JUST AS DIRTY AS I AM

God welcomes everyone. As we learn from him and about him, we can’t help but fall in love.

It was 1996, I’d recently gone through a divorce with a violent, drug addicted and schizophrenic man who had me living in fear for almost 17 years. Wanting to get closer to God in the cold Canberra winter of 1998, my sister took me to her little Pentecostal church held at a local school hall, as they didn’t yet have their own building. Looking around at people with seemingly perfect lives noticing they were nicely groomed wearing dressy but casual clothing, their kids were happy and all I saw was one big happy family. Panicked within (anxiety), in my mind there was no way I’d ever fit into this scene.  Within me there was a storm.  At the time I was angry, sad, unhappy, lonely and just sick of life.

Feeling uneasy about being there I confided about those feelings to my my younger sister who is a strong Christian.   She said to me, “Sandra, don’t think that these people here have got it all made, they’re just as dirty and dysfunctional as you are.  The only difference is that they admit it and want to change.  They acknowledge that God is the source of all life and that it’s God who cleanses them. You don’t get into a bath unless you’re dirty!”

Then she said something else, “God accepts you as you are so let him in and he does the changing from within.”   I thought, “what? Wait a minute he accepts me then he changes me?  Isn’t that a contradiction?”   Reading my bible, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jesus and his words.

I read somewhere that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. It’s not the sin God loves, its us. He wants our hearts and Jesus also came so that we may be reconciled to God, have life and have it abundantly.  So the change in me was that I was going to befriend God and learn the true meaning of life and love it?  That was exactly what happened. The changes were gradual but sure.

It’s June 2017, I’m still in the bath, I’m not perfect and I’m slowly transforming into what God wants for me and I have inner peace in my life.  We hurt and deal with our hurts in our own dysfunctional way that can make us really bitter, or we can be free from fears and hurts while keeping our peace.  Its Jesus who wants to heal our hearts with his perfect love that casts out all fear.  

If you’re worried about sin, God forgives us, no matter what we have done.  What the bible calls sin, is sin, everyone in the world falls short because God is holy.  Nobody is perfect and we can’t point the finger in judgement of anyone else.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son for who-so-ever believes in him shall have eternal life” John 3:16  OK it states who-so-ever.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done? That’s powerful.

If you believe that then pray this short prayer asking Jesus into your heart.

Jesus, I know you died for me and take me as I am.  I’m not perfect and will never be that in this world.  Thank you that you took my sins upon your body and they were crucified with you on the cross. I ask your forgiveness and for you to come into my heart and grant me your peace. Let me grow in your wisdom and in truth. Fill me with the Holy Spirit that I may have your helper so I can follow you. Amen

What can you do now?

If you prayed that prayer, find a local Christian church, be baptised, read your bible and pray regularly. Walk close to God and remember that nothing can separate you from His love. If you have done all that and are filled with Holy Spirit you have been born again as the bible requires you to do so you can enter heaven. Live in relationship with Jesus offering constant prayers for those you love and for your enemies.

Christian bloggers are invited to share your posts on my Facebook group at Christian Blog Space

Break Free from Wrong Money Attitudes

People with bad attitudes towards spending go broke or end up in debt.

Many people are working hard jobs to put food on the table and never seem to have any left over. While others who throw money away can end up unhappy or depressed.  We need goals and plans so that we aren’t blown around like a tumbleweed landing wherever life takes us.

Bad Attitudes Towards Money

Being overcautious and never spending money can lead to a boring life. However, overspending can become a bad habit leading to debt. Here are some of those attitudes that if corrected can turn around a person’s financial situation.

Partying Too Hard/Much

There’s that person who parties hard, is a binge drinker or recreational drug user who borrows in circles to pay back those within their own circles. This is probably a charming good talker who could be the best used car salesman ever that keeps friends who supply the cash around.  Sad really because these types don’t value anyone or anything as their own ego comes first.   I call this the ‘Peter Pan’ type. He likes to fly (be high) and take others along the journey with him and never thinks twice about tomorrow.

Negligent Spending

This type makes you cringe when hearing the excuses they come up with to borrow money, which initially I don’t mind until I hear the excuse,” I don’t have any money because I bought the latest gadget and it left me without any rent money for the next two weeks.” This selfish attitude takes other people’s finances for granted.

Then there are those who know that they are negligent spenders because they want the best quality of everything right now.  This calls for patience and understanding that sacrificing the unnecessary things today eventually makes the bare necessities and essential needs affordable tomorrow for most.  It will take a dilligent person who has determination and stickability who remains focussed on the big picture to succeed.

Gambling & other Addictions

Spending all their money on the sure bet, horses, poker machine, footy tab or greyhounds. The addiction is sure to make people broke.  The addict might be compelled to put a big win’s money back where it came from.  I’m not sure where I heard this phrase about gambling, “Its a tax on those who are bad at maths.”  But it’s pretty much on the money!

Addictions of any kind are really costly.  Seek professional help to kick a habit or talk to your GP who can recommend someone.  NO addiction will mean more money to yourself without the burden of an addiction to maintain.

A Thankful Heart Is A Contented Heart

  • We need to focus on our priorities, take charge of our own lives and be thankful for what we have.  We all live on borrowed time and can take nothing with us when we leave this world.
  • A heart of gratitude is the right attitude. Deuteronomy 10:14b “Heaven is the LORD’s… the earth also, with all that is in it.”
  • We aren’t to love money more than God. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”Matthew 6:24  (mammon in Aramaic  is translated to ‘riches’.

MONEY MANAGEMENT

Being an independent and mature  adult means that a person can stand on their own two feet without having to rely on handouts.  When we begin to take charge of our lives it will become easier to take charge of our finances.

Saving money is putting money away for a rainy day or accumulating money for a purpose or goal.  Wikipedia describes, ‘Saving Money’ as,”income not spent, or deferred consumption. Methods of saving include putting money aside in, for example, a deposit account, a pension account, an investment fund, or as cash. Saving also involves reducing expenditures, such as recurring costs. … Saving differs from savings.”

Budget – Take the stress off your financial situation by knowing exactly how much you have and how much you can afford to spend.  Then manage the finances to pay off bills on time, separate your savings if possible and adjust your lifestyle accordingly etc.

Paying Off Debts

  • Take charge & make an effort pay off debts to individuals and companies that are owed money.  Arrangements can often be made to pay these off in installments.
  • Take one day at a time until all debts are paid.
  • Refrain from borrowing more money.
  • Seek a loan consolidation expert to combine loans together into one loan in order minimise repayment time and save money on interest.

Set Goals & Plan Ahead

  • Having goals is a discipline in having something to aim for.
  • We can begin by saving for something small and then progress to saving for bigger and more expensive projects.

Further Help

  • If you find it difficult to break free from wrong money attitudes contact a counsellor and seek advice from trained professionals.
  • Talk to your bank and loan consolidators.

Gamblers Anonymous Australia

Men’s Line Australia

Australian Government’s Money Smart – Consolidating & Refinancing Debts

Search for a counsellor near you at – Australian Counselling Association website.

or talk to your GP who can point you in the right direction.

How Strife Gets In To Gain Control Of Your Life

Inner peace has its healing properties and plays an important part in our mental health & wellbeing. Strife robs us of that. Don’t allow strife in and it can’t steal your peace.

strife

We all have different personalities, temperaments and tolerances to certain things. Our self defense mechanisms are completely different from one another. We even pick and choose how we tackle problems, accusations and threats.

Strife doesn’t just get into our lives by accident. We invite it into our lives with fights, retaliation, lies and gossip.  In return it will rob us of any possible inner peace. Strife destroys relationships with malice, envy, arguments, lies, gossip, slander and confusion.  James 3:16, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion….”

Giving into anger is the easiest invitation you can give to strife. We need to practice self control to keep our own emotions in check by thinking before reacting.  Clear thinking enables us to make the right choices. Keeping the peace is the better choice.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.

We need to responsibility for our own actions especially if we want peace

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, “scientific research has shown that 87-98% of mental and physical and behavioral illnesses come from our thought life.”

If strife is controlling your life you may want to talk to your pastor or counsellor to learn different ways to handle difficult situations that lead to strife. Anger management classes might also help.

MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS

One of the things I personally can’t stand is Drama.  Not the kind that is up on stage or on television, but the kind of drama that invites strife causing problems all round. I don’t allow anyone to steal my joy which to me is priceless. My inner peace can’t and shouldn’t be bargained with because my wellbeing and mental health depends on it, so I guard my heart.

When under attack sometimes the best defense is to simply walk away. Keeping my peace is more important to me than arguing with toxic trouble makers and liars who seem to revel in drama. I pick and choose my battles very carefully. Now I’m not saying be in denial. That’s a thing all together. Denial is pretending the issue doesn’t exist.

People need to be more self controlled and civil with each other.  Anything else is an open invitation for strife.

HOW DRAMA & STRIFE GETS IN

  1. Drama in your life comes with an invitation to react. If you accept the invitation it will create strife in your life.  Continue accepting invitations and you will never get rid of the drama in it either. Sometimes the best response is to not react & to walk away knowing that you have the upper hand. The result will be that you get to keep your peace. Don’t allow toxic people to steal your joy by feeding their addiction to strife with more drama.
  2. The other way strife gets in is if you cause problems continuously for others.  Things like gossiping, lying, stealing, causing others harm and not taking responsibility for your own actions, blaming others,  or lying about others for your own personal or financial gain invites strife in your life.  Steer clear from these greedy and obnoxious types.


WISDOM FROM THE BIBLE

Proverbs 16:28 – “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Proverbs 22:10 – Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.”

James 4:1 – What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”

Proverbs 20:3
“It is an honour for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.”

Repentance requires us to change and repentance brings about restoration to God.  It’s a choice.  You might like to pray about it as well.

Here’s an example of a prayer you might like to offer up.

Father in Heaven, you are goodness and light and you want us to be whole in mind, body and spirit.   Forgive me for inviting strife into my life by reacting angrily to others. Make me an instrument of your peace.  I repent and ask you to give me peace by removing the spirit of strife from my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit.  Teach me your ways.

In Jesus name. Amen.

by Sandra Ciminelli
PEN WITH A VIEW

True Happiness & Real Love

sunrise-1226471_1280Around peak season at work I’m called to help out in other areas due to the demand of the job. This has challenged me to stretch and grow beyond what perceptions I had of my own capabilities. Although towards the down slide of this period, a close family member’s health concerns began putting a strain on my emotions.

What I found out about myself through all of it was that I am in control of my own happiness.  Instead of allowing a situation to control me affecting my work, I quickly faced realities, said a quick prayer permitting myself to feel and to heal.

As a result, I realised that I’m truly happy, content and that God has it. We can’t control everything.  But we knock ourselves about trying!

Most people go to work every day, do their tasks and go home to their private lives not thinking about work until they’re on the way to their jobs again.  Me, I’m always on it taking notes writing ideas down that whirr around in my head of things that I hear, read, see on TV or hear on the radio. It’s so much fun that I’m growing. I love my job.

At home life is good. My husband and I have a happy marriage, kids and a lovely home.   We’re all doing things we enjoy doing and are living a life that we enjoy living.  But this isn’t the real source of my happiness.

I’ve discovered that inner peace & joy comes from within. It oozes out from the core of my being. I can’t fill my heart with temporary things that fade, nor can I lie to myself about them.  Once those things are gone, I’ll be left feeling empty inside.  So instead I’ve opted to fill my heart with love and truth.  They’re the eternal things that will stand long after I’m gone from this world leaving a legacy of peace, love, hope and truth for others who remain.

Love in the purest sense of the word is explained well in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

This verse reflects God’s love for you!  GOD IS LOVE. This is the truth. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32.

  1. He is patient
  2. He is kind
  3. He does not envy
  4. He does not boast
  5. He is not proud
  6. He will not dishonour others
  7. He is not self seeking
  8. He is not easily angered
  9. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
  10. He always protects
  11. He always trusts
  12. He always hopes
  13. He always perseveres.

Nothing else but God can fill the void.  Not your spouse, partner, parents, friends, your job or the material possessions you own can take the place of God.  Make him first in your life and your joy will be complete.

By Sandra Ciminelli.

Join me and other Christian bloggers on Pen With A View on Facebook. Feel free to post your blogs to share with others!