Vantage Point – How We Look At Life

Our point of view is our point of reference affecting how we see everything.

Most human beings tend to develop around the society we each live in. Our minds are focused on knowing all we can about life, nature and the world around us. We all want to know who we are, where we came from, how we fit in and what purpose we have for living.

Social rules have changed somewhat from my teen years and they continue to change. One of the many talks my father about the changing world he said, “Sandra, what was right will always be right and what was wrong will always be wrong no matter how trends change.” He was saying in the 80’s that what is in right now doesn’t make it right.

Immediately all the lines which I tested and crossed as a young girl were bought to mind. He said, “We are all born with a measure of right and wrong.  There are no blurred lines.” In that he was absolutely right.

Then he went onto say, “That guilty feeling you feel inside, it’s borne of your character. Listen to your inner voice, trust it and if it feels wrong, then it’s wrong for you.” Yet in all his wisdom in this was where he erred.

There have been plenty of times where I’ve done the wrong thing and it felt absolutely right at the time.  Like taking revenge for instance.  It felt right and it felt GOOD! But, deep down inside I knew it was wrong.  We can’t escape the truth no matter how much we try to justify it.

God gives me a better vantage point than any earthly wisdom.  Each boundary is for my own protection and the lines are never blurred. In Him I trust. Just look at the ten commandments.  Do you know anyone who hasn’t broken one of those?  Yet it’s God’s standard for holiness.  It’s humanly impossible to be good all the time. We live in a fallen world that is broken and unholy.

So how can we ever face a holy God when we are so riddled with sin?  Jesus made a way and it’s in God’s grace through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that we have forgiveness.

Most of all God is stable in all He does and all He is. He is the same yesterday, today and always. His wisdom is eternal and he is a father to the fatherless.

If you’ve never read the bible or you don’t own one and want to learn about Jesus who is known as ‘The Word’, visit The Bible Gateway

 

 

 

 

 

JUST AS DIRTY AS I AM – Nobody gets in a bath unless they’re dirty!

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 Is Vulnerability Essential for Personal Growth?

By avoiding vulnerability we remain stunted and emotionally immature in areas where we refuse to feel.

Vulnerability is a difficult thing to master. Yet, it is in vulnerability that we cultivate courage within ourselves.  I personally don’t like being vulnerable. There’s a creepy sense of transparency that makes me really uncomfortable. The shame of not being good enough or the dread of being judged by others is why I have avoided public speaking for years!  Regrettably, It’s a real fear I’ve held onto instead of working through it.

Recently I’ve learned that the more that I allow myself to become vulnerable, the more growth I experience. Those people who practice vulnerability are generally seen amongst the most courageous, happy and intelligent people in society. How many public speakers do you know that don’t get nervous before making a speech? Not too many, right? Yet to onlookers they may look typically calm and collected.

It’s natural for us to protect ourselves from pain as we’re mostly inclined to shield ourselves from feeling anything negative.  By avoiding situations that require a certain level of vulnerability we remain stunted and emotionally immature in those areas where we refuse to feel.

Vulnerability is essential for our personal, emotional and spiritual growth. By stepping out of our comfort zones we’re allowing ourselves to experience and grow.  Speaking from experience, some of us tend to avoid it like the plague!

Brené Brown, Vulnerability Researcher summed it up perfectly when she said, “We numb vulnerability.”

MY EXPERIENCE

Allowing myself to become vulnerable I got on a plane after 40 years of avoiding flying due to a bad landing experience during a storm in Tahiti when travelling as a young child. So, not long ago I booked a week long holiday catching a plane to Queensland with my husband and daughter.  Since then I’ve been flying with my family and with work. It’s been fantastic and liberating.  But, I still cringe at the landing!

So my motto now is, “Do it afraid!”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power, love and self-control.”

Watch and listen to Brené Brown’s TED Talk, ‘The Power Of Vulnerability.’

Sandra Ciminelli
PEN WITH A VIEW

The Desert Of Pain

The way out for the hardest of souls who have been hurt and robbed of love.

answers-in-cloudsA young warm heart becomes an angry soul with a broken spirit crying for mercy and justice.  Trapped from within fear becomes a paralysing terror that knows no inner peace. Without a voice the numbness of the void beckons to seek relief from inner turmoil and despair.

Denial leads into a place where there’s no pain, no feeling and no remorse.  A dark and lifeless existence where hope feels unrealistic and prayers seem unanswered is accepted as fate. Until a small breach in the wall allows a little light to penetrate into the darkness. Love, and truth are soaked in like water sucked into drought stricken land. A continuous flow of water becomes a life saving bubbling brook feeding life into the soul.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  1 John

Love and inclusion can give life back to those with a mental illness. Love can be quite a challenge when we have a really hardened heart before us. Will they recognise love in you?

For those struggling with pain seek help, recover and regain your strength.

Where to get help in Australia

See your family doctor who can point you in the right direction.

Lifeline – is a free 24/7 crisis counselling hotline – 13 11 14
Mensline – is a free 24/7 counselling service for men –  1300 78 99 78
Kids Helpline – is a free 24/7 counselling services for kids & teens – 1800 55 1800

 

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.

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Is Christianity a Cop Out?

 

To understand Christianity we need to take a good look at the instructions that Jesus gave his followers.  Christianity has to be the most difficult faith to follow because it requires absolute trust in the New Testament as Jesus taught in the Word of God as the life blood of our beliefs.   Jesus challenged society and the lives of people around him even unto the way they thought about food and many more things.  He bought a lot of good change about that set people free from religious rituals & slavery to sin.  God wants our hearts to be full of HIS love and HIS light.   To know HIM is to love HIM.

Keep in mind that Christians aren’t perfect but they follow someone who is!

HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT I’VE HEARD

  • Christianity is a cop out.

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. ”   Matthew 5:38-39

Turning the other cheek has to be the most difficult of all teachings to follow.

What no revenge? Most people would fight back to the best of their ability to make sure they got a piece of the other person.  A Christian however is to consider even a thief or a violent person as a child of God and love him or her as God Himself does.

  • Christians live in fear of punishment.

Christians live by their convictions and judge themselves and their lives according to Jesus’ instructions and live to please God.  They live in reverence of an awesome God.

Jesus gave clear instructions on how to love God and Man.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.   Matthew 22:37-38

Aiming to be like Jesus is to follow God as he wants us to in obedience and reverence as we seek to know him more.   We don’t do it alone as we have the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  • God doesn’t answer prayer

Christians pray in faith believing that God is not only able to answer prayer but willing to answer them.   God isn’t under obligation to answer yes to every prayer request.  He answers with a yes, no or wait.  Everything in HIS perfect timing.

Bible Verses about Prayer

James 4:3  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

John 15:7  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Hebrews 11:6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Many more reasons to pray: http://www.openbible.info/topics/pray_without_ceasing

Christianity is being constantly watchful, prayerful, faithful and certainly a challenge requiring a lot of hard work and self discipline.  A cop out would seem to be an escape and lot easier wouldn’t it?