Category Archives: Hows Your Heart

What do you seek?

Seeking after the things of God, not this world reflects your priorities in life. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a career or interests outside a faith setting. It is when your pursuits in life give no regard to God, you may find trouble beckoning.  The hurts you experience along the way may begin to spiral out of control when you are unable to, or unaware of how to view them as opportunities.

Getting God’s perspective on the tension between joy and tribulation can provide you with the greatest lessons in life.

God has a goal for each and every one of our lives. It isn’t just to make us happy, but to model for us how to be Holy – by being more like Him.  Jesus knew and endured pain, ridicule and shame.  He was disowned, ignored, physically beaten.

The writer of the Bible book of Hebrews says that it was through the pain and suffering that Jesus Christ endured on our behalf taught Him obedience.  (Hebrews 5:8). Through these times it was who He put His faith and trust in that Jesus got through – He learned to depend on God, and God alone.

It is when we can see God’s providential care and involvement in the good and bad times; in the valleys and on top of the mountains; in the dark times and bright, then we can build the resilience that comes from depending on God. 

Not much in this world comes without risk. The saying goes “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.”  Allowing yourself to become vulnerable and opening your heart to God is the first key in allowing the hurt you have endured to be used for good, for those set backs to become set ups! 

It is said of Saint Basil (303 – 379 AD) that his faith was ambidextrous because “he welcomed pleasure with his right hand and afflictions with the left, convinced both would serve God’s design for him.”  Seeking God in all seasons of your life, trusting God in the joys and tribulations of life is where ‘ambidextrous faith’ is beneficial.

When we look around with our eyes open, we can be distracted by the issues and struggles of life.  When you close your eyes, these distractions and biases become less influential. Determine to close you eyes to your hurts and ask God to reveal to you how He is able to turn these around into greater possibilities.

 

Where’s the hope?

Life’s challenges can leave even the strongest of people replacing hope with doubt and fear. Several times throughout the Bible, God reminds His people to “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid…for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV)

Having listened to the negative voices in the past you may be carrying hurt deep with in your heart that needs to be exposed to be healed. There may be such hurt and pain, or unforgiveness so repressed that you don’t remember what actually happened. I’ve heard it said of generational family feuds and long running marriage problems, that no one involved can clearly articulate what started the dispute. What a waste of opportunity for living in hope when you can’t remember what started an argument. 

A significant key to hope is to apprehend what God says about you and surrender all your hurt to Him.  Healing so deep can be painful. It is also the place of new beginnings.  Birthing a new life is painful, ask any mother.  

Some of the things that the Bible records of God saying about you includes how you are His beloved, His pearl of great price, you are more than a conqueror. 

The Bible also says that God has given you a spirit of power, love and self-control, not one of fear. That He has placed within you the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The ability to be strong and very courageous in all circumstances is repeated several times under different circumstances. 

God also says He will provide a place of rest from the battles within and without. When you have Him as Lord of all of your life, you are not immune from life’s challenges, but He gives you the ability to overcome any test or temptation that comes your way. He also promises to never leave you, or forsake you.  
The mess, test or pain you are or have experienced could be the very thing that God is waiting to show you just how much He loves and cares for you.  Your breakthrough, and witness of it could be the very thing that helps someone else regain hope. Every human being past, present and future, has been created in God’s own image. It stands to reason then, that His desire for your life is not to set up residence in the darkness but continue to walk through all of life’s experiences. If you don’t turn towards the light, you may never see how bright your future can really be. 

If there is so much positivity that God has spoken over your life, don’t you think that it is worth placing all you hope in what He says about you and not the negative influences of this world?

Responding versus Reacting

The world will tell you that mediocrity is acceptable. God’s word tell us that “in all things we are more than conquerer’s through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)”

We all go through pain in our lives. Whether it be that initial slap on the buttocks at birth, relationship breakdowns or a financial meltdown, what we do with it shapes its influence on our remaining years. We can choose to either react (to act in opposition to a former condition or act), or respond (to react to a stimulus or to a treatment, especially in a favourable way).

  • The baby’s reaction is to cry, responding with opening its lungs for more breath; 
  • Relationship breakdowns may cause a reaction that is self destructive, where as a favourable response might include self reflection to understand how our own patterns of behaviour may have influenced the breakdown;
  • Financial meltdown reactions could include self harm or seeking out vices to find that illusive quick fix, whereas a favourable response might include adequate planning or change of habits.

The saying goes “God can turn your mess into a message, your test into a testimony, or your pain into gain.”  Learning how to respond rather than react to life’s situations can have a favourable outcome for your life, and for those around you.  It can be difficult seeing through the fog of challenges to see the future promises.  Remaining positive and pushing through can reduce the severity and frequency of the times you need to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.   

Two keys to achieving this are calling on God’s voice that can silence the negative voices.  Then once you learn how to use this key, you can begin to apprehend what God says about you, not the opinions of the naysayers. 

Determine within yourself today, that you will not let the barriers, attitudes and mindsets that have been negative influences on your past decisions to have a place of residence in your future.