excellent

This morning, I was really convicted by the Word of God.

Background:  I decided to try out one of the reading plans from the Bible app, YouVersion yesterday.  My default Bible at the moment on the app is The Message because it’s one that you can download for free.  I chose one of The Overflow Devo by Propaganda which looked interesting and started there.  For some reason, I began reading Day 2’s yesterday instead of Day 1 so when I realised that this morning, I went back to see what the start of the reading plan was meant to be.  This was the passage I read:

Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.

– Colossians 3:23-25, The Message

The accompanying video:

This passage in Colossians really hit home because I know that even though I’ve said with my mouth that I want to honour God with my studies, it hasn’t translated into how I’ve approached my work in the last few weeks.  The way The Message version has worded God’s Truth here has been a wake up call.  Forgive me, Lord. No more getting by with just doing the bare minimum and producing shoddy work just in hopes of a pass.  Our God is a God of excellence and when He put His Name on us, our work should bear witness to that.

And on that note, off to do my best work.

– Ames –

no nest here!

“Many of us struggle with constant thoughts of worthlessness, discontentment, resentment, or fear. Those kinds of thoughts are merely temptation from our enemy – he is tempting us to believe lies about ourselves, others, or our King. Martin Luther once wrote, “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” We may not be able to keep the thoughts from entering our mind, but we can keep them from staying in our mind—by kicking them out the moment they arrive! Giving in to those thoughts and allowing them to linger in our head allows them to take root inside our heart and begin to control our life. Remember that protecting our inner sanctuary is not just a defensive action; it is offensive as well. And one of the best offensive moves we can make is to set up a guard station at the entrance of our mind. Instead of passively allowing any and all random thoughts to saunter right on in and hang out for as long as they want, we must actively begin chasing away any thought that is not a reflection of Jesus Christ.”

– taken from set apart devotionals by Leslie Ludy

Now I finally understand why I was so up and down all the time.  It was so silly… I think there were times when I just got too confident in myself, thinking that I was so over it all, that I let my defences down and hence, the negative thoughts came and I just let them stay there and grow into something ugly… before finally coming to my senses and clearing out the junk.  However, after a few weeks of cruising, the cycle would start again because I just wasn’t being careful.  The difference this time is that I’m actually aware of the fact that I can be on the offensive when it comes to my thought life.  I don’t have to just let the thoughts consume me each time they enter my mind.

I can feel the difference.  I’ve woken up the past two days with this sense of… difference lols.  It’s a hard feeling to describe… there’s just such a contentment with having everything out in the open, having taken responsibility for my actions and been truthful to those closest to my heart.  But, at the same time, I’m being alert to the fact that the S dude is looking for opportunities to trip me up again so I have to be careful with how I spend my time.  And constantly depend on God for strength and wisdom.

All is well… The confident, life-loving single gal pre-Oct 2009 is back, baby! lols, but a better version and she’s here to stay.  Praise the Lord.

♥ Ames

Forget it!

There seems to be a bit of a trend.   Lately, there have been a number of situations where I’ve really had to go against my own feelings and do what is ‘right’ even thought I don’t initially understand or agree with why I have to do it.  And then it seems that a few days later, the purpose behind those decisions will then be revealed.  I guess its been a lesson in trusting and obeying… a lot easier said than done.

This is one of the topics that came up recently and made more sense after reading this post in my inbox:

Forgetting is something that your will chooses to do.  It’s a choice YOU make in life.  But choosing to forget something doesn’t mean that you are denying that it ever happened or that it wasn’t important. It’s just simply saying that I won’t look to my past to dictate my future, but I will keep moving forward and won’t let “this thing” change the atmosphere of my life, BUT I WILL change the atmosphere and become all that God has created me to be.

Don’t let the hurt and pain from someone else’s actions/past experiences take up any more room in your mind and heart.  Instead, fill that space with the hope and promises from God.  Remember, no man can keep you from your final destination.  God will always get you there right on time.  His intention is to always bring increase in your life.  Certainly learn from your past so you know how to make powerful new choices for your next season, but don’t live in the past.

You see, forgetting is closely linked with forgiving because many times we say to ourselves, “I can and will forgive, but I will never forget”.  But honestly why are we sooo intent on remembering things that will just keep us in that place?  When we keep playing over in our minds and heart the hurtful words, actions, rejection, failures and pain just keeps us from true restoration and healing that God wants to bring fully to our lives.  He longs for us to be free to live abundant lives, full of peaceful fun adventures.

Look at it this way, if you still feel like you fight the need to forget something fully, then maybe God is still wanting you to learn something through it.  Your freedom awaits you today!

Life!  Reach for it!  Embrace it!

– Tammy Trent

♥ Ames

mollify

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9.

Mollify:  to appease, to calm down, to pacify

‘Christians should be personal diplomats, seeking to bring the peace of the Lord to all the relationships around us.  In Acts 9, the church in Jerusalem harbored understandable skepticism and animosity toward Saul of Tarsus, who had persecuted them and now claimed to have been converted.  Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the believers, and helped them accept and love him.

To the extent that it’s possible, as far as it depends on us, we should live peacefully with others (Romans 12:18).  The world longs for peace, but true peace can only be found through the Prince of Peace.  As we know Him, we become His special envoys.’ – today’s Turning Points devo

‘In every person who comes near you, look for what is good and strong; rejoice in it; and, as you can, try to imitate it.’ – John Ruskin

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OK, I didn’t take a day off from work for blogging (opps!) but I’ll go and make peace before I put my study cap on for the day :).  Enjoy the Royal Wedding :P.

♥ Ames

one step closer…

So, I thought about recording the song… but the quality of my voice has changed significantly thanks to my cold… potentially, the husky, sexy timbre would be perfect but the drop in my already low-ish voice and stilted range is probably not gonna record very well… HENCE, will post something I sent out this morning:

 

Today the key passage in the devotional that I’m using to aid my quiet time with God was: Romans 8:28-29

If John 3:16 is the most recognizable verse in the entire Bible, then Romans 8:28 is surely the next: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Us Christians love this verse because it says that everything- the good AND the bad- that happens in our life will be used by God for a good purpose.
While that is comforting, Romans 8:28 doesn’t tell us all we want to know.  It doesn’t tell us what the good purpose is.  For what purpose is God orchestrating all the events of our life?  Fortunately, we are told in the next verse, Romans 8:29- “For God knew his people in advance, and chose them to become like his Son,so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters.” (NLT)
God’s purpose is to conform us or help us become like is Son, or in the NIV, ‘the image of His Son’.  Our lives follow the same pattern of testing that Jesus followed: “He learnt obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8).  As Jesus proved His Sonship by His obedience we are conformed to His image by our own obedience.
Whether today is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ day in your sight or opinion, it has and will move you closer to the image of Jesus… isn’t that good news? I think so :).
Sometimes it hurts to obey or perhaps we’ve made a wrong turn and we’ve now learnt obedience through what we have suffered (I know I have!) but remember that, you are just one day, one step closer to become more like Christ.  Keep believing and hoping on God’s amazing plans for your lives, because truly all that he has planned for you will come to pass… and they are good plans, not to harm you but to give you a hope and a bright bright future (Jeremiah 29:11)!

 

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A few days ago, a friend I hadn’t seen for a while noted that there was something different about me when I walked towards the group.  I suggested that it could have been my haircut..he said no.  I jokingly suggested that I might have been over-compensating for my cold…we both laughed. I knew the difference was because of something much deeper… there’s an inexpressible joy when you are at total peace with the people around you and with God… enjoying everyday life the way we were made to :).  I’m no longer trying to do things on my own strength, make things happen my way but trusting God and relying on His strength and grace every single day… that’s why I had a bounce in my step :).

♥ Ames

P.S. 10 Things I Hate About You is still totally sweet :).

inward, outward, upward

The email I sent out at 5:30am:
With our youth pastor’s challenge at yesterday’s 2pm meeting for us to set aside time each day for some one-to-one time just for God in the next two weeks, I thought I’d share with you what He taught me today.  God is always speaking to us, it is just a matter of whether or not we take the time to hear what He has to say.
Today the key passage in the devotional that I’m using to aid my quiet time with God was: Jeremiah 31:18-19.
Here is the NLT version that always speaks to me so much more profoundly:
“I have heard Israel saying, “You disciplined me severely but I deserved it.  I was like a calf that needed to be trained for the yoke and plow.  Turn me again to you and restore me for you alone are the Lord, my God.  I turned away from God, but then I was sorry.  I kicked myself for my stupidity.  I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.”
For me, this could have been my own words for the personal trials that I’ve been through in the past 12 months.  I hope to elaborate more as I know many who have yet to hear the whole story, some not even aware because I just haven’t felt that it was the time to share yet… but I soon will :).

Anyway, the topic for today spoke of how there are only three ways to look in life: INWARD, OUTWARD and UPWARD… and trials can help us (cause us) to look in all three directions.

Looking INWARD, we can check our response to the trial.
Looking OUTWARD, we can see how our response is impacting others.
Looking UPWARD, we can renew our faith in the One who causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

So my encouragement to you, UTMOST, is that if you are going through a trial or a test today or in the future, look in all three directions.  What you will discover, as I have, may become a blessing OR possibly a correction you hadn’t anticipated.

My prayers for you comes from Paul’s prayer for the Ephesus church:
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how WIDE, how LONG, how HIGH, and how DEEP his love really is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.  Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.  May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages.  Amen.” – Ephesians 3:17-21 (NLT)
As we all go on this two-week journey of getting to know our God better, I encourage you to keep a notepad/journal and pen next to you as you spend time in God’s Word and write down what He is speaking to you.
♥ Ames