An A-Z Challenge – Looking back over 2018

 

 

I have to admit that when it comes to the idea of developing an attitude of gratitude, I’m a keen advocate. Particularly since God’s Word warns us that an unthankful attitude can cause us to have futile and foolish thoughts and worse, darken our hearts (see Romans 1:21).

No way do I want this to be my story!

I came across the idea of a Thankfulness challenge from Dainty M. See her post on this at: https://daintym.com/2018/12/30/think-thank-challenge-2018/

Dear friends and followers, there are some who expected to celebrate the New Year but did not even make it to the end of 2018. Remember – if it were not for the grace of God, this could so easily have been me, or you!

It’s easy to beat up on ourselves if we haven’t accomplished the goals we set out to achieve, or to entertain a bad attitude because life didn’t deliver the goodies we’d envisaged. As we prepare to close the door upon 2018 and move forward into a brand new year, let’s do so with a positive spirit. Let’s do so with a heart FULL of thanksgiving to our Father God, for his gracious goodness toward us.

And now for my personal take on this challenge, as I look back upon the year(s) gone by.

First and foremost, I am thankful that recent years have seen me develop and maintain an attitude of gratitude. It’s easy to go through life with a “poor me” mentality. Self-pity only blinds our eyes to the good aspects of our current circumstances.

I am grateful for unlimited access to books.  I love reading and in the past I have devoured books in the hundreds. This year I’ve read 13 non-fiction books and 7 novels. I’m supremely thankful for the various versions of the Bible available, and in keeping with my goal to read the entire Bible once per year, I have so far read 44 of the 66 books in the Amplified version (Yes, I am somewhat behind!). This makes a grand total of 64 books read this year, which have educated, entertained or empowered me. Yay!

I am thankful for Christmas. Not necessarily the baubles, gifts and glitter of the season but for the real reason we celebrate this event – the birth of Jesus Christ! If God had not sent him into this world, I shudder to think about where you and I would be, as spiritual outcasts doomed to damnation.

I am grateful to God for deliverance. Not just for the instant deliverance from the power of sin, received when I entrusted my life to Christ and chose to become his disciple, but also for daily deliverance from the power of the Enemy unleashed within and against my life and the lives of my loved ones.

I cannot thank God enough for his generosity of heart in granting us the opportunity of eternal life. I’m referring here not just to the assurance of life after death, a glorious future in heaven where neither tears nor trials will exist, but also to the God-quality type of life we can enjoy now, right here upon this earth, as an heir of salvation.

I am hoping for many things in 2019 and beyond, should God spare my life! I am therefore thankful for faith (the substance of things hoped for). I am grateful to God that even if my faith is as small as a mustard seed, it is enough to secure my miracle, or a significant breakthrough. It is sufficient for me to be able to withstand the wiles of the devil and emerge as a victorious overcomer!

During the latter part of this year, I have enjoyed the wonderful ministry of two individuals: (Joel Osteen and Rabbi Schneider).  I am so, so thankful for godly ministers such as these two men and the positive spiritual input they have contributed to my life.

I am thankful for the presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit. What a priceless and precious resource to have in one’s life! When I don’t know how or what to pray, when I have no idea what I should do in a particular situation, when I need the back-up of a spiritual heavy weight, guess whom I turn to. That’s right – my confidante and helper – the eminent Holy Spirit!

I am thankful God did not make us robots but blessed us with imagination. Now in the past, I have used this to my detriment, imagining mostly negative scenarios. But what a blessing to be able to use this ability in pursuit of our gifts and calling! What a blessing to be able to use this gift as a visualisation tool for success… to be able to use this in our creative endeavours. Recently, I wrote a poem, Autumn’s Soliloquy (click here to read), which I could not have done without the use of my creative imagination.

And how can I not be grateful for Jesus? He is my Lord and Saviour. He is the author and finisher of my faith. And it is only through him and because of him that I am able to reign over troublesome circumstances.

I am thankful for the gift of kindness. This year, I’ve been on the receiving end of beautiful acts of kindness from two of my sisters, who decided to celebrate me and whom God used to both tell and show me that I am “special” in his sight; as well as through prophetic words of encouragement received from a blogger (meet Holly), someone I have never met! Isn’t God amazing?

I am thankful for love. That is, God’s love! Agapē love. A brand of love that is extravagant and extraordinary. An unconditional love. A love that has been extended to me without reservation. Many people have gone out of their way to show me their disdain. But the one who has every right to shun me, has lovingly embraced me, welcomes me into his presence and wants to associate with me. I can only reiterate with heartfelt gratitude the lyrics of Graham Kendrick’s song, in which he so aptly observes: Such love!

I am thankful for precious memories. Having suffered the loss of my mother two years ago, I am grateful for those memories of when she was here on earth with us. Cherished memories of wonderful times at Christmas and birthdays which she created, are now stored within my memory bank alongside memories of her faithful prayer life, which challenges me to do better in my own spiritual journey.

I am thankful for new opportunities. Every day is a fresh chance to draw closer to God, to become a better version of myself as a disciple of Christ, to improve my relationships, to conquer adverse circumstances.

I am thankful for the various occasions that grant me an opportunity to dress up, meet with family members and friends, or host dinner parties at my home. Concerning the latter, I guess I’m more like Mary in the Bible, who became hot and bothered by all the preparation, rather than sitting and enjoying the company of her visitor. I also love those special celebrations, which enable me to participate in an atmosphere of praise and worship to our Father God. And I’m deeply thankful that I live in a country where I can enjoy such occasions without fear of persecution.

Without the shadow of a doubt, I know I could not survive, or thrive, without Prayer. I am thankful indeed for the opportunity to communicate with my Father God, at any time, without the need to make an appointment, or go through a third party. I am thankful for the privilege of having direct access to the ear and heart of the most powerful being in the universe.  

I am grateful for the ability to quench my thirst – whether literally (I live in a country where I can pour myself a clean glass of water to drink whenever I wish), or metaphorically (I can consult an expert or avail myself of the vast knowledge on the Internet) at the click of my mouse.

I am thankful for Rick Warren’s manifesto on the meaning of life, as revealed in his book, The Purpose-driven Life. This year’s re-reading of Warren’s 40-day spiritual guide has been a huge blessing to me, as I’m reminded of God’s five-fold purpose for my life.

I am thankful to God for a sound mind. There are so many people suffering from depression, or dementia, or some form of mental illness. There are also those of us who ordinarily believe that we are of a sound mind, yet we are being driven by different debilitating fears. I thank God for the lessons he is teaching me regarding maintaining a sound mind.

Today and every day, I am thankful for the Truth of God’s Word. The word of family and friends, line managers, national leaders and world rulers (even our own words), can prove fickle, untrustworthy. God’s Word is stable, fixed and unchanging. He will not break his covenant, or alter the word that has gone out from his lips (Psalm 89:34).

I appreciate and am grateful for the UCB Devotional, Word For Today (you can check out the audio and written versions of this resource at:  https://www.ucb.co.uk/word-for-today). As anyone familiar with my two blogs: A Purpose-driven achiever and Women of Warfare! can confirm, I highly recommend this spiritual resource written by Bob and Debby Gass and often quote from these within my posts.

I’m grateful for the support of various bloggers, such as Shell Vera, who regularly leave a comment in response to my posts. As a blogger, comments are like gold dust. They are the only means by which I can receive valuable feedback to my posts. Equal thanks goes to those who regularly drop by and “like” my posts. You are a treasure!

I never thought I’d find myself uttering these words but I am thankful for my work. It is a job, rather than a career, but I am thankful that through this position, I’ve been able to help pay bills, maintain the roof over our head, enjoy great holidays and give towards the work of God’s kingdom.

I thank God for the X-chromosome that produced me. As Psalm 139 accurately and definitively declares: I am fearfully and wonderfully made! It’s reassuring to know that God purposed I should be born, even before my conception. It is so awe-inspiring to know that God planned every single detail of my conception from the parents who would raise me, to my geographical location. What an amazing God!

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m thankful to God for YouTube! Through this channel I’ve discovered motivational speakers such as: Brendon Burchard, Jim Rohn and Les Brown.

Finally, I am grateful for the zealous individuals who come across my pathway whether in the Body of Christ or in secular situations. I am thankful for the inspirational messages of people such as the Apostle Paul, TD Jakes and Maya Angelou.

Thank you dear Father God, for ALL that you have done within, for and through me, in 2018.

 

CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Enjoy God – Enjoy Life!

 

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THEME: ENJOY

  • To find pleasure in something
  • To have, experience or have the benefit of something good

 (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)

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Have you heard of Joyce Meyer?

She is a woman of God, who has a highly successful ministry, attracting both men and women. But my main reason for flagging her up to you today, is the marketing strapline for her daily broadcasts—Enjoying Every-Day Life

One of my goals this year—which I’d like to be an ongoing goal for as long as I live—is to glorify God. Well since last month, I’ve expanded that goal to both glorifying and enjoying God.

As Christians, I sometimes feel we can take ourselves too seriously, or we can be negative and ungrateful. Even, I’m sorry to say, we can be a most miserable set of people.

I don’t say that to upset anyone, to criticise or condemn. I say it because that is what I’ve observed, what I have at times experienced through interaction with other Christians, and have sometimes seen in my own life, and so I point the finger at myself as well.

We are not all of us enjoying life. We are waiting for better times. Waiting for breakthroughs. Waiting for something-or-the-other!

Unfortunately, that wait can extend into years, decades and possibly for ever!

Why does this happen?

I believe it’s because we have unrealistic expectations! Because we have deluded ourselves or been deceived by the Enemy, into thinking that a good life, an enjoyable life is one devoid of problems; a life free from trials and tribulations, an idealistic life that is always self-gratifying.

We think this because we have a God for whom nothing is impossible. We think this because we believe and know he is a miracle-working God. We think this because we are aware that God loves us unconditionally and has declared that we are blessed.

So, if this is the case, why should we encounter defeat or difficulties? Why should we tolerate a situation where it seems God has allowed LIFE to kick away our carefully laid plans and cherished dreams? Why shouldn’t we expect the Godhead and the heavenly hosts of angels to come to our rescue the moment we cry out?

Why?

And whilst we wonder and take umbrage, or secretly sulk because our lives didn’t turn out to be the pretty, problem-free packages we’d ordered, or our prayers weren’t answered according to our schedule, or our undesirable circumstances magically and permanently resolved, we choose to forget that Jesus warned: “…in me you will have peace. In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).

We choose to forget that Peter said: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

We choose to forget that Paul described his experience as a servant of God in the following terms: “…being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the off-scouring of all things until now” (1 Corinthians 12-13).

Perhaps being brought up on a diet of “happy ever after” fairy tales, or vicariously engaging with the ideal life of Hollywood movies, or emotionally subscribing to romantic scenarios in novels, became a contributing factor to our unrealistic expectations.

We conveniently forget that even in such stories, there are conflicts, or an adversary that needs to be overcome first—before the happy ending is revealed!

And as Christians, of course we’ve read about the destiny of God’s people. We’ve read about God’s promise of a bright, blissful future. We’ve even perhaps responded to an altar-call which promised: when you come to Jesus, everything will be all right!

Then, two months, two years, two decades down the line, we are still waiting for everything to be all right, for all our problems to magically disappear for ever, for life to become absolutely amazing, to be one unadulterated high of blessing and favour and success—but until that happens, we feel we can’t actually enjoy life as it is now, with all its fretful, stressful queries, concerns and frustrations.

We enjoy life’s ups but not its downs. We enjoy the highs of our relationship with God but not the lows. We respond to personal circumstances according to the dictates of our thoughts and emotions, rather than the directions of God’s Word. And so, in the final analysis, no—we are not enjoying every-day life!

Dear reader, please understand me. I am not advocating that we go around as a “happy-clappy” bunch of people pretending all is well, if clearly that’s not the case.

I am however, wanting to draw your attention to the fact that when you examine Jesus’ words to the seven churches in Revelation, he clearly indicates that the promise of a future destiny in the new heaven and the new earth, the promise of a pain-free, problem free life, will be the reward of those who overcome.

Now that word (overcome), tells us right there that we are bound to face circumstances where not everything-in-the-garden-will-be-green-and-rosy. And, if that were not the case, how will we learn to overcome? What challenge will there be to overcome?

Dear reader, even God’s dream of a wonderful, harmonious world in which he enjoys a rich relationship with set-apart individuals, who’d commit to him and lovingly obey him, was (and continues to be) thwarted again and again. Not just for a few years. Not just for several decades. But for centuries!

We see evidence of this thwarted dream again and again throughout the entire Bible. We see it with Adam and Eve. We see it with Sodom and Gomorrah and the antediluvian world.

We see it with God’s own chosen people, the Children of Israel. We see it with the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees, who were meant to be waiting for the promised Messiah. And sadly, we see it at times in our own lives.

It is only when we come to the book of Revelation and read about the end of this present world, as we currently know it, that we’re given a prophetic picture of an era when God finally achieves his dream of a devoted, holy and worshipping community within the context of a happy, harmonious world, free from Satan’s diabolical influence.

Meanwhile, dear ones, God has chosen to enjoy us NOW as his children, as his heirs, as his precious Son’s disciples, even though we often fail to measure up to his ideal.

Now if God can do that for us, can we not do the same for him? Can we not use his precious spiritual resources, the benefits of our salvation package and the promise of a brighter future, of an eternal destiny in his glorious presence (where we’ll enjoy the beauty and perfection of his re-created world)—can we not use these factors to enjoy him NOW, enjoy the position to which we’ve been elevated, even enjoy our every-day lives regardless of the battles we face, knowing our victory is guaranteed, knowing our eternal destiny with Him is assured?

Should we not practice and consolidate an attitude of joy now, so we are in good stead for that time which is to come when Jesus himself will welcome us and usher us into his presence, where he will bid us to “…enter into the joy of your Lord”? (Matthew 25:21, 23).

Dear Women of Warfare followers and visitors, I’m convinced that this is God’s heart for you and for me and therefore this is my heart’s desire for you and for myself.

Let’s make a decision today that throughout this year and beyond, we will ENJOY our relationship with our Father-God and ENJOY life. Yes, let’s determine in our hearts to enjoy our redeemed status and enjoy the life for which Christ paid so very high a price.

And if you are looking for ideas on how to enjoy life more, check out the link.

With love and best wishes,

Carol

(aka Lady Cee)

 

This Week’s Prayer Focus:

Let’s focus our thoughts on what God has done for us – not on those issues where we feel let down, or disappointed, or even sceptical towards God because he hasn’t come through with what we wanted, or has not chosen to act within our expected time-frame.

Let’s pray for one another that we will embrace a new attitude of gratitude… that we will reflect upon, remember and rejoice over the fact that Jesus willingly sacrificed his life for us, so we may enjoy an abundant and liberated life.

And, my dear friends, before entering the battlefield of prayer, please don’t forget to put on your spiritual armour.

 

PRAYER:

Father God,

As King David so accurately observed:

What is man that You are mindful of him

Or the son of man that You take care of him?

 And I would add: Who am I that you should choose to adopt me, care for me and cherish a relationship with me? I am both humbled and grateful.

Father-God, my heart’s desire is to glorify you and to enjoy you in my every-day life.

I thank you for setting me apart for your service. I thank you for all that you’ve freely bestowed upon my life, so that I might enjoy the benefits and liberty of your kingdom.

Father-God, help me to focus on what you have done for me—not on what you haven’t! Help me to enjoy life as you meant me to enjoy it. And help me to honour you with the things I habitually say, think and do.

Lord God, may all those who examine me, see a good, great and gracious God who provides for, protects and promotes me. May I in turn, showcase a godly confidence and strength of character, as a result of me walking in the ‘Fear of the Lord’.

Cause me to maintain my confession of faith and to exhibit an uncompromising commitment to pursuing my destiny in Christ. By the enabling power of your Holy Spirit, touch me afresh, so I may experience an increasing fervour for the things pertaining to your kingdom.

Father God, send forth your precious Holy Spirit to embrace and comfort those amongst my visiting readers and also those within our individual spheres of influence, who are depressed or discouraged, who mourn for whatever reason, who are disillusioned with life.

Heal the hearts and hurts of those who’ve become embittered. Strengthen those who are emotionally or spiritually weak. Cause the joy of the Lord to become their source of strength. May inexplicable peace saturate their souls and may godly hope revive their dreams and expectations and act as a spiritual anchor for their souls.

I ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

© Carol Hind

 

Women of Warfare followers and visitors be blessed and enjoy this coming week!

 

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Sunday’s Supplications

Sunday’s Supplications invites you to not only read the posts but also participate in the prayers. Each fortnight, I hope to introduce a new theme and prayer focus. Why not become a part of the WoW! community by participating in these prayers? Let’s pray for ourselves and for each other. Let’s obey God’s command to watch and pray for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18)

Please note, you do not have to be a blogger to join this praying community.

 

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CREDIT: The above CC0 Image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

A Time to Celebrate

 

Hello friends and followers,

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK.

It was an occasion that my mum just loved, particularly in the last few decades of her life. Because we utterly spoiled her. We celebrated her. We did our best to show just how much we loved and appreciated her.

Mum has passed away now. But I still want to remember this incredible, faithful woman of God. I still want to celebrate her life. I still want to give God thanks for the privilege of being her daughter.

Below is an extract from my diary which I’d like to share with you all. The entry was written about 3 weeks before my mother died.

 

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Hello Diary,

I feel like bawling my eyes out. I feel like breaking down and sobbing until every fibre of me has been ridden of pain and disappointment and disillusionment.  I am writing this in a new place (not my Ivory Tower as usual).  I am at my mother’s home, sitting at the dining table—the scene of so much laughter and joy and boisterous revelry.

I sit at my lap top with all the signs of my mother’s warm personality and godly commitment around me. Upon the walls are framed photographs and certificates. Photos of good times, of birthday and graduation events and of her Bishop’s ordination. Photos of celebrations. Photos illustrating Bible verses. Pictures reminding the onlooker of the power of prayer. Certificates testifying of my mother’s commitment to a certain Christian ministry and to her completion of a Bible course. 

I grieve for the mother these photos and certificates portray. A strong God-focussed, prayerful, caring, committed and compassionate woman. 

Earlier, I had borrowed one of her many Bibles. This one sat upon the dining room table. I borrowed it whilst I sat in the overgrown, neglected garden, which is another cause of grief, since it does not bear any resemblance to the garden my mum loved and tended for years. 

Oh it’s not the kind of garden that you’d see in a gardener’s magazine.  It was too haphazard in layout and design for that.  Mum’s garden contained an apple tree with the sourest apples you could ever hope to eat.  There were also potatoes, green beans and gungo beans, spring onions and mint.  All this mixed with rosemary and strawberries, roses and pretty pink flowers (the name of which I do not know). 

But nowadays, along with invasive weeds, mum’s back garden seems to have sprouted old furniture, disintegrating bits of wood, parts of a vacuum cleaner, rusty pipes, containers of industrial fluids and God knows what. There is also a massive eyesore of a building that one of my brothers decided to build—against the wishes and vigorous protestations of his siblings and without my mother’s permission.

Whilst I sit typing at mum’s home, she lies in a hospital bed – a mere shadow of the woman I came to love, respect and highly admire and whom I still love to her very bones, whom I still respect with every fibre of my being and whom I still highly admire, as an example of the woman of God I desire to be.

And as I sat in the back garden on this beautiful day, a day that sported a cloudless blue sky and bright shining sun, there was a stark contrast between my mental climate and the gorgeous weather. 

Our lives have changed.  Indubitably. Undeniably.

No more mum to call upon and ask for prayer.  No more mum to bring our problems to, knowing she would plead and intercede for us to Father God. No more mum on her knees in the earth tending to her beloved gardens. No more mum to arrange family get-togethers and cook extravaganza feasts… to sit back in satisfaction watching us eat and enjoy her food… to bask in our compliments and expressions of gratitude… to listen to the same old family anecdotes and the same old good-natured ribbing of one another. No more mum to join in with the hilarity.

It seems so unfair that this wonderful woman who has been responsible for raising us up single-handedly since the untimely death of my father, this woman who was responsible for making such warm beautiful memories for her family, should have these same precious memories wiped from her memory bank, so that all she is left with is the knowledge that she is incapacitated and without dignity and, the very condition she’d said she would never want to become a feature of her life (having seen it in the lives of others), should turn out to be her own experience.

My father often used to say: “Life – it no easy!”  I would further add: “Life – it’s just not fair!”

Anyway, whilst using the Bible for my quiet time with the Lord, I came across a letter at the back dated 1 November 1989 from one of my sisters. This 4-page letter contained an outpouring of her heart about a particular situation, which had remained unchanged, despite ongoing prayer.

It was such a heartfelt letter. I was touched to the core of my being, so I can imagine how it must have touched my mum. I have no doubt that this letter prompted a session of passionate prayer and intercession on behalf of her daughter and grandson. I have no doubt this outpouring of sorrow and confusion and hurt prompted a phone call in which my mum encouraged, consoled and sought to strengthen my sister. I have no doubt because that was the kind of woman mum was.

As the old saying goes, life is not a bed of roses. Challenges and changes come and we either face up to them and deal with it, or we can run away in the hopes that distance will give us respite, or we can allow our problems to press us into a place of defeat and victimhood.

In the dining room where I sit, there is a cabinet crammed with wine glasses, champagne flutes, candles, crockery and cutlery. Most were gifts to mum over the years and were used for our birthday celebrations, dinner parties and Christmas get-togethers. Some items, such as a colourful set of sherry glasses, were not used anymore because they were so old-fashioned. However, mum didn’t get rid of them and they kept their place in the cabinet.

Looking at this cabinet, it set me thinking…

As Christians, when we encounter the difficulties of life, it’s a relief to know we have a Heavenly Father that cares. It’s wonderful having a loving Saviour and friend in Jesus, upon whom we can cast our burdens. And it’s comforting and reassuring that we have the Holy Spirit who has been called alongside us to help and counsel us.

But are we actually benefiting from these spiritual resources that we’ve been given to enable us to walk victoriously in life? Or, are we merely keeping them like trophies in a cabinet, which we take out now and again, perhaps even use on the odd occasion but otherwise, they serve no significant purpose in our lives?

 

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Thank you dear friends for sparing the time to read this post. For all those who may have lost their mother recently, I pray that the God of all comfort will be with you… that you will be able to look back at the time you’ve shared in the past and rejoice over the memories.

And for all you mothers amongst my readership, may I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!

 

CREDIT: the above CCo image comes courtesy of Terri Cnudde at Pixabay.com

 

Encouragement for Your Journey (5)

 

Each year, each month, each week, each day, even each hour, we are presented with an opportunity to change, to aim for a better, higher expression of ourselves as a child of God, as a spouse, as a parent, as a colleague, as a human being with a unique personality.

Why not aim to make this year, a year of significant achievement or breakthrough, in terms of drawing closer to God, in terms of our relationship with others, in terms of our areas of weaknesses, in terms of our dreams?

 Is it possible?

Can anyone who has ingrained bad habits, a negative mind-set, a propensity to start but not finish their projects, change?

YES THEY CAN!

Dear reader, perhaps you are entertaining doubts. Perhaps your doubts are singing loudly from the rooftop of your being, or perhaps they are quietly niggling you at the back of your brain. However they may be troubling you, don’t ignore them and certainly don’t accept them!

Instead dismiss them. Address them each time they show up and say: doubts – come out! Serve them notice. Evict them. Refuse to give them free board and lodging in your life anymore.

Perhaps you are thinking: that’s easy for you to say Lady Cee but I’ve tried in the past and failed.

So have I, dear reader – so have I! But that is not going to stop me from continuing to try until I succeed.

Listen to me – I heard a man of God speak the other day and the gist of his encouraging message was that every champion, every president, every entrepreneur, every man or woman who has achieved significance, had wanted to give up.

What you and I have to do, is purpose in our hearts, no matter how long it takes, no matter what obstacles we face, WE WILL NOT GIVE UP! As a well-known proverb advises: If at first you don’t succeed TRY, TRY, AGAIN!

So about those doubts. Why might they be there?

Perhaps you had parents, or school teachers, or a spouse, or some other significant person in your past, who said you were not going to amount to much. Listen, there is historical evidence that such figures of authority have been proved wrong. Very wrong!

 

Stop Doubting Yourself!

 

They were wrong about physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein. They were wrong about successful business magnate, Richard Branson. They were wrong about renowned motivational speaker, Les Brown. And they are wrong about you!

Decide in your heart that no human being (other than yourself) is going to have the last word in your life about your capabilities or prospects. God says you are his creative masterpiece. Listen to him and accept his assessment of you.

Perhaps you have a past record of beginning projects and not completing them. I know I have. And the memory of these unfinished projects, these unfulfilled “vows” with yourself, sit smugly within your consciousness and point accusatory fingers. The devil himself makes sure to give you his unsought opinion. And the little demons that attach themselves to these memories, scoff and taunt about your ability to change, to be diligent, to discipline yourself, to sustain interest until the point of completion.

Am I right? But more to the point, are they right?

Don’t let them have the last word. You can change. The Word of God says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. So ask God, believe and expect mental and emotional strength. Ask for, believe and expect to receive an ability to withstand the pressures of your life, to overcome those forces designed to distract and deter you.

Again, the Word of God says all things are possible to him that believeth. I understand that the “eth” at the end of words in biblical text signifies a continuous tense. So to achieve your heart’s desire, it’s important that you not just believe whilst the going is good but continue to believe – today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year – regardless of what happens and for as long as it takes. Are you willing to believe and believe and believe? Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

And about those obstacles, whether within yourself, or outside of yourself, you have a choice of whether to allow them to win, or whether to soar over them, plough through them, or wrestle them into submission to your dreams, goals and strategic plans.

If human beings, severely disadvantaged in life, refuse to let those disadvantages deter them; if disabled people can paint with their feet, successfully compete in races, and achieve extraordinary results; if individuals so beaten down by life they’d planned to dispose of themselves, can come back from the dead, so to speak, to effectively change and empower themselves, then we as blood-bought children of God—who’ve been given the requisite supernatural resources to enable us to endure, to overcome and win, and enjoy abundant life—have absolutely no genuine excuse!

Dear friend, the following is a short video which concludes today’s pep talk. If you need to watch it again and again and again throughout the coming weeks and months, until that message sinks in, until those doubts do not even dare to peep out of your soul, then please do so.

 

 

WoW follower and visitor – you can do it BUT you have to choose to do so! So choose today to be a victor. Choose today to be a victorious over-comer. Choose today to follow your dreams, to pursue your goals, to make this year, your year of jubilee!

With love,

Carol ♥♥

 

CREDIT: all the above CC0 images come courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

7 Keys for a Successful Year in 2018

Unlock Your Success!

 

1)   Look back

Do you journal? Have some record of what’s been going on in your life other than your memory? I hope you do. I keep several journals (writing, devotional and, more recently, personal development).

Looking back enables you to see patterns. From reading entries of previous years, I can see not only my successes but issues I’ve struggled with again and again. They show me which areas of my life, I have yet to achieve self-mastery.

Without the ability to look back, to see the evidence of my short-comings, these habitual failings could easily be overlooked, or remain unchallenged. Noticing meant I had a choice—do something about it, or make excuses and remain in a place of stagnancy.

 

 

2)   Look forward

Where do you want to go in terms of your spiritual life, your relationship with God and others, your health, or career? When you decide to look ahead, you are creating a focus for your life. By deciding what results you would like to achieve this year and setting realistic goals, you are effectively creating a positive vision for your life.

So ask yourself some searching questions – what would you like to see? Who would you like to be? What do you want to do? Where are you falling short when it comes to God’s Word?

When I looked back through my journals and realised that I was spending year after year lamenting the fact that I wanted to be a writer yet not actively doing anything to make this a reality, I decided to use my constant failure in this area, to set out a vision that I could look forward to and use as a form of motivation.

In a nutshell, one of my visions is to become a skilful writer, to write with such beauty of thought and intensity of passion that my words will be like apples of gold, in settings of silver. I created a vision in my heart to become a writer of  intrinsic quality and dynamic influence, so that my readers will be highly encouraged and perhaps even motivated afresh to take hold of God’s Word and allow themselves to become supernaturally transformed.

 

3)   Plan

Now that you have your vision, decide what steps you need to take in order to move towards that vision. Decide how you are going to get there.

Having realised my dream of becoming a prolific and published writer was not going to happen by mere wishful thinking, I came up with a strategy for making this goal a reality.

I created two blogs, which forced me to write regularly. This enabled me to see myself as an authentic writer (since a writer writes!), plus fulfil a long-held desire for God to use my writing to teach and encourage others. Result!

 

4)   Pray

Creflo Dollar  says that every failure is a prayer failure! I’m inclined to agree with him.

I know from experience that if I’ve gone into an endeavour without seeking God’s wisdom, guidance and enabling power, either my efforts will fail, or else the full potential of what I’m trying to accomplish will not be realised.

When we look to God for supernatural assistance, we will obtain supernatural results.

 

Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him,

And He shall bring it to pass.

Psalm 37:5 (NKJV)

 

5)   Take Action

So you have your goal(s). You’ve devised a plan and you’ve committed your dream or desire into God’s hands. Now what?

Well, dear reader, don’t kid yourself that God’s going to go Kerpow! and suddenly you will have lost that weight, landed that new job, or levitated yourself from a position of obscurity to “overnight success”. Whatever you wish to achieve, you are going to have to work, work, work at it. You are going to have to apply yourself diligently.

When I decided I’d had enough of being a victim of the Enemy and of the people whom he used to undermine my self-esteem, I took action by renewing my mind through biblical meditation, studying God’s Word, writing out several affirmations and speaking these to and over myself regularly. I read relevant books, watched motivational videos and sought to apply whatever truths I learned, which aligned with my Christian principles.

Work out what you need to do in order to accomplish your dream and then, as the Nike advert demands, just do it!

 

6)   Embrace Discipline

What is discipline?

It is training yourself to behave in a diligent and controlled way, in order to achieve a particular result.

Now, if you are like most people (myself included), discipline is where you fall down. The New Year arrives with its promise of new opportunities. You get excited. You set goals. You plan. You even start to take action. But then for some reason, you lose your enthusiasm and you lose momentum, or else, something happens to knock you off track.

There’s a saying that wisely observes: “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”. So let me forewarn you today—something or someone, somewhere down the road will cause you to lose hope, lose focus and perhaps ultimately lose your dream. Is there something you can do in advance to prepare yourself against this eventuality?

How about making a pre-commitment to not let weeks and weeks go by before you decide to get back on track with your goals or personal development plan? How about making a solid decision that come what may, you are not letting go of that dream?

How about making spiritual preparation in advance, by way of specific and persistent prayer and/or fasting, so that you have the inner strength and resolve required to soldier on regardless?

 

7)   Seek help from the Holy Spirit

How successful could you be in life if you had your own personal-achievement coach, spiritual cheerleader and perpetual mentor?

If you are a born-again Christian, if you have declared Jesus as Lord of your life, then my dear reader, you have! The Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as our Helper. So don’t ignore this valuable and highly effective resource – ask for his help!

Ask him to help you set your goals in line with God’s will for your life. Ask him to remind you of your vows and commitments. Ask him to help you maintain discipline in your life. Ask him to empower you and show you how to achieve your heart’s desire.

Dear reader, dear aspiring woman of God, make 2018 a year in which you achieve, succeed and excel in the plans and purpose of God for your life.

May 2018 be a year where your spiritual growth and development enables you to experience the miraculous power of God at work in your life, to the extent that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask, think, desire and dream.

With best wishes,

Carol

 

 CREDIT: the above CC0 images are from Pixabay.com

Yes – We Can!

 

Dear WoW follower/visitor,

Dear fellow-believer,

Dear woman of God,

How are you?

Now this is not a flippant question, politely asked yet not genuinely concerned about or expectant of an answer.

This is a genuine desire to come alongside you, to discover what your dreams or problems are, what your achievements or struggles have been. This is a question asked from a genuine desire to know you, to encourage you, to weep or rejoice with you, to be your friend.

…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother – Proverbs 18:24

And so I ask again, how are you?

As 2017 moves to a close, are you satisfied about where you are in life, in your relationship with God? Are you content?

I decided to look back in my writing journal to see where I was at around this time last year. I found an entry which I’d written on the last day of 2016. As a part of this post‘s message, I include an edited version of the journal extract below:

It’s been a while dear diary. It’s been a while. And what brings me back to this journal?  Well, War Room. The movie. Wow! I watched it last night.  And I also started reading the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer (a main character in War Room). 

Am I glad that I purchased these items! Am I glad that God (or the Holy Spirit) prompted me to do so! Am I glad for the inspirational contribution to my life from the author and writers/producers of these works.

Wow! I feel challenged. Stirred up. I feel a new sense of determination to pray and intercede like never before. I feel challenged and able to take on the task that God gave me years ago, to pray for my family, for my loved ones… to intercede for those issues he lays upon my heart. 

Mum did it faithfully for so many years.  However, there came a time when she was not able to carry on because of the Alzheimer’s disease. How I wish I was as consistent and faithful in prayer as dear mum had been. Don’t get me wrong I pray. And if there are serious things happening, I’d most certainly tackle the situation with prayer.  But I’ve not been as persistent as I believe I should and need to be.  

But I want that to change.  I want to be a doer of God’s Word, an executor of his will.  I want to please him.  I want to glorify him. I want to emulate Christ. Be a faithful follower.  Disciple.  He deserves that.  He so, so, so, deserves it.  Deserves my loyalty.  My faithfulness. My 100 per cent commitment. My instant and total obedience. 

After all he has done for me.  After all he has done for the entire world.  After all that he has made available to me, so that I can walk victoriously in life, so that I can use the power of attorney with which he has entrusted me, to help make the lives of my near and dear ones divinely protected, safe, secure.

He is worthy.  So very worthy.  And I have spent too much time wallowing in self-pity. Sulking because I didn’t get the life I desired and thought I deserved.  What could be more precious, of higher quality than the Zoe life, the God-ordained destiny, the glorious future of a blood-bought child of God, who has been redeemed from the hand of the Enemy? Redeemed from the curse of the law? A life where I’ve been made an heir of God and joint-heir (i.e. equal heir) with Christ?

What could be better than knowing WHATEVER happens to me, God is able to cause all things to work together for my good? That has to mean for my utmost welfare, my personal development, and my eventual success—right?

So why, would I act as if there is no hope? Why would I live on a low spiritual plane—as if I’m in the same boat as those who do not know God, who do not revere God, who do not acknowledge or believe in him? Why?

The only reason is because of deception. Deception by the Enemy and even of myself. Because if you are a hearer of God’s Word and not a doer you are deceiving yourself!  It says so quite plainly in the Bible! (See James 1:22)

And… because of immaturity.  Yes! Despite being a woman with several decades clocked up, I’m still acting as if life owes me a gold-plated, everything-in-the-garden-rosy, pain-free and problem-free life—especially since I became a child of God and consider myself to be a prayer warrior!

But Jesus didn’t have life easy.  Even God does not have things easy.

Don’t believe me?

What about that time when Satan tried to overthrow him in heaven? What about the two-thirds of angels that mounted an insurrection? And now that they’ve all been thrown out of heaven, what about the havoc they wreak on this earth, defiling hearts and motives, causing people (God’s created masterpieces), to blaspheme and blame him for demonic atrocities?

So if Christ did not have it easy, and if God doesn’t have it easy why on earth should I be any different?

I blame the children’s fairy tales. I blame Hollywood.  Make-belief fantasies which make us feel that there’s an unadulterated and perpetual happy-ever-after that we deserve. And if we don’t have it, if we aren’t living it, then we feel cheated.

Get real Carol! Go LIVE the life that God has blessed you with when you gave your heart to Christ. Go LIVE the life he ordained for you to enjoy—the abundant, victorious life he has graciously and generously made provision for you to freely partake and enjoy.

Go LIVE that life with the realisation that an abundant, God-glorifying life does not guarantee you a problem-free, or pain-free future.

***** 

Does the above resonate with you in any way?

It’s amazing how quickly one can forget your vows and intentions.

It can also be discouraging to realise that once again another year has passed and those cherished dreams have not materialised, those troubling situations remain virtually unchanged.

So, where are you dear friend in terms of being a victorious overcomer?

Have you taken stock? Have you evaluated? Or have you given up?

Whilst writing the last sentence, a verse of scripture came to mind. It’s from Philippians 4:13 and says:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Perhaps this verse is a pertinent message from God for someone who is reading this post right now.

If so, then to God’s Word let me add the following encouragement:

  • You can do it!
  • You can move from a place of defeat, despair or disappointment to a position of personal strength and empowerment.
  • You can walk in life with your head held high and with God-confidence.
  • You can change your status from victim to victor!

I don’t have to know your circumstances. I don’t have to know what negative and overwhelming odds you’ve faced or what difficult situations are currently challenging you.

I don’t have to know the specifics of your life, yet whatever you may have experienced, I believe you can move forward into the New Year with faith, determination and purpose. In fact, I’m absolutely convinced that you can emerge a conqueror.

And what makes me so sure?

  • Because I know and believe God’s Word
  • Because I’ve experienced the integrity of God’s Word for myself
  • Because, before I released this post for publication, I’ve prayed for you.

Granted I don’t know who you are and of course I don’t know what you’ve been going through, or what lies ahead of you BUT I know a man who does. I know a God (a living, breathing, AWESOME God), who cares enough for you and me to number the hairs of our heads—not just count them but number them!

So stop and consider that for a moment. Can you imagine such incredible depth of detail regarding someone’s love for you? Do you know anyone who cares about you that much?

God loves you dear reader and the above detail mentioned is only ONE of many ways in which God has revealed his unconditional love, concern and commitment for you.

Now sometimes Satan, or circumstances, succeed in distracting us from acknowledging this fact. And sometimes Satan and/or situations rob us of our faith and seeks to displace our trust in God and stir up irrational fears.

FEAR!

False Evidence Appearing Real.

Dear reader, dear precious woman of God, we’ve just celebrated the fact that God sent his only Son (Jesus Christ) into the world to make a difference in our lives. Are you utilising the strength of Christ, the power of prayer, the anointing of the Holy Spirit to enforce and enjoy that difference?

As we pass from this year into the next, I pray that you and I will go into it with the strength and confidence of Christ. I pray you and I will go into the New Year with a hope that acts as a stabilising anchor for our souls. I pray that you and I will pass over into the New Year with a peace that surpasses normal understanding.

Dear reader, my prayer is that God blesses us with true heart-felt and immeasurable joy. Furthermore, I pray that we will experience an unshakeable inner knowing that God is in control and is able to do exceedingly abundantly above our highest hopes, thoughts, desires and dreams.

Women of Warfare followers and visitors – have a great, God-glorifying New Year in 2018!

 

CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

25…My Rebirth — caterpillartobutterflyblog

Pillows wet Today’s dusk to tomorrow’s dawn And all the suns in between Today, tomorrow, yesterday…all the same No season was safe The mental self-harm, profuse How could the world not see the scars…fresh blood Seeking validation The need to fill a God-sized heart hole Led her to all the wrong places, humans, things Just […]

via 25…My Rebirth — caterpillartobutterflyblog  

Hello Women of Warfare friends and followers,

I came across this beautiful, heartfelt poem, which immediately made me think of the prodigal daughters and lost lambs in God’s kingdom.

When I refer to lost lambs I am not necessarily speaking about those who have turned their back upon God, or walked away from their faith.

I am referring to those who may be attending church yet do not feel as if they are a part of the body of Christ because either they’ve been rejected by their brothers and sisters in Christ, or they’ve not made any meaningful relationships. I also refer to those who may have been hurt by leadership, felt misunderstood, or been wrongly accused.

And then there are those who have become disillusioned with their faith, or those who still maintain their confidence in Christ but wish to distance themselves from church life for personal reasons.

To all such lost lambs and segregated sheep, Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd and Overseer of your souls, is standing at the door of your hearts asking you to let him into those areas of hurt and doubt, confusion, even bitterness, so he can tend to your wounds, heal your hurts and make you whole.

Yes, his message to all such prodigal daughters is: Come Home!

I hope this blogger’s beautiful poem will encourage you to respond to Christ’s call and return to his sheepfold.

With love,

💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖