God shines a torch on our dark spo.ts

We all have those areas of our lives that torment us. We know that we would love to be different, but for whatever reason, things do not seem to change. Sometimes we try to disown the things that we are not proud of, and pretend that they do not exist. Yet every now and then, they seem to come and haunt us.

God is the instrument of change. When it comes to tackling the things that we seem to have the least control over, it is only through God’s grace that we will be able to conquer. I have come to the realisation that God plays a part in this process. God deliberately allows some things to happen. The things that we most dislike about ourselves will be encountered. God will test us just as Jesus was tested by his father, and just as Peter was tested by Jesus when Peter disowned knowing him. God knows our weaknesses, and God will allow us to encounter these weaknesses inorder to grow. So when these moments arrive, see them as a blessing in disguise. Rejoice in their presence and know that these moments are moments where we can once again put our trust and faith in God. There is no need to despair. There is no need to panic. Know that God is working with you in mysterious ways to deliver you from whatever bondage you feel.

Only those who dare to trust will realise that they are not alone in their quest for change. We are not alone. We are not doing it alone. Let us not shut God out who has his army of angels, both human and heavenly to deliver us from our evil. Praise God for everything and we will have the support of an army.

With God on our side, changes are possible. All we need do is to acknowledge God’s presence, and to give praise and thanks for the very things that we hate about ourselves.

Jesus came to show us the way. All we need do is follow in his ways.

Witness the miracles

I am often amazed by what occurs in my life. Without going into lots of personal occurrences, I find it incredible how God brings about new beginnings from moments of despair and anguish.

There was a time in my life when I would have never recognised this. I was blind to it just like many others. Since writing these journal entries, I have become more acutely aware of this connection. There is a strong connection between the action of praising God for your despair and for being on the receiving end of many mysterious surprises. In order to receive, we need to be grateful, not just for the things that put a smile on our face, but for the things that stop us from sleeping and nearly worry us to death.

We all have moments of despair, and you will know precisely when these moments occur. You will feel sick in the stomach, feel hopeless and scared. These moments are precisely the times when we need to offer them up in gratitude knowing that these events are meant to be. Never doubt for one second that they are not meant to be. A Christian life is a planned spiritual journey. We are all so unique but we all have our individual journey. While my journey might be different to yours, your journey might lead you to riches and fame. On the other hand, my journey might take me the other way. Just as every water course makes its way to the ocean following its own unique path, so too do we make our way back to our spiritual home on our unique journey. The more we fight it, the more unhappiness that follows us.

If God is going to be able to help you become the creation you are meant to be, then you need to be thankful for the events and people who come your way. God crafts you from your personal circumstances. There have been times when I have felt despair in my life, and it is at these times that I have reminded myself of what I am doing. Despair disconnects us. Despair reminds me that I am shutting God out. By despairing, I am acknowledging that I am alone. Despair is a one person event. It shuts everything out, both people and God.

So when you find yourself slipping into despair. Stop in your tracks. Know that you are shutting God out. Know that you are attempting to do it alone. Remind yourself of God’s promise to be with you till the end of time. Know that you are a child of God and know that God will guide you through everything. Praise dispels the darkness. Turn on the light by praising God with conviction knowing that you are not doing it alone. Everything has a purpose. We have a purpose. It is only by fulfilling this purpose that true happiness can be found.

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No need to feel alone in your struggles

Regardless of how much I believe that God is constantly directing and leading others, I can still have moments of insecurity. When events happen around me that do not make a lot of sense, I am prone to insecurity. Yet when I think about it, I know that God uses all events and all people in our lives to bring about change. This is why faith becomes such an incredible ingredient. Without it, we flounder. With it, we prosper.

Our journey will be marred by all sorts of events that appear contradictory. Sometimes we will wonder what is going on. Sometimes we will struggle to believe that we will ever overcome our earthly desires. Sometimes we will find it hard to understand why we continue to do the things that we least like about ourselves.

These moments are with us for a reason. These moments show us just how much we have not loved ourselves for everything. These moments show us what we need to embrace and to be honest about. God does bring about change but in God’s time, not ours. So whatever it is that hounds you might be the very thing that you need right now.

So if the finances are a struggle, praise and thank God for this. If you are having relationship problems, praise God for these problems. If your weight and health is a problem, praise God for these difficulties. If your days never seem to be productive, praise God for the way your days are. God works through everything even the things we hate about ourselves.

The way we respond to these circumstances is what defines us as children of God. These moments are the moments that we most need. They present the biggest challenges and the biggest opportunities. It is not for us to wish them away. It is for us to embrace and own our struggles and to thank God for their very existence.

It is only in the furnace that gold can be moulded into something beautiful, so have faith that God is working through all of your difficulties to bring about lasting change.

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Love your life as if there is no tomorrow.

Time is the one concept in our life that tends to drag us down.

We anticipate events in our lives that can bring about joy but we can also anticipate events that can bring about sorrow and pain. We can also think about the past and experience regret, joy or anger, to name a few emotions. Lots of emotions are associated with the dimension of time, and while we continue to be drawn into this dimension, the more we can experience unhappiness and unsettledness.

While everything might seem to have a beginning and an end, God’s world does not. From a Christian perspective, God has no beginning and no end. Before time existed, God always existed. While our bodies might have a beginning and an end, our spiritual selves do not. We have always existed and we will continue to exist. We exist in the NOW. Therefore TIME is a delusion.

This understanding of our lives can be really important in helping us live the lives we are meant to live. Therefore the more we try to hold onto anything of an earthly nature, the more we will experience sorrow, regret and pain. These emotions can never be avoided, yet we can put them into perspective.

There is an old Christian saying, ‘ours is not to reason why, but to do and die’. In many respects, there is so much truth in this saying. The more we collectively try to understand our existence, the more we seem no closer to understanding it. Individually, we sometimes overrate our importance over and above everything else in life, and this leads to unsettledness.

Whether we like it or not, our physical life is finite. We can choose to live a life based on that perspective, or we can choose to live a life based on infinity. Jesus taught his followers to base their trust in God who existed before time began. We have a choice.

Live today as if there is no tomorrow. Praise love for this moment in its perfection and thank love for your human experience in its perfection. The more we live these words, the more we will experience a life beyond our earthly existence.

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I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.

Sometimes we experience the greatest moments of joy after having gone through the greatest moments of pain and sorrow. Just as Jesus experienced the greatest moment of loneliness by dying on a cross, he also experienced the greatest moment of joy when he rose from the dead.

Most people will never get to experience this joy in their lives because their lives have been routed in disbelief and blindness. This is common to most people in modern society. The more comforts we have, the more we relie on ourselves to satisfy our needs. Through no fault of our own, we become increasingly self sufficient. However, materiality doesn’t satisfy all our needs. All the money in the world does not stop mental illness, cancer, relationship issues, dementia and loneliness, to name a few.

I was fortunate to discover God many years ago when I was very young. As a young child growing up in a Catholic family, I discovered something special. It was not the church teachings or the Mass on Sundays that stand out in my mind; it is more the times of difficulty that I had experienced which led me to experiencing the joy that God had to offer.

I was a lucky one Through the difficulty of growing up in a Catholic school and the struggling to feel of value, I was able to experience the love of Jesus. I say that I was lucky because most people will not experience this love. Yet this love is open to all of us but you will not discover it through actions that help make you self sufficient.

In the Bible, Jesus talks about having a child like faith if you wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This child like faith enables us to believe that the sun is shining even when we do not feel it. Belief is central to this and it becomes a growing belief once we embark on its journey. It is never too late to start this journey. It is open to everybody, and all we have to do is to change the way we look at everything.

Start by believing in God’s presence and believe that everything that is happening in your life right now is meant to be. Whatever the darkness, whatever the pain, whatever the results of your past decisions, believe that you are in the right spot at the right time. Most people will never want to accept this approach and they will blame themselves or others or their history or even God for what is happening. It all seems like the logical thing to do yet it reinforces the belief that we are self sufficient and totally independent. This sort of independence leads to more loneliness, more sorrow and more suffering.

I wish that others could experience what I experience, yet everybody has their own journey. All I can do is to offer a way to discover what I have discovered.

Start today by believing in love. Believe in love even if you do not feel it. Thank love for this moment in its perfection, even if it does not appear so. Thank love for everything that has brought you to this moment, for without that, you would not have gotten to this understanding. Make a habit of praising God (love) always. Always praise God for everything. Everything means everything, not just the pleasurable moments.

I have written about this time and time again, and I continue to do this because I feel compelled to do so. I wish that others could feel the same as I do. I wish that others could have the same awakening, yet I know that God works in mysterious ways and touches us at moments that we least expect. If you are reading this and you struggle to feel God’s presence, please be patient. Know that love exists and has always existed. Tap into this love and be guided by it and let every decision come out of it. Know that love exists, always has and always will, regardless of what you feel and think.

So praise LOVE for this moment in its perfection.

Thank LOVE for your human experience in its prefection and

Thank LOVE for creating you in your perfection.

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God works in mysterious ways

I am forced to think about this idea that God works in mysterious ways.

We have heard this phrase said many times before, and yet for most of us, we struggle to understand what is really meant by it.

When you think about the words, you are acknowledging that God knows no boundaries when it comes to God intervening in our existence. Therefore, our pathway to understanding God and to reaching meaning in our lives can take us in many different directions. What might look absurd to one person, might make logical sense to another.

Lately there has been a lot said about extreme religious groups and their impact on society. These religious groups are fuelled on by a religious perspective which is diehard in achieving its outcome. On the contrary, I believe that we need to be fuelled on by something else.

I have come to an understanding that it is not the church that will save us, but rather our outlook that will. Churches support its congregations but the individual has to go the step further to develop a sense of meaning.

The power of praise is the fuel which allows us to transsend all barriers. This is the fuel which will allow you to see beyond your present logic. When you are living your life with praise, you are on the pathway to fulfilment. Praise will help you find direction. Praise will sustain you and give you a sense of identity and purpose. Praise will right your wrong doings.

This concept of praise is one of the most difficult concepts for most believers to adopt. Most of us love to hang onto our regrets, our disappointments, our dissatisfactions and our opinions. So if something arises in our lives that disappoints us, rather than praise God for this moment, we tend to brood over it and end up either getting angry or sad over the event. While our natural reaction might be one of anger or sadness, we do have the choice as to whether or not to stay in this state. Believing in praise enables us to let go of our ownership of this event and allows God to intervene.

If this is something that you are not use to doing, I would encourage you to begin. Start off in small steps. Praise God for this moment and believe that you are being taken care of. Believe that God is now with you and that your future will be different. Regardless of what happens today, praise God for everything that comes your way. When some moments get tough, remember your commitment to praise God for this moment. This pathway allows you to live a spiritual life that will bring you so many moments of pure joy.

It is the road less travelled, but it is the most fulfilling way to live your life.

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Out of darkness will come light

Recently I have been reflecting on my own situation and starting to see how easy it is to slip into old habits of shutting out God.

Whenever I am focusing on my financial security, focusing on preventing anything from upsetting my day, I am running the risk of shutting God out. This might seem hard to figure out, but I can see this happening in my own life. The more I worry about money issues, the more I worry about family issues, the more I worry about health issues, work issues, relationship issues, the more I am digging a bigger and deeper hole for myself which slowly but surely lessens God’s light. All of these concerns drag us into a material world where we believe that we have total control of everything, yet in reality, we don’t. We don’t even have control of our own life span. None of us will live forever. Our belief that we have total control of our lives is more fantasy than fact.

The challenge to let go of our securities and to trust the guidance of God is a faith transition. We need to make deliberate decisions to do this, day in and day out. This decision starts with praise. Every day we need to focus on praising God for everything. This means everything. Every upset that comes your way needs to be praised. This could mean praising God for your work, not just the fact that you have a job, but praising God for the tedious nature of your job, for the upset you feel towards your customers or your boss or your fellow workers. Giving thanks involves the whole package. The more you give praise, the more areas of your life you will be challenged to give praise for.

As strange as it might appear, giving praise for everything is the corner stone for enlightenment. The more we hold onto some thoughts and refuse to give thanks for them, the less the chance we have of allowing God to work through our lives. We will always be challenged to go deeper with our praise and we will go through times where we will not see the errors of our ways, but if we are feeling the gloom and doom of life then this is a hint that we need to shift our focus back to praise. Praise will not come easy when we are feeling this way but out of the darkness will eventually rise the light.

True praise involves everything. True praise involves thanking God for everything in our lives. The cross of life will always be around, yet we can either choose to die on that cross forever or choose to rise from that cross, just as Jesus did. The choice is ours.

We walk the way of the cross in knowing that we will rise above everything in this life, and into the next life, just as Jesus did before us.

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What might seem absurd to some, might make perfect sense.

It might seem absurd, but true change will only really occur when we thank God for the things that are really annoying us.

Is there something that is happening in your life at the moment that is really getting to you? Most of us will have no trouble thinking of such a situation. It is this situation that requires us to put our faith into action. As absurd as it might seem, can you totally thank God for it? Can you sit back and think about the total event and capture the feelings attached to it, the pain, the annoyance, the frustration and the feelings of sheer disappointment, and then turn around and thank God for all of this eventhough it seems unlikely to ulter? Can you let it go, eventhough you fear the situation might get worse and even get out of control? In essence, can you thank God for what is happening to you and know that you are being asked to thank God for every bit of this?

Here lies one of the biggest challenges that you will ever face, and as absurd as it all might seem, the road ahead is full of these challenges and they could become missed opportunities to spiritual enlightenment and fulfilment as a child of God.

We have heard it said so many times that God’s ways are not our ways, and our human and materialistic ways draw us to taking total control of our destiny in life. We grow up learning to put faith in our ability to earn money, learning to sort out our own problems and learning to convince ourselves that God does not exist. This might seem fine for many, but when we experience what we believe are major disasters in our lives, everything falls apart. For some of us, life becomes unbearable and we might lose our jobs, our relationships, our security, and for some the pain becomes so great that they might decide to take their own life away with death seeming to be the only option. Unbeknown to us, many people experience depression and relie on medication to get through their day. For many, their lives are full of despair.

Whether you are a believer in God or not, all I ask of you is to be thankful for your present situation. Acknowledge the pain and struggle but give thanks for it as well. It is through this thankfulness that you will come to experience God in your life. As hard as it is to explain, I have experienced God’s presence and guidance through these situations. It is not about us sorting out every detail of our lives. It is about drawing God into our lives through gratitude for the way it has turned out.

When God is drawn into your life in this way, things happen in ways that you could never have imagined. God loves us. Just as the prodigal son was welcomed back into his father’s house and given everything once again without being punished for having lost his inheritance, so too does God await for us to return so that God can work wonders for us too. There is no need to carry guilt and frustration around. All we need do is to be thankful for everything around us and know that God is here welcoming each and every one of us with open arms. Just as the prodigal son was welcomed and his father was thankful that he had come home, so too is God thankful that we have come home. God only wants us to let go of the past and to be thankful for what situations have brought us to this point.

Being grateful for both the pain and the pleasure is one of life’s biggest challenges. Start by practicing it. Have faith in it. Believe in it and let God be revealed to you when you least expect it.

God works in ways that might seem absurd to many of us. Our ways are not always God’s ways.

Step out in faith.

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God does not make junk

We grow up in life learning to disown the things about ourselves that we see as negative.

We are taught to change our habits regardless of how ingrained these habits are. People are always telling us how to live and how to act. Some of this correction comes naturally to us and some of this does not.

Yet there is a difference between the way God corrects us and the way society corrects us. Society tells us to just do it and to change our ways, yet God has a difference approach.

We are made in the image of God so we need to explore this further. Many years ago when I was training to be a Priest, I remember visiting a psychologist for some therapy as part of my development; and I remember the psychologist writing the words ‘God does not make junk’ on a piece of paper and handing it to me. From that point onwards, I began to realise that there was a distinction between the way God views us and the way society views us.

Society wants conformity; God wants us to be us.

If we are made in the image of God, then we are beautiful people. We are to embrace ourselves for who and what we are. All we need do is to change our ways and to embrace and love every aspect of ourselves. There is no need to classify what is good and what is bad. This is not for us to do. We only need to embrace ourselves and to love every aspect of ourselves. This involves loving our thoughts and habits regardless of what society has taught us. Only when we truly thank God for every thought and for every action can we place ourselves on a spiritual path that will lead us truly to God.

As much as this might seem absurd, it is the path to true change. Embrace and love yourself first. Do not separate what you like and dislike. Praise God for everything about yourself. Start to see God’s true gifts in everything. Turn your life around by loving every aspect, and know that when you do this, God is working with you to fashion your life and to take you on a journey beyond your imagination.

We will only find true happiness when we embark on this journey. Just as we do not own the world, we do not own ourselves. We are made in the image of God and therefore belong to God.

Praise God for everything and really mean it.

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Try not to be too hard on yourself.

Any progress to any change in our lives is likely to happen in stages or steps.

I have begun to realise that when I want God’s intervention in my life to alter something that I most dislike about myself, I need to aware of some realities. For most of us, we are not likely to see sudden miracles that seem beyond belief. We are more likely to see changes that come in steps along the way. When we break this progress down, we can then see the work of God intervening to bring about change. Instead of getting upset with the lack of progress, we need to look at the small steps of progress and give praise to God for these interventions.

Continue to praise God for your situation eventhough it continues, but stand firm in knowing that God is working in this situation to bring about lasting change.

The more we place our faith in knowing that God will instigate lasting change regardless of the present circumstances, the more likely it is to happen. Yet more importantly, our faith needs to be lived out with praise; this is crucial.

Only with an open and loving heart, full of praise, will we witness lasting change. We might not like what we see in ourselves at this point, and we might continue to travel down the same path day in and day out, yet we still need to embrace this dislike and praise God for it. Only by doing this, will we witness God’s intervention to alter our course. God does not impose time limits. Change happens when the moment is right. It happens in God’s time, not ours. So continue to praise God for your burden knowing that you are in safe hands. Change will happen. All we need is faith, patience and praise.

So next time you feel down about yourself, and want to kick yourself for falling into habits that you prefer were not there, thank God for them, and for the time you spent falling into those habits and know that it is through these times that God is best able to work with you and make lasting change.

Change will happen. We need to recognise that this is happening.

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