The conditioner called life.

Have you ever heard of Ivan pavlov? He was a man that experimented a behaviour excercise termed conditioning. It was a psychological study of what happens when a certain type of behaviour is repeated over and over until it becomes a natural response of the one participating. 

In this study a bell was rang when feeding a dog. The dog salivated when the bell and food was given. Over and over this excercise was repeated until they took the food away. When the food was taken and the bell rang, the dog salivated; the dog was now conditioned in its behaviour.

Isn’t this how life can be? We are conditioned on a daily basis through media, television and our peers. We are shown repeatedly what a good look is, what a woman should be like or what a man should be like and so on. We moan about a situation until moaning is part of who we are; we put ourself down until we become depressed, we stop doing what we need to do until we end up doing nothing. This is how we condition ourselves in a none positive way. 

The good news? The opposie is true. We can condition our behaviour in a good and positive way. We can give so often that eventually as the words of Jesus says, we wont let our left hand no what our right hand is doing Mattew 6:3. In other words giving will become a natural part of who we are. What about being positive in every situation? That means when things are good you see how you can make it even better, and when things are bad you see how it can become something good. I knew a family that lost two of their children through a heart condition. They decided to use their grief to raise money to help others with this condition and helped raise money to invest in equipment to prevent more deaths. They could have grieved and become bitter, but they used tragedy to prevent more tragedies. 

Conditioning for something positive is strengthened most when times are difficult. Why is this? Because in times of difficulty our minds are alert and receptive, this is the greatest time for reading Gods word and being strengthend. It is the greatest time to preach to yourself, “I will get through this, I can grow through this, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me”.

Life always offers 2 conditioners. The one is called positive and the other is called negative. Or the one is called bad and the other good and so on. In every situation we can choose our influence and what conditions us. Is it your circumstances? Your peers? Yourself? Or maybe your God? It is possible to not be conditioned by something negative simply by shifting our focus. When our minds are determined to not allow our soul to be contaminated we are off to a good start. Set your will, set your mind and set your life. The word of God renews the mind. When we allow our character to be conditioned for the benefits of good morals and excellence, our world changes around us. Why? Because the way we look at the world has changed.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Dmz

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Thrown in the deep end

I remember walking out to sea, when ​suddenly the ground dissapeared under me. I was walking at waist height not expecting a sudden drop. Only a child at the time, I kicked and panicked in the water and thankfully drifted to a shallow part where once again I felt safe. Never had I been so grateful of the ground until after this experience.

When we are thrown in the deep end, we have no idea how we will react. Some panick and go under, some panick and stay afloat, some are calm and just go with the flow. It’s our fight or flight response, however there is not much we can do when faced with the power of the ocean. Have you ever been pushed into something new and felt like the ground beneath you was taken away? Training in a new job; being a parent for the first time, a new relationship, moving house, getting married. The list could go on but you get the point. We are constantly moving into areas where we are no longer comfortable. Sometimes our only option when life throws us in the deep end is to learn how to swim. Some people plan to have a child, others don’t. Either way, they have to learn to be a parent. Some people look for a relationship and find one, others don’t look but someone finds them. Both have to learn how to be co-dependent. Some people move out and others are kicked out, both have to learn independence. 

This is the difference between a swimming pool and the ocean. In a swimming pool you can make your own way to the deep end, in the ocean you have no idea how deep it will get and how quick. In other words, this is the difference between choice and no choice. Life can kick us up the backside or we can kick life up the backside. Sometimes we are ready and other times we are not. Do you know what the key is to being successful when you can no longer feel the ground? Learn how to swim before you enter the deep end. Students study before they enter their career, martial arts experts practice the art everyday, good parents usually come from those who respect their own parents.

Success in life is about being ready in all seasons, then you won’t be caught out by the shock waves of circumstances, you will be ready to overcome them.

Verse: 1thessalonians 5:6

Verse Concepts

so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

Next post: How to be seasonally prepared:

DMZ

Getting too close to the edge?…. take a break.

Life can push the boundaries of our strength to the point of exaustion. It’s asif we have walked miles into the middle of the dessert to discover we still have miles to go. Like a car that’s ran out of fuel, sometimes we just need to stop for a moment. The test of human strength is not how much we can handle something but how long we can handle it for. Waiting is not something we consider much because waiting makes us feel like we are not progressing. Yet, lets imagine you could see the energy bar of your life, the fuel gage of your strength. If you saw that these levels are rising when waiting you wouldn’t think waiting was a waste of time. We look for a physical manifestation of our success, yet we fail to realise that part of our success is the physical manifestation of the restoration of our souls. When burning the candle at both ends, eventually the candle will burn out. All thats left after this is the drabs of our efforts and our weary selves. Then what do we do?In the christian life boundaries are certainly tested. Why? Because the testing of boundaries and strength is what shapes character and makes a believer more like Christ. If you intend to be a believer in Christ for an easy relaxing life, then I’m sorry to say this but it’s not going to happen if you sincerely want to follow Christ. In fact when we invite Jesus into our life we become more aware of our own sinfulness which causes us to push more and more to better ourselves in every area. When you look at the life of Jesus you see character in everything he did. He chose words carefully, he was aware of his surroundings, sensitve to the needs of others and willing to suffer for those needs. He even tested the boundaries of physical law by walking on water and mulitplying food. Yet who else could test those boundaries than the one who created them right? Yet even Jesus retreated at times from all the business of the crowds surrounding him, the miracles and the teachings.

Luke 5:16 ‘but Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray’.

There are 2 principles here for our life if we are to continue growing in character and make an impact in this world.

1) retreat. Lets make one thing clear here; this is not retreat in the sense of retreating from a battle. This is retreat in the sense of renewing enough strength to go through more battles. Jesus was far from a coward, but he knew where to go for his strength and what he needed to do to get it. In our fast paced modernised society, retreating to a quiet place is like an Oasis for our souls. We need some space in order to re-couperate our thoughts and renew our life ordained focus. Retreating at times is not a waste of time but a catalyst to enable you to make the most of time in the future. What’s better for a person; to do many things and not do them well because of tiredness? Or to do a few things but do them with excellence because of a renewed focus?

2) pray. The strength of every dedicated follower of Christ is rooted in their prayer life. The world changers are the ones who spend more times on their knees than on platforms. It is in those quiet places of prayer that God himself dwells and strengthens what is weak. If we want to reach the world for Christ but are not willing to pray; we should not expect much from God. If Jesus the son of God in the flesh had to pray, how much more should we? Prayer is the anchor in the storm and our stability in this life. This is what will renew our vision and lead us deeper with Christ and his ways. You want to change the world? Then begin on your knees in prayer.

God bless all

DMZ

Words can cut deep

Why say those words? You know how much it hurts. ‘I don’t care about you no more, I dont love you no more”

Words can cut deep

How do we respond? Do we cause more lain by the words we speak? ‘Don’t speak to me like that, you’re just as bad aren’t you?’

Words can cut deep

When does it stop? Should we stay silent if someone shouts? Or can we change the whole atmosphere just by adjusting the tone of our voice? We have a choice

Words can cut deep

In the end loving actions win, love crushes sin, but in the heat of the moment, where to begin? ‘I forgive you and love you no matter what you say, you don’t mean those words do you? It’s just been a bad day. If this still fails we can always pray.

So if people say the wrong things lets not hold a grudge. Lets not condemn them asif we are the judge. Forgive them, love them, even if theu dont love you back. At least you have done your part do who can argue with that? 

Words can cut deep, so let’s say our words with love, so we can slowly change the world around us like Heaven above.
DMZ

Wait for it…

Patience! Where are you in this madness?
I’ve been waiting so long for you but you just don’t show up quick enough.
Oh yeah, that’s the whole point of patience, to keep waiting for you while the worlds speeding up.
I take time to eat, brush my teeth and sleep. Yet when it comes to waiting for you, it’s like having itchy feet.
‘I need to do this, I need to be there, go go go!
Then you come along and say, ‘slow slow slow!’
Wo… slow? Are you not seeing the state of this world?
Things need to change quick, I watch the news and it makes me feel sick.
There’s children starving in the world and theres me with a cupboard full of food.
So I’m sorry patience, forgive me for being so rude, but this world needs help, and it needs it soon.

Are you a hero? Doesn’t the sun shine for a while before a monsoon?
Does a crop grow overnight? Doesn’t the ground need both rain and sun light?
Mother nature has not changed its speed, there is enough in this world for everyones need.
It is the ‘I want it now’ syndrome that has created this greed, and your complaining about how many mouths to feed.
Slow down and you will find restoration for your soul,
Slow down and you will see the glory of the Lord.
Did you see the sunrise this morning? Did you hear the birds singing?
These are the moments that keep the world spinning.
The worlds happy to just keep on sinning, there seems to always be time for that.
Have a little patience and you will gain your soul back.
I am always ready for anyone willing to wait,
but if you don’t want to see the world the way I do, then carry on and let the tide sweep you away.

Patience.. it is worth waiting for. It doesn’t make sense while this character trait is being developed in us. It takes time and it can be painful. Yet if we want a clear perspective in this world and to hear Gods voice, then sometimes we need to be still, wait and listen. Once we have heard clearly, we can act clearly. This is how we help change the world for better.

DMZ

Me…am I proud? Seriously? (The difference between pride and being proud)

How can we recognise pride? Well, what’s the middle letter of the word? How much I is there in what you do? ‘I did this, I did that…I want this, I want that..’ wanting things and talking about things we have accomplished is not wrong, it is when we allow these wants and the things we have done to become the centre of all that we are. When we try to make the world revolve around ourself we become miserable and tired. Why? Because the world was never designed to revolve around ourself, and we weren’t made for that either.
Pride has a language all by itself, it loves to show how great it is and march the streets with banners saying ‘I am…’ Yet this is a dangerous universal language that has caused the downfall of many. The ‘I am’ which causes self exaltation above others is where the danger lies. Not in the ‘I just passed my exams or, I just got promoted or, I had a great time!’ These are good moments to be proud, like when a parent is proud of there children. The pride we are talking about here is when we become consumed with self. When we love our self more than others and God, when we love our position of authority more than the people under our authority, when we think so highly of our self that we put others down. This is the destructive pride, the pride that God opposes. This is why it is so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven, he is blinded by his proud position. It has nothing to do with God wanting them there because God desires all to be saved. The rich man (or woman) cannot see a need for God because they place security in the money and posessions they have. When a rich person is stripped of all they have, they should thank God for removing the plank from their eye so that they may say their need for him.

Pride is the biggest obstacle in regards to being saved through Christ. This is why the gospel flourishes in poor places, they can see their need for a saviour. If you are surrounded by the security of posessions then coming to know God seems an unesscassary pursuit. Humility is a gateway to the kingdom of Heaven. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking of yourself less. Quote – Rick Warren. Once we gain a proper perspective on the danger of pride and the language it speaks, we will be equipped to deal with it and overcome this seemingly giant warrior. Pride is only as big as we magnify it, thats why it’s best to deal with it from the start. If we are all honest, we would admit that we all have pride at times. We all want recognition for our good works, we all desire some kind of position that makes us more powerful, likeable or accepted. There is pride in each of us if we examine ourself to the core.

So how do we deal with it? Gain a right perspective. See pride for what it really is, ask God for help to deal with it, which by the way takes humility, and cut it out of your life. Focus more on God, others and then self. Joy means: Jesus, Others, Yourself. This is how pride is weakened and defeated. This is how you walk in victory all your days. Speaking as someone who has struggled with depression, I had a revelation in regards to it. The more a depressed person is focused on the depression or the reason for it, the stronger the hold depression has. An antidote for depression for a christian is worship and praise. Read the Psalms, surely David struggled with depression, yet he always praised God anyway. Its hard not to focus on the feelings of depression when they are so strong and in those times worship may feel more like an act than an offering of praise, yet that changes as the Holy Spirit enables us to worship in truth and in Spirit.

What does that have to do with the language of pride? It takes humility to still worship and thank God despite feelings, pride would be a barrier for this. The only way that barrier is broken is by choosing to worship anyway. For example, pride would say somethings like, ‘I don’t feel like worshipping God, how can I worship him after the way I have been treated, who is God that he wants me to worship him after all I have been through?’ These things that are said are based upon our emotions and can create a stronghold for worshipping God. On the other hand humility would say some things like, ‘I may feel down and horrible, but Im still gona worship God, I may not understand my circumstamces but I will still worship the Lord, I may have had a hard life but I have an eternity of joy to look forward too!’ This is how to change the perspective, this is how we defeat pride!

Complain and remain, praise and be raised. Joyce Meyer.

James 4:6 God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

God bless

DMZ

The Lord will provide

Your on the way to the cash point; you have your money on your mind, bills set aside and know that you have some spare for other things. You get to the cash point, check your balance and…oh no, there’s nothing there! You had everything planned of how to spend the money just to discover there is none to spend. You anticipated a certain amount and now you feel let down. What about my bills? What about bobs birthday present? What? Why? When? And so on…

Money is important but money is not God. When you think about food, what comes to your mind when you think of where it came from? The shop right? I would have thought that. Lets take this to the next level, the manufacturer right? Getting warmer. Oh, the farm where the food grows? Or the tree right? So close! Lets go even further than this. When we trace all food (exluding things that were once living for now) we see that it all started with a seed, a tiny seed that grew into something that could fill our stomaches! Where did the seed come from? I think the account of creation in Genesis gives us some idea, yes, it came from God! Then we have the cows and pigs, chickens and so on, these were once something so small that grew up to be food.

In the begginning God provided and he still provides today. We forget this because Gods provison is masked by self-sufficiency and co dependancy rather than God dependency. It’s good to be independent and take serious our God given responsibilities, it’s also good being co-dependent and working as a team. Yet somewhere along the line we have cast God aside and trusted more in the work of our hands than our creator. When we here bible verses saying the Lord will provide we tend to think only of the miracles of Gods provision, like the manna from Heaven in exodus 16, or the flour mentioned in the story of Elijah and the Widow at Zarephat in 1 kings 17.

Yet who says the verse ‘the Lord will provide’ only means food? When we think of provision, money or food are usually our first thoughts. Yet consider the other provisions of God; the air we breathe, eye sight, family and friends, talents, words and much more. These provisions are freely given. Without these provisions in the first place we wouldn’t be able to obtain what is necessary for our lives. Without the provision of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we could not obtain eternal life.

Sometimes I have wondered about the starving people in the world and where Gods provision is for them. That’s why what is about to be said is so important to our faith in Christ, because without this understanding the goodness of God will always be doubted. One other essential part of Gods provision is each other. Adam was created from the dust of the ground, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone so he created Eve. Eve was made out of Adams rib (his side) why not make her from the ground? Because God was teaching us from the beginning we were created to be together not independent. God didn’t create her from the head or the foot as an indication of our co-dependency as well as the uniqueness of Eve. You see, she still had her independence as a unique created being, but she also knew that her purpose would not be fulfilled without this living together in untiy.

The Lord has given us so much, from beautiful views of his creation, our families and even himself. It is not just about food, Jesus is our spiritual bread providing far more nutrition than the sunday roast dinner ever could. We may not have been born into the best families and think what God has provided us with is not his best; we may not have had enough money to feed ourselves sometimes and wonder where Gods provision was. Have you asked him? And if like me you were not born into the greatest family and have had your doubts about Gods goodness and provision, then there is one more thing that is important to know. God has provided us with a will, the ability to choose and the freedom to ask. You can choose to let your past and experiences define who you are, or you can let God define you. ‘The Lord will provide’, this is not just a nice sounding motto, this is biblical based life changing truth. Sometimes, however, God will require a step of faith before providing. Like when Abraham took a leap of faith to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham knew in his heart the Lord would provide the lamb for the sacrifice.
So, have you asked God to meet all your needs in Christ? Are you trusting him to provide. There is no limits to Gods provision, the only limit is how much we believe in it.

Genesis 22:14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

Image – google clip art

Peace and God bless.

DMZ

Unrelenting grace, I’m running to Jesus.

Gods Redemption And Caring Embrace, this is the meaning of grace.

God you are so patient, so king and merciful, so loving and faithful. I didn’t deserve to wake up this morning, my heart was still beating while I was sleeping because you were watching over me. You filled this heart with love that was once so hateful, how could an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God be so graceful? What boxes did I tick for you to choose me and use me? I hid away from you sometimes but you still didn’t refuse me! You say to me, I love you. Yet how could you? I hurt you and no its not a valid excuse that it’s because I was hurt too. You cut the strings of my past, those strings are no longer attached. The victory of the cross is a fact, anything that counteracts your love is an attack, I’ve lived a life without you but now I’m done with that!

In running to you Jesus, I coming to you from the valley. I’m shouting out your praise in this alley, Im finding shelter under your wings and my heart is filled with new hyms. You shine brighter than the sun yet this is just a shadow compared to whats still to come! You give life to these dying vessels and enable me to stand victoriois, forever glorious may all the world bless you the God notorious. What other God has done this? Has buddah, allah or those greek Gods interacted with the human race? Did they sacrifice there life to take our place? They haven’t done it because only the living God can, Im running to you Jesus Im sticking with your plan! Forgiveness through grace, the reward? To see your face. The cost? Just to believe and keep fighting the good fight and running the race. Every moment of struggle will be worth it, every part of you God is perfect, every good and perfect gift comes down from Heaven, so take all the glory because I don’t desrve it! Yet you crown me with glory and honor anyway, you wash my sins away and give me an eternal home to stay.

Your grace is unrelenting so I run to you Jesus, I will will live my life representing now I’m a believer. So come take up residence in this heart of mine, fill it up with love divine, you are my saviour one of a kind, I love you Lord with all my soul, strength and mind.

Cover picture: 25+ best ideas about Grace christian on Pinterest | Jesus … (google images)
Dmz

Immerse yourself – the Heavenly principles 

Reading the bible without putting it into practice is like going into a gym without lifting the weights. You go in, see whats there, but leave unchanged. You become a spectator of the word of God rather than a participator. Spiritual fitness can never improve by spectating. It improves when the word is not only head knowledge but becomes heart knowledge. When what we know lies within our hearts instead of our heads it becomes a part of who we are. Once something becomes a part of who we are our character begins to transform. God is in the buisness of transformation, he is the master at shaping character and he can use whatever is necessary to do it.

Immerse: involve oneself deeply in a particular activity. Dictionary definition

What do you enjoy most in life? Anyone who enjoys something or someone will spend as much time with that person or doing that thing as they possibly can. Almost every person on the planet has a passion for something, whether for good or for bad, it then becomes a matter of how much we immerse in that passion.

The word immerse does not occur much in the bible, however the meaning of the word is throught all of it. In the old testament the Israelites were called to immerse themself in the commandments of God. Jesus was 100 percent immersed in the will of the father. Baptism means to be fully immersed in water, this identifying with the death of Jesus and the ressurrection when we come up out of it. These are just a few examples from scripture. What if the church was as immersed in God and his will as Jesus was? The church would be passionate to get out of bed and go to church. We would find it hard to go a day without telling someone about the hope in jesus. We as a church are not at this point yet. The ironic thing about the church of Christ is that it grows in the places where the gospel is most difficult to preach, it grows in the places where evil appears to reign. The reason? When we are faced with evil there is no longer a middle ground, you either immerse in the evil around you or you immerse in Christ. The western church can still stand on middle ground right now, but if one day we have to make the choice, I pray all of us would immerse in Christ.

How did Jesus do it? When Jesus came to earth he gave up all his divine privelages to identify with the human race. One thing he did not give up was his heavenly principles. He never lost sight of the eternal perspective, even when faced with the cross. Remember it was the joy beyond the cross that helped him endure and go through it Hebrews 12:2. It was his immersion with the father and heaven that gave him his daily strength. We have the same father, the same principles and we too trough Christ are going to Heaven. The difference is how much we allow these truths to guide our lives.

How much do we think of Heaven? CS Lewis said, ‘if we aim at Heaven we get earth thrown in, if we aim at earth we get neither’. Where are we aiming? When we begin to take on the principles of heaven, you know, love the Lord our God and our neighbour as ourself Matthew 22:27, 28, and do unto others what you would have them do to you Luke 6:31, things begin to change. This is not changes in a small way, these are huge changes that show the world who we belong to and where we are going to. It is atttractive to the un-churched world when they see christians take on these principles. This is what draws people to Christ, by the love that we have for each other John 13:35

So, what, or who are you immersing in today? Is it going to help change you and the world around you for better?

1 Timothy 4:15 practice these things, immerse yourslef in them, so that all may see your progress.

DMZ

The real me…the real you

Is my pain so blind to see, suffering deep down so silently.
I still smile in this blue marble of an earth,
but sometimes the smile only masks the wounds that hurt.
I take a picture on a sunny day
So that when the suns not shining I remind myslef it will be okay.

I wish that person would understand what I am feeling,
but the one in the mirrior is not so revealing.
‘You cant keep locking up your pain’, I would say to myself.
A mask is not a permanent fix, neither is pretending to be someone else.
Sooner or later you have to face your own fears,
then in that moment you will be left with a choice.
You can choose to move forward and keep changing gears,
or you can let fear damn your life and block out your voice.
So what will it be future me? Yes every me is a future me because time does not wait.
Every second that moves forward is a chance to re-make.
So I will look in the mirror and tell me what I need to hear,
and say “you know what, lets be real in this life”
“No more masks and no more lies”
Theres only one version of me on the planet
God made me unique so I know I can manage
Its more tiring trying to be something Im not
So today I choose to be me, because in this world, there can only be one version of each person, because in this life, you are the best you that you can be.

Feature picture: Young Man Taking Off Mask Stock Photo 99779171 – Google images 


Dmz