Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Ps. 131:2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul... 

I'm having some computer problems, so I'm defragmenting it, whatever that means!
This morning as I paused to reflect on this verse I felt The Lord saying to me "you need to defragment your soul." 

Meaning in this busy, noisy world I need to calm and quite me soul, fixing all my energies on Him rather then going in a dozen different directions, I need to bring the fragments of my life together, consolidate, so that everything I do is focused on Him, loving God and people. Rather then doing 10 things OK need to ask Him what 5 things does He have for me to do at my peak performance, for His glory and the love of others. 

Because like my computer when my soul is fragmented I don't run the way I was made to run, I'm slow sluggish and shut down. I want to run this race that is marked out for me, making it over the finish line to hear Him say to me "We'll done good and faithful servant." 

How about you? You fragmented? You running sluggish? Do you want to hear Jesus say to you "well done good and faithful servant?" Then maybe it's time to defragment your soul...

Friday, 10 January 2014

The Dos and Don'ts

This morning I have been reflecting on Ephesians 5: 1-21...

 1-2 (MSG) Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that...


First things first: Love like Jesus loves us. 

How has Jesus loved us? He gave his life up for us so that we can have life. So to love as Jesus does we need to be giving up our lives (by living lives of self sacrifice, or sometimes quite literally by dyeing for your faith) so that we can bring the good news of life to people. 

Challenge #1 is to answer: How am I loving people? How am I sharing the good news of life with people? Make a list, very practically... for example: a mother who stays at home with her children and is raising them in the fear of the Lord, or a business owner who is treating her employees not just fairly but with radical grace, sometimes at her own expense, or maybe you chose to go for coffee with someone you do not particularly enjoy, because you want to love them with friendship.

15 (ESV) Look carefully then how you walk... 17 (MSG) Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

Challenge #2 is to:  Stop and take a serious evaluation of how you are living your life (walking). We should ask ourselves what does Jesus want me to be doing and not doing? 

Normally when it comes to following Jesus I am opposed to a dos and don'ts list , but I am just trying to faithfully record what I have reflected on in this passage, and it appears strangely sort of like a list...

1. Love people as Christ loves us. I think it is important to note that this is at the top of the list, the most important, this is not my ordering it is how I found it in the passage.
2. 3-4 (MSG) Don't be sexual promiscuous, practice filth, or be a greedy bully. Don't gossip or speak crudely
3. Do give thanksgiving.
4.11-16 (MSG) Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness... 17 (MSG) Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly...
5. Do expose the works of darkness. I am not entirely sure what the author is all meaning by "works of darkness" but I think part of it likely includes the injustices in our communities.
6. Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. I appreciate the frankness by which the MSG translator explains why not to get drunk, my understanding is that getting drunk makes our life less valuable, useful for the Kingdom purposes, some very practical examples are: when we make a habit of getting drunk we can spend an excess of time and money on our own self gratification rather then on loving and caring for others, and are minds and hearts can become foggy with selfishness, lust, and anger causing us to lose our focus on the pursuits of love, mercy, and justice.
7. Do be filled with the Holy Spirit. We are called to be filled, not empty, Jesus promises to give us a helper (Holy Spirit), so that we can love people as he does. Following Jesus is not just about do this and don't do this, but it's about being filled with the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control... this is good news, great news, this is the hope, the empowerment to live the abundant life!
8. Do sing praises to God. Singing lifts our spirits, so if you are feeling discouraged in this journey of following Jesus turn up the praises and have a dance party!
9. Do 20 (ESV) give thanks always and for everything to God the Father. Giving thanks takes our eyes off of ourselves fixing them on God and gives us a new perspective, a better perspective.
10. Do 21 (MSG) be courteously reverent to one another. Note that this list ends pretty much how it started: with love.

Don't live a selfish, meaningless, and empty life. Instead...

Monday, 6 January 2014

Do You Want To Win?

It's a new year, and this means it is time to make new year resolutions. To be honest I love new year resolutions, because I like goals and fresh starts, just as I like mornings and to do lists.

I have noted a trend: people do not make new years resolutions. I have asked a number of people a the response is often "Nah, I don't keep them anyways, so why bother?" This troubles me! Because what I hear them saying is "Nah why bother trying to make good life goals because I can't change anyways?" This is crap! You can change! 

I think it is of utmost importance to take sometime every year (even better if it's more then once a year) to reflect on our lives, examining ourselves, our behaviors and habits, evaluating our goals and what might be getting in the way, and then making choices to move towards health physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. And if you find that you don't keep them, we need to be figuring out if its because they are unrealistic or if we have a problem with self-control, and we need to be keep trying till we win! I don't know about you but I want to win at life! I don't want to live this life as someone who doesn't live the fullest best life she can just because I keep giving up because it's hard! 

For example many people make goals to do with their physical health, eating right and getting exercise, but get discouraged because the only last about a month. Rather then throwing in the towel, I suggest asking yourself "do I need to eat healthier, do I need to exercise more? Will this improve my health and life? Will it be the best thing for me?" If the answer is yes, then I would ask "Are my goals realistic?" You can't go from 0 to 100, if you never go to the gym and only eat McDonald's don't think you can start going to the gym 6 days a week, and go on a strict low fat, low sugar, low everything diet and last very long! Start with small, baby steps. 

But do start, because do you want to live the best life you can live or do you want to live an OK life, never really feeling satisfied or content? I would imagine you want to live a fulfilled life, but have been discouraged by past failures, hey I get that, we all have been there (are there) but that is not a reason to give up. Pick yourself up, or ask a friend to help pick you up! And try again! 

I had not intended to make this about resolutions, but it's the words that spilled out. If this has struck a cord in you I encourage you to take sometime to reflect further on it and then do something about it! 

Maybe make a list of things you are displeased/unsatisfied with (your weight, your lack of free time, your grades, your nonexistent prayer life) and then beside them write how you can better/change them (go to the gym, scheduled a free night, get a tutor, set up prayer dates with a friend). For many of us there are some even deeper issues, we are depressed or angry all the time, this will take some more self work, but it is possible to deal with it, go to a counselor, talk to someone you trust, read some books. I don't want to diminish some of the real deep dark stuff we have, there are many things that will not have a quick or simple resolution, but this doesn't mean they are unchangeable.  

Something I did was make a list of the components of my life (school, prayer, working out...), and then made out a rough schedule for myself. There are certain things I know I need in my life to be healthy, for example prayer and working out, so I had to figure out how to plan those into my life. I asked myself what gives me life? What kills me? What needs to stay? What needs to go? What is the best? Rather then focusing to much on the what not to dos, I filled my week with life giving to dos, like payer, working out, Bible study, and rest time. I am a full time student, so that is a non negotiable. And God has me living in DTES, so I need to make time to be down here, being with the community here. Those are two central components to my life. Another one is Sabbath rest, God has spoken very clearly to me of the importance of taking a whole day of rest from work, so I take Sunday as my Sabbath rest, not doing any school work on that day. I love going to the gym, and it's important for my health, I would go 6 days a week if I had the time, but that is not necessary or for me best, so I have planned to go 3 days a week, and a fourth day on less busy weeks. OK enough about me, your turn!

Remember make realistic resolutions, be ready to fail, it happens to us all, but instead of using the failures as an excuse to give up, use them to reevaluate and start fresh...