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

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

Submission To One Another In Marriage

Harmonising a marriage is difficult but not impossible.

In my observations, the bible is taken out of context by some when it comes to women submitting to their husbands and vice versa.   A subservient 50’s style housewife is an out-dated picture that doesn’t fit with modern day masses of women holding full time working careers while taking care of their families.

Being submissive to our spouse isn’t a mindless act of subservience but instead it is an informed choice and an act of love and respect.  The bible calls for mutual submission of both men and women to each other. When a husband and wife act out of mutual submission, their love grows and flows into all aspects of their life including their intimacy.

Mutual submission and equality when it comes to love & respect in a marriage

From a Christian perspective, while we are to mutually submit to each other, we are also to treat our husbands with the love and respect they deserve. They too are to treat us with the same love and respect.

If I’ve learnt anything is that marriage shouldn’t be a struggle for power, but a union powered by love.  Yes, a power union!

What men and women need to keep in mind

A woman’s submission is not a license for a man to overpower a woman or mistreat her in any way.  A man’s submission is not a woman’s license to nag or say and do as she pleases.

Marriage is an ongoing commitment to love one another where submission to each other is purposeful in cultivating unity and intimacy in a relationship where couples can show appreciation and share loving affection for one another.  The bible says that man and woman become one flesh. This describes what happens spiritually and physically, but also mentally within the relationship and even though we are individuals, we become one.

When submission is not OK.

Husbands and wives aren’t to sin against God.  Nor are we to allow our husbands to cause us to sin.  This includes sexual sin.  We need spiritual boundaries!

 “A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.”  A quote from the book, ’Boundaries’ by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend have written another excellent book titled, “Boundaries within Marriage”. 

What about turning the other cheek?

Turning the other cheek does not mean turning a blind eye!  Nor does it mean we should allow a man or a woman to be violent against us, verbally, physically or otherwise. Mental abuse is as damaging as physical abuse.  Sin must be confronted.

Trust God

“I have plans not to harm you, but rather plans for you to prosper”.   Jeremiah 29:11

How to confront Sin

In everything we do, even when we are angry we are not to sin.  Ephesians 4:26

The bible instructs us to gently and humbly confront one another.  Galatians 6: 1-2

What you can do when you are angry to calm yourself down:

  1. PRAY – Pray for your husband or wife and spend time in prayer seeking the Lord before having this conversation asking for God’s direction and timing.
  2. REPENT – Search your own heart and repent of sins, now you’ve repented and are forgiven show your husband or wife  the same grace.
  3. RELEASE – Go for a walk to cool down then, determine to leave it in God’s hands once you’ve said your piece and let go of any unrealistic expectations.
  4. PRAY – Pray for your wife or husband seeking his/her wellbeing.
  5. FORGIVE – Forgive your wife or husband. When trust is lost it also becomes difficult to regain.  Marriage counselling can help couples learn to start over.
  6. TALK TO A CHURCH ELDER – If he continues to sin then talk to your church elders.
  7. SEEK COUNSELLING – Talk to a counsellor who is a trained listener.

By Sandra Ciminelli

Finding Help

Search for one near you www.theaca.org.au

Relationships Australia1300 364 277

24-Hour Telephone Counselling

Numbers to call if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide.

Lifeline on 13 11 14

MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978