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31.1.12

You are... valuable

Value is now measured by two criteria, appearance and performance.
    Pretty tough system, isn't it? Where does that leave the retarded? Or the ugly or uneducated? Where does that place the aged or the handicapped? What hope does that offer the unborn child? Not much. Not much at all. We become nameless numbers on mislaid lists.
    Now please understand, this is man's system. It's not God's. His plan is much brighter. God, with eyes twinkling, steps up to the philosopher's blackboard, erases the never-ending, ever-repeating circle of history and replaces it with a line; a hopefilled, promising, slender line. And, looking over his shoulder to see if the class is watching, he draws an arrow at the end.
    In God's book man is heading somewhere. He has an amazing destiny. We are being prepared to walk down the church aisle and become the bride of Jesus. We are going to live with him. Share the throne with him. Reign with him. We count. We are valuable. And what's more, our worth is built in! Our value is inborn.
    You see, if there was anything that Jesus wanted everyone to understand it was this: A person is worth something simply because he is a person. That is why he treated people like he did. Think about it. The girl caught making undercover thunder with someone she shouldn't - he forgave her. The untouchable leper who asked for cleansing - he touched him. And the blind welfare case that cluttered the roadside - he honored him. And the worn-out old windbag addicted to self-pity near the pool of Siloam - he healed him!

This extract was taken from Max Lucado's book, No Wonder They Call Him Savior.  It is the most beautiful book that draws you closer to Jesus.  At first you begin to see things a little differently and then suddenly the book draws you into another time and another place.   Suddenly you are with Jesus in His final hour.  It is powerful and has transformed my life as I consider the magnitude of what Jesus did on the cross.  It is so much more than a ticket to heaven, it is so much more than the forgiveness of our sins.  Suddenly I begin to realise how valuable I truly am and how much God has done to show me His love. 
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30.1.12

Being a Wife - Who Does Not Grow Cold

Filing for divorce under the terms of infidelity is no longer the leading reason for marital breakups in the UK, new research has found.  According to a study by accountancy firm Grant Thornton, who release an annual survey on divorce in the UK, ‘growing apart’ is now the most common reason cited for cause of divorce. The lack of emotional chemistry - or ‘falling out of love’ with their partner - has surpassed cheating as the leading cause of divorce in the country.

Since the survey began in 2003, infidelity was the number one cause of divorce, with 25% of cases citing that as the main reason for splitting up. In the most recent survey, 27% of respondents said 'falling out of love' was the primary cause of marriage breakdown, according to divorce lawyers.” 

This immediately got me thinking about the verse in the Bible that says that ‘because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” If we want to be a different calibre of wife, we need to understand that growing cold is a real threat in this day and age. We cannot accept this in our marriage. Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is the one thing that we have as Christians that the world doesn’t have and that is the ability to love in a different way. 

The world’s kind of love is based on feelings and selfishness which is why it is so easy to fall out of love! When you stop feeling the feelings you once had you give up and say that you have fallen out of love. Jesus said that the world would know that we are His by our love for one another, and this applies to our marriages too. What should set Christian marriages apart from those that are not Christian should be our love for one another. 

Infatuation and feelings come and go. True love is not a feeling but an act of your will. If you truly don’t want to grow cold, decide to love your husband not based on how you feel but based on your decision to love him. Ask God to give you His love for your husband, especially in the times when you find it difficult to love. 

What is love after all? Love is patient with your husband and is kind to him; love does not envy your husband; love does not parade itself and boast; love does not behave rudely to your husband, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil of him; and when he makes a mistake or falls into sin, love does not point a finger and rejoice in his failure, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things with him, believes all things for him, hopes all things for him, endures all things with him. Love never fails . 

If you get busy with true love, you won’t have time to grow cold. If you are busy with true love, not only will you have a great marriage but you will be a witness to those around you of God’s love. Where there is so little hope in the world today, choose to love your husband, not grow cold and offer hope to others.

Your husband is not perfect and never will be, he is a sinner just like you. Love him not because he deserves it, not because he loved you first but love him to glorify God. Loving your husband might be difficult, especially if you husband is struggling with sin that affects you, but above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. One day, you might just need your sins covered too, so don’t hold back in sowing the grace, mercy and love that you would hope to receive. Make a firm decision today that you will not grow cold.

Find out more about Being a Wife here or about hosting your own Girl's Night here
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27.1.12

TOCP - Do Not Grow Weary

“He made it!” That was the remark I made to Eric when I read Ewen’s very first blog post. His post was rich with love for Jesus and gratitude for what He had done in his life. My heart swelled with pride. Ewen was turning eighteen and I felt as much pride for him as I did for my own children. 

I first met Ewen when he was fifteen years old in 2008. He dropped in to see what was happening at our Friday night youth group when we were meeting in the community centre. Clearly he was a trouble maker.  That night, I also noticed a display of deep cuts all over his arms.  The image is still vividly imprinted in my mind as I knew that those bleeding wounds on his arms represented the state of his heart. 

Many teenagers came to us with heart wrenching stories full of hurt and confusion. The first time I met Ewen, his manner and body language made a clear statement that he was not to be messed with. His foul language and rough exterior combined with the cigarettes, drugs and alcohol defined him.  Worst of all I could see that he really believed that this was his true self. After a few incidents at youth I began to dread his return, it was clear he was there to make trouble and assert himself as a ruffian.

The first time I caught a glimmer of hope was when I ran a session on identity and Ewen surprisingly participated. I spoke of the confusion that I saw the young people dealing with and delved into the fact that they didn't really know who they were. As I spoke I saw Ewen's eyes well up. He nodded continuously as I described what I saw in the lives of young people and then he spoke of his inner turmoil. I had to hold back my tears. Behind his rough exterior was a heart of gold suppressed by anger and confusion. 

That day changed my life, I began to pray for him and begged God for his salvation. It seemed impossible that someone so rough would soften enough to allow God in but when I prayed I placed the picture of his teary eyes in the forefront of my mind. On the 21st September 2008 God answered my prayer. It was our very first church service and Ewen was our very first salvation, our precious first fruit. Even now as I remember that special day I am overwhelmed by God's goodness and mercy.

Since then God has done amazing things in Ewen's life, too much to begin to write here. At school the teachers wrote him off. Almost daily he was in some sort of trouble and his grades were so bad that they didn't expect him to finish school. It wasn't long before the teachers were gobsmacked by the change in Ewen and more than that they were shocked by his improved grades. I guess you could imagine their reaction when he announced his plans to go to university! What the teachers had written off, God had declared a ‘future and a hope ’ to. Ewen has since achieved the grades he needed to get into the school he wanted. No teachers’ words define him now. The word of God is the ‘light to his path ’. Ewen knows who he is and that he is called to do significant damage to the darkness that nearly killed him. His testimony is powerful and his influence in this nation will be too.

Yes, God did change Ewen's life, but more than that, Ewen has changed mine. I love him as my own son and am a very proud mama. To add a cherry to the top of the cake, Ewen wrote the most beautiful song on our debut album which I had the honour of singing with Lorah-Kelly. It’s a powerful song written by a truly grateful heart.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  - Galatians 6:9

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. - 2 Thessalonians 3:13

That day, his eighteenth birthday, was one of those special days, the day where I reaped a rich reward. I confess I did grow weary; perhaps I did lose heart a bit too. There were many sleepless nights praying Ewen through rough patches during college. At times I wanted to give up but I couldn’t, there was always that ‘what if?’ What if he was only one day away from victory? What if he really needed our love and support for just a little longer to make it? What if something really bad happened to him because we lost heart? What if he was intended to be the prime minister of England and we let him slip away? The ‘what ifs’ lined up and suddenly the small sacrifice of prayer didn’t seem such a big deal after all. So we prayed, we loved him and every now and then we had a few awkward chats too. 

The reward for me that day was to see him celebrate his eighteenth birthday knowing deep down inside of my heart that he had made it. He is safe. He pulled through the dark times and I am utterly convinced that he is going to be all that God wants him to be! I don’t think the verses about growing weary meant that we should not grow weary. Growing weary will happen. If we are working hard, there is no escaping weariness. No, for me, the not growing weary is of doing good. You will get tired but don’t stop. Don’t stop doing good even though you are tired. Keep doing good despite the weariness. Here are some tips for dealing with the weariness that will come from time to time:

To find our our tips, get your copy of The Tale of a Church Planter here or find out more about the book here.
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25.1.12

Nature's Way - Toothpaste

Toothpaste manufacturers would like us to believe that the only proper way to care for our teeth is with expensive, highly flavoured toothpastes that come in non-biodegradable tubes. What they don’t tell you is that there are risks with using toothpaste, especially for children if they have fluoride.

Fluoride is poisonous! Although it could be helpful to our teeth in low dosage, chronic exposure to fluoride in large amounts interferes with bone formation. In this way, the greatest examples of fluoride poisoning arise from fluoride-rich ground water. In advanced countries, most cases of fluoride exposure are due to the ingestion of dental fluoride products.

Although exposure to these products does not often cause toxicity, in one study thirty percent of children exposed to fluoride dental products developed mild symptoms .

Symptoms of fluoride poisoning can include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, hyper salivation, nausea and vomiting. Neurological symptoms include headache, muscle weakness, hyperactive reflexes and muscular spasms. In severe cases, multi-organ failure will occur.

Children can also experience gastrointestinal distress upon ingesting sufficient amounts of flavoured toothpaste. Adults and children alike are also exposed to harmful, artificial sweeteners in toothpaste which are toxic to your body.

The following table shows the health concerns based on commonly used whitening toothpaste.


Nature’s Way Alternatives
Dental care is so simple in many ways. Our body is designed to heal itself, so if we are consistent with preventative methods then our body should take care of the rest. My solution is simple - bicarbonate of soda. By sprinkling a little dry powder on a dry toothbrush and brushing, you have your toothpaste problems solved. It’s safe for adults and children.

Bicarbonate of soda is a soft, dissolvable, mild abrasive substance that kills bacteria and all of the microorganisms associated with infections. It will also prevent plaque build up by neutralising and detoxifying bacterial acids and toxins.

Results:
• Clean teeth
• Fresh breath
• Kill germs and bacteria
• Nicer ‘morning’ breath
• Save money

Cautions:
• Inflamed and bleeding gums

Eric used bicarbonate of soda twice a day but his gums became inflamed and had some slight bleeding. We discovered that this was due to the fact that he brushed his teeth in an up and down motion rather than in small circles. Also he brushed his teeth with a hard toothbrush and applied a lot of pressure when brushing. After brushing less harshly and in a circular motion his gums returned to normal.

Nature’s Way Toothpaste

Ingredients:
Bicarbonate of soda

Method:
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda onto your toothbrush and brush teeth in a small circles. Lightly brush tongue too.

For added benefits put a couple of drops of diluted distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar on your toothbrush. Vinegar helps to kill bacteria and prevent the build-up of calculus, more commonly known as tartar. Either brushing or rinsing with vinegar reduces the risk of gingivitis.

Now it's your turn.
Over the next few weeks try using bicarbonate of soda instead of your regular toothpaste and let us know the results by posting your findings in the comment box below.  If you have any other tips or suggestions for cleaning your teeth please let us know.  

Find out more about Nature's Way here.
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23.1.12

Being a Wife - Who is Satisfied

Eve had it all, the looks, the security and the man! She lacked nothing at all in this world – life was truly perfect for her – literally! Yet she wasn’t satisfied. She had to have more. She needed to taste the forbidden fruit. As you know, she took that bite and left us in the state we are in today.

Don’t be too harsh on Eve, we are no different, the more we have the more we want. We are never satisfied. We spend ages begging God for a husband and when we get married we spend most of the time complaining about our husband – we want more than he can give. We beg God for children but when things get tough we complain to God about the children He gave us. It’s the human condition – we are never satisfied, the more we have the more we want and it’s a never ending cycle.

Philippians 4:11-13
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Paul figured it out; he learned to be content, to be satisfied no matter what life threw at him. He had learned that through Jesus who gives him strength he could do anything.

In marriage, we can become dissatisfied. At first it’s all fun and games, romance and passion, but after a few years reality sets in. Before you know it you see each other’s faults clearly and the very things that you used to love now annoy you. That is marriage, two imperfect people trying to live together. 

Sound gloomy? Well it is if you don’t know how to be satisfied. The ability to be satisfied in all things is a choice not a gift. As wives we can either choose to be content in all things or we can choose not to be. If we are not content the chances are that we will be complaining and nagging quite often. If we are not content then we are likely to be demanding, expecting our husband to

change and expecting him to fix all the bad things in our life. It’s so easy to lose perspective. For many people, marriage ends up being a place where two people that started out believing that they were perfect for each other, become experts on each other’s faults. What used to be a place on infatuation and adoration becomes a place of judgement and condemnation.

Do you want to know the secret? It’s all in your mind. No seriously, it is. Your marriage and your contentment in your marriage are largely determined by your perspective and your attitude, which can be changed by the power of your own choice, in your mind! You can choose to look at all his faults or you can choose to find his best points and dwell on them. It’s your choice and it is entirely possible that he hasn’t changed that much but that your perspective of him is the thing that has changed. 

To be truly satisfied you need to start with relying on Jesus who is the only one who will ever truly satisfy you. Your husband cannot be the sole source of your happiness and he cannot completely satisfy you. When you expect your husband to satisfy you, I can assure you he will try his best to give you what you expect, but it is unreasonable to expect this of him and the result will be a man who continually doesn’t feel good enough for you. 

In time these feelings will wear him down and he will stop being the man he once was. He will feel that he can never satisfy you and so therefore he is not good enough for you. Girls, don’t break your man down by expecting from him what is not humanly possible. Be satisfied; choose to be satisfied with what you have. And the parts that you really struggle with... take them to Jesus.

Nehemiah 8:10
Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Find out more about Being a Wife here or about hosting your own Girl's Night here.
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19.1.12

TOCP - Never Cancel

“God, we are not growing, shall we close this group down?” This was the question we were asking God in the same year that we started the Friday night youth group. Earlier that year we had started a connect group in our home on Thursday evenings. This group however was not producing the same results that the Friday night group was. Connect groups were exactly that, small groups of people from church getting together during the week to connect with each other. Bible study was not the focus on these evenings but building deep and meaningful relationships was.  We enjoyed a meal together, chatted and laughed together and then closed with a time of prayer. Our hope was that when we invited people who weren’t Christians that they would feel comfortable and have fun too.  Many times Christians try to invite people who aren’t Christians to Bible study groups, which doesn’t always work out too well.  Perhaps in the past it may have worked but in England in 2007 this was not a good strategy, which is why the connect group approach was adopted. 

Eric and I had always loved going to a connect group in London and in our new church in Wales, so we volunteered to start one at our home as soon as the church asked for connect group hosts. We laboured in prayer for our neighbours, baked them cookies and did whatever kinds deeds we could to win their favour but not one of them ever accepted our invitation to come to our connect group. Getting to know the parents of the youth group children proved difficult too and they also never came to our connect group. From time to time we had a couple from our previous connect group join us on Thursdays and occasionally one of the mothers of Jordan’s friend from school came along too. Dave, however, came every single Thursday without fail! 

Dave was from our church in Wales.  He lived even further north than we did and so it made perfect sense that he should join our connect group rather than travel an hour and a half to meet up with people. Some Thursdays we would have a lovely time with five or six of us and other Thursdays it would just be Eric, Dave and I. After about six months, we began to question whether God was with us and why we were not growing. Dave continued to join us every Thursday even though it was just the three of us. 

Eric and I had made a firm commitment to each other shortly after starting the connect group, saying that no matter who turned up or who didn’t turn up, we would NEVER cancel connect group.  True to our word, we never did.  In the end it was only Eric, Dave and I every Thursday but we never cancelled.  We continued to meet with Dave, we ate together, prayed together and got to know each other really, really well. 

Soon Dave started joining us on a Friday night too and helped us with our youth group as he had many years of experience in this area. It wasn’t long before we realised what a treasure Dave was. He was the most amazing person we had ever known. There was nothing that was too much trouble for him and despite his own personal struggles at the time, he always seemed so positive.  Knowing Dave was such a joy and our friendship grew from strength to strength. 

Thursdays almost seemed like Dave night and not connect group, which is why we questioned what God was doing.  Connect groups are supposed to grow and then multiply into two connect groups and then grow and multiply again. Our group was not growing at all so we asked God if we should close it down and focus on doing things that would bear more fruit.  God’s answer seemed to be ‘no’!   Eric and I did not have peace about stopping our meetings on Thursdays and so we continued to meet and we continued to invite people in the hope that our group would grow. It never did grow. And we never cancelled. Dave, Eric and I continued to connect week after week. 

Yes, there are times when things that don’t bear fruit should be closed and yes there are seasons for everything. But if I were to write here in this book a rule or a step that you should take when planting a church then I would fail you.  You see, you can’t replace being lead by the Holy Spirit!   There is no recipe for building a church and there is no growth formula for Christian gatherings.  For our connect group, for that season of our life, we knew not to close it, there was no logical reason, in fact it didn’t seem logical at all, but we never cancelled.

Saying that we never cancel helped us to push through when we were tired and helped us to pitch up when we didn’t want to. It got us through dry seasons and it helped us stay focused. Again, it all boils down to trusting the Holy Spirit.  We say never cancel because we are prone to laziness as human beings; this is our safeguard to make sure we keep going. There are no rules; there simply cannot be rules when building a church, if God didn’t give them, then neither should we. 

This is a part of a chapter from The Tale of a Church Planter, more chapter snippets will follow in the meantime find out more about this book here
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16.1.12

TOCP - In the Beginning

It was the early spring of 2006. Lorah-Kelly, my eldest daughter, was fourteen years old. She had just started attending a new secondary school and her life was very unsettled. 

Driving Lorah-Kelly and Jordan, my eleven-year-old daughter, to school each day, was really special as the Cotswolds were in full bloom and so very beautiful this time of year. Cheltenham, by comparison to London, from where we had moved, was breathtaking.  We were enjoying our new home and our new life out in the country.  Eric and I, along with our two daughters, had moved to Cheltenham to build a new life for ourselves.  Although everything seemed to be going according to plan, we did have a slight issue in that the Cheltenham schools were oversubscribed and the nearest school with a vacancy was in the next city, Gloucester. 

Lorah-Kelly had no option but to go to a Gloucester school, which didn’t seem too bad at first and it wasn’t very far to travel at all, especially after the lengthily travel time that we had become accustomed to in London. We were convinced she would settle in quickly as her pleasant nature made her easy to get along with and she had always attracted friends similar in nature to her.  My favourite quality in Lorah-Kelly was that she always seemed so happy and carefree!  She took delight in so much, complained about so little and expressed gratitude whenever she could. She truly was a blessing to all who knew her, which is why you can imagine why her depression came as a shock to us!

We had been so busy adjusting to this new life ourselves that we barely noticed Lorah-Kelly’s change in demeanour. The change was subtle and to all intents and purposes, she seemed content at home. Perhaps the fact that she was quiet by nature meant that we missed the turmoil that was going on inside of her.  Occasionally she mentioned that she was having trouble making friends at school and at the time I thought this very odd, as she had always found it easy to make friends. My advice to her was to give it a bit of time and not to lose heart. 

A little more time passed and she revealed that it wasn’t that she couldn’t make friends but the problem was that she didn’t like anyone that she had made friends with. After some investigation, we discovered that she was unable to find anyone that shared her values and morals. Simply put – she didn’t fit in!  It was only years later, when she shared her testimony in church, that we realised the depth of her struggle during this time.  However, it is not the struggle I want to focus on, it is what she did with her struggle that is so important. 

It was another beautiful summer's morning and we were stuck in a queue of traffic. Being stuck in traffic yet again with Lorah-Kelly and Jordan in the car, was actually quite pleasant!  This was one of the few opportunities we had for some really good girly chats.  I loved driving the girls to school, listening to 'their’ music and hearing their thoughts and opinions on all sorts of things. On this particular morning, during one of our usual chats, Lorah-Kelly said something that would change the rest of our lives! She had made a decision, a very profound decision, and she shared it with Jordan and I as we waited for the traffic to ebb forward.  Little did we know that crisp summer’s morning how much this decision would change EVERYTHING for our family and many others too. This is what she said,

“Mommy, I am not going to go to school anymore to find friends like me. My school is going to become my mission field and I am going to win my friends to Jesus. That is the only way I am going to have friends like me!”

Her decision was made and she declared it to us. It seemed simple enough and I was very proud of her for finding a positive angle in her time of struggle. Little did we know that on that fine summer’s morning, stuck in the traffic in our little red car, that Lorah-Kelly had moved the rudder and turned the compass of our entire family’s life in a completely different direction. Her ‘little’ decision, made from her place of struggle, would affect thousands of lives for all of eternity. 

Time passed and Lorah-Kelly, true to her word, began to see her friends through different eyes. They were no longer there to please her but she was there to reach out to them. It wasn’t long before Lorah-Kelly’s vision started to grow which meant she needed to recruit helpers! And so we had another little life changing conversation on another day in the car on the way to school. She said,

“Mommy, do you remember when you used to run a youth group in South Africa for all those children?”

“Yes” I said suspiciously

“Do you think we could do something like that again?”

“Of course” I said quite relieved.

Youth groups were the one thing I was confident in, as I had worked with children for several years back in South Africa. I had forgotten that the groups I had worked with had been with children at the same age as my children, when they were much younger. Now my children were teenagers. This was a completely new ball game to me, but that penny would sink in a little later on, when it was too late to back out!

This is a part of a chapter from The Tale of a Church Planter, more chapter snippets will follow in the meantime find out more about this book here
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14.1.12

Something New and Something Old

Amy in her 2011 Christmas Gift from her big sister Lorah

Eric and I at the 2011 Christmas Splendour at D7 Church

Daniel, Jordan, Lorah, Eric, myself and Amy at the Christmas Splendour

Lorah, myself and Jordan in London, 2002

Lorah and I in Gloucester Park, 2010
Daniel feeding the ducks, Bourton-on-the-Water, 2009
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12.1.12

TOCP - Introduction

My name is Angela De Souza, I am the mother of four gorgeous children, Lorah-Kelly, Jordan, Daniel and Amy. My husband and I are the senior pastors of D7 Church and at the time of this writing I served in the capacity of Executive Pastor too. 

I can honestly say that no recipe or formula for church building exists - God does not work in this way! D7 Church is living proof of this. Not because we didn’t try, we did try, we tried just about everything. 

Oswald Chambers writes, “Never make a principle out of your experience, let God be as original with other people as He is with you.” In the same way I would say, don’t try and copy our journey or make principles out of our experiences, let God be as original with your church as He was with ours. We did not fit into a mould or a recipe, even though at first we tried to. Our bookshelf is lined with books that tell you what works and what doesn’t work. Our computer is filled with files of blog posts from mega-church pastors and documents with strategy from other churches. We have attended conferences and visited all sorts of churches to try and learn about building a church. 

It was only when we gave up and said so to God that we began to have breakthrough. This is our story. It was when we stopped trying to follow a formula and started to rely on the Holy Spirit that we truly saw God at work. This book is our story but that is all it is, nothing more. You will not find a formula or a strategy here; you will not find any ‘how tos’ or seven steps to achieve what you want. It was in our ignorance that God chose to move and in our utter dependence on Him that gave Him freedom to have His way. Nothing worked out as we had planned but everything turned out for the best. 

Our story has been recorded to encourage you on your journey and to glorify God. It is His church and He will have His way because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty, and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.  - 1 Corinthians 1:25-29

This is the introduction to The Tale of a Church Planter, more chapter snippets will follow in the meantime  find out more about this book here.
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10.1.12

Being a Wife - Who Does Not Complain

It hit me like a ton of bricks! He was right after all, I did complain a lot. My heart was sore because this was the exact opposite of the kind of wife that I wanted to be. How did I get there, when did it start, why did I let my guard down and allow it to start in the first place. Well I had no idea where it had begun but I knew that it had to stop! There was no way I was going to tolerate me being a complaining wife and I most definitely was not going to be a nagging wife. So I took firm and decisive action. Strangely enough, I had read a verse about that precise thing just that morning, perhaps God tried to tell me but I couldn’t hear Him and so He had to speak through Eric, which was much more painful to hear.

Philippians 2:14
Do all things without complaining and disputing,

This is the verse I had read in the morning and then Eric said that I complained too much in the afternoon, after a full day of me complaining. Needless to say I was ashamed of the wife I had become. Sadly, many wives end up this way and drive their husbands insane, leaving them to feel totally inadequate and completely drained of any sort of energy to bother to try any more. 

One thing I loved about Eric was how hard he tried to be a good man, a good husband, a good father and a good leader. When I realised that I was complaining I instantly became fearful of disabling him and losing the love of the great man that I truly did admire. I have seen disabled men. They are a very sad sight, their wives have literally ‘pestered them daily with their words and pressed them, so that their soul was vexed to death’, just like Delilah did to Samuel in Judges 16. These men lose their strength and their will to carry on, they give up on being the man that God has called to be and live simply to survive each day of nagging and complaining. The Bible speaks clearly about this sort of woman and I can assure you that it’s not attractive at all.

Proverbs 21:9
Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

Proverbs 21:19
Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.

Proverbs 27:15
A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike;

A woman that complains about her husband is robbing him of his potential. For example, if you are constantly complaining, saying to him,

“You are lazy!” 

In time he will begin to believe it and will be lazy. But, if your husband is lazy, rather than telling him he is lazy, inspire him with positive suggestions. For example,

“Darling, I am so grateful when you work hard for us and make our home nice by fixing things.”

I guarantee you that he will attempt to fix something around the house with a smile on his face shortly after hearing those positive words. Men are literally disabled by our complaints; they make him feel that he is not good enough as a man. When he hears the same complain over a long period of time he eventually gives up even trying because he truly believe that he is who you say he is.

Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

You can make or break your husband with your words and you can damage his future and his hope with your words too. We all do it, we all complain at times, but we can all do something about it. Choose to be a wife who does not complain but uses her words to build her husband according to his needs, that it may benefit him. Determine to be a woman who does all things without complaining and disputing.

Find out more about Being a Wife here
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7.1.12

He Restores My Soul

Pressing Pause When Life Is Stuck In Fast Forward

Do you ever feel like you are stuck on a treadmill that is set too fast and you cannot find the stop button? Modern living can often feel just like that at times. Stress, heart attacks, family breakdown and so much more is the result of the way we live our life these days. God never intended it to be this way, His plan was so much better. 'He Restores My Soul' is a look at God's way to live our life, which is after all so much higher than our ways. Press the pause button, take a deep breath, and uncover a much better way to live your life.  Live more freely, feel more alive and enjoy all that God has given us.

Available on: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Fishpond | Kindle

Contents:
Overworking
Selah
Stillness
Fasting
Feasting
Planning
Seasons
Creation
Sleep
Give Thanks
Perseverance
My Rest

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6.1.12

King's Daughters Conference 2011 & 2012


Why does nine months seem like forever?  It's nine months until our next King's Daughters Conference and I am already so excited which makes nine months look like such a long wait! To keep us going, I thought I would reflect on last years conference, as we had such a great time together.  Here are the two messages I preached and I will make the other messages available soon. Have a listen to Secure on the Rock and Beauty with a Purpose.


In the meantime why not book your ticket and get connected in our new King's Daughters Network with others who will also be attending this years awesome King's Daughters Conference.
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5.1.12

Fasting


This past Sunday at D7 Church I had the privilege of preaching the first message of the year in our brand new venue.  Of course being in a new venue presented all sorts of challenges and distractions and we had time pressure to get out of the venue early as the staff were hung over from their New Year's celebrations!  I hope that even though I had to skip through the message quite quickly and even though the message was quite informal with lots of chit chat in between, that they most important bits came through - the fast that fasting is an essential part of the Christian life and without it we lose out on so much that God has planned for us.  Read more about fasting here or listen to the message.
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2.1.12

Being a Woman - Who is Not Deceived

Whether we like it or not, women are vulnerable to deception. The Devil knew this and counted on it since the beginning of time. God made us vulnerable and He made us the weaker vessel, this was intended as a good thing. God gave us the blessing of being a weaker vessel so that we didn’t have to carry the heavy load that men were designed to carry. The Devil did what he always does, and took the good that God intended and used it for his evil purposes.  Women, if we can uncover this plan of the enemy, we can beat him at his own game. It’s time to take some of the ground that was lost in Eden. It’s time to be women who remain the weaker vessel but are not deceived. 

Genesis 3:13
And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

1 Timothy 2:14-15
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

Adam acted by deliberate choice, but Eve was deceive. Eve was swindled! How many of us girls are swindled by sales people? Eve was tricked! How many of us girls are susceptible to tricks of all sorts? I have learnt my weakness in these things, which is why I lean on Eric now. My husband is not easily deceived, he can spot a con a mile away whereas I tend to be quite gullible and will believe most stories, especially sad ones. In times past I had signed up to things that I only regretted later or bought something that I really didn’t need. Looking back I can see that I was deceived. 

Since I have discovered my vulnerability in this area I have wholeheartedly released certain decisions to Eric. If a sales person comes to the door I call Eric, if we get a phone call inviting us to something – even a ministry opportunity – I say that I will speak to my husband first.  It’s great! I don’t have to give into the deceptions of this world anymore.

Have you considered that Adam and Eve were standing side by side when she was deceived? One little question could have saved us all. Eve could simply have said,

“Darling, what do you think?”

But she didn’t! Of course, Adam could have jumped in and interrupted the conversation but Adam’s passivity is a whole other story.

Thankfully the Bible tells us how to deal with our sorry state. If you read 1 Timothy 2:15 it says that ‘she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.’

Firstly, this verse says ‘she’ and so can still be talking about Eve as it was in the previous verse. Eve (and her daughters) would eventually be saved by Jesus who was born from a woman. It was in Mary’s childbearing that we were all saved.

‘Saved’ in the original Greek is ‘Sozo’ and is talking about being safe. We will be delivered, protected and preserved from deception in childbearing. ‘Childbearing’ refers to the performance of maternal duties. Although most women will perform maternal duties by physically giving birth to a child, all women carry a burden to mother, whether or not they have given birth physically. 

1 Timothy 2:15 tells us that if we get on with our God given role in life then we can escape deception. Having children and making a home is something that Paul also instructs us to do . It is in those times when we are getting busy with the wrong things that we are very often deceived. Although there are some women who don’t have children they should still focus on what God has called them to do. Mothering or parenting can take many forms. Mother Teresa was a fantastic example of a woman who was not deceived. She got busy with mothering all the sick in Calcutta. Perhaps you are not called to do what Mother Teresa was called to do but you are called to bear children in some capacity. 

Perhaps you could focus on discipling younger Christians or if you have a passion for evangelism, get busy with bringing new babies into the kingdom. There are always children that need care both physical and spiritual, ask God what sort of childbearing He wants you to get busy with so that you can be a woman who is not deceived. 

1 Timothy 2:15 goes on to say that ‘they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self control’. Did you notice the word they? In order for a woman to avoid deception she should continue with her husband in faith, love, and holiness, with self control. It speaks of doing things together in unity. The woman was not told to do this on her own, it says that ‘they’ should live like this. Be a woman who is not deceived by focusing on ‘childbearing’ and building a life of faith, love, and holiness, with self control. It is in this these things that you will find safety. Don’t be deceived women, even though Eve has already bitten into the apple, the devil is still on the prowl, seeking whom he may devour.

Find out more about Being a Wife here.
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