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Month: June 2018

June Review

June Review

I am actually writing my June review in June and not two weeks into the next month like I have done the past few months.

June 2018 Review

June is a great time for the Mid-Year Review. Did you do one? I listed my goals and then wrote down some of the things that I have done under that goal. I spent some time thinking about what could be done yet this year. It help give me some focus which I need to regain.

At the beginning of June I put together a list of various things I wanted to do this month. I wrote the list on the calendar page of my planner. As I planned my weeks, I looked at the list and worked on some of those items. Now at the end of June as I look at the list I got most of those items finished. That is a great feeling. I need to do that for July.

Here is a quick review of some of my goals:

Grow Deeper in my relationship with God – There are things that I find easy but I want to keep pushing myself to go deeper in my relationship. I don’t want to settle but grow.

Grow in health and strength – I am struggling to find time in the week to go out and exercise. I am continuing to watch carbs as for me that is the key. My latest love sautéed spinach with a bit of garlic as a base instead of rice. I got tired of cauliflower rice.

Grow in my relationships with others – This includes family and friends. This requires planning and just doing things. It can be thought through or just a last minute action. This is an area that I need to keep working on.

Grow in efficient and effective use of our home – I worked to get rid of some more home school things. I am also organised some other areas.

I usually have 2 or 3 books that I am reading. It is a combination of fiction and non-fiction.

In June I read Take Heart. It was an easy book to read but had a big challenge of how to live in the age of unbelief. It also had a bit of a surprise ending. I know normally you don’t think of a surprise ending in a fiction book but it did.

I also read this book on sleep. Let me just say that the author believes in evolution so throughout the book you read about how man has evolved to this point, or how in our evolution we have moved to this point in our sleep. I spit out a lot of bones but did get some meat. Lack of sleep has the same effect on driving as drunk driving. Sleep plays a big role in fighting infection. Sleep also plays a role in emotional healing. It has given me something to think about in regards to sleep. I want to spend some time looking at sleep in the Bible so you might see a bit on that topic in the next few weeks.

Three things I did this month:

  1. Made lemon curd – I didn’t realise how easy that is to make. We made some in a small group to sell at the school summer fair.
  2. Darned a sock – I remember my mom doing this when I was young. She would use the egg from the L’eggs pantyhose. (That is a memory that might just date me.) Anyway one of my favourite Solmate socks got a hole and I just couldn’t throw them away so I did what I have not done since a child and darned my sock. It might not be pretty and win any awards but it means I don’t have a hole and can wear the sock.
  3. Ate strawberries from our garden – that really is a big accomplishment that we were able to grow and enjoy the fruit of our labour.

That is just a quick wrap up of June. How was your month? Are you making progress?

Genuine Kindness is more than being nice.

Genuine Kindness is more than being nice.

It is easy to be kind to nice people. Being kind to someone who is kind to you is easy. It is easy to be kind when it does not cost you or require much time. Is that really genuine kindness? I want to challenge us to think about genuine kindness.

Genuine Kindness is more than being nice. Learn 4 principles of kindness.

An example of this is seen In 2 Samuel 9. David gives Mephibosheth land that had belonged to his grandfather and then invites him to eat with him. Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s father, and David were friends. David had made a promise to Jonathan and that carried to his offspring.

Who is Mephibosheth? He was Jonathan’s son, King Saul’s grandson.  Remember Saul had tried to kill David about 10 times. Mephibosheth was disabled. When he was five years old, his nurse took him and fled as news of the death of Saul and Jonathan came to her. In her haste to flee Mephibosheth fell and became lame. Now 15 years later Mephibosheth is living in Lo Debar which in Hebrew means “no thing”. So basically he is living nowhere. No one seems to know him. He was most likely trying to stay hidden and just stay alive. While hiding out he is summoned to come before the king. Maybe this will be the end?

David gave him protection, provision, and position. Mephibosheth went from living in hiding to eating at the king’s table because of what David did. How can our actions change other’s lives?

What can we learn from David?

1. The motivation for kindness. David’s motivation was to show the kindness of God. David had made a promise to Jonathan. In 2 Samuel 9:1 he is looking to show kindness for Jonathan’s sake. Jonathan had helped to save his life. David’s motivation was to show God’s kindness. What motivates your kindness?

2. Kindness can require a risk. The recipient of the kindness was an enemy or a rival. This was Saul’s grandson. David was now the king and some of Saul’s family had tried to keep the throne. Ish-bosheth had been king of Israel. David’s kindness was risky. David was able to take this risk because he was secure knowing that God had promised the throne to David. Are you willing to take a risk and be kind?

3. Kindness is for the other person and not our gain. Mephibosheth was disabled. He did not have much that he could offer to David. It was not like he could return the favour. There was nothing that Mephibosheth could do for David. Kindness is done not for what we can get but for what we can give. Are you kind without expecting something in return?

4. Kindness can be costly. David returned all that belonged to Saul to Mephibosheth. Furthermore, he ate at David’s table. So this can cost you. It might be money or your time. Are you willing to give what it takes to be kind?

David is a model, a shadow of what is to come. This story of David really gives us a picture of God’s kindness.

God’s ultimate kindness is seen through Christ

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:3-5

The motivation for God’s kindness is who he is, God is love. In this passage Paul calls us foolish, disobedient, slaves. We were enemies of God. Yet he showed us loving kindness. We have no righteousness. There is nothing that we can do, we have nothing to offer but depend on God’s kindness. Finally, this was costly. It cost Christ his life.

Don’t confuse being nice with being kind. Understand what it really means to be kind. As you understand who God is and what he has done for you, how do you reflect that to those around you?

As I think about this in my own life, I like to fit kindness into my schedule, when it works for me. After this study, I have been challenged to be willing to take risks and pay the cost. It is worth it.

This post has a bit more information about this topic.

4 Principles of genuine kindness

Know the Disciplines for Successful Growth – Humility

Know the Disciplines for Successful Growth – Humility

A life of humility will bring growth. 

Know the Disciplines for Successful Growth Humility

“I am the best in the class.” Those words were spoken by a boy who was proud of his accomplishment. He might have been the best but that attitude is really not one that will lead to growth. We need to know the disciplines for successful growth.

We want hearts that are ready to grow and achieve all that God has called us to do. 7 Heart Issues that Hinder Achieving Your Goals focused on the issues stopping you. What are the heart characteristics that will help us grow and achieve our goals?

Know the disciplines for successful growth.

We will look at these disciplines specifically in relation to achieving our goals. There is so much more that could be said about each of these but we will limit it and focus on how this helps in achieving our goals. So let’s begin with humility.

Humility Disciplines for Growth

“Humility is the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and bond of all virtue.” John Chrysostom

The quote from John Chrysostom gives us an understanding of how important humility is in our lives. This is the foundation and key to achieving our goals.

Humility is the opposite of pride. Pride views yourself as better than others. Pride looks down on others. A proud person doesn’t need others. A humble person recognizes who she is in relationship to God and others.

Philippians 2:1-11 is a passage that shows us Jesus’ humility. Humility is not selfish ambition or conceit but it is considering others. How does this relate to our goals? It really needs to consider the purpose of the goal. Did you set that goal just to make yourself a better person? Set goals that have the result of serving God or others. Just as  Jesus became a servant so we should as well. Our goals should be serving God and others.

What does a humble person do?

A humble person recognizes the need for others in her life helping to achieve the goals. It could be learning from the wisdom and experience of others or it could be having someone keeping you accountable. Sometimes it might just be admitting that you need help and getting a friend to help you. So be willing to ask others.

A humble person is a learner. The proud person thinks they know everything and do not need others. A humble person is always seeking to learn from others. A humble person values others. Look at your goals, think about what you can learn and how can help you learn that.

A humble person is seeking God in her tasks. Pride can push us to do or be more than God has called us to. We can be striving to have the perfect house but one of two things can happen. We can be frustrated because that really won’t happen and just give up or we continue to focus on that when really we need to accept and be content. Our time is consumed with something that we will never have. Therefore, walk in the Spirit and listen to God as you work through your goals.

Finally, review your goals. Since we just did a Mid-Year Review this is a good time to consider this as well. Are these goals that serve God and others? How do you value others as you work to achieve your goals?

How do you live a life of humility?

Understand who God is and who you are. As we understand who God truly is, we begin to see ourselves as we truly are. Paul understands that it was now what he knew or who he was that was important rather he was willing to put that aside for the sake of the gospel.

As we look at  Jesus’ example we see he was obedient even when that obedience was difficult and painful. He gave up his glory and all that he had in heave to become a man and come to earth. Are we obedient? Are we willing to give up things for God’s plan or our lives and those around us?

Finally, take some time to look at your own life. Is your life marked with humility? Pray and seek God to ask him to help you live a life of humility.

If you are looking for an excellent book to read about humility, I recommend this book. I found it easy to read with so many truths to ponder.

Humility is the foundation for growth. A strong foundation will help you to grow.

Why is humility so important for our successful growth?

Know the disciplines for successful growth. Take the steps in this area to grow.

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How to Renew Your Focus Mid-Year

How to Renew Your Focus Mid-Year

 

How to Renew Your Focus Mid-Year - 4 steps

We are almost halfway through the year. Do you remember the goals you set in January? Are you still going strong working on them? Way to go! Maybe you are working on some but not all of them? That is great that you are still working on some. Maybe you are in the group that is not working on the goals — it could be that you are busy with other things,

I was thinking about titling this “Six Month Slump” and in some ways, it might be a slump. Slump just gave me the wrong feeling. I want something that sounds a bit more encouraging and upbeat. So I am going with Mid-Year Review.

4 Steps to Renew Your Focus

1 Review your goals for this year. Find them, read them, don’t go based on what you think you wrote down. Review each goal.  Have you made progress? Is the goal still valid? Should you revise any goals?

As I did that I was a bit discouraged, wondering what I have done for the past six months of the year. I think I have done things that needed to be done. New things have come up these past few months that I had not planned and that is okay.

2. Make a list of some of the things that you have done this year. Then classify them based on your goals.

The first six months of 2018, I have enjoyed a visit with friends from USA, had a holiday with my family, spent 10 days with my mom visiting us, created a photo book of our family holiday, had guest over for dinner, began Kylie’s cookies, moved my blog to my own site, learned about GDPR and made my blog GDPR compliant, read through the Bible (I love the 90 days reading program), and I have done other things.

Looking at my list encouraged me that I have done things these past six months.

Do you have things that you have done in the past six months that do not fit in a goal? Maybe you need to consider writing a new goal. That is allowed.

3. Pray for wisdom to know what you need to be doing and how you should be using your time. God directs our steps. Look to him for direction.

4. Review your goals again. Do you have goals that should be dropped or revised? What do you need to work on? What do you want to see different in six months? You still have time to make a change?

4 Steps to Renew Your Focus

When I did this, I realized that one area that I need to focus on is health and strength.

Write an action plan for the next 90 days. Summer is a great time of year to work on this. The days are long and warm, it is easy to be active and doing things. So what is your plan for the next 90 days? That really takes us to the end of September.

I am going to need some time to write my action plan for this one area. I also have some other little goals that need some action plans as well.

Are you ready to be and do what God has called you for this year? Let’s make these next six months a time of growing.

What are some things that you have accomplished the past six months?

The Branches Bear Fruit

The Branches Bear Fruit

When you are confused or forget your role, you begin to try to do things that you don’t need or to or are not your responsibility. It is important to know your role, to know what you are to be doing. The same is true for the branches.

As we have looked at John 15, we have seen that Jesus is the true vine and what that means for us. You can read that here.

We see the Father as the vinedresser tenderly caring for the branch.

Let’s look at the branch. What is the role of the branches? We are the branches so what does John 15 say about the branches?

The branches are to bear fruit. The source of life comes from the vine but the fruit is on the branches. If the branch is not bearing fruit, he takes it away and the branches that are bearing fruit, the vinedresser prunes.

The branches are to bear fruit but the branch cannot bear fruit by itself. Branches not connected to the tree or the vine will not bear fruit, they are dead branches. As we think about bearing fruit we need to remember that we need to stay connected with the vine.

We are the branches, we need to bear the fruit. We need to stay connected to the vine. That fits with walking in the Spirit as we see in Galatians 5:16.

We bring glory to God when we bear fruit. The fruit that we are bearing is not what we can do on our own but rather comes from the Holy Spirit working within and so that will bring glory to God.

Our fruit shows that we are followers of God. The fruit that we bear should be pointing to Christ not to bring us glory or to make a good name for ourselves. Because of Christ our actions should be different than those around us. If we are asked why we do something, we should point to Jesus.

How do we be the branches that are bearing fruit?

  1. Stay connected with the true vine. That can be done through reading the Bible, meditating on the Bible, and prayer.
  2. Be active in loving, being joyful, bringing peace, practicing patience, living with kindness, spreading goodness, living with faithfulness, acting with gentleness, and being self-controlled. Think about how can I be those listed above to those around you. Look for opportunities to live out the fruit of the Spirit.
  3. Walk in the Spirit – make it a practice of praying and asking God to guide you to those who need encouragement. Be still to listen to the Spirit.

One of the things that can help you is each month as we are working through the year we are looking specifically at a fruit of the Spirit. Go through some of those posts and ponder how you are demonstrating that, think of what are the challenges that are holding you back. Dig deep into your own life looking at the hinderances to growth. Pray and ask God to help you as you examine and look at your heart.

As a branch, are you connected to the vine? Are you active in pursuing fruit in your life? Are you listening to the Holy Spirit?

7 Heart Issues that Hinder Achieving your Goals

7 Heart Issues that Hinder Achieving your Goals

What is hindering you from achieving your goals? Have you taken time to ponder this? Some thoughts about this can be found here.

These are the deep issues in your heart that are hindering you from reaching your goals. I am assuming that you have prayed about your goals and you are confident that these goals are in line with God’s plan for your life at this time. Knowing that this is what God has for you, what is hindering you?

7 Heart Issues that Hinder Achieving your Goals

Pride – Pride says, “I can do it myself. I do not need anyone’s suggestions on how to do this. I do not need to be accountable.” Pride can cause us to not consider what help others might be able to offer. Pride says,” I am sufficient for this on my own.”

Jealousy – Jealousy compares yourself other someone else and then that becomes an excuse for not achieving your goal. “If my children, did (fill in the blank) I would be able to do my goal.” It might begin with the phrase, “It is not fair” and then the excuse as to why we can’t achieve our goal. It might also be, “I don’t want to be left out, so I am going to do it even though it sidetracks me from my goal.

Laziness – just plain laizness, not working towards your goal It could also be not focusing and working on what needs to be done to achieve your goals. It might include not planning for what needs to be done. Like planning meals that work with your diet or taking the time to cook the food that you need.

Discontentment – In a way discontentment might be what is driving you to write that goal but it can also hinder your goal. When you are discontent and use things to satisfy or discontentment can be driving you to keep trying things but never get to the issue or never accomplish the goal.

Selfishness – Selfishness hinders your goal when you begin to think about what you want and not working toward your goal. It might be, “I don’t want to miss out on that event so I am going to do it and skip working on my goal.

Self-indulgence – It might be indulging in the chocolate cake when you should be watching your diet but it might also be indulging things instead of declutter. Self-indulgence is doing what you want because you want to do it.

Fear – It could be the fear of failure or maybe even the fear of succeeding. Fear can hold you back.

I am going to challenge you to look at goal and then look at the heart issues that are hindering you. Not all of these will be hindering you but I am guessing you will find one or two.

I did this with my  goal of losing weight. It is not pretty. I will be honest with you.  As I look at the list above, I see a bit of jealousy. I don’t like the fact that others can eat cake so even thought I know it doesn’t help in losing weight, I will eat it. I am just being honest with you. Selfishness is a bit like the jealousy but it might be I don’t want to share so I am eating this. Laziness comes out in just not taking the time to fix meals.

It might be a bit discouraging at this time to dig deep and see the mess and wonder what can come but have hope that from this God will begin to work and grow you as you begin to seek those things that he wants for your life.

This post introduces the concept of looking at heart issues as hinderances. Over the next few days, I will share the qualities we need in our live to achieve our goals.

Do you have any other heart issues to include in this list?

Overcome Hinderances in Reaching Your Goals

Overcome Hinderances in Reaching Your Goals

What is hindering you from reaching your goals? What obstacles do you face? What is stopping you from achieving your goals? Why do you have the same goals year after year and never accomplish them?

Have you ever sat and really thought about what is causing this to happen? Some things that might come to your mind are things like — not enough time, not focused, or fear.

Those might be things that have stopped you or hindered you but I want to challenge you to look deeper at what might be the root causes for why you do not achieve your goals.

I want to encourage you to dig deeper and discover the heart issues. Change your heart and begin to grow. 

Last year we had a large bush in our back garden. It was ugly and the roots of it were tearing down the fence between our garden and the neighbours. So to be a good neighbour we had it removed but there were roots remaining. We wanted to get those roots out so I spent some time out there digging and pulling. I worked hard and got my hards dirty. It was also a bit costly — I didn’t take my ring off and the prongs got lose so I had to get that fixed.

So I want to challenge you to take some time to examine and dig deep within looking for what is hindering you from reaching your goals. I will warn you it might be messy and you might not like what you find but if you know what is there you can deal with those issues and see growth. It is hard work.

Ask the Lord to help you. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” Psalm 139:3

I would suggest that you consider a specific goal one that you have not made progress or as much progress as you would like. Do you have a goal in mind? I think my goal would be losing weight. I suggest that you have some paper to write these thoughts down.

Let’s pretend that the goal is decluttering. You have tried but just can’t get rid of things. It seems that you still have more things than you need.

Ask yourself what is difficult in achieving this goal? We are going to assume that this is a goal that you have prayed about and know that you need to continue pursuing.

What are the struggles? Think through what is happening or probably what is not happening with you goal? Go deep. Don’t stop with the surface reaction. What is really happening in your heart?

Are you struggling with contentment and so you continue to purchase things? Do you use things are rewards?

Do you just need help going through things and getting rid of things but maybe pride is standing in the way. Pride because you don’t want others to know what it is really like in the cabinets and closets.

Are you struggling with getting rid of things because maybe you will need it in the future? Are you lacking faith that God can and will provide again in the future.

Maybe you are just laziness and not doing anything? You are not focusing on the task but doing other things. When you have time to work on this, you decide to read a book or watch TV.

Maybe you need a friend to hold you accountable.

I told you it might be messy and hard work but now that you see these deep issues that are hindering you. You can begin to work on those issues.

Some of the heart issues that you might discover are pride, jealousy, discontentment, laziness, or selfishness.

Do not be discouraged. You have dug deep and found the roots. Now let’s dig those roots out and plant some seeds of characteristics that will help you to succeed. You can begin to grow through this.

Confess what has been hindering you. Pray for help. Dig into the Bible and see the truths about area you need to grow.

It is worth it. The bush and the roots that we dug out has now become a strawberry patch with berries on the plants. I am looking forward to enjoying the fruit of that hard, messy, costly work.

Know Yourself – This post has a bit of information about this as well.

So what goal are you struggling to achieve? What heart issues are obstacles in the way of being or doing what God has called you?

Dig deeper and begin to grow. 

Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness

Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness

Fruit of the Spirit Kindness Grow in kindness and grow in the LordIs kindness just, “be kind”, doing good and nice things? Is it holding the door for someone whose hands are full? Is it paying for the drink for the person behind you in line? Is kindness putting out bird seed when the ground is covered in snow? Those are all nice, polite, courteous, kind things to do but if we are thinking that this is what kindness as the Fruit of the Spirit is meaning, we are missing so much of the meaning.

As we think about kindness we need to remember that this is listed in the Fruit of the Spirit. This is coming from walking by the Spirit, listening to the Spirit’s promptings and acting.

Various translations use different words for this. The ESV, NIV, and NASB use the word kindness while the KJV uses the word gentleness. Don’t worry the ESV, NIV, and NASB use the word gentleness later so we will have time to focus on that word. We will use the word, kindness, for now.

Kindness as with each of the fruit of the Spirit is an attribute of God. God is not asking us to do something and live in a way that he has not already demonstrated to us.

Pause and think about how God has demonstrated kindness both in the Bible and in your own life.

  • Expelling but not killing Adam and Eve after the fall in the Garden
  • Sparing Noah and his family
  • Keeping his promise to Abraham
  • Caring for Hagar
  • Rescuing Lot
  • Rescuing his people from Egypt
  • Providing water and manna in the wilderness
  • Shutting the mouths of the lions

Can you add more to this list?

What about in your own life? How have you seen God’s kindness?

  • God’s timing was perfect in rescuing me from a situation that I didn’t know how I would survive.
  • God’s provision through the years
  • Friends who became family when my family was on the other side of the world

Kindness has a broad range of meanings. It can be helpful to look at these different meanings as that helps us to understand kindness. Some of the words are goodness, mercy, pity, love, grace, favour, compassion, gentleness, and tenderness. Which of those words helps you to understand kindness as a fruit of the Spirit?

Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

It is good to love kindness but how do we love kindness? The LORD requires that we love kindness so how do we do this? Kindness does not need to be big and difficult it can be a simple thing, a kind word or a kind act. Our kindness should reflect God’s kindness towards us.

Paul writes, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

We are commanded to be kind and it further tells us to be tenderhearted which just gives a bit of insight into how to be kind. We see the example of how God was kind to us he forgave us.

Our kindness needs to be a reflection of God’s kindness towards us. How have you seen God kind to you?

May in Review

May in Review

What happened in May? That is the question I am asking myself right now. Can I remember what I did? My planner is helping me remember what happened. My planner helps me plan and also gives me a place to track what happened.

May began with Miss K’s dance performance. This year it was at a theatre here in our city instead of the next city south. So that meant running back and forth for rehearsals and then performance weekend which was two shows on Saturday and two on Sunday. Miss K was on stage seven times in each performance. She keeps everyone laughing as she attempted to do her own make-up. I am proud of her for her hard work and thankful for the school that has encouraged her to dance.

We did have a bank holiday to recover from the weekend. May is a great month with two bank holidays. The second one was at the beginning of our half-term break.

There was also a Tae Kwon Do grading as well.

One of the big things that happened was Whole30. I did it again. I have a love-hate relationship with Whole30. I will say I learn so much about myself and what I can do. I can bake chocolate chip cookies and not eat any. I can make a carrot cake and not eat it though that received good reviews from the church staff. Add that to the list of things to bake for the next time I need to bake a cake. Most of my recipes are American and so I like finding things that are enjoyed here.

Whole30 was working towards my health goal.

I did not read as much in May. Maybe I should say I didn’t finish as many books in May. I gave myself permission to quit reading. Just because the book is on the classic book list doesn’t mean I need to read it. I tried and just couldn’t get into the book so I quit reading it. That is fine. In fact it is probably a good thing to do. Give yourself permission to evaluate and determine if it is necessary to finish not everything you start needs to be finished.

I worked to declutter and get rid of things. The end of homeschooling is coming and so it is time to begin clearing off the shelves. I love being able to bless people with resources that we are finished using. That helps me as I clear the shelves.

I spent quite a bit of time in May working to get my blog GDPR ready. I learned quite a bit in that process. I am excited to have that completed and be able to get to writing new content.

Three things I am using and loving in May.

  1. My Plum Paper Planner – This is my first year to the Plum Paper Planner. I am loving it. I am still figuring out how to use all the extra pages that I added. I enjoy having a place to keep notes.
  2. Moleskin journals – I have to stay that this is worth the investment. I am still using one that I bought about 2.5 years ago.
  3. Water with lemon and mint leaves – It is so easy just a few mint leaves from my mint plant and a wedge of lemon and some water. I find it refreshing and a bit of flavour for my water.

How was your May? Did you begin anything new? Finish anything exciting? Or Maybe give yourself permission to quit?