Practice Of The Presence 2

Brother Lawrence’s book ‘The Practice Of The Presence Of God’ hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, so I’ll continue with some thoughts that came to me since my last posting.

One of the biggest problems we all have to deal with is a little appendage lurking in our dark corners called ‘the ego‘.

In some people, the action of the ego is very clear to see: self-importance, megalomania, ‘me, me, me’, hunger for acquisitions, fame, power, influence, and more. People laced with a heavy dose of this curse may be easy to identify, because they usually make a big showing on the world stage.

What about the rest of us? “I’m not like that,” we may think.   But whoa!   Make no mistake, deep in the salt mines of our souls this worm is at work continually, coloring and shaping our thoughts and attitudes on anything and everything.

Jesus said , “Take up your cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23)

I don’t believe He was referring to the stresses and strains of worldly life in work and relationships – that is all periphery. The issue goes deeper than that.

Paul gives us a clue in 1 Corinthians 51:33 when he says, “I die daily.” Clearly, he doesn’t mean physical death. What does he mean then?

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we get another clue : “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  What has to die is the ego.

Now this is deep stuff. It’s all very well to have a head knowledge of these scriptures, but it’s something else to take them on board in your life and your heart. Paul is NOT talking about demolishing other people’s false beliefs (I’ve seen that argument put forward by clerics),   He is talking about our own ‘pretensions’, in other words, the thoughts and attitudes sown into our souls by the action of the enemy, through our egos.

In my last post I confessed about being dissatisfied with my effectiveness as a Christian. In truth, the dissatisfaction arose from comparing myself to others, to those who have done and are doing great things for the Lord: a comparison brought about by my ego. There’s no good in denying it. Deep down we all want to be something special, to have satisfaction and recognition for what we’ve done, not only on earth but in heaven also.

Jesus warned against seeking the approval of other men at Matthew 6:1-6. Put bluntly, if you act with the intention of gaining men’s approval here on earth, that’s it – no approval will be forthcoming from God.   You got what you wanted.

But what about comparing the Father’s rewards and the extent of His approval as between ourselves and others?

Jesus tackled this issue head on in His parable of the workers in Matthew 20:1-16.   He describes a vineyard owner hiring workers throughout the day to complete work in his vineyard. At the end of the day, the workers who had worked all day were incensed when they saw those hired later getting the same pay as they got, even though they themselves were getting their agreed wage.

In the parable the land owner answers one of them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matt 30:13-16)

Here we have it – the Father does not look at man’s criteria when deciding who and how to reward.   He doesn’t have to!   Those who kick up a fuss and claim their entitlement is greater than others’ will find themselves at the end of the queue.

Patricia

PS:   A denarius was a good wage – it was the normal daily wage of a Roman soldier on active service.

Denarius coin of Augustus Caesar, emperor of Rome at the time of Jesus’ birth.  Note the word “Divus” (god) on the reverse side: the introduction of emperor worship was facilitated by the gratitude most colonies felt for Pax Romana, the ‘Roman Peace’, brought about by Augustus after centuries of warring in the Mediterranean countries.  For most colonies, this was nothing more than the addition of a further god to the array of gods they already had. For the Jews, of course, it was anathema.  Rome was wise enough not to press the issue at this stage, but no doubt the coinage was a constant irritant to the Jews.

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Practice Of The Presence

This last few months I’ve had much time for thought. I’ve been less active physically due to my eye problem, though I’ve still managed to produce artwork, thank goodness.

It goes without saying that a spell of introspection does us all good. But introspection can be a painful activity, often productive of self-doubt and self-criticism: not a good state to be in.

This is how I’ve felt lately with regard to my Christian walk.

Questions flood the mind: “What are you doing that’s of use to the Lord?   Why, you’re not even in the marketplace, not even in close contact with many people.   What good is this life you’re living?”  That’s how the enemy works.  The results are the sins of doubt and unbelief.

I’ve been on the backside of the desert one way and another for more than 12 years, battling this type of mindset.  Now the war intensified….

So I cried out to Him for help – and sure enough it came, in a form something like a door being kicked open.   Praise the Lord  – a complete change of mindset?   It’s interesting how this came about.

Way back in a former life, I was a student of Classics at the University of Auckland, studying Latin and Ancient Greek with a much-loved Head of Department, Prof E M Blaiklock.

A brilliant writer, scholar and lecturer, he inspired us all. His writings and translations live on, and not only in the world of classics. For 40 years he wrote without fail a weekly column published in The New Zealand Herald and the Weekly News  under the pen name ‘Grammaticus‘.   A quick glance at his entry on Wikipedia gives some idea of the vastness of his other written work.

I’ve recently re-read his ‘The Century Of The New Testament – maybe the first time in all the years I’ve had the book that I read it right through.  It is a great exposition of the history of the Mediterranean world leading up to the century from the birth of Christ to the death of His longest-lived apostle John.  This book is written from the strict perspective of a historian, and it is fascinating.   The author’s deep knowledge of his subject-matter – the Middle East, Greece, Rome – stands out: it’s like being back in lectures again.

Searching Blaiklock’s name on Trade Me, I bought another of his books: ‘The Acts Of The Apostles‘ – more of a commentary, it demands concurrent reading of the Book of Acts, so I’m working on that.

Recently though, my standing search on Blaiklock’s name brought up something else – ‘The Practice Of The Presence Of God‘ by Brother Lawrence, translated by E M Blaiklock – no doubt from the Latin.   I’d never heard of it, but a light flashed on in my head – “You need this book!”  Okay, okay…

Quick research revealed that Brother Lawrence was a humble 17th century lay monk in a monastery near Paris.  His daily work was lowly – labor in the monastery kitchen and mending sandals for his fellow monks. Nevertheless, his teachings became sought after.  Collected after his death by Abbe de Beaufort, envoy of the Cardinal of Noailles, they have gained an enormous worldwide reputation and influence, and multiple editions and translations of the work.

I snapped the book up.   It is still in the mail.

More quick research soon revealed an enormous wealth of commentary and quotation of Brother Lawrence on the Internet.   For those who cannot get the physical book, there is probably no need, because the volume of quotes and reference to Brother Lawrence’s work on the net is so vast.

Next post, I will talk about what this monk and his writings have to offer for us all.

Patricia

Then The Sky Fell In

My peace I leave with you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27)

On 19 October I fell while working on my land. “Oh no!” I thought as I went down, too late to put out my hands. I heard my nose ‘crack’ as it hit the ground.

I sat up, hands to face to make sure I still had a nose. Yes – but there was blood running down the right side. Off to the house, where I stanched more blood with cold water, tissues and vitamin C, and lay down.

Later I found out my sight was affected – double vision when looking to the sides and down.  Considerably double, too – not just a ‘shadow’, but a full-blown double image, well offset.  It looked like the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ of my vision had blown apart at the sides.

At first I hoped it was swelling, and took arnica. After 2 weeks I gave in and drove with one eye shut to our local clinic.  It was my first drive out since the accident – my neighbor had kindly taken me shopping in the interim – and it was scary.

I was ambulanced down to the Emergency Department at Base Hospital (77 miles). There were blood samples, an ECG, 4 heart x-rays, umpteen lights shone in my eyes, nose and ears, many ‘touchy-feely’ tests to make sure I hadn’t had a stroke, and a CT head scan.

Up to the eye clinic next morning for more shining lights.  An MRI head scan was ordered, since the CT scan showed nothing. My right eye was clearly not tracking properly.  This is a bad experience for anyone, but especially so for a visual artist.

I went back down the line for the MRI scan on the 9th, and again this last week for the results. That was the scary part.

On the way down in the shuttle bus, as I prayed I got the message, “I am with you, no harm will befall you.” And so it has been. The MRI scan showed nothing. The eye specialist thinks there is a small speck of blood somewhere that will resolve itself, given time. They don’t want to see me for 3 months – Whew!

Thank you, Lord for your goodness and mercy! Thank you for giving me a specialist who is prepared to let You do Your work. Bless your Holy name!

Digital artwork, from acrylic paintings.

Patricia

Healing Begins

Lift up your hands without wrath or doubting. I see your need and hear the cry of your heart. There will be a reversal of every physical malady that the enemy has brought against you. The blood of Jesus shed in your behalf is healing your physical body. There are angels assigned to your life to break off the word curses and the illegitimate authorities that have sought to bring about the diminishing of your health. The command of heaven is that the health of your countenance will now spring forth speedily and manifest.” (The Father Says Today 7 March 2017)

I decided to sell my beloved 10 acre block in September 2014, I think because everything became too much for me. I’ve loved the place for over 40 years but I’d lost my enthusiasm and interest. I wasn’t even interested in my plants and garden, let alone 10 acres overgrown with gorse. Much had been neglected in the years I looked after my mom with alzheimers, sole charge – there was such a lot to be done and so little funds to do it all with.

So spake the enemy.

Fortunately, I’d been born again in October 2006, at a small fellowship in a coastal town half an hour’s drive from where I live. I hadn’t been a churchgoer since I was a child, but out of the blue some friends invited me to their fellowship that day and I decided to go.  It would be a change, I thought, especially since my mother was in respite care for a week. No-one at this little fellowship knew me.

Well, the worship and the service had such a strong impact that I was in tears for most of it, and decided then and there to be baptized with three others in a ceremony they were going to hold in the ocean near the church.  So in this way the Lord reached out and pulled me into His boat.

Then we went back for lunch, and several people brought scriptures that had come into their minds for me. Out of probably 5 scriptures, 3 were identical:

“So I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten…” (Joel 2:25)

I was astounded. These people did not know my life’s health history, nor did they know that I had looked after my mother with alzheimers for 9 years…

That prophetic scripture encouraged me so much, because I felt it had indeed come direct from God, and thanks to the experience I’d had with the Holy Spirit on that day I really had become a ‘believer’. As very often happens, though, the outcome of the prophetic was not immediate nor has it been instant. Far from it. There is a lesson to be learned for us all in this.

When Jesus walked this earth, He worked many instant miracles – in fact the hallmark of His miracles was the instantaneous. Sometimes though, He required evidence of faith from the people He healed – as when He asked people what they wanted from Him. He knew the answer to that question perfectly well, but He wanted to draw out from them a statement of faith.

Sometimes, He required people to take action in faith – “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (John 5:8), “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” (John 9:7). For a man afflicted with illness for 38 years who couldn’t get himself into a pool, and for a man blind from birth, these were not trifling commands – they required faith and effort. Sometimes it is so with us, and I believe we are the better for it.

Today, instantaneous miracles are still happening:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12-13)

This last quotation highlights another aspect. Many miracles were – and are – worked in such a way that there can be no doubt they are sent by God. Two historic examples are the raising of Lazarus (John 11), and the healing of the man blind from birth (John 9:1-7), as Jesus stated there in answer to the disciples’ question.

I believe there are times when the Lord does not just hand out an instantaneous healing because He wants us to trust the process, and learn something. And so it has been with me.

My mom passed away early in 2007.    I always baked bread from wholewheat and ground sunflower seeds for her because she loved it – the bread was raised with baking powder, so as to avoid yeast.

Now was my opportunity: I was led to stop baking (and eating) bread, and test out a feeling I had about gluten. So I cut out all wheat products. That helped, but was still not the full answer. Then I was reminded other grains also contain gluten, so I swore off all grains except rice and a little corn – some more improvement, but still not the full answer.

I was noticing a strange cramping in my bowel at times, and the words ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome‘ kept coming to mind. So I researched an explanation:
“The small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed, is supposed to have tight cell junctions to separate the chyme (food turns into chyme in the stomach) from the bloodstream. But a chain of factors causes these tight junctions to degrade. Once the connections between intestinal cells are weakened, undigested proteins and bacterial toxins escape into the bloodstream. This leads to a heightened state of inflammation.”  (Empowered Sustenance)
Could this be what was causing my skin problems and ‘under the weather’ symptoms? A condition brought about by years of candida and stress?

The way to treat Leaky Gut Syndrome holistically prescribes avoidance of all sugars and all starches (including grains and starchy vegetables). So the packets of rice biscuits (my bread substitute) went out the window, as did corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes (our NZ kumara) and yams. I put myself on the GAPS diet.

Meantime I’d had polymyalgia, which of course is an inflammatory disease, affecting mainly the legs in my case and almost destroying my mobility. It began late 2014 and thanks to careful management by my doctor, we had a recovery by April 2016.  A wise friend suggested that maybe the reason the prednisone worked so well on me was that I have never taken pharmaceutical medications.

Meantime I had started a course of chiropractic to fix some spinal problems, exacerbated by a couple of falls.

After many months of daily pain and limping, I’d at last begun to feel I was starting to come right when I received the prophecy quoted at the head of this post – 7 March 2017.  Note the 7s: God’s number of completion.  And the 3 (March) – God’s number of perfection.

Hallelujah! This prophecy came like a heavenly benediction on a decision I was in the process of making – the decision NOT to sell my beloved 10 acre block and NOT to move away.

Well, our Father is a God of Breakthrough. He is also a God of knowledge and understanding:

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 3:33)

For over 2 years I’d pursued the idea of selling up and moving – hampered continually by one major thing after another – my health issues, a tree falling on my roof, having another tree taken down with massive fallout scattered everywhere, repair work needing to be done on 3 outbuildings, a huge overgrowth of wandering jew weed – you name it, I had it.

I don’t think I was meant to move away from here, and things were allowed to happen that made it virtually impossible for me to move quickly.

But what does it take to deal with all these problems?

I’ll tell you what it takes – faith, that’s what – and being prepared to trust the process. Being prepared to take action when a fast outcome is unlikely. Being prepared to listen to the still small voice, and obey. Being prepared to step out in faith without having a clue how it will work out.

Plus a healing miracle.

More to come.

Patricia

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A Christmas Present – In The Lord’s Good Time

kunesThe week before Christmas, I bought myself a present of 3 female Kunekune piglets, about 12 weeks old, from a breeder down south near Whangarei.

Their purpose is to help me with weed control – specifically an overgrowth of Wandering Jew (Tradescantia fluminosa), reaching seriously epic proportions in the rich volcanic soil all around my house. This weed is becoming a real problem here in NZ, wherever it gets a hold.  I’d been asking the Lord for a solution for months – no years – but not one solution I investigated seemed to be workable.   Frustration!

I’ve had Kunekunes before.  They are a delightful pig, smaller than the large commercial meat breeds, but the boars can tip the scale at 200 lb nonetheless.   A few weeks back I was led to look at a blog I wrote at the time, and the fact that Kunes eat wandering jew hit me in the eye.  Of course !!    At that time, the problem was less serious, which is maybe why it had slipped my mind.

christmas-pigs_700
I knew from previous experience that Kunes need to be very strictly contained in their first days in a new home.  I carefully strengthened up a side pen to my goat race up at the shed, and when I got them home, installed them there.

It has been very successful, with the double advantage of getting me walking on rough ground again (now that I am largely pain-free and no longer limping – thank you Lord!).  So I carry feed up to them at least 3 times a day – water too, until I solved the problem of why the tap up at the shed was suddenly not working.  Now my legs are getting stronger again: one single solution to more than one problem.  Doesn’t the Lord love doing that?

So now swathes of wandering jew are being pulled out and fed to these little darlings by the sackful – the dastard weed goes in one end and out of the other comes great fertilizer – AND it’s not the least likely to sprout again!

It’s a wonderful solution, because normally the big question when you pull some of this stuff out is – now what do I do with this?  Every little scrap of this plant that is dropped or thrown on the ground somewhere, will grow as a new plant.  The only really successful solution I’d read was to put the weed into a 44 gallon drum, top it up with water and put the lid on.  12 months later voilà – some great fertilizer.  But I hate to think how many 44 gallon drums I’d need – or maybe a few water storage tanks?  And an impossible amount of work.  Hmmm…

Burn it?  The strictures on lighting fires up north here are massive, plus I’ve no desire to start a raging bush fire in the kikuyu grass.  So the wandering jew problem seemed insurmountable.  The only other option was to get a contractor in to spray the stuff – not guaranteed to be a success, and the cost and toxic chemical exposure potential are both pretty prohibiting.

So the cute piglets (growing like weeds on kikuyu, tradescantia and feed pellets) really are an inspiration – as well as being great fun.  I’m getting ready to let them down into my back garden, once I’ve tidied up the fencing, with unlimited access to grass and jew.  And ultimately I can rotate them around even more areas where the jew is flourishing…

This whole episode has been a huge lesson to me in the value of waiting on the Lord.  The wandering jew problem is of long standing – going back to when I looked after my mom with alzheimers full time – and one possible solution after another has seemed to be blocked.

How often has that happened to you, when steps you might have taken don’t materialize and then later, the solution comes along and you find yourself thankful that you waited on the Lord’s timing for that solution to appear and didn’t do whatever else you had in mind?

How many times have I thought to myself, “Maybe I should get a contractor in…”?    We often wait so unwillingly!  Or berate ourselves for ‘lack of action’.

The bottom line is, I could not have done any of this until I could walk pretty much without pain again – and that has happened only in this last 5 or 6 weeks.  Amazing!

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Patricia

Perceptions of The Nativity

nativityI have thought much, this last few weeks during the run-up to Christmas, of some of our perceptions attaching to the place and circumstances of Jesus’ birth.

A lot of what we think seems to have come from the statement of Paul at Philippians 2:7 which says,   “…but he humbled Himself, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men.”  From this we get ideas about Jesus, the circumstances of His life, and the details of His birth, that pervade the whole Christmas story.  We get the wrong impression that Jesus was born in undesirable, impoverished conditions.

Several years ago, I heard a very interesting viewpoint put forward by Pastor Robert H Shuller that while the innkeeper in Bethlehem has had bad press because he failed to find a lodging for Joseph and Mary, the stable they finally found to lodge in was probably a blessing in disguise.  Pastor Shuller pointed out that with a large number of people on the move to register in their own cities for the first Roman census, towns and inns would have been packed with all manner of people, making a crowded inn probably not the best place for the Son of God to be born.

That REALLY spoke to me.

So I would like to take the reasoning a step further.   When you look at the preparations for Jesus’ birth, His Heavenly Father went to great trouble to set the stage:

1)   The birth of Jesus’ forerunner and cousin, John the Baptist, was special in itself, because his parents were elderly and his mother barren.  God sent the angel Gabriel to announce the birth to the father (a priest of the temple).  God gave Zacharias a clear sign as proof, and also oversaw the naming of the boy.  (Luke 1)

2)   We also know that angels appeared to both Mary and Joseph concerning the birth of Jesus. Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would have the baby, and an unnamed angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to quiet his concerns about Mary’s pregnancy. (Luke 1, Matthew 1)

3)   The birth of Jesus was announced to the Magi, powerfully enough that they undertook a long journey from the east to bring Him gifts.  We are not told how they were told this, but it can only have been by some form of supernatural revelation. (Matthew 2:1-2)

4)   Jesus’ birth was announced by an angel and the heavenly host appearing to shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem.  And before we write the shepherds off totally, let us remember that for many people in Israel, their wealth lay in their herds and so protecting their livestock was a high priority.  Think of David.

In other words, Jesus’ birth was announced both to certain wise and wealthy men who were prepared to honor Him (as the wealthy of His own country were not), and to men from the lower classes whom He came to save – men from the very occupation that He was to use as an illustration of His ministry in calling Himself  ‘The Good Shepherd’.  (Luke 2:8-17)

Are we to assume then in the midst of all this preparation that God somehow made a mistake in designating the place where Jesus was to be born and ended up with an undesirable result? 

That doesn’t make sense.

nativity2

Let’s look at a few other places where God made supernatural provision for Jesus:

5)   Because Herod had become aware of Jesus’ birth from the Magi, and was plotting to kill him, God took the following steps:

  • The Magi were warned in a dream not to return via Herod (who had asked  for directions so he could find the child), so they went back another way. (Matthew 2:7-8, 12)
  • An angel warned Joseph in a dream that Herod was looking to kill the child, and instructed him to take Mary and Jesus and flee with them to Egypt.  This he did, and remained there until Herod died – at which time Joseph was advised by an angel in a dream that it was safe to return.  (Matthew 2:13-14, 19-21)

6)   Towards the end of his life, when Jesus came back to Jerusalem for the last time, His need for a mount to carry Him into the city was met by the supplying of a donkey.   Clearly, there must have been a divine forewarning given to the owner of the donkey, so he was prepared to let it be taken and used by people who just turned up on his doorstep.   (Matthew 21:1-7)

7)   Later, when Jesus needed a place to hold the Last Passover supper with His disciples, His need was met in a similar way.  (Matthew 26:1-7, Luke 22:8-13)    Obviously, there are other examples.

So what does all this add up to?  I believe first and foremost we must stop demeaning the place and surroundings of Jesus’ birth.  Yes, there is simplicity and a message in it, but not the message we have been taking.

I’ve already made Pastor Shuller’s point that a room at the inn was unsuitable.   By comparison, the stable was a place of peace where God’s holiness and glory could shine out around this most special of births.   What a moment that must have been for The Father!   The animals that surrounded Jesus in His first hours were God’s creation – creatures that He loves.  They were and still are the innocent ones, with more understanding than we give them credit for.  And did I read in a recent publication where a man of God called them ‘dirty’?  Hmmm….

Remember, it was an innocent animal that had to be killed to provide covering for Adam and Eve after they sinned, and through all the history of Israel up to the time of Jesus’ death, it was animals that had to die as sacrifices for the sins of the people.

Now Jesus, the Lamb of God, had come to take that burden upon Himself.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news/

Black Night of the Soul – 2

black-night2-lionSo there I was, with all these worries about my mother’s alzheimers and the mental baggage weighing heavily.

I literally didn’t know any more what I wanted to achieve with my life.

All that stood before me seemed to be the slippery, downward slope. Even my art, my true, lifetime’s Heartland, looked like a hopeless cause.   It was very hard – impossible even – to settle down and create a painting that I could not be sure of selling quickly, when I badly needed to establish an income ‘NOW’.

Desperate, I analysed my situation, and decided I couldn’t do anything about having to look after my mom, but I could maybe do something about my thinking.  What we think – consciously or subconsciously – is the key to what we get in life, isn’t it?   I knew that much.  I also realised the way I was going, there was a real danger of bringing about the very situation I feared most.   Scary.

I turned again to my favourite self-help books – by John Kehoe, as it happens. ‘Goals and visualising‘ were the buzzwords, but even that was beyond me.  After all the crashes, I had no faith in my ability to come up with sensible goals.  ‘Visualising’ was a bad joke, setting goals was a bad joke – not to mention impossible.  So I laid the books aside – they didn’t inspire me anymore.

Things were black and I knew it.

skull-hill_700

Finally a plan formed, born somehow out of the barren waste of the mind:  get right back to basics, none of this fancy visualising, goal setting nonsense.  Focus totally on weeding out the brain’s incessant chatter from day to day, minute to minute.

This wasn’t taken from any book or self-help course of the day.  It felt like entirely my own plan (although looking back I’m sure even then it was born with the Lord’s help) –  so I asked for guidance and monitored my thought patterns rigorously.

Every time I caught myself worrying about the future and losing my home, I looked around for things to give thanks for right there.

I gave thanks for the sky and the trees and the flowers and the house I live in, instead of looking at all the things about the place that needed doing (and they were many).  I gave thanks for my pets instead of reflecting that maybe they shouldn’t be in the house, or chiding myself and getting upset because someone had made a mess.  I gave thanks for my mother – alzheimers or no.  I tried to pick up on every single negative thought and turn it into thanks instead of a stress factor.

I didn’t realise then that I was following words written by St Paul to the believers in Corinth:
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 10:5 – probably one of the most difficult letters he ever had to write.)

This is NOT an easy practice – it requires courage, concentration, much determination  and persistence, long term.  The brain loves wallowing in negativity and doesn’t like being disciplined – it will in fact try to make you feel like a fool for saying anything positive.  Yes, that happened to me, big time.

The answer is to just grit your teeth and say the positive, grateful stuff anyway, whether you believe in what you are saying or not – whether or not you feel like saying it, whether or not you feel like a fool.  Say it out loud, if possible.  The mental attitude will improve with practice, believe me.

I know for many people the idea of giving thanks does not go down well – they like to think that any good things they have are due solely to their own efforts.  That is a big mistake and is the root cause of dissatisfaction, limitations and unhappiness in life.

Believe me, gratitude is THE KEY to turning your life around, the key to improving your body chemistry and opening the door for more good things to flow in.   It is (as I found out later) completely scriptural, and I outline it here in the hope that this information will help someone else battling with problems and ingrained mental strongholds that seem completely overwhelming.

More next time

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news/

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