Get Past the Setbacks

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With 80 days until the new year we made the decision to go for our goals. Maybe we wrote something down. Perhaps we imagined what the future could look like if everything worked in our favour.

We started off with great levels of energy, we laid out the plan, made some progress and then, for a whole bunch of different reasons, it all just grinds to a halt. Lack of time. Slow progress. Distractions. General procrastination on our part. People not helping. Perhaps it’s all a little bit harder work than we thought it would be.

When these inevitable times come along, we can think on 3 things…

Perspective. We are never as good as our best day. We are never as bad as our worst day either. Keep the perspective right. Keep looking ahead. Keep doing the right things. Be consistent. Be determined. It doesn’t mean it is over. It’s just something that needs to be overcome and worked out.

Big Picture. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep the bigger view in front of us will remind us that this is a journey and journeys take time. There will be twists, turns, obstacles and set backs. Once we accept this inevitability we will better placed to not lose hope and just keep on doing what we can.

One Step at a Time. We are excited about the end game, yet in reality it’s the next step which is the most important. Concentrate on the one step. We are so busy painting the final detail we often miss out on what needs out attention right now.

Keep being brave. Keep going. Ask the hard questions. Take some time to think things through.

What is the one thing I can do to keep things moving forward? What one thing can I give my attention to right now?

Sing a New Song

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Sing to him a new song [Psalm 33:3]

It is time to unlearn and to stop singing the same old song. It is easy to catch a hold of a thought, give it a melody and allow it become the soundtrack of our life. Then wherever we are we sing it over ourselves again and again and again. Songs that tell others all about how we feel, full of emotion and always sung with great passion.

Songs of how we feel frustrated.
Songs of how life is hard.
Songs about how things are not going our way.
Songs full of our pain.
Songs of how we feel lost.
Songs all about how we feel hopeless.
Songs full questions to God.

Songs describing all the challenges we face.

Let’s be people of God who will stop singing those songs. Let’s stop singing wrong lyrics over our circumstances like ’Things ain’t like they used to be’, and begin to a sing a new song. Instead begin to sing over your circumstances.

Sing a song of peace.
Sing a song of security.
Sing a song of transformation.
Sing a song of healing.
Sing a song of discovery.
Sing a song of hope.
Sing a song of confidence.

Sing a song of faith.

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. [Psalm 33:20-22

Prepare for a Test With a Test

Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭4‬:‭1-3‬ MSG)

I read this and I asked myself an important question: how do I prepare for a test? Do I put in some extra effort, revise, practice, work harder to remember what’s important, or just hope for the best?

In life I have had and will have tests. How I prepare may well be a determining factor in how I handle that testing time and what I am like when I come out the other side.

Jesus prepared for a test with a test. He prepared for a test with the devil by fasting 40 days and 40 nights, which sounds like a pretty big test in itself.

On my walk with God I must learn the need for that removal of distractions and times of focus. Some tests I come across will only be travelled well when I make the right preparations.  

I guess Jesus knew He would need a clear heart, soul and mind for what was about to come. In going through the 40 days of testing He was reminded about what really matters, despite what another was trying to tell Him. The same must therefore be true for me. 

I need the word of God more than food to live. 
I shouldn’t put God to the test. 
I must worship God with a single-hearted attitude. 

Maybe knowing these simple and powerful truths are enough to help me through any kind of test. I just need to spend time with God in prayer and fasting so they can be imprinted into my heart, into my soul and into my mind. 

Maybe then tests won’t overcome me as easily and I will have the strength to stand my ground, like Jesus did. 

What do you think about this?