Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Breaking the Cycle... A Daily, plus, my evening!!!!

God is truly good to me. God has been pushing me and working in me nonstop the past few months, and it's only going to get better! The past seven weeks in particular have been incredibly difficult as the layers of the onion that is my life slowly get peeled away. The more soft tissue underneath that gets exposed, the greater God's love for me shines.

Each week it's been a complete bombardment of God speaking and reaching out to me. If it's not what I'm learning in Living Waters, it's the sermons from the new church I've started seeking. If it's not one of those two, it's the Daily Devotionals that I get from New Life and Truth For Life. God is just seriously, seriously not letting me go, and not letting me down, either.

The encouragement I receive to truly press in to Him has been rewarded each and every step of the way. Tonight was just the icing on the cake. I can't imagine what's coming next.... but I'm excited!!!!! I really, really am!

For the first time in my life, I honestly feel FREE!!

Breaking the Cycle
Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:1-18
We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Human existence consists of a series of patterns. Our world goes around the sun in an unending orbit; it spins on its axis with tireless regularity. Dysfunctional family patterns seem to resurface generation after generation in a wearying march of repetitious pain. We may grow tired and wonder if there's really any escape from the merry-go-round of addictive behavior and suffering.

King Solomon examined life and was discouraged by some of his observations. "Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers. . . . Everything is wearisome beyond description. . . ._No matter how much we hear, we are not content" (Ecclesiastes 1:4-8).

Life can seem like one meaningless, wearying cycle after another. Solomon observed that our lives can be spent without ever going anywhere. He also wrote these instructions: "Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous" (Proverbs 2:20). Throughout the Bible we see that life can be linear, leading somewhere. Even though we are powerless to stop all the destructive cycles around us, we can take our own steps in the direction of recovery and a new way of life.

Our efforts just add to the destructive cycles in life; only God can break them.

Friday, November 20, 2009



Golden rules for finding your life partner by Dov Heller, M.A

When it comes to making the decision about choosing a life partner, no one wants to make a mistake. Yet, with a divorce rate of close to 50%, it appears that many are making serious mistakes in their approach to finding Mr./Miss. Right!

If you ask most couples who are engaged why they're getting married, they'll say: "We're in love". I believe this is the #1 mistake people make when they date. Choosing a life partner should never be based on love. Though this may sound "not politically correct", there's a profound truth here. Love is not the basis for getting married. Rather, love is the result of a good marriage. When the other ingredients are right, then the love will come. Let me say it again: "You can't build a lifetime relationship on love alone". You need a lot more!!!

Here are five questions you must ask yourself if you're serious about finding and keeping a life partner.

Do we share a common life purpose?

Why is this so important? Let me put it this way: If you're married for 20 or 30 years, that's a long time to live with someone. What do you plan to do with each other all that time? Travel, eat and jog together? You need to share something deeper and more meaningful. You need a common life purpose.

Two things can happen in a marriage:
(1) You can grow together, or
(2) You can grow apart.

50% of the people out there are growing apart. To make a marriage work, you need to know what you want out of life! Bottom line marry someone who wants the same thing.

Do I feel safe expressing my feelings and thoughts with this person?

This question goes to the core of the quality of your relationship.
Feeling safe means you can communicate openly with this person. The basis of having good communication is trust - i.e. trust that I won't get "punished" or hurt for expressing my honest thoughts and feelings.

A colleague of mine defines an abusive person as someone with whom you feel afraid to express your thoughts and feelings. Be honest with yourself on this one. Make sure you feel emotionally safe with the person you plan to marry.

Is he/she a mensch? A mensch is someone who is a refined and sensitive person.

How can you test? Here are some suggestions:
Do they work on personal growth on a regular basis?
Are they serious about improving themselves?

A teacher of mine defines a good person as "someone who is always striving to be good and do the right thing". So ask about your Significant Other... What do they do with their time? Is this person materialistic? Usually a materialistic person is not someone whose top priority is character refinement.

There are essentially two types of people in the world:
(1) People who are dedicated to personal growth and
(2) People who are dedicated to seeking comfort.

Someone whose goal in life is to be comfortable will put personal comfort ahead of doing the right thing. You need to know that before walking down the aisle.

How does he/she treat other people?

The one most important thing that makes any relationship work is the ability to give. By giving, we mean the ability to give another person pleasure.

Ask: Is this someone who enjoys giving pleasure to others or are they wrapped up in themselves and self-absorbed? To measure this, think about the following: How do they treat people whom they do not have to be niceto, such as waiters, bus boys, taxi drivers, etc. How do they treat their parents and siblings? Do they have gratitude and appreciation? If they don't have gratitude for the people who have given them everything; can you do nearly as much for them? You can be sure that someone who treats others poorly, will eventually treat you poorly as well.

Is there anything I'm hoping to change about this person after we're married? Too many people make the mistake of marrying someone with the intention of trying to "improve" them after they're married. As a colleague of mine puts it: "You can probably expect someone to change after marriage for the worse" If you cannot fully accept this person the way they are now, then you are not ready to marry them.

In conclusion, dating doesn't have to be difficult and treacherous. The key is to try leading a little more with your head and less with your heart. It pays to be as objective as possible when you are dating; to be sure to ask questions that will help you get to the key issues.

Falling in love is a great feeling, but when you wake up with a ring on your finger, you don't want to find yourself in trouble because you didn't do your homework.

Another perspective....
There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance....It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going anywhere relationships. Observe the relationships around you.

Pay attention.... Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don't really understand, know, or appreciate you? The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you...the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.

An African proverb states, "Before you get married, keep both eyes open, and after you marry, close one eye". Before you get involved andmake a commitment to someone, don't let lust, pity, desperation, immaturity, ignorance, pressure from others or a low self-esteem make you blind to warning signs. Keep your eyes open, and don't fool yourself that you can change someone or that what you see as faults aren't really that important.

Do you bring out the best in each other? Do you compliment and compromise with each other, or do you compete, compare and control? What do you bring to the relationship? Do you bring past relationships, past hurt, past mistrust, past pain? You can't take someone to the altar to alter them. You can't make someone love you or make someone stay. If you develop self-esteem, spiritual discernment, and "a life", you won't find yourself making someone else responsible for your happiness or responsible for your pain. Seeking status, sex, and security are the wrong reasons to be in a relationship.


7. DAILY EXCHANGES (meal, shared activity, hug, call, touch, notes,

If these qualities are missing, the relationship will erode as resentment, withdrawal, abuse, neglect, dishonesty, and pain replace it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No matter what our circumstances, God meets us there with his grace.

Step 1 / Day 15
Serenity despite Powerlessness
Bible Reading: Luke 1:26-56
We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.

There are times in life when we are powerless over the circumstances around us. We're not in the driver's seat. We have to do things someone else's way. And often, the whole experience is uncomfortable and frightening. During these times we can find hope and serenity in the promises of God.

Mary was in her early teens when destiny took her by the hand. She was greeted by an angel who announced that she had been chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. She found herself pregnant, much to the confusion of her fiancé, family, friends, and neighbors. After the angel returned to visit her fiancé, he believed Mary's story and married her. When the time came to give birth, she and Joseph were required to travel the long, difficult journey to Bethlehem. There, in a smelly stable carved out of the side of a rocky hill, she delivered the baby. No one but her husband was there to attend Jesus' birth (Luke 1:26-2:20).

What power did she have over her circumstances? She was powerless under the will of God, the decree of the state, the limitations of their financial poverty, and the demands of her body. And yet, by holding on to the promises God had given her, she found serenity in her powerlessness and gave birth to the Savior. When we are powerless, we can find serenity by holding on to the promises of God. When we do this, we will find new life and salvation being born again into our lives.

No matter what our circumstances, God meets us there with his grace.

-New Life Ministries-

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chastening yourself only leads to further shame, but God's loving words heal! You just have to Believe Him!

Go Back to the Gospel --Isaiah 44

When a believer has fallen into a low, sad state of feeling, he often tries to lift himself out of it by chastening himself with dark and gloomy fears. That is not the way to rise from the dust, but to continue in it.

We may as well chain the eagle's wing to make it fly as doubt in order to increase our grace. It is not the law but the Gospel that saves the seeking soul at first; and it is not a legal bondage but gospel liberty that can restore the fainting believer afterwards.

Slavish fear does not bring the backslider back to God, but the sweet wooings of love attract him to Jesus. This morning are you thirsting for the living God and unhappy because you cannot find him to the delight of your h eart? Have you lost the joy of the Lord, and is your prayer, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation"?1

Are you conscious also that you are unproductive, like the dry ground, that you are not bringing forth the fruit that God has a right to expect of you, that you are not as useful in the church or in the world as your heart desires to be?

Then here is exactly the promise that you need: "For I will pour water on the thirsty land." You will receive the grace you so desperately need, and you will have it in abundance.

Water refreshes the thirsty: You will be refreshed; your desires shall be satisfied. Water revives sleeping vegetable life: Your life will be restored by fresh grace.

Water makes the bud develop and makes the fruit ripen; and so by God's grace you will be made fruitful in His ways. Whatever good quality there is in divine grace, you will enjoy it to the full. All the riches of divine grace you will receive in plenty; you shall be as it were drenched with it: And as sometimes the meadows become flooded by the bursting rivers, and the fields are turned into pools, so shall you be-the thirsty land shall be springs of water.

1 Psalm 51:12