Monday, June 30, 2014

Sleep.

Patterns

I’m not asking for your pity but I know what it’s like to be in a one sided relationship with sleep; up all night waiting in vain when sleep refused to call. I also know what it’s like on the flip side, fighting sleep, rejecting sleep because I’m ’busy’ watching, writing, replying. Sleep can wait. I’ve heard people remark that they will sleep when they die, blissfully unaware that if they continue to disregard their bodies they may reach their death bed earlier than expected. It wasn’t long ago that I was hoping for a ‘miracle sleep’, I was praying to repeat the times when I had the best sleep known to man and woke up with smooth refreshed skin. When I tell people about this kind of sleep they chuckle assuming it’s just another ‘Joelle’ thing to say. It wasn’t actually a miracle per se.

I have experienced beautiful sleep that had amazing effects and recently I was waiting to relive the moment. I have slept since but my sleeping pattern was ridiculous, if you can even call it that, shouldn’t a pattern have some sort of consistency? My only consistency was inconsistency. So I decided to fix it, last week I decided to go to bed early and make myself sleep for 8 hours, even if I randomly woke up. I made sleep at night at a reasonable time, for the recommended length of time, my goal. I would be still and focus on resting rather than entertaining time, thoughts or technology. If ever I was disrupted I would focus on returning, every distraction would be dismissed.

Success

When your body and mind are tired respect the signals and prioritise sleep. I saw immediate results. A few days into my change of lifestyle I watched Wendy Williams converse with her guest Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of Huffington Post. She came to talk about her new book called ‘Thrive’. I assumed it was just another 'steps to success' story but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was more than a rigid checklist. Judging by the interview it was wisdom for life. She shared her experience of collapsing from exhaustion due to stress, and asked “Is this success?” Arianna briefly spoke about protecting your peace, joy and personal wellbeing. My shock came with the confirmation of my actions, she suggested we turn off technology and get our 7-8 hours sleep. Getting a good deep sleep is vital. I was like *hi5*

Wendy commented on our culture’s general attitude towards sleep, nowadays people brag about how little sleep they get as though it’s a badge of honour. Personally, it reminds me of bragging about coming from the ghetto - trying to make the most of a bad situation lol. Insomnia is real. A comedian’s set comes to mind, he was making light of his hatred for and secret envy of people who sleep easily… through anything. I laughed at his impression of their bobbing heads in moving vehicles. I try to resist sleeping on road trips, but I reminisced on all the times I pushed my sibling’s unconscious heads off my shoulder. They sleep through films, good films, they’ve fallen asleep in so many uncomfortable positions that I’m surprised they don’t sleep standing up. “I slept right through that earthquake”.  

Dreams

Sleep doesn’t have to be the enemy of your dream, the bed won’t hold you captive, but a wrong mind-set will (Proverbs 6:10-11). Proverbs 6 verse 9 poses the question “How long will you slumber?” you don’t need to reply, because they are asking the lazy person, not the disciplined dutiful one. Sleep is not sin. God stays awake so we don’t have to, He neither sleeps nor slumbers (Psalm 121:3-4). Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear (Isaiah 59:1). He can reach you in your sleep. Job 33:15-16 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ear of man and seals their instruction. Go to sleep and God will wake you. Isaiah 50:4He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned. You need an awakening to realise that God has been speaking to you all this time. Be enlightened for God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it (Job 33:14).

Be still and know (Psalm 46:10). Too much chatter with people intervenes with quiet time, aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your own hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Too many assume that sleeping is detrimental to their destiny, but it’s the pointless conversations with small minded people that hold us back. He who has knowledge spares his words and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit (Proverbs 17:27). Often we can’t sleep because we have been immersed in a constant stream of voices, a river of opinion and not enough truth (Philippians 4:8). If you listen God will give you a vision, without it the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). There is a process and a journey towards fulfilment of that vision, you need to rest so you won’t grow weary (Galatian 6:9). Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). You’ve done what you could during the day, give it to God and go to sleep. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows (Psalm 127:2).

Rest


What has been ruined because you would not rest? I can recall times when I heard “Go to sleep” but I refused and I ruined artwork I could have saved had I gone to sleep and approached it again with fresh eyes. At University when my Nan’s funeral occurred a week before my 5 deadlines plus dissertation I sacrificed sleep. I’d do it again, it worked on the most part, until the last deadline when my body wasn’t having any more abuse. This time I listened, I went to bed, it was a risk but my body was drained. To my surprise I woke up with more energy and finished my assignment. Worry seemed legitimate but I had no other option but to trust that it would work out. We tend to claim we don’t sleep because we’re being productive, when actually insufficient sleep reduces productivity. Lack of sleep makes you more subject to error. Your faithfulness is noble but your fatigue is affecting your effectiveness. Have we been in denial? Are we up working or worrying or both? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Matthew 6:27) God wouldn’t tell us not to worry if it wasn’t a habit we could change. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:25-34). 

Disclaimer: Don’t judge me if you see me online posting early in the AM. Inspiration comes when it comes but I have been awake for no reason and just wrote because it was something ‘productive’ to do.

We have campaigns for our ‘5 a day’ we need one for your ‘8’. I have realised why we have things like ‘bed time’ and ‘meal time’, they are not just forced rules and scheduled activities. It feels rigid and so it’s tempting to ‘rebel', missing breakfast feels like freedom *laughs* I’m just not that fond of milk etc. Years ago I had to initiate ‘Operation: drink more water', (a ‘Joelle' thing to say) to get over my distaste and finally understand its value. Sometimes you have to experience life without something to truly appreciate life with it. When a lack of sleep mashes you up (I’m not prophesying this, I mean IF) then you will know. Those energy drinks are bad for you by the way lol, those caffeine addictions eh *plays Tasha Cobbs ‘Break Every Chain’* 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

The deepest and most restorative sleep is a blessing not a curse of inactivity. Although you may be still your body is working.

To list a few benefits:

Learning                        Emotional Stability 
Memory                         Immune Function    
Muscle Repair                Longer lifespan             
Stamina                          Lower Stress
Metabolism                    Quality of life

If you want to change your life, change your lifestyle. Faith without works is dead. I can never deny that prayer works but take practical steps too. Last Sunday, at Gateway Christian Centre, this saying stood out to me, ‘The practical facilitating the spiritual’. A ‘prayer warrior’ can call down fire against your sleep disorder but unless you are willing nothing will change and old habits won’t die. No more sleep deprivation, for He gives His beloved sleep (Psalm 127:2).



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Things of God: GOODNESS [part 2]

Believing in Hope.
Faith is the substance of things HOPED for (Hebrews 11:1). Even in God you will go through seasons of disappointment but only because your hope is deferred, when the desire comes it is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12). Ultimately hope does NOT disappoint because the LOVE of God has been poured in our hearts (Romans 5:5). Poured in our hearts by who, the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Jesus left to give us the Helper, the Holy Spirit who teaches us in all things (John 14:26). However He couldn’t come until Jesus went. There was a divine order. You will have to wait for the appointed time, though it tarries wait for it because it will surely come (Habakkuk 2:3). Even if that means waiting PAST 'possible' like Abraham, hold onto His promises, though your circumstance is contrary to hope in hope believe (Romans 4:18). Wait on God. They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). When He 'disappoints' YOUR plans it's because HIS plans are greater. Be mindful of the things of God. We lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19). 

Loving Him Back.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 16:25). Walking away from God - the worst - decision - ever. Not just because of hell and other fear mongering truths but because He's for your GOOD! That's what hell is (besides eternal torment etc) it's separation from His goodness. Religious folk who want to look holier than thou will say that's selfish, that it implies we only love Him because we love the idea of heaven and pleasure - well heaven is pleasure because it is an eternity in God's presence (Ephesians 2:4-7). You will show me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). We love Him BECAUSE He FIRST loved us (1 John 4:19). You couldn't out love Him if you tried, you can't out love LOVE (1 John 4:8). Many waters cannot quench love nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised (Song of Solomon 8:7). Who has first given to Him that it shall be repaid? (Romans 11:35). We didn't pursue (Jeremiah 31:3). Before you knew Him, He was wooing you!! Before you began to ask, seek or knock (Matthew 7:7-8), He was knocking on your door (Revelation 3:20).

Pleasing God.     
He waited on you (2 Peter 3:9) the least you could do is wait patiently for Him (Psalm 37:7). God gave His only SON because He loves YOU (John 3:16) so don't give up on Him because of someone else. If you think GOD let you down – WAIT Psalm 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had BELIEVED that I would see the GOODNESS of the Lord in the land of the living. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Romans 4:3). But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by FAITH; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” NO pleasure. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39) but let's not pretend that all roads lead to heaven (John 14:6). God loves everyone but is everyone pleasing to Him? (John 8:42-47). Too many ministers speak to please the itching ears of their congregations. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3). If they had stood in His counsel they would cause people to hear His words and they would have turned them from their evil way (Jeremiah 23:21-22).

Heeding His Word.
Only FALSE prophets tell those who despise God 'you shall have peace', they tell the rebellious ‘no evil shall come upon you’ (Jeremiah 23:16-17). They speak a vision of their own heart, for the word says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Matthew 7:13 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it. The TRUE prophet, when he sees the sword coming upon the land blows the trumpet and WARNS the people (Ezekiel 33:3). He who takes warning will SAVE his life (Ezekiel 33:5) If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned... *reads consequences* no thank you *trumpets* lol!!! God said: I have NO pleasure in the death of the wicked but that the wicked TURN from his way and LIVE (Ezekiel 33:11). Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear. Don’t be discouraged, it is the GOODNESS of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Things of God: GOODNESS [part 1]

Knowing For Yourself.
My relationship with God has kept me, not religion. I would have walked away but I just couldn’t walk out on love (1 John 4:10). What I did reject is the tradition of men (Mark 7:6-9) and picked up the living word instead, the light of men (John 1:1-5). Jesus is the author and finisher of your faith not man (Hebrews 12:2). Don’t let a bad relationship get in between you and God. Don’t let a bad example get in the way either. As much as you innocently admired them, they are not your God so their actions do not reflect God’s ways (Deuteronomy 5:7). Anything you have made your god is a false god - Idols fall (1 Samuel 5:4). If you're only following Christ because of a person (that could even be the person that raised you) you won't last long. When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me (Psalm 27:10). At some point you have to choose God for yourself, and that personal commitment will sustain you. As much as people may have led you to church and even supported you through fellowship they did not call you to Christ. Before you were even born He knew you (Jeremiah 1:5) and the thoughts that He thinks toward you are for good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11).

The Things of Men.
On the contrary people will try you, test you and tick you off and if not for the LOVE of God you would have little to no love for those for who trouble you. Love them anyway, do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27-36). In the last days the love of many will grow cold. Many will offend each other, betray each other and hate one another (Matthew 24:1-14). As Kevin Mark Trail sang "I've seen men who speak of honour go against their principles" the question is: will you lose faith in a faithful God because of a lawless man? It’s all too easy to get caught up in what we perceive, as opposed to what God is actually doing and trying to reveal. When Jesus spoke of His death, Peter could only see the negative in His prophecy but in it was life and so he was rebuked for speaking against it (Matthew 16:21-22). Be mindful of the things of God and not of men (Matthew 16:23). You know how to discern the face of the sky but you cannot discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16:3). Are there situations in your life that God has ordained, predestined or allowed that you are rejecting? Some things must come to pass, see that you are not troubled (Matthew 24:6). Father if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will but Yours, be done (Luke 22:42)

Following Suit.
Jesus didn’t even speak on His own authority but the Father who sent Him gave Him command on what He should say (John 12:49). The son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father [God] do, for whatever He does, the son [Jesus] also does in like manner (John 5:19). To those who would listen Jesus said 'follow me' (Matthew 4:19) follow suit. The saying comes from card games, you play the same type as the card put down by the person before you (Ephesians 5:1). Whatever you see Him do, do in like manner (John 14:12). His disciples left all they knew to follow Him, so as expected when He spoke of leaving them sorrow filled their heart (John 16:5-6). Why would He lead them to leave them? Though it would seem difficult to understand from their perspective, in light of Pentecost (the outpouring of His Spirit – Acts 2) it’s easy for us to see that it was to their advantage (John 16:7). Concerning your questions and frustrations, you might not see it now but one day you will know (1 Corinthians 13:12). When you can’t understand why, the key to trust is Romans 8:28 And we know that ALL things work together for GOOD to those who LOVE God, to those called according to HIS PURPOSE.  


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MUSIC Mountain

Music really does move people. I LOVE it!!! That's why it's frustrating when influential artists only use it to brag on material things and glorify themselves or even worse glorify wickedness. It's nice that people are inspired by their success but they can be moved to become so much more than glamorous images acquiring status symbols. Conscious music doesn't have to be boring or even heavy and serious there are light-hearted soothing ways of singing something that has more substance.

For me song-writing is storytelling so every topic is touched because life is not just happy clappy and even as a Christian every moment is not Glory Hallelujah Mountain top. Sometimes you're low, sometimes you doubt, sometimes you're afraid and sometimes you're alone. Like the Bible there is wisdom (Proverbs), sadness (Lamentations), romance (Song of Solomon), harsh truths and philosophical questions (Ecclesiastes) is it all vanity, are we striving after the wind? There are countless mistakes, betrayals, tragedies, victories and epiphanies. Here's a revelation, your talent is not just for you. There are people pushing their own agendas under the guise of 'support the kingdom, support the cause' etc but God's Kingdom is not an external empire, the kingdom of heaven is within YOU (Luke 17:20-21)

Although I blast those mainstream hits as much as the next (I mostly booty shake in the privacy of my own home lool) I would like to see more balance. I listen to a wide range of music and I realised it doesn't have to be a contradiction, I just enjoy MUSIC. Many artists are only sharing their own truth and the many artists I have listened to have broadened my perspective. You find yourself on high horses when you don't come down to experience life from someone else's standpoint. We say celebrities live on pedestals but we have pedestals of our own. Could I exalt myself and pretend I've never felt how they feel? Will I stay up here in my Church on the blessed hilltop or will I fulfil the great commission and go OUT? (Matthew 28:19). 

Open mindedness is not receiving anything but freeing up the capacity to process it all, closed minds are like robotic clones rigid and unoriginal. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) like the NLT version I have always taken this to mean that history repeats, there has always been murders, deaths, births, marriages, divorces controversies like homosexuality and so on but what I do know is that YOU are new. As 2 Timothy 3 warns us, in the last days things will worsen but don't be drawn in by moral panics (2 Timothy 1:7). Don't be afraid of 'the world', nothing there is new, don't be afraid of living, the temptations you experience are common to man but God is faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

2 Timothy 2:11-13

This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.

If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.

If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.

No matter what happens God is faithful and true to His word for He cannot deny Himself. His word says that He will do a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19). There is no one like you and so by bringing yourself to the table you bring something fresh. You are made in His image and so you bring something glorious, His glory seen upon you (Isaiah 60:1-3). If you die to yourself, your own agenda you will live with Him and His perfect will for your life will come to pass (Psalm 37:1-8). If you endure the fiery trials you will reign in glory with Him (1 Peter 4:12-16). Yet, if you deny Him He will deny you (Matthew 10:32-33), as you interact with people who don't share your faith do not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16). 

As bold as you are you cannot impose yourself upon others. Hear out what people have to say, it will enlighten you, even if it only brings awareness to issues, if it bothers you then that's something for you to tackle, not by negatively cursing them but by actively opposing the negative with the positive. That might mean changing minds and perspectives, sometimes the very people you are judging simply can't see and that's exactly why YOU are light (Matthew 5:14-16). You might not be a musician so in whatever area you are passionate about rather than curse out the darkness SHINE IN IT, you may start like a candle flickering in the midnight but eventually like the sun you penetrate the darkness so that it too becomes light.

Anyone can be a critic, anyone can pull up what someone else has created and tear it to pieces but how many can create something new? Complain don't make a change and you can't control other people, you can protest but I don't really believe in policing expression (besides anything that incites hatred). I can BE the change. Has your mum ever told you 'Every penny makes a pound' it's like Tesco... 'Every little helps'. If you’ve never heard of ‘Reclaiming the Seven Mountains’ look up Lance Wallnau’s teaching on it. Naturally, my talents point me to the culture of Media, Arts & Entertainment *smile* Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Glorious

When pressing towards a goal, it's easy to become so focused on the finish that you don't appreciate how far you are from where you began. And so where you are is never good enough, which is good in terms of not settling but bad if it means you're discontent. You end up chasing something you can never have, this must be torture. 

Maybe perspective is the key. So rather than seeing it as never reaching glory, see it as going from glory to glory. Where you are now is 'glorious', each present moment has its own gift. Often we fantasize about the future, and then we get there and it's just 'today' another day. Most say 'don't despise small beginnings' at your beginning but don't despise it when you look back either. Those days had its own glory.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

WORK OUT.


What's your spiritual BMI? (Body Mass Index - based on height & weight). There is no use wanting to go higher, to have titles to be perceived to live on a greater level when behind the cloak you're an anorexic giant LOL!!


Is there anything to your diet? Paul said "I fed you with milk and not with solid food" because the carnal are not able to receive (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). What is my food? My food is to do the will of Him who sent me (John 4:34). It's possible to be grown in age but a babe in wisdom. I'm young but I let no one despise my youth, it doesn't limit my growth (1 Timothy 4:12). My lifestyle determines my development. David was young and underestimated; nobody knew that God was training him up in obscurity with the bears and the lions (1 Samuel 17:34-36). Is He trying to train you, not to lean on your own understanding but His (Proverbs 3:5). Goliath was physically strong, the only problem was he was on the wrong team (against God's people) and his faith was in his strength alone. David seemed small to the naked eye but a discerning eye can see that by faith he was a spiritual giant (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

Faith paired with works brings triumph. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The Lord does not save with sword or spear, nor by might or strength but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). His Spirit lives in anyone who has received Christ as their Lord and Saviour (John 14:16-17) for He (Jesus Christ) went that He (Holy Spirit) might come (John 16:7). Sow to the Spirit and not to your flesh (Galatians 6:8) God's words are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). See God's word as your daily bread, for it is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Eat well and exercise! Build yourself up in your most holy faith (Jude 20) then walk it out (James 2:18-20)

We show faith BY our works, Abraham was justified by works and not by faith only, they work together and by works faith is made perfect (James 2:21-24). So we have to 'work out'. Trials are like the track, except this is long distance running and not a sprint. He who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). Tests are like the gym, you feel the pain before you see the results, but let patience have its perfect work (James 1:4). They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31)Let the weak say "I am strong" (Joel 3:10). Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright (Psalm 20:7-8).

xx

Friday, February 28, 2014

Teach You

                                                       

^^ Click ^^