Is your thinking correct?

The 10th of October 2019 was World Mental Health day – day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. This is a great initiative that began in 1992, however, the importance of mental health should not be reduced to one day as it is something that I believe should always be at the forefront of our minds.

Did you know that in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (anxiety, depression) in any given week? This means that it’s highly likely that you’ve come in contact with at least one person that has experienced a form of anxiety or depression or you may personally identify with that.

As a medical student, I have had exposure to learning more about depression and other mental conditions. Today I will like to share more about depression and also put a Christian spin on the topic. I desire that you will be blessed or will be able to be a blessing to others after reading this piece.

Firstly a definition for Depression:

An affective mood disorder that is chacterised by a persistent low mood (≥ 2weeks), loss of pleasure and/or lack of energy accompanied by emotional, cognitive and biological symptoms.

Cognitive symptoms – poor concentration, negative thoughts, excessive guilt, suicidal ideation.

Biological – weight loss & loss of appetitie, early morning wakening,

Psychiatry : A Clinical Handbook by Mohsin Azam, , Mohammed 

We are going to focus on cognitive symptoms as I am an advocate for positive thinking and would like us to incorporate biblical truths on this matter.

Aaron Beck is a psychiatrist that developed a theory on negative thoughts. He proposed that there are 3 types of negative thoughts; negative views about oneself, the world and of the future. He also describes certain thinking errors that make a person more prone to depressive feelings. The table below explains these thinking errors. I was able to relate with some of these and I’ve included examples from my friends in the table.

Thinking ErrorExplanationExamples
Selective abstractionFocusing on one minor aspect rather than the bigger pictureI have failed that exam because I got one question wrong
I was late because the bike lock didn’t open
All or nothing thinkingThinking of things in all or nothing terms If I fail this class, I’ll never get a job
Magnification / MinimizationOver-or under-estimating the importance of an eventThey didn’t invite me so they hate me

She didn’t say hi to me this morning so she must dislike me

They didn’t say “thank you” when I held the door so they are rude
Catastrophic thinking Anticipating the worst possible outcome of an eventI’ve got a mole on my face, I have skin cancer
OvergeneralizationIf one thing is not going well, everything is going wrongI overslept so I’m going to get fired

I forgot the cheese, I can’t do anything right
Arbitrary inferenceComing to a conclusion in the absence of any evidence to support itThey were talking about me before I walked in

No one finds me attractive

Were you able to relate to some of those points? When our thoughts are dominated by these thinking errors we will have a greater tendency towards depression. Positive thinking is a habit that we should all aim to cultivate so we avoid an overall negative outlook on life. Now, let us look at the biblical truths about these thinking errors?

All or nothing thinking

  • Since we usually only see/know our perspective it’s important to remember that only God knows the heart and as it says in Isaiah 55:8 God says: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,”
  • Things are usually not as black and white as we think.
  • When we use words like “never”, “always”, “every” we discourage ourselves from trying, pushing and most importantly having faith in God even during trials – this is counterproductive. Remember Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

Magnification / Minimization

  • In this well-quoted psalm, there are negative experiences but the psalmist – David has chosen to also remember the positives and focus on the silver lining. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.’ Psalms 23:4.
    • David could have chosen to magnify the valley of the shadow of death and filter out the part that encourages him that God is with him. However, he did not, likewise, we need to actively ensure we do not make a mountain out of a molehill and in the process miss out on the blessings in disguise.
  • Another example in which we are to remember to focus on the positives is in Isaiah 43:2 – ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.’

Catastrophic Thinking

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 warns us to – ‘Test all things; hold fast what is good. ‘ the message version says “Don’t be gullible. Check out everything.”, the passage was referring to false prophets but it can also apply to our thoughts. Is what you are thinking compatible with God’s truth! You say you are a failure – but God’s word says otherwise – The LORD will make you the head, not the tail (Deut 28:13)
  • Philippians 4:6-7 ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’

Overgeneralization

  • Yes, one thing went wrong but you should never think you are so powerful that one move will jeopardise everything. We are encouraged in Romans 8:28 that ‘all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’
  • A negative event will not continue to occur eternally because we’ve been promised in Jeremiah 29:11 – ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ Stop overgeneralizing a negative event, it’s a piece of your story that God orchestrated for you to eventually benefit from.

Arbitrary inference

  • First of all, you are not a mind reader you never truly know people’s thoughts or intentions unless they’ve been explicitly stated and even then you need to be cautious.
  • We can be encouraged by the words of Paul in Romans 8:31; ‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? ‘

A final verse to conclude with:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

  • There are numerous occasions in the bible where the mind is discussed – ” be transformed by the renewing of your mind”, “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”
  • What we choose to meditate [focus] on matters
  • Rather than thinking about the things that worry/trouble you, things that give you anxiety think positively on things that are: TRUE. HONEST. JUST. PURE. LOVELY. GOOD REPORT.
  • There is an upside and downside to everything, some of us choose to only see the downside but I urge you to try to see the silver lining in what life throws at you.

Rather than thinking about the things that worry/trouble you, things that give you anxiety think positively on things that are: TRUE. HONEST. JUST. PURE. LOVELY. GOOD REPORT.

I hope this post has been insightful. Please keep in mind that we’ve only discussed a portion of thoughts about symptoms of depression. Some other symptoms and presentations may not be completely “cured” by changing our thought processes and will require other management options such as medication. I would advise you to see a healthcare professional if you do have concerns.

Stay blessed,

Dara

P.S – Let me know your thoughts about this topic and hopefully I will be back with more related blog posts soon

…as yourself

You may or may not recognise that the title of this post is the end of a verse that is repeated in several portions of the Bible (to be exact in 10 separate passages). Here is the full text as it is found in Mark 12:30-31:

30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’This is the first commandment.31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Whilst preparing for this post I was certain about the points I wanted to raise with regards to the topic of self-love, but after researching and studying more of the Word there is an additional angle I will be presenting. Over my teenage years, I have come to realise that the relationship I have with myself sets the tone for every other relationship I have. If I love and appreciate myself those around me are more likely to do the same. If you don’t love yourself whether it be your appearance, qualities or characteristics it would be a lot harder to appreciate and love the positive aspects of those around you.

What is self-love? The dictionary says it is “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness”. Now self-love can be seen as both a negative and positive thing, as with all things in life one needs to strike the right balance. On one hand, a person can be prideful, arrogant and believe he/she is better than everyone else, which is a sin. And then there is naturally loving yourself. Naturally loving yourself is to be thankful for how God made you. Whilst searching for bible verses about loving yourself there isn’t an explicit command to do so and I reckon it’s because it is something that naturally occurs in humans. However, what I did find was the connection made between loving your neighbours as yourself and warnings against certain types of self-love.

So going back to the key text about loving your neighbour as yourself, it is not explicitly a command to love yourself, as this is our default position. The society in which we live in doesn’t lack self-love. The command is telling us to love others as we would ourselves. Our actions and attitudes towards others will be motivated by love, specifically the one that we display towards ourselves. As believers, if we lose the motivation of love, we become critical of others. We stop looking for the good in them and only see & focus on their faults. The real problem in our society is the excess of self-love. If we cast our minds back to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, only one of the men that passed the injured man was a true neighbour. The Levite and priest failed to help the man in need not because they loved themselves too little but because they loved themselves too much and as a result put their interests first. However, the Samaritan showed true love, he gave his time, resources and money with no regard for himself. His focus was outward and not inward. Now loving your neighbour as yourself doesn’t mean that we must love ourselves before we can love anyone else; it means that in the same way we take care of ourselves and are concerned about our own interests we should do the same towards others.

We are reminded in Philippians 2:3-4 – “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.” From this passage, I have learnt the following:

  • We don’t tend to do things out of love, but rather for our own desire for benefits or praise (selfish ambition) | the bible warns against this
  • Doing something through conceit is to have excessive pride in oneself, self-interest and self-preoccupation
  • When we put away our selfish ambitions, our conceit and tendency to be self-absorbed we will naturally have more concern for the interests and needs of others
  • Paul isn’t saying it’s wrong to look out for our own interests, but that we should NOT only look out for our own interests
  • Loving others requires humility, valuing others and always making an effort to put others’ interest first. Anything other than that is selfish & vain and far from God’s standard.

Now I am not saying that we should see ourselves as worthless because after all we are made in God’s image and that makes our net worth veryyyy high. The balance that we need to strike is that you and I are God’s unique creation, loved by God in spite of our sins (& many flaws), and redeemed by Christ. We should respond to His love by sharing it with those around us.

As I mentioned above loving others requires humility. I probably haven’t finished a post until I’ve included a thoughtful quote so here is one by Rick Warren: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less”. True humility is service to others, service to a cause greater than your own personal ambition.

My prayer is that the Lord will fill us all with a humble spirit. A heart of flesh that sees the best in others and doesn’t focus on their flaws. May the Lord remove the spirit of pride, jealousy or boastfulness from our beings. May God also help us to remember His great love for us, and as we remember this may we be able to share this love with those around us.

Key Undilutedword points to take away;

  1. Focus on the strengths of others and don’t point out their weaknesses & flaws
  2. When we as believers lose the motivation of love, we become critical of others. We stop looking for the good in them and see only their faults.
  3. Focus more on how you can share God’s love for you with others
  4. True humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less
  5. Love yourself but don’t let that stop you from putting the needs of others ahead of yours

Stay Blessed!

Dara x

Don’t let bitterness steal your sweetness

As you may already know I love quotes, so I might as well start with a quote that struck my attention when I started to think about forgiveness:

Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.

Often times we find ourselves holding grudges because of what someone did or said to us. Whilst growing up with my younger sister there have been several occasions where words have been said & deeds have been done which left me feeling very angry towards her.

My sister is exactly 20 months younger than me but that doesn’t stop her from going into my wardrobe and helping herself to MY clothes and accessories. There was a particular time she took a clutch that I had received for my birthday and till this day I never officially got it back (to add insult upon injury she broke the clasp on it). I remember finding out about the broken clasp and was sooo angry with her – how can you take something that doesn’t belong to you, break it and not even feel remorseful? I was more than angry!! But as I reflect on those days, I realise that the more I stayed angry the more I didn’t give myself the chance to move on, but my sister, on the other hand, was living her merry life (WITH MY CLUTCH). It’s a petty example but it just goes to show and represent the fact that a lot of the time we want to stay mad at someone for petty reasons. At the end of the day, the other person is living life as though nothing had happened and you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to have the peace God wants for you.

If we don’t learn to forgive the “petty” things how would we be able to forgive the bigger things? Click to Tweet this!

I once watched a video about things we practice and the overall gist was that when we constantly practice certain habits we become experts at it. So if we constantly practice the art of being unforgiving we become experts at that. If we always hold grudges against people we will always find a reason to hold grudges – even when there isn’t one. You go around with a jar filled with hurt, pain, grief, and anger. That is very toxic and it certainly isn’t the life God intended for us.

Countless times in the Bible we are reminded to forgive others because God has forgiven us: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you”, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven”. So it is no surprise that the key to forgiving others is to remember how much God has forgiven us. Time for another favourite quote of mine by C.S Lewis: To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. 

Peter asked Jesus “how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Imagine only giving someone 7 chances, if I apply this to my sister I am certain she has used up all her chances. But Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22.  Of course, Jesus didn’t set a literal limit to how many times we should forgive, he isn’t sitting in heaven counting a tally chart. God’s mercy doesn’t run out after 490 allotments of grace, if he did I’m sure we have all probably exhausted our quota. As long as we repent God is willing to forgive us. God then asks us to extend this grace onto our fellowmen, don’t keep a track of the number of times you’ve forgiven them.

Jesus doesn’t end there he goes on to tell the parable of the unmerciful debtor. You can read Matthew 18:21-35 for the full version, but the overall gist is that: a servant owes the king 10,000 talents which he is unable to pay but the King instead of throwing the servant into prison and selling his family into slavery allows him to go free & cancels all his debt. This same servant is owed 100 denarii by a fellow servant, but the king’s servant grabs the man by his throat and demands to be paid. He then throws him into jail. Now there is a huge difference between owing someone 10,000 talents and 100 denarii (1 talent = 6,000 denarii). This parable illustrates God’s forgiveness towards us. It’s as though our debt to God is like the distance from the earth to the sun. Now compare this to the debt of our fellow human beings which is mostly like a few yards. God is willing to forgive us the distance between the earth and the sun (149.6million km), but we struggle to forgive each other a measly 12 inches. Think about this when you are unwilling to forgive others.  Just to clarify; God forgives us first (not only after we have forgiven), he shows an example that we should aspire to follow.

Another aspect of forgiveness that seems to be forgotten a lot of the time is the act of forgiving oneself. Ever made a mistake and continued to beat yourself up about it? If you want to be able to forgive others you must first foster an attitude to forgive yourself first. 

Forgive yourself first. Release the need to replay a negative situation over and over again in your mind. Don’t become a hostage to your past by always reviewing and reliving your mistakes. Don’t remind yourself of what should have, could have or would have been. Release it and let it go. Move on. Click to Tweet this!

Undiluted word points to take away:

  1. Forgiving frees you from a life filled with toxicity
  2. If God was able to forgive the inexcusable in you, you should attempt to forgive the inexcusable in others
  3. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you let people off the hook for their behaviour
  4. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we constantly allow people to use us as a punching bag
  5. Forgiveness is the act of giving up bitterness and resentment in order for you to live a sweet life (your best life 💃🏿 )
  6. Pray for those who have offended you
  7. And most importantly, Learn to forgive yourself!

Stay Blessed,

Dara xx

P.S – Don’t forget this page is available to send any prayer requests you have.

Stay connected to the plug!

Plugs are those that always come through for you. Your plug might be a member of  your family or a friend, it can even be someone you least expected. By now I’m sure you get that I’m not talking about an appliance plug. A plug usually has something that you need and they give it to you without being asked.

A friend giving you their Netflix password. An aunt connecting you on her Spotify Premium for Family. A friend that offers to pick you up in the dead of the night. A friend sending food to your house. Mum hooking you up with that good good food.

Amazing right? If you don’t have a plug you are definitely missing out.

Where are you going with this you may ask?

In life, God is our ultimate plug.  Your go-to-guy, your number one. As the book of Matthew says: He knows the things we need before we even ask Him (6:8). Now let me share an analogy with you, so you have a better understanding of what I’m explaining. Have you ever been in that situation where your phone battery is running low and you quickly run to get your plug to save it from dying? Now, iPhone users can relate to this, your phone has been on 1% for the past 5 minutes and it’s still going strong until you click on snapchat and the next thing you know you are staring at your own disappointed reflection as your phone has now completely died.

When would have been the most appropriate time to get your phone connected to the plug? obviously, wayyyyy before it showed signs of extremely low battery. That is exactly how we should be with God. We need to remain connected to Him 24/7 (Disclaimer: I’m not advising this should be done with your phones), it shouldn’t be when we’ve exhausted all our power that we turn to God.

I’ve just moved into a new house for third year, whilst setting up my wifi an error occurred and the next available date for an engineer to visit was over a week away.  Fear and panic rushed through my body when I realised I had to wait sooo long before I was reconnected to wifi 😕 How was I supposed to survive without it? Hmmm, would I have panicked that much if my connection to God was disrupted for over a week? <foodforthought>

I’m reminded of the passage in John 15:4-5:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

The Word abide in the bible means: to stay (in a given place/state/relation), dwell, endure, not to depart, to continue to be present, to remain as one, not to another or different. The fruits listed in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the fruits that we bear when we abide in Christ. You may not be able to see the roots of a tree but you can tell what tree it is by its fruits, likewise if we are rooted in Christ those around us will know by the fruits we display.

How do we Abide in Christ?

  1. Abide in His Word
    • We need to constantly spend time reading & meditating on God’s Words. The Word has 3 main functions:
      • Word keeps us from sinningI have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11)
        • Jesus used it whilst being tempted by the devil in the wilderness
      • Word gives us continual guidance (Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105)
        • Principles to help govern our life
      • Word gives us life, a world view, philosophy 
    • The Word of God is like living water, however society is constantly dehydrating us spiritually. As a result Jesus is evaporating from our lives. Unless we actively do something to rehydrate ourselves we will be left dry.
    • Personal devotions, listening to sermons and spiritually feeding our soul is essential
  2. Abide in the Church 
    • The church is the body of Christ, so it is not a surprise that christian fellowship is a way in which we can abide in Christ
    • Being in the environment of christian fellowship is useful as it gives us accountability
  3. Love – Abiding and Obeying
    • It’s impossible to abide in Christ & live rebelliously
    • Jesus explicitly says if you love me you’ll keep my commandments, therefore we need to obey Him and walk as Jesus walked
    • 1 John 2:17 – whoever does the will of God lives forever

If we were as concerned about being plugged in to God in the same degree as plugging our devices wouldn’t we be living great lives?

Without any juice, what good is a phone? It’s a useless piece of aluminium, glass incapable of functioning in the purpose in which it was created.

In the same way, what good are we? If we aren’t plugged into our power source daily we are nothing and as the book of John says we can’t do anything worthwhile / of eternal value. The rest of John 15 explains what happens when we abide in Christ and the conclusion I got was When we abide in Christ, circumstances can’t dictate our happiness. Abiding in Christ is a means by which our joy may be full (John 15:11).

Key Undilutedword points:

  1. Stay Connected to the Ultimate Plug – God, without him we can do nothing worthwhile
  2. Abide in Christ via reading His word, fellowshipping with believers and obeying his commandments
  3. Share your plug with others – the more you walk with & abide in Christ the more you want to share him with others
  4. Be the plug for others!

Stay Blessed,

Dara xx

 

 

What’s LOVE got to do with it? 

Yes, February has passed by along with Valentine’s day and all it’s festivities, but I hope the “love” shared and displayed hasn’t faded either.  In this post I’m going to talk about a 4 letter word that is most important in the life of a Christian. This word isn’t  FAITH or HOPE, I’m sure you could have guessed by the post title – it is LOVE.

You may have come across the verse in 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Love is greater than both Faith & Hope, really!?   FAITH is the foundation and content of God’s message, HOPE is the attitude and focus, LOVE is action. When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves. Paul says though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2) Having the highest degree of faith without love is nothing. Without love, genuine hope cannot exist. Is it possible to hope (long for or have a desire) for something you don’t love? I don’t think so …  Therefore unless faith and hope are coupled with love they are dead. 

It’s no surprise that love is a keyword in the 2 greatest commandments: Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). I want you to draw close attention to verse 40. What’s love got to do with it? Rather than focusing on all the things we shouldn’t do in the 10 commandments, we should channel our focus onto what we should do. That way we are looking at God’s Laws in a more positive light. I’ve heard some people use the above passage to support the opinion that we are not required to keep the laws of the old testament. However, if we love God we are naturally going to obey the first 4 commandments which deal with God ( vertical relationship). Additionally, the remaining 6 are centred on our relationship with  one another ( horizontal relationship), if we love one another we are going to think twice before stealing, lying or murdering them. As I mentioned earlier the greatest commandments have a central theme. So verse 40 can be read as “All the Law and the Prophets hang on Love”.  Love is the fulfilment of the Law, love enables you to keep the Law.

Horizontal and vertical Love is what the cross is all about. Firstly, you come to the Lord and then you share or display that same love with others. Therefore if you do not have vertical love, you will not be able to display horizontal love. Let me use a song I sung at primary school to explain this concept; Love is something if you give it away, Give it away, give it away. Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more”. You’ll agree with me that you can only give away something that you possess. So, in order to love and be loved completely we need to love ourselves first. In Matt 22:39 Jesus says: You shall love your neighbour as yourself, if a person doesn’t love him/herself, this command amongst all others becomes very difficult to follow.

Then again, you might have self-love but find it extremely difficult to love those neighbours who have carved wounds so deep you think they can’t be healed. You develop love through trial, by surrounding yourself with people that are difficult to love. Falling in love with God for example may not be at first sight, it takes time. The love you have for God develops through strain and the trials of life, if we persevere real love muscles eventually develop.

So I ask again what’s love got to do with it?

At the centre of Christianity is love, the greatest sacrifice in history was done because of Love. Love is a practice that our Saviour embodied. Through love we may do good deeds, care for our bodies and possess a desire to help humanity. Love involves unselfish service to others.  If our lives are full of quick-fix, feel good approaches to our fellow humans instead of intentional and purposeful responses to God’s unselfish love, we have failed to understand the meaning of the gospel. God’s love is evident throughout the bible, it governs the actions and decisions He made and continues to make. And finally, God is love

No matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do, I am bankrupt without love.

I love this song called “The Proof of Love” by King & Country, please listen to and meditate on the lyrics.

Stay blessed,

Dara xx

Walking with my limp

When I was 11, I sprained a vital ligament in my knee which meant that I could not walk for about 3 months. Before I was able to get crutches to aid my walking I was hopping from place to place. There were times that I got very tired from hopping like a rabbit and my dad carried me (those times were great). Eventually when I began to regain function in my leg, I could walk again but with a limp. And then finally, after many months I was able to walk without limping.

Have you ever had an injury that caused you to limp? Or even if you haven’t had a major injury, I’m sure you can relate to those times when you stub a toe on a door or the side of a bed. (One of THE most excruciating type of pain I experience regularly 😩) After stubbing your toe, you may limp for a bit before the pain subsides.

So “why are you talking about limps you may be asking ?” After listening to Jonathan McReynolds’ song entitled ‘Limp’, I was led to write & share what I’ve learnt with you. A key message of this song is:  No matter how flawed we are God is the lifter of our heads. In spite of all our troubles, heartache and pain if we just keep the faith and keep walking God will give us strength back. 

Please take time to listen to the whole song (video is below), but for now here are some lyrics:

Limps are

Every weakness

Limps are every flaw

That keeps us from having

An otherwise perfect walk

And we were born

Handicapped

But God gives us strength back

And all that you lack

If you just keep on walking with your Limp

Other words that the word limp connotes include weaknesses, flaws, hindrances, limitations, things that slow us down and hinder our ability to do or achieve something which often leads to frustration. Do you know what the limp in your life is? It may be a sin, that you repeatedly commit and it hinders you from having that perfect relationship with God. Or it may be a physical barrier that hinders you from accomplishing what you desire. Or it could be something about your past that continues to hunt you. I’m sure you can think of a limp that is applicable to your life. Whatever it is remember the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 [God’s] grace is all you need. [God’s] power works best in weakness.

Although God did not remove Paul’s affliction, he promised to demonstrate His power in Paul. If we did not have weaknesses, God’s power and strength cannot manifest. The fact that God’s power shows up in our weaknesses should give us courage. As we recognize our limps, we should rely on God for our effectiveness rather than on our own energy, effort or talent. Our limps not only help develop Christian character, but also deepen our worship, because in admitting them, we affirm God’s strength.

Verse 10 goes on to say: That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

  • Delight in your limps as they will be used for God’s glory
  • When we are weak, we will have a greater tendency to allow God to fill us with His power, then we will be stronger than we ever were on our own.

There were many flawed bible characters who walked with limps. Take Saul as an example, his weakness was that he was stubborn. But God saw this weakness as energy and determination as a means of spreading the gospel. Romans 8:26 says the Holy helps our weakness. Paul’s weakness was an opportunity for him to rely on the grace of God in empowering him for effective service.

I pray that the Holy Spirit intervenes  in our lives and helps us in our weaknesses so that God’s power can work in us.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x

 

P.S – Thanks for all the support towards this blog. Continue to pray for me that despite my uni work, I’ll still be able to  keep on writing  🙏🏾

 

No Weapon! 

“No weapon formed against me shall prosper, it won’t work.” Those are lyrics to one of my favourite songs, at the moment. As I said in my previous post (To Gain the World or lose your Soul?) I stopped listening to secular music over 3 years ago. Since then my library of gospel music keeps increasing, with a variety of vibrant, God-led and inspired artists, with positive messages. Sometime in the future, I hope to write a post about music and why I think it’s so important to be cautious of what we are listening to. But at this moment, I’m going to give an interpretation of this phrase “No weapon formed against me shall prosper”. 

Life is like a battle field in which we are fighting against the forces of evil however in Isaiah 54:17, the Lord says “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me” While reflecting on this verse I thought, does it mean that we will not die or be injured from guns, bombs and other forms of the enemy’s weaponry? In my mind, an image of a Christian deflecting bullets is created, but we are not superheros or characters like Hancock (who can not be injured in any shape or form), it seems slightly supernatural. But what exactly did the Lord mean when he said this?

I went back to read the whole of Isaiah 54. As you may be aware the book of Isaiah has a collection of prophecies and has a great deal about the theme of salvation. This chapter talks about the future Glory for Jerusalem, he promises that our “enemies will stay far away. We will live in peace, and terror will not come near us”. To me this future day refers to after the second coming of Jesus, when we will receive our heritage; the kingdom of God. But till then, how can we internalize this verse to our lives now. 

A weapon is a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage, however in 2 Corinthians 10:4, we are told “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.” So, we are not only against physical weapons such as guns but the enemy can use weapons in the form of confusion, hatred, peer pressure, jealousy, envy, anger, discouragement, rejection, depression, financial setbacks, relationship breakdowns, sickness, fears against us. As I said earlier we are in a spiritual warfare and we are likely to have these sort of weapons fashioned, planned, preordained against us, however we should know that these weapons will not succeed, make progress and be completed successfully. They will fail and miss the mark and target they have placed on the children of God.

Make this declaration: “Nothing that has been formed against me will dominate me, or overcome me because I belong to God and that is my heritage from Him as a believer and Child of The Most High God.”

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him”  (Proverbs 30:5) Do you take refuge in the Lord and put your trust in Him? Do not fear for the Lord is with you! Don’t look around anxiously, because the Lord is your God. He promises to “strengthen you, help you and uphold you with his righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10) God’s right hand signifies strength, whenever we find ourselves in a battle against the opposition God will give us strength. Remember the Battle is not yours, It is the Lord’s. (1 Samuel 17:47)

Please listen and meditate to the song below (No Weapon by Fred Hammond), that I quoted the lyrics for in the intro.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x