Billie Holiday - Image from Fotoshop Tofs (Pixabay.com)
Even though I didn’t know them personally, there have been several celebrities whose deaths have touched my heart. People like Michael Jackson, or the recently deceased Prince, who were the subject of untimely deaths. People like David Bowie and Victoria Wood, whose lives were snuffed out by terminal disease.
These individuals were talented and successful and shared their gifts with the world. Many of us enjoyed their songs, their musical or comic abilities. When they died, their gift died along with them.
However, at least we have the legacy of previously produced songs, scripts and sketches, which they have left behind. At least we can still recall, enjoy and celebrate their achievements.
Which set me thinking…
If I, or you were to leave this world unexpectedly, will we have left behind us a good and lasting legacy? Will we have contributed wholeheartedly of our abilities, gifts and talents?
I pray that the example of those whose writings, films, songs and innovations have brought pleasure and enrichment to our lives, will motivate us to develop and use our own gifts for God’s glory.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, let’s not go to the grave with our dreams unrealised, our gifts hidden under the bushel of procrastination, our talents buried under excuses, slothfulness or disillusionment. Let’s make every effort to glorify Christ, fulfil our God-given destinies and become dream-achievers.
Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
“…as human beings, made in the likeness of our creative Father, [we] share the same incredible potential to find creative solutions in whatever context we may find ourselves. We have the same ability to make valuable contributions to the world in which we live”.
As purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, are we nurturing a spirit of creativity in our lives?
I have selected the following inspirational quotes in a bid to both influence our thoughts about and, encourage us toward creativity, whilst we pursue our dreams… whilst we journey towards our destiny.
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. Edward de Bono
Creativity is bound up in our ability to find new ways around old problems. Martin Seligman
There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period. Brene Brown
An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. Edwin Land
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. Steve Jobs
I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. Brene Brown
When we are angry or depressed in our creativity, we have misplaced our power. We have allowed someone else to determine our worth, and then we are angry at being undervalued. Julia Margaret Cameron
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. Sophia Loren
Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting. Edward de Bono
A lot of people forget how important it is to be creative. We get caught up in getting ahead and in day-to-day minutiae. But creativity is a fundamental mode of expression, as is being tenacious and standing by your own convictions and passions, even if it’s not the ‘popular’ choice.Tabatha Coffey
Did any of the above quotes resonate with you?
If creativity is not something you have actively pursued in your life to date, have any of the above quotes inspired you to change that this year?
If creativity has been a feature of recent endeavours, were you happy with the result? Bearing my above quote in mind, how did it make a positive contribution to the lives of others?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please share your comments in the box below.
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!
In recent weeks, we have considered our life metaphors. We learned that the Bible reveals 3 metaphors, which indicate God’s perspective regarding life. They are:
Life is a test
Life is a trust
Life is a temporary assignment.
In his best-selling publication, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren said that when we understand life is a test, we will realise that there is no situation we face and no incident that occurs, which is insignificant.
So, what is the purpose of tests?
Deuteronomy 8:2 provides a clue:
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
And Rick Warren further elaborates on the purpose of tests. He says:
Character is both developed and revealed by tests
And so, in this post, we’re going to take a look at character.
People are drawn to individuals with charisma, to people who are successful. But often, if you were to scratch below the surface of that man or woman, what you find there may not be so attractive.
On the other hand, you may know of some individuals who are ordinary on the outside yet they have such a beautiful character, others are drawn to them.
No one wants to be around people who constantly murmur and complain and see life only from a negative viewpoint. When last have you attended a function and seen people gathered around an individual who had a mournful face, who bleated on and on and on about their troubles and the only thing they had going for them was a “woe is me” attitude? It’s just not gonna happen is it?
We want to surround ourselves with people who are fun, who are positive, who makes us feel good about ourselves and who have something to offer us that will help us on, in our journey in life.
Jesus was clearly like this. Crowds followed him. Women were devoted to and freely ministered to him. His disciples fought over who would sit next to him in heaven and people left their livelihoods and loved ones in order to follow him.
How about you and me? Are you someone that others like to be around? Whom others will turn to during times of need? Are you positive, complimentary and encouraging? Or are you cynical, sarcastic, given to making cruel or cutting jibes?
Recent party political campaigns in America have brought a well-known business mogul to our attention, in the person of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, media footage has presented an unflattering and at times a quite damning picture of this candidate.
Now whilst this man may have reached the pinnacle of success as far as his business interests is concerned, his treatment of fellow-candidates and media representatives reveals an unattractive character. You could not accuse him of being a “people-person”! And even if you agreed with his policies would you want to work under his administration? Would you relish the thought of having to endure a close working relationship with him?
One of the things the Queen of Sheba noted when she came to visit Solomon was how happy the servants were that worked for him. Now that must have been a striking and unusual feature of palace life for her to notice and remark upon it. I mean, how many people notice servants? Generally, important individuals see the staff who serve them as a non-entity, as part of an inconsequential background and the only time servants get noticed is when they do something wrong.
No doubt, there was something special about the atmosphere Solomon had created around him and amongst his servants. He was rich. He was successful. He was celebrated. People flocked to hear his wisdom. Yet he did not allow these facts to inflate his ego and cause him to peer down at his subordinates with disdain. He knew how to treat others, whether rich or poor, great or small. I believe he must have had a wonderful character.
I’m not saying that everyone will celebrate you. We know the religious leaders of Christ’s day were not enamoured of him. But at the end of the day there is someone to whom we are indebted, someone who owns us body and soul (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And so our desire should be to please Him, to seek to tailor our character and conduct to His ideals.
As purpose-driven believers and/or dream achievers the tests we face in life can either hone or harden our character. It’s not always the rich and famous who display arrogance, or pride, or a vicious tongue. Jesus said that from the abundance of our heart, the mouth will speak (Luke 6:45). In other words, the thoughts we treasure or accumulate in our hearts defines our character and if that treasure, that storehouse, is ugly then our character will be ugly and much as you may want to hide it, or put on an act, your true nature will reveal itself through the words you speak.
Negative words may not necessarily be directed towards others. They can very well be aimed at ourselves. How many times have we beaten ourselves up with the vocabulary of failure, fear and despair? Studies show that from childhood we can unconsciously absorb the negative or nasty thoughts, attitudes and behaviour of others toward ourselves. God’s Word is full of His life-giving thoughts and opinions regarding us, yet somehow we place more importance upon what others think and say about us (particularly those who dislike and disrespect us).
If we are honest, we may believe, we may even convince ourselves that we are “nice” but God does not have to dig too far below the surface for us to discover that truly we are not! As the Bible says, our own righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Thank God, he was generous-hearted and wise in imputing His righteousness to us. Our heavenly father’s desire is that we conform to the image of his Son Jesus. I think you will agree with me that character-wise you can’t get a better role model than our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my lovely followers and readers, in all your aspirations, pursuits, endeavours and successes, remember this—what you build with your gift, you can destroy with your character!
PS: I’d love to hear your responses to this post. Please let me know in the comment box below.
It’s March already, so I thought I’d check how things are going with you all regarding your goals, dreams and endeavours as purpose-driven believers and/or dream-achievers. So how are you getting on?
If you are anything like me, you have perhaps faltered along the way. If so, don’t be disheartened, don’t feel condemned and most importantly, don’t give up! If you haven’t yet started you’ve still got 10 months, or you can begin your year from March 2016 to February 2017, or for 12 months from whatever month you decide to begin! The choice is yours – just get started.
I’ve recently been thinking about motivation, particularly self-motivation and here’s what I discovered:
There are 3 elements to self-motivation (activation, persistence, focus)
ACTIVATION – Have you got a dream or a goal? Have you planned, or have you begun to plan how you will accomplish that goal or realise that dream? Have you started on whatever task you need to do, which will take you from A to B and so on until you reach Z?
PERSISTENCE – Have you made up your mind to continue on your dream pathway despite any difficulties you may encounter, or discouragement you may face?
FOCUS – Are you concentrating your energies and focusing your attention upon your intended goal?
Perhaps you find yourself lacking in motivation. If you can’t put your finger on why that is, check out this post for possible answers: (6 reasons why we lack motivation).
Finally, remember as Christians we face an ongoing onslaught from our Enemy designed to undermine our faith, break our focus and bring discouragement. It’s too easy when faced by obstacles or opposition, to throw in the towel. Listen to what this writer has to say on the subject:
The best antidote to discouragement is motivation. A person who is both personally and permanently motivated doesn’t give up easily!
(Barry Chant – author and founder of Tabor College, Australia)
So, purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, be encouraged. Go forth and motivate thyself!
Do you lack motivation, or are you unsure how to motivate yourself? If so, the following suggestions may help (25 ways to motivate self).
Did you find something useful? Then why not share below which idea you intend to adopt?
However, if you are someone who is highly, or consistently motivated, please share your strategies for self-motivation in the comment box below.
An expression in which the person, action or thing referred to is described as if it really were what it merely resembles (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren states that the way we see our lives will shape our lives. He says, whether consciously or unconsciously, our life-metaphor (the internal image we have of life) will influence how we conduct our lives. For example, if you see your life as a showcase, this will probably influence the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the house you live in and the people you associate with.
With regard to the image we have of our lives, Warren says:
Your unspoken life metaphor influences your life more than you realize. It determines your expectations, your values, your relationships, your goals, and your priorities.
Warren also suggests that we might be conducting our lives on the basis of a flawed life-metaphor. He then challenges us to see our lives from God’s point of view and highlights three life-metaphors revealed in the Bible. They are:
Life is a:
TEST – Consider Abraham and Joseph (who passed) Judas and Peter (who failed)*
TRUST – Consider Adam & Eve (entrusted with the Garden of Eden and the earth), the servants in Christ’s Parable of the Talents (entrusted with their master’s resources)**
TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT – Consider biblical terms, such as Christ’s ambassador, Steward, Pilgrim, which describe our earthly roles, or the mindset we should be adopting.***
*Genesis 22:10-18; Genesis 50:15-21; Luke 22:3-6; Luke 22:54-62
**Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 2:8, 15; Matthew 25:14-29
***2 Corinthians 5:20; Luke 12:42-44; 1 Peter 2:11
Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers, given the above, how does your current life-metaphor fit with God’s perspective? Have you been challenged to change your outlook, or have these 3 metaphors brought clarity regarding your life experiences of the past?
I’d love to hear from you. Please share your response in the comment box below.
NB: if you would like to explore Rick Warren’s views as revealed in his book The Purpose Driven Life, you may want to visit the following website. You can also purchase this book from Amazon.
This post is an invitation to paradise – a place where there are no troubles, trials or tears. The invitation is open to everyone and yet it is often ignored. If you’ve already accepted – congratulations! If you have not – what will you do? Be wise. Choose life. Choose paradise!
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Yes you! The one who believes you are the master of your fate and the captain of your own soul. The one who feels you have no need of God. The one who makes every single possible excuse for not acknowledging His existence, who perhaps even denies the reality of a living, loving God.
Did you know that every human being on this earth has the breath of God within them? Do you accept that we are spirit beings? Yep – that’s absolutely so. We are spirit beings housed in a physical body. So what has that got to do with me (you may be thinking)? Why should I care?
Well, my dear precious reader, whether God/truth-seeker, agnostic, atheist, fence-sitter, or however else you may categorise yourself, when your body dies, your spirit being (the REAL you) remains alive. And your spirit being is destined to spend eternity either with God, or with Satan!
Who gets to decide where you spend that eternity? You do!
Does the idea that you are deciding your own fate, determining your eternal destiny make you feel afraid, confused, uncomfortable? You need not be – the truth and solution to your spiritual predicament is simple.
Even though neither I, nor you, nor anyone else for that matter, had done anything to deserve this supreme act of love and kindness, God planned a way of escape for us (and Jesus executed this plan), so that we can enjoy eternity with Him. Just listen to what He has to say about this:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:16-18 (New King James Version)
All you need to do is realise and accept you are in need of rescuing from the fate of eternal damnation, through the only person (Jesus) who can deliver you. Simple isn’t it? There’s no test you have to pass, no high-level board you have to sit before and impress, no astronomical entrance fee. Just:- Admit. Accept. Ask.
Admit you have sinned and fallen short of God’s standards
Accept you cannot save yourself through good works, good morals, or some other “enlightened” pathway
Ask Jesus to save you (i.e. rescue you from an eternity in Hell)
Now if you are experiencing an increasing sense of discomfort at these words, please do not worry, ignore, dismiss, or try to suppress. Do you remember I mentioned at the beginning that we are all spirit beings? The uncomfortable feeling is just your spirit, reacting to the conviction of this gospel truth. Believe me, if you press on, that uncomfortable feeling will soon go away and you’ll be glad you persisted.
If you are willing, and if you believe, you can change your fate and ensure your destiny with God. Today. Right now!
If you’re ready to take that step and wish to cut to the chase before you change your mind then please see prayer below. If however, you are able to bear with me a little longer whilst I elaborate, I’d appreciate you lending me your ears for a bit longer.
Adam and Eve committed sin (I do hope you know the story about the snake, the forbidden fruit and the Garden of Eden*), causing the entire human race to become tainted and doomed to death. Further, Adam’s treachery had the effect of legally transferring ownership of our souls to the control of Satan.
However, God who created you, who loved (and still loves you), devised a plan, which enabled Him to redeem (or pay the ransom price) and rescue you from the evil clutches of his arch enemy, Satan. God sent His Son Jesus to this earth and Jesus willingly died the cruel death of crucifixion, so you and I can have a choice about where we spend eternity.
All you are required to do is:
Believe you are in need of salvation (i.e. rescuing from the death penalty)
Believe Jesus died for you
Accept God’s incredibly generous and FREE gift of salvation.
Now for the decision bit. TODAY you have a choice – life or death, eternity with God or eternity without Him (i.e. eternal punishment).
If you would like to choose LIFE and ensure your destiny in paradise (where there will be no troubles, trials, or tears – Revelation 21:4) then please say the following prayer:
I come to you today in the name of your Son, Jesus. I want to thank you for making it possible for me to spend eternity with you. I recognise I am in need of rescuing from the penalty of sin. I believe Jesus died for me and I accept He is the only way through which I can escape eternal punishment. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. Jesus, I invite you into my life as my Saviour and my Lord. Amen.
If you prayed the above in all sincerity, congratulations! There is a party going on in heaven right now because you’ve made this life-changing decision. You now belong to the family of God. Whoo hoo! Congratulations and welcome!
To help you, so you are not left floundering and wondering what to do next, the following links will give you a good start and provide the guidance you need. I’d also suggest that you talk to a Christian friend and/or find a church to attend and receive support.
If you didn’t – why not? Don’t delay for another day, for you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
If you did pray and make the above commitment, please let me know in the comment box below. Telling others cements your decision and reinforces within your heart the new step you’ve taken, plus I’m sure there’ll be others who will want to congratulate and welcome you too.
To all who made it this far, thank you for giving me your precious time. Thank you for reading/listening.
An expression in which the person, action or thing referred to is described as if it really were what it merely resembles (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
Life is a:
bowl of cherries
The above statements are all metaphors which describe how people see the world, or see their lives.
In his book, Notebook From A Friend – A Quick and Simple Guide to Taking Charge of Your Life, Anthony Robbins says the following:
Behind every metaphor is a system of beliefs. When you choose a metaphor to describe your life, or your situation, you choose the beliefs it supports too. This is why you want to be careful about the way you describe your world—to yourself or to anyone else.
What metaphor do you use to describe your life? Given Robbins’ statement above, will you stick with that image, or change it? Please share your response in the comments below.
Has your life been a failure so far? God can change that! Have you enjoyed a measure of success? God can take you to a higher level of achievement! Want to maximise your potential? Make yourself available to God! He is able to do infinitely beyond your highest desires and dreams.
The following is an excerpt from The UCB Word For Today, a free devotional* written by Bob and Debby Gass.
Now to Him, Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—
Ephesians 3:20 (Amplified Bible)
IF YOU only have a thimble-worth of capacity and you’re standing on the edge of a vast ocean, you have access to a lot of water but you won’t get much of it because your capacity is so small. If you have the capacity of a bucket you’ll get more than a thimble, but once the bucket is full the ocean can do you no more good. If you have a barrel you’ll get more than a bucket, but once the barrel is full you will still only have taken advantage of a miniscule part of the ocean.
The idea is to offer God the biggest container possible. Offer Him all of you so that He can accomplish what He wants to do in your life. And no matter how successful you may be, you still haven’t maximised all that God wants to do in you and through you. Paul puts it this way: ‘Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.’
When you give your life to Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within you. That means if your life has been a failure thus far, He can turn it into a success. And if your life has been successful thus far, He can take you to a higher level of success. That’s why you should begin each morning by praying: ‘Lord, I make myself totally available to You this day; work through me to accomplish Your will.’ That’s a prayer God will answer.
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Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers why not make 2016 a year where you increase your availability to God and increase your capacity to be filled with more and more and more of Him?
*Free postal copies of The UCB Word For Today are available from:
FREEPOST RLTX-ABUL-GRAR, United Christian Broadcasters, Westport Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 4JF (UK and Republic of Ireland only)
One of the saddest experiences which can come to a human being is to awaken, gray-haired and wrinkled, near the close of an unproductive career, to the fact that all through the years he has been using only a small part of himself.
(V. W. Burrows)
Everyone has potential. Everyone. How could we not? After all we have been created in the image of an awesome God. We only have to consider the work of His hands – the wonderful world in which we live with its mind-boggling universe, its astounding fauna and flora and its beautiful landscapes – to gain some insight into that fact.
Since we are the offspring of such an ultra-creative being, then we too have the potential to be highly creative. To put it another way, we are all chips from the old block! No discourtesy intended!
And so we have this enormous ability inside of us – a potential to be, to do, to become. Do you agree that you have an incredible range of capabilities within you just waiting to be discovered? Are you using your God-given abilities? If not, are you willing to explore, discover and develop your potential?
Apart from there being latent abilities within us, our God-given dreams also have potential. They have the ability to be transformed from an idea, a desire, a wish, a persistent thought or a vision, into the realm of reality.
However, this process, from dream-seed to reality, requires faith (confidence in God and in who you are in Christ). But not faith alone – the process requires faith and works. The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). So right there we are being given a clue – our dreams (the focus of our faith) require action and without action our dreams are dead, or will eventually die. They will remain dormant, their potential unrealised.
I have wasted many years believing that because God said I was going to be such and such and do so and so, all I had to do was wait for it to happen. How mistaken was I! No my friends. We have to apply ourselves to a task and/or get involved with some type of activity, in order that the Godhead may guide, help, inspire, motivate and work with us.
If we merely sit around waiting for our big dream to materialise, or feel that somehow, some sweet day, God will catapult us into fulfilment of our dreams, then we are labouring under a misapprehension.
You want biblical proof of this? Done! 1 Kings 19:16-21 reveals God’s ordained purpose for Elisha. He was to be Elijah’s successor. Prior to that, he’d been content as owner of 12 yoke of oxen. He’d been content to plough fields. However, God’s call upon his life stirred within Elisha a new dream – he craved a double portion of his master’s anointing (2 Kings 2: 8-15).
So Elisha served (action), he observed and imitated (action). He developed his potential and realised his God-given dream of becoming an effective and powerful prophet of Israel by adding works to his faith. In doing so, Elisha achieved phenomenal results, to the extent that he performed twice as many miracles as Elijah, to the extent that even though he had died, his skeletal bones produced a miracle! (2 Kings 13:20-21).
Edwin Louis Cole, author of The Potential Principle – Living Life To Its Maximum, observes:
“Everything in life has potential, but it must be developed. It never develops itself.”
My heart-felt prayer for every reader of this post is that God will encourage, empower and inspire you to constantly develop and maximise your potential. Don’t wait a moment longer – become a dream-achiever!