PART 3 ~ ABIDE IN ME

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7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

If you successfully resist all the temptations to the thousands of other distractions that remove you from meditating in the Word of God and spending time in prayer, then you will be abiding in Christ. If His Words, as distinct from all the other words that can abide in you, then your prayers, your declarations, your commands will be done.

8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

No farmer is honoured by a poor crop. Our father’s honour is in our hands to ensure he is glorified by much fruitfulness. By what? By answered prayer. How is prayer answered? By abiding in Jesus and His Word abiding in us. This is how we prove to be His disciples, because we bear much fruit because of answered prayer, which in turn glorifies the Vine-dresser, the Father.

9    “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love

The Father loved Jesus by:
1. Publicly endorsing him at Jordan,
2. Equipping him with power and authority so he could heal, deliver and rule over circumstances.
3. Being close to Him,
4. Protecting Him,
5. Speaking with him every day.

Regularly Jesus revealed to His disciples that the way the Father dealt with him was the way he dealt with the disciples. Everything the Father does for us is not just for us, but for us to bring to those we are called to lead, Jesus loved his disciples as he had been loved. He invites them to ‘be with him’, ‘to come to where he lived’, ‘involving them in his deepest agonies’, telling them what the Father had told him.

As parents we begin a legacy of family culture. How we treat our children will be transferred into the next generation. How we love is a result of how we were loved and how those we love will love others. This is easily seen in the negative in so many situations. We must draw a line in the sand if we have been on the receiving end of a lineage of abuse or violence. We declare it ends here and we begin an entirely new heritage  for those who will come after us. We love as we have been loved. Someone has to take the first step. ŒWe love Him, because He first loved us!

See you in church friends

‘Cause I’m Happy….’

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Happiness

The opposite to depression is happiness.
If a person is happy, they are not depressed.
However, happiness should not be confused with laughter.
The circus clown is often the saddest person in town.
Depressed comedians are proverbial.

Pr 14:13
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.

Depression has become epidemic.
WHO predict depression will be the most common major disease by 2020.

Wikipedia – The recent hit pop song “Happy” is a neo soul and funk song on which Pharrell Williams’ falsetto voice has been compared to Curtis Mayfield by critics. The song has been highly successful, peaking at number one in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and 19 other countries. It has sold over 5.6 million copies in the United States  and over 1.52 million copies in the United Kingdom, and has reached number one in the latter a record three separate occasions.

Happiness is popular because so many want it, and yet happiness remains so elusive.

Depression and Stress: Several studies have found that high levels of religious commitment correlate with lower levels of depression and stress. [David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health: What Does the Research Show? (Rockville, Md.: National Institute for Healthcare Research, 1992), 76-78
“Australian Psychologist”
Volume 34, Number 1
March 1999
Editor: Christine Lee
University of Newcastle
The World Health Organisation’s global burden of disease research indicates that unipolar major depression was the leading cause of disability worldwide in 1990. Furthermore, it predicts that, by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of death and disability across the world. (Page 49)

The deepest happiness available to any of us is fellowship with Christ.
This communion brings a smile to our soul unobtainable anywhere else in the Universe.
This is being right with your creator, rather than wrong with Him and feeling separated from Him because of our offences against Him.
This joy is the joy of fellowship with Christ Himself.
This is the secret place of Psalm 91.
No-one can remove this or steal it away.
This happiness remains in spite of everything and anything.
It is the wine of fellowship with God Himself.
When we should be drowning in depression, we can be happy in an overcoming attitude because we are connected, fused with a supernatural fusion to Christ Himself the One who rose from the dead, overcoming all hell, hades, demons, sickness, sin and shame.

Dr Martin Seligman is the world’s leading authority on optimism and happiness. He wrote a ground breaking book – Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991) and followed that up with (amongst others) Authentic Happiness (Random House, 2002).

In Authentic Happiness (page 177 & 178) Seligman wrote this about the importance of optimism for achieving high performance:

‘The pessimist views bad events as pervasive, permanent and uncontrollable, while an optimist sees them as local, temporary and changeable. Pessimism is maladaptive in most endeavours: Pessimistic life agents sell less and drop out sooner than optimistic agents. Pessimistic undergraduates get lower grades, relative to their SAT scores and past academic record, than optimistic students. Pessimistic swimmers have more substandard times and bounce back from poor efforts worse than optimistic swimmers. Pessimistic pitchers and hitters do worse in close games than optimistic pitchers and hitters. Thus pessimists are losers on many fronts.’

Optimists are people magnets. People like to be in the company of an optimist. Emotional Intelligence author, Daniel Goleman’s research proves that optimistic leaders more easily retain talented people compared to leaders who more often display negative moods.

Optimism and associated good moods create positive feelings about work. Good moods have also been proven to greatly improve people’s speed in; understanding complex information, making effective decisions and thinking more creatively.

Optimism builds resilience. Pessimists as more likely to give up sooner or not to try at all, compared to optimists.

Nelson Mandela is often mentioned in surveys of inspiring leaders. To go through all that he did as a prisoner on Roden Island for over 20 years and come out a free man with no apparent diminishment of his belief in the basic good of all people, shows optimism at its most inspiring.

There are a number of roadblocks to happiness that all of us have to deal with if we want some joy in our lives.
I certainly don’t underestimate the power of depression in people’s minds and lives. I have faced and fought my own battles with depression, but also I have discovered how to minimise the impact of negative thoughts and emotions and how to promote positive emotions.
Positive feelings alone are not the root of happiness. If our character is right and our spirit clean, joyfulness is inevitable in our emotional life. To try and medicate our way out of depression and into good feelings doesn’t deal with the roots of the problem.

The truest and most accurate translation of the word ‘Blessed’ when Jesus is presenting the sermon on the mount, is ‘Happy’.
We have a problem with this because we think this is too light a word compared to the word blessed, which sounds so much more sacred.
However, Jesus came to bring us into happiness, not by waving a major wand, but through us being obedient to God.

Happy weekend friends & see you in church!

Ps. Phil has authoured 14 books, one of which is about HOPE.  A must read for anybody suffering with depression or feelings of hopelssness.  You can order a copy by clicking on the link above.

 

Little by Little

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Ex 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.

Great achievements rarely happen instantly or ‘overnight’. We grow into our greatest achievements little by little, sometimes the progress is barely visible. This is why we simply walk by faith, believing that what we are doing is having an effect and that eventually we will experience the results.

Even though the deserts of the Sahara are so vast, they are simply comprised of countless little grains of sand.

Isa 28:10

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,

Line upon line, line upon line,

Here a little, there a little.”

We grow gradually into our possession, our destiny. A child may, by inheritance ‘own’ the car and the house, but he is far from able to drive the car or manage the house. He grows into that by having one small job after another until, he has learned all the skills needed. God gives us our inheritance a little at a time, so that we are not suddenly handling responsibilities and situations beyond our wisdom, strength and capacity.

We also need to maintain what we have attained (Phil 3:16). The very skills to do this are won through the ‘little by little’ application of ourselves to the smaller jobs we have had. The Israelites needed to increase in numbers as well so they could outnumber their enemies and the beasts of the field (Deut 7:22)

On the negative side, we are tempted to justify sin to ourselves by it’s smallness, yet little by little the decay will rot away a person’s soul. More houses are destroyed by termites than by earthquakes. More fires are started by matches than by volcanoes. Conversely, little acts of righteousness, little, regular, consistent times of prayer, seemingly little attentions to the Word, eventually will build a magnificent life.

Every little bit counts. It may not seem like it at the time, but each step we take is taking us somewhere, and after a lifetime of steps we will reach certain destinations. The person who restrains themselves from eating foods that add weight, won’t see the result for a while, but eventually they start to see the difference, feel better about themselves and have a new eating habit. Conversely, if we think we can get away with eating small amounts of extra that we don’t need but just want, eventually it too will show. Some people will eat everything on the plate in front of them just because it’s there. Self impose a limit on yourself as to how much you will eat and stick with that. Our results in life are because of the cumulation of all the little things we do over time.

With our money, we can start by putting a little money away into an investment. Every little bit counts. If we don’t waste the money we have in our hand but save it, invest it, soon we will have more than we need. However, if we waste our money and spend all the little amounts on futile things, justifying to ourselves that it’s just ‘little’ spending, we will soon find we don’t even have the money that we do need.

This is living with control. When we’re out of control it shows in our lives.

Our budget is not what we have in our hands. Our budget is the amount of what we have in our hands that we have decided we can spend. For some people, whatever they have is what they spend. Self impose limits on yourself and only spend that amount.

Make these choices as lifestyles, not just something you’ll try for a week. We change our lives when we change our lives.

Bless you,

See you in church!

The purpose of life

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Eph 2:10 ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

This is ‘poieema’ in Greek, lit – ‘An artistic work in fabric’ from which we get the word ‘poem’ from. God is an artist making your life rhyme like a poem.

We are created with purpose. God has plans for us. We are not a collection of germs randomly mutating without divine purpose.

God is an artist!

Our purpose in life is ‘good works’ or ‘acts of kindness’. Instead of trying to figure out what our purpose and calling is we should just simply get involved in helping people and our purpose, calling and gifting will easily be discovered.

See you in church!