Monthly Archives: November 2011

WAITING FOR MANNA

I woke up this morning expecting manna to fall from heaven. why wouldn’t I expect manna to fall? let me outline my reasons and I bet you’ll agree with me why I deserve manna;

  • I am a human being.
  • I deserve to eat
  • God created me
  • I am a Ghanaian
  • I love God
  • I have a sense of humour
  • I am smart
  • I am intelligent…. by my own standards

I told you I can convince you. What….you are not convinced? what more should I say? isn’t it what most people do? they sit down everyday like envelope without address, waiting for manna to fall. what do you expect me also to do? should I climb up there for it or join them in their pensive moods waiting patiently for manna to fall?

that is what they’ve been telling me everyday, “life is how you make it,”  “you’ll never get out of it alive so enjoy.” how on earth can I enjoy when I can’t even afford a penny?

i think i have to carry begging bowl in my hand and move from door to door and see if i can get some cedis; or better still, i can jump from one politician to the other and sing honorifics to them. i think i can get enough money to enjoy myself by doing this.

i don’t think a person of my calibre has to do this. NO! it does not befit me! i have to find a nice way of getting money without sweating. YES! I have to do that! Nothing can stop me! not even myself.

have you any idea about how i can get money without sweating?…………………………..oh please tell me! i know you know it so dont just sit down and watch me suffer!

i just heard from a grapevine that manna will not fall this year. I do not the truth of the matter… and i don’t want to know. all i want is quick money.

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My Dreams Were too Small

When I was a young girl, my dreams weren?t much different than most girls of my generation: To get married, have children and keep a lovely yard. But through a unique and exciting series of events, the Lord graciously showed me that my dreams were too small. Of course He wanted to give me these precious gifts, but God wanted to give me much more:

An Opportunity To Change
The Lord began speaking to me about this many years ago while I was dusting our bedroom dresser. I noticed a brochure lying amongst the other items and glanced through it to see if I should throw it away or file it. As I did, a phrase caught my attention:

“Learn how to live the abundant Christian life.”

The brochure was advertising a conference by an organization I had never heard of before – Campus Crusade for Christ. I assumed it was for college students, seeing as we had four children by then, and decided to hang onto it, thinking my husband, Marvin, might be interested in taking our family to the event.

What is the Abundant Christian Life?
But even though I had set the brochure aside, the phrase, “Learn how to live the abundant Christian life,” kept coming to my mind throughout the rest of the day. I had been a Christian since age 12, but in the last few years I sensed I was missing something. Outwardly, I had everything I had ever dreamed of: A wonderful husband, four healthy children, several businesses, and to top it all off, we had just moved into our dream home.

One thing that was missing, however, was my mother. She had died that May and I missed her very much. But God used this time of mourning to help me think seriously about eternity. I knew I wanted to see my mother again, but I wasn’t sure I would go to heaven when I died, and that?s where I assumed she was.

A few days after I read the brochure, my brother-in-law Ed Goerzen dropped in and asked if Marvin had mentioned the conference to me. I told him he hadn’t, but I was very interested. When he encouraged us to go, I listened, because Ed had changed a lot in the past few months. Even though he had always had a pleasing personality, he now radiated the joy of Christ. I really wanted that joy too. In fact, when my brother-in-law left, I prayed,

“God, how can I have this kind of joy?”

The thought, “total commitment” crossed my mind, but I quickly pushed it aside. After all, I was already involved in many leadership roles in my church and community and I certainly didn’t want more things to do. But a quiet voice inside of me said,

“I want you, not your work.”

I chose to ignore this voice, but I didn’t forget it.

Off to the Conference
Several respected friends had also encouraged us to attend this conference, so we eventually decided to go and as an added incentive, it was raining in BC where we lived and very sunny in California where the conference was being held! A few weeks later we were on our way to California for the conference that would change our lives.

During one of the messages, the speaker asked us to write a list of our acts and attitudes we knew were displeasing to God. I have to admit my list was much longer than I thought it would be. Then I claimed the promise in 1 John 1:9,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

I felt so clean inside when I was done.The next morning we heard a message on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the moment of decision. To experience the abundant life I wanted, I needed to give control of my life completely to God. This was the total commitment He had told me about and I had rejected weeks earlier. However, this time I had no hesitation in giving it to Him. My prayer went something like this:

Dear God, I need You. I know that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immediately, I was filled with such joy and love, I couldn’t contain myself. I read recently that in the deep south, people call this breakthrough to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as, “I was seized by the power of great affection.” For a reserved person like me, this was definitely a supernatural experience.I realized I also had to make the Bible my authority from that day onward. Anything that did not agree with God’s Word would be disregarded.

The Great Commission
That weekend, Marvin and I both committed our lives to help fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission. Thus, our priorities – and our lives – began to undergo a radical change. As hard as we had worked in our businesses and our home, now we began to pour all of our efforts into reaching our neighbourhood, our country and the world with the good news of God’s love and forgiveness.

“Did I Hear You Correctly, Lord?”
Even though I have been filled with the Holy Spirit, who promises to act as my teacher and guide, there have been times when I have doubted if I have heard God correctly. Several years ago, I was certain God wanted me to put my energies into creating an evangelistic magazine on the Internet. I had ideas and content but kept running into roadblocks (namely, a lack of qualified people) to get the content online. It seemed that every time I tried a new avenue, it turned into another dead end. Desperate, I consulted the Lord again. Had I really heard Him or was it just my imagination?

Soon after that, I received an e-mail from a young man named Brent. He said, “I saw your web sites and could do a lot better than what you are doing.” So I asked him what he would do differently and he listed 20 things. To make a long story short, a month later, he became our web designer – and a very good one at that. A month later, a talented young woman applied to be our writer and editor. As time went by, God continued to answer my cry for help by adding talent to our team.

Another obstacle we faced was that evangelistic web sites don’t generate funds, so raising money became part of my job description. Once again, the Lord provided two couples who saw the possibilities of reaching into countries, offices and hearts through the Internet. Since then, together with a committed team and donors, God has enabled to build eight successful websites.

“Yes, Katherine, I am in Control”
Through experiences like these, God has shown me so many times that He is in control and He will provide. All I need to do is listen, trust and obey. And if I do, He will bless me beyond my wildest imagination. Who would have thought that a woman who wanted nothing more than ?the American dream? would one day play a key role in reaching hundreds of thousands of people all over the world through over eight websites? Not me, that?s for sure. But as I said, my dreams were too small. It was only when I let go of those dreams and totally committed my life to God that He truly began to pour out His blessings on my life.

Do you sometimes feel as if your dreams are too small? Are you looking for a more satisfying relationship with God, an opportunity to make a truly significant impact on the world? If so, I encourage you to commit your life totally to God, to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you completely. If you already believe in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit?

Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the HolySpirit. Amen.

by Katherine Kehler

How to Achieve Your Goals with Healthy Habits

We’ve all faced the disappointment and guilt that comes from setting a goal and giving up on it after a couple of weeks. Sustaining motivation for a long-term goal is hard to achieve, and yet the best goals can usually only be accomplished in a few months or even years.

Here’s the solution: Focus instead on creating a new habit that will lead to achieving your goal.

Want to run a marathon? First create the habit of running every day. Want to get out of debt and start saving? Create the habit of brown bagging it to work, or watching DVDs instead of going to the movies, or whatever change will lead to saving money for you.

By focusing not on what you have to achieve over the course of the next year, but instead on what you are doing each day, you are focusing on something achievable. That little daily change will add up to a huge change, over time … and you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come in no time. Little grains of sand can add up to a mountain over time.

I used this philosophy of habit changes to run a marathon, to change my diet and lose weight, to write a novel, to quit smoking, to become organized and productive, to double my income, reduce my debt and start saving, and to begin training for an Olympic triathlon this year. It works, if you focus on changing habits.

Now, changing your habits isn’t easy — I won’t lie to you — but it’s achievable, especially if you start small. Don’t try to change the world with your first habit change … take baby steps at first. I started by just trying to run a mile — and by the end of the year, I could run more than 20 miles.

How do you change your habits? Focus on one habit at a time, and follow these steps:

  1. Positive changes. If you’re trying to change a negative habit (quit smoking), replace it with a positive habit (running for stress relief, for example).
  2. Take on a 30-day challenge. Tell yourself that you’re going to do this habit every day, at the same time every day, for 30 straight days without fail. Once you’re past that 30-day mark, the habit will become much easier. If you fail, do not beat yourself up. Start again on a new 30-day challenge. Practice until you succeed.
  3. Commit yourself completely. Don’t just tell yourself that you might or should do this. Tell the world that DEFINITELY will do this. Put yourself into this 100 percent. Tell everyone you know. Email them. Put it on your blog. Post it up at your home and work place. This positive public pressure will help motivate you.
  4. Set up rewards. It’s best to reward yourself often the first week, and then reward yourself every week for that first month. Make sure these are good rewards, that will help motivate you to stay on track.
  5. Plan to beat your urges. It’s best to start out by monitoring your urges, so you become more aware of them. Track them for a couple days, putting a tally mark in a small notebook every time you get an urge. Write out a plan, before you get the urges, with strategies to beat them. We all have urges to quit — how will you overcome it? What helps me most are deep breathing and drinking water. You can get through an urge — it will pass.
  6. Track and report your progress. Keep a log or journal or chart so that you can see your progress over time. I used a running log for my marathon training, and a quit meter when I quit smoking. It’s very motivating to see how far you’ve come. Also, if you can join an online group and report your progress each day, or email family and friends on your progress, that will help motivate you.

Most important of all: Always stay positive. I learned the habit of monitoring my thoughts, and if I saw any negative thoughts (“I want to stop!”) I would squash it like a little bug, and replace it with a positive thought (“I can do this!”). It works amazingly. This is the best tip ever. If you think negative thoughts, you will definitely fail. But if you always think positive, you will definitely succeed.

Are You or Your Partner Possessive?

“I freak out when my husband even looks at another woman. I trust him not to wander, so I don’t know why this upsets me so much.”

“My partner spends too much time with her friends and family. What’s the point of being together if she’s always gone a couple of nights a week?”

“My wife wants to go back to school now that the children are older. She doesn’t need to work, so why does she want to do this? It’s going to take up way too much of her time.”

“My husband has to go out of town for work a lot. I feel so angry about this. What about me?”

“I love to dance and my husband doesn’t, so why does he get so upset when I dance with someone else – even with another woman?”

What’s going on here? What is behind this possessiveness?

Possessiveness is the result of self-abandonment. Self-abandonment often creates deep feelings of insecurity. When a person is possessive, it is because they want their partner to fill up the emptiness and take away the feelings of insecurity that come from self-abandonment.

If You Are Possessive…
If you are possessive, do you believe it is your partner’s responsibility to make you feel loved and secure? This is a huge false belief, and here’s why:

Even if your partner spends all his or her time with you, never looks at another person and is very loving to you, you will still feel insecure and empty inside if you:

  • Ignore your feelings
  • Judge yourself
  • Turn to addictions to self-medicate
  • Make others responsible for your feelings

Imagine that you have a child who you ignore, judge, medicate and try to give away to others. Will this child feel secure? When you abandon yourself, you are abandoning your inner child, which always creates insecurity, no matter how loving your partner is to you. While your partner’s love makes you feel better for the moment – just as any addiction works to make you feel better for the moment – it cannot heal the insecurity that is being caused by your own self-abandonment.

If You Are at the Other End of Possessiveness…

  • Do you feel responsible for your partner’s insecurity, and believe it is your job to make your partner feel secure?
  • Do you give yourself up and not do what you want to do, out of fear of your partner’s reaction?
  • Do you do what you want, but lie about it?

If you do any of these things, you are contributing to your partner’s insecurity rather than helping him or her learn to become inwardly secure. Care-taking your partner serves to reinforce your partner’s false belief that you are responsible for making him or her feel secure. Enabling your partner in this way perpetuates the problem.

Your responsibility is to tune in to how lonely and heartbreaking it feels to you when your partner doesn’t support you in doing what brings you joy, or in just being who you are. Your responsibility is to focus on taking loving care of your own inner child, who feels anxious and unloved when you abandon yourself to care-take your partner. By learning to take loving care of yourself in the face of your partner’s controlling behavior, you not only heal your own anxiety; you become a role model of personal responsibility, which may help your partner learn to take loving care of himself or herself.

It is important to accept that no matter how loving you are to your partner or how much you give yourself up, your partner will become secure only when he/she learns to be loving to himself/herself.

By Dr. Margaret Paul