THE PROCESS OF TIME

There are people in this world who experience miraculous healing and other people who are instantaneously set free from an addiction or a bad habit BUT for the rest of us it is often a process, of taking two steps forward and one step back, over a long period of time before we are healed or no longer enslaved to an addiction/bad habit.

Two days before my father died, my sister, my husband and I were sitting around his bed, when he opened his eyes and said:

 “It’s time to say goodbye now. I am going to be with the Lord. The Lord is waiting for me”.

We called everyone into his room and as each grandchild hugged him, he told them that he loved them and gave them a blessing, he then hugged and blessed my sister and I and his sons-in-law.

Our oldest daughter commented to my brother-in-law that it would be quite an anti-climax if Grandpa Ray didn’t die that night and he replied that ‘dying, like most things in life, is a process.’

Living, dying, healing, freedom from addictions/habits, financial crises involves a series of actions or steps before we achieve a particular end.

For my dad, his process of dying started long before his death, and we had the privilege and joy of being able to spend uninterrupted time with him – holding his hands, reminiscing, praying during this time. He in turn, valued this time of family, of togetherness.

On the day that he died he was content and at peace and repeated a couple of times ‘I am going home’. He closed his eyes at 1pm and went to be with his Lord and Saviour.

What if, instead of gnashing our teeth, becoming impatient and angry, depressed and distraught because we are not receiving our healing or victory over certain areas, we instead – like my dad – just rest in peace, content that our God will undertake in His time? Spent that time listening to or reading His word and praying. Meditating and going for walks? Talking to people we trust about their insights on this process of waiting?

What if we spent this time process meditating on the following verse?

 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,  to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:25-26)

What if we really took to heart the following verse and did not measure our time process in minutes, hours, days, months?

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends;  with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”.  (2 Peter 3:8)

“Patience doesn’t mean making a pact with the devil of denial, ignoring our emotions and aspirations. It means being wholeheartedly engaged in the process that’s unfolding, rather than ripping open a budding flower or demanding a caterpillar hurry up and get that chrysalis stage over with.”  Sharon Salzberg

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ARE YOU IN BONDAGE TO YOUR CHILDREN?

A friend and I were bemoaning the fact the other day that sometimes our children are not truly appreciative of all that they have, that they take so much for granted and often want more.

I said that it was our own fault. We are the ones who give them everything they want and follow a policy of instant gratification. We are afraid to discipline them as they should be disciplined and we often don’t hold them accountable for their actions for ‘fear’ of their reactions. His reply shocked me. He said:

“Yes, but we live in a world of fear. There are so many children who are bulimic, anorexic or who are cutting themselves that we are afraid that if we do not give our children what they want they will start doing the same. Others suffer from depression and are on medication. We are held in bondage to this fear.”

I don’t agree – I believe that some of our children will still suffer from all these things even if they are given everything they demand – in fact, maybe the more they are given, the more they will be inclined to suffer from these issues.

It has almost become quite common place, or in some instances, ‘fashionable’ to be bulimic or anorexic or a cutter and to be in therapy.

Our children have to contend with so much today – not the least of these things being social media. They never have time to relax, to be alone. Their lives are splashed on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and countless other forms of media.

Not just their lives, but their parents lives as well. A large majority of us parents also spend way too much time on whatsapp or twitter or email – I am certainly guilty of this. Our children watch programs on television that ‘normalise’ all these issues and they are being taught that there is nothing wrong with sex before marriage, having multiple partners, experimenting with drugs and alcohol because ‘everyone does it’ and it is perfectly normal.

Depression among school children is rife with many taking medication to get them through the day, and then, as a community we sometimes experience the devastation of loss as some teenagers feel the only way out is to take their own lives to end their pain.

The world our children are growing up in is foreign to us parents. Our four and five year old’s are taught not to brush their friends knees of grit and dirt when they have fallen and grazed themselves because the blood of their friend may contain the AIDS virus.  How heartbreaking is that? Having to teach our children to curtail the basic human response of bringing comfort to those they love because of a very real fear of being infected with a disease.

A law passed in my country, South Africa, in 2007 states that “children as young as twelve can get condoms and the Pill, get HIV treatment, and have an abortion – without their parents’ consent”, how achingly sad is that?

Our children have easy access to drugs, alcohol and porn. The divorce rate is on the increase, families are breaking up and there are many single parent households. A few years ago the Daily Mail reported “One in ten families never sits down to an evening meal together, a study revealed today. Hectic social schedules and hefty workloads means millions of families are unable to enjoy each other’s company at the dinner table.” It went on to report that in a study of 3 000 adults, two thirds of their children reportedly yearned for a return to the traditional family dinner time.

So, no wonder parenting a teenager feels like you are a tight rope walker or that you are constantly ‘walking on egg shells’ as we find ourselves challenged by them, and the ever changing world we live in.

What is really great, however, is the fact that even if we misstep and fall off the tightrope, or crush all the egg shells, our safety net is ginormous!

GOD IS OUR SAFETY NET and when we go to Him in prayer for wisdom and discernment FOR OURSELVES in raising our children and we request wisdom, self-control and safety FOR OUR CHILDREN we know that He hears us and responds in love.

My all time favorite Bible verse is found in 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”. Instead of sins I put ‘mistakes’ because as parents we make countless mistakes in raising our children but as long as they know they are loved and prayed for I believe that in the end they will develop into the people God created them to be.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13

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WORKPLACE LIVING…trust and daily decisions at work

We had a lovely break from our usual work day yesterday.  Jonathan Rens, an entrepreneur with vast experience in leadership and developing company strategies, came and gave a talk on ‘trust and daily decisions at work’.

Jonathan started his talk by posing the following question:

“What is the most important ingredient in a business?”

We all thought the answer was rather obvious – people of course! Not so!

TRUST is the most important ingredient in a business.

Without trust the business will struggle no matter how many employees there are.

Jonathan went on to explain ‘there can be no relationship without trust.  Trust is more important than profit. Trust impacts the entire life of the business.  For truth and integrity to flourish there has to be trust between the staff and between the business and the customer.
Communication is how we manage trust’.

“When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.” –Stephen R. Covey

Some synonyms for trust are ‘believe in, have faith in, depend on, count on’

We need to be able to trust our co-workers, our managers, our bosses, and customers need to be able to trust us, the company.

“If you don’t have trust inside your company, then you can’t transfer it to your customers.” —Roger Staubach

 We are determined to have many more of these lunch time talks in the future.

I would strongly suggest that all companies implement something like this in their businesses!

After the talk we helped ourselves to more food, mingled and spoke to each other – a lovely break from eating at the desk, or in the kitchen, or on the run, and Jonathan was available to answer more questions.

The verse below sums up TRUST in the workplace!

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly love”    2 Peter 5-7

To be effective in the workplace all the above qualities are needed.

For more information on WorkPlace Living please contact Jonathan at Jonathan@matisse.co.za

WorkPlace Living centres on a decision framework for organisations, a framework that is an extension of the biblical framework that is basic to the individual Christian. For the organisation, the framework gives context to traditional corporate values, and using it increases the ability of inculcating corporate values into the life of the organisation (puts values into decision making and creates greater protection from outside influence).

The framework:  1) enables values influence across the entire organisation, 2) is an opportunity to introduce Christian thinking into the organisation and in so doing provide Christian leadership to the organisation, 3) provides potential for operational consistency within the organisation, and 4) helps in the measurement of values in decisions.

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MEDITATIONS

“Lord, I pray that all people will recognise the grace given to us by you. I pray that we will always remember that we are justified through faith and not by our own works and that we will live by faith in Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us. May your grace and peace be evident in our hearts at all times. Amen”

Morning meditations with my candle from Beeing!

(https://www.facebook.com/beeinginagoodspace/?ref=br_rs)

 

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION

If we have accepted the Lord as our savior God says that we belong to Him. A synonym for belong is ‘to have a home, to have a rightful place’ and the origin of the word belong comes from ‘to reach’. God reaches out to us and Jesus says “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”. (John 14:23)

It is God and the person who lives in a house that makes it a home and I love the way CS Lewis describes the way God changes our ‘house’ because He wants to make it a fit place for Him to call home!

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage; but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself”.

In keeping with the above, Ruth Bell Graham (wife of Billy Graham) asked to have the following inscribed on her tombstone:

“End of construction – Thank you for your patience”

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SELF-WILL…

A while ago, as I was praying, I asked God to ‘restore to me again the joy of His salvation’ and then my prayer came to an abrupt halt as I realised that I didn’t think I had ever experienced the ‘joy’ of His salvation so how could I ask Him to restore something which I had never had or felt?

When I received Christ as my Lord and Saviour there was a quietness and peacefulness inside me which lasted for about an hour.  I don’t recall feeling any joy.

My relationship with Jesus has always been overshadowed with my own needs, feelings and wants.

My relationship with Christ has been totally overshadowed by my immense feelings of unworthiness.

I know without a shadow of doubt that I have received salvation but realised that I had never fully opened up my heart to Christ to receive His joy.  Psalm 16:11 says “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your Presence”.

“You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences:  Salvation is all of the grace of God.  Damnation is all of the will of man”.  Charles Spurgeon

If we do not fully submit our will to Christ we will never fully experience the ‘joy’ of our salvation.

Godly joy has got nothing to do with being happy.  Godly joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit and does not rely on our circumstances. Being happy depends largely on what is happening to us whereas a Godly joy can be experienced even during times of great affliction.

Augustus William Hare summed it up perfectly when he stated:

“I bid you conquer in your warfare against your four great enemies, the world, the devil, the flesh, and above all, that obstinate and perverse self-will, unaided by which the other three would be comparatively powerless”.

If we can conquer our self-will, the influences of the world around us, and Satan – our own desires will have relatively little control over us.

“There’s only one effectively redemptive sacrifice, the sacrifice of self-will to make room for the knowledge of God”  Aldous Huxley

We need to develop and practice discipline and self-control in our lives. We need to get to know God more intimately through the reading of His word and through prayer on a daily/hourly basis.

Lord, our prayer is that you would help us to submit our will to your will.
That you would place in us the desire to know you more deeply, more fully, and more realistically.
Grant us the assurance that we can do this in your name.

Reading Psalm 51

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WASTED MINUTES

 

Have you ever sat and reflected on how many minutes and hours of a day you waste feeling that you will never reach your full potential – your book will never be published, your public and preaching ministry will never be expanded, God will never use you?

Wasted minutes feeling guilty (past and present guilt), feeling angry (with yourself, with others),  feeling depressed, frustrated, hopeless and worthless.

Feeling that you don’t really feature on God’s radar or the radar of those around you?

If any of the above feelings pertain to you then, for the next week/month/year, however long it takes, set aside 30 minutes a day and read and reflect on the following passage:

‘Yet, the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for Him!

O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.  How gracious He will be when you cry for help!  As soon as He hears, He will answer you.”  (Isaiah 30:18,19)

Reflect for a moment on the word YET – it means nevertheless; still; in spite of that…

“YET, nevertheless; still; in spite of all that you may feel – the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion”.

He longs, He desires, He wants to be merciful to you.

He rises to show you pity, to help you through your pain and doubts and fears.

Take 30 minutes of your day and read and re-read those words.  “you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help!  As soon as He hears, He will answer you”

We are often so wrapped up in our own self-pity, problems and fears that we cannot/do not hear what God is saying to us.

Lord, I bring before you all that I feel. I thank you that you will deal with me with compassion and grace and that you will answer me because it is written in your Word. Grant me Lord daily the patience to sit quietly before you, in meditation and mindfulness and allow me to be quiet long enough to hear you and to give you time to reveal Yourself to me.

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