Learning to Rest

Learning to Rest

I pray that this week has been blessed and peace-filled for you. I know that as we start to enter the middle months of the year we can start to become a bit run-down and tired as the excitement of a New Year wears off and the reality of the hard work kicks in.

I just want to encourage you that if that’s how you’re feeling at the moment, remember to take time to stop, breathe and be still and let God’s presence enter your soul bringing you much needed refreshing, nourishment and restoration.

It may be a good time to take some extra time – an extra few minutes in your meditation each day, or if you meditate in the morning take a few extra minutes with God before you go to bed. Or plan an extra hour (maybe one lunch break) during the week just to spend some time with God. You will be amazed how just an extra few minutes with God will boost your energy, strength, peace and sense of well-being.

One of the most amazing verses I have ever discovered in the Bible is Romans 8:6. This incredible little hidden gem says “If our minds are ruled by the Spirit we will have life and peace”.

You see, our minds get tired and overwhelmed so it’s really important that we keep our souls nourished so that we can be spirit (and Spirit) led at all times.

When we start to get run down and tired, our minds start to say things like “I can’t do this anymore – it’s too much, it’s too hard, I’m too tired” and we become even more weary and lose our energy and our momentum.

It’s really important when you are feeling run down and tired to not let that thought get into your head. It becomes a downward spiral. The more you concentrate on how tired you feel the worse it gets. It’s not about being in denial of the reality – it’s that our minds don’t handle it well. Our minds will actually make us feel worse if we allow ourselves to focus on the tiredness.

But when our spirit is well nourished and is ruling over our mind, our spirit says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I can get through this because God is with me, God is for me, God is in me”.

There are lots of ways we can nourish our soul but these are the four ways that I have found to be the most powerful and effective for me

  1. Meditation – I think I am naturally a very strong person. Not physically but internally. I feel like I can endure a lot before I start to feel overwhelmed but honestly I know that I cannot survive without spending time with God in meditation every day. It is my lifeline. It is the thing that keeps me sane, calm and peace-filled.
  2. Worship and Prayer – I am a big believer in meditating in stillness and silence but I am also more and more realising the value and importance of keeping our lives filled with worship and prayer. I had a revelation about Psalm 22:3 recently which says “God inhabits (lives in) the praises of His people”. Not only does worship music, in particular, lift our spirits but we can have the beautiful sense of His presence continually with us when we are continuously in worship and prayer throughout the day.
  3. Bible reading – I know this sounds like a cliché but I can’t emphasise enough how much closer it brings us to God when spend time reading the Word of God. I notice a tangible difference in my morning meditation if I have spent time reading my Bible before I go to sleep the night before. I urge you to try it if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or run down and need strengthening of the soul. It re-centres and focusses us on Him.
  4. Rest – We cannot go on forever like a zombie saying “I can do all things through Christ…” God never intended that for us. God never did that himself. On the seventh day He rested. And we must rest too. I know sometimes we must get through a busy time and that’s when we say ‘I can do all things through Christ’ but then we rest. In this busy day and age we have to be intentional about rest. We have to plan ahead. Plan to have a day off with God. Plan to have longer if you can. And don’t feel guilty about it. (That is one of the devil’s ploys to keep us exhausted and run down).
I shared the above quote on Instagram recently (@godcentredmeditation) and I will finish with what I wrote about it below – I hope that it helps and encourages you to find your strength and rest in Him this week.

“Learning to rest physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is an act of worship”

“Our modern day way of living makes us feel guilty if we are not always on the go or always doing something. But God’s original design for us was an idyllic life of leisurely strolls through the garden with Him. In this day and age we have to be intentional about making time to rest. Make sure you do. God loves it when we take time to rest because it is the time we are most present to Him and He is able to restore our soul. Take some time today to be still, be present and be aware of His presence with you, in you and all around about you”

Love and Blessings,

Leah  ♥♥

PS. Don’t forget to join us on ACC.TV (online or Foxtel in Australia) on Sunday mornings at 7.55am (AEST)
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Social Media and Meditation

Social Media and Meditation

Hi dear friend,

I’d love to share something with you today that I’ve recently discovered that I hope you might find helpful for your meditation journey.

In my 20 Tips for Finding Stillness, which I have included a link to again at the bottom of this email, I touch on the subject of the effects of social media on our meditation.

We all know about social media and how discouraging it can be. We know that what see on social media is the best side of people’s lives; the “show reel” – or in other words, the highlights. And we know how bad this can make us feel when we see pictures of people looking glamourous, going out doing all sorts of exciting things while we’re stuck at home doing our 100th load of laundry, washing dishes and trying to stop the children from fighting with each other. It can certainly make us feel left out, miserable and discouraged.

It’s mainly for this reason that in my “Tips for Finding Stillness” I suggest avoiding screen time, especially before going to bed so that discouragement or things that might upset you don’t have an opportunity to get into your spirit before you sleep and before your morning meditation time.

But I recently realised something else about social media that can be even more disruptive to our ability to be still, find peace and meditate on God.

We know so much more today than ever before about the mind and how it can be trained. I find the subject fascinating and I love to read and study about the power of the mind, however I am not a neuroscientist and I have not done any scientific studies, so this discovery I have made is purely from my own personal experience, although I suspect there may well be studies out there to support this.

I had a period of time recently where I was finding it very difficult to focus in my meditation time. My mind kept fluttering from one thing to the next. I wasn’t anxious or worried about anything but my mind just wouldn’t stay still.

I’m not quite sure how I made the connection, perhaps it’s because I had been spending a bit of time on social media but it occurred to me that the constant scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and even online news articles was training my brain to only be able to focus for very short periods of time because social media and online news stories are very short. And this was affecting my ability to be still and focus in my meditation time.

On social media a “story” is usually only about a paragraph long and then we move on to the next story… and when we are very tired we can sit there mindlessly scrolling through story after story. This trains our brain to only be able to focus for about a paragraph-length-of-time then it wants to move onto the next thing.

It suddenly made sense to me why I was also finding it hard to read through a whole book. I love reading and have always been a big reader but recently when I was away and had the opportunity to read I couldn’t get my mind to focus for very long. I wanted to read but my mind didn’t.

It all became very clear to me when I realised that social media was re-training my brain to only be able to read short snippets at a time and only be able to focus for very short periods.

I immediately started to cut back on how much time I spend on social media and it was amazing how quickly it  made a difference to my ability to be able to be still and focus for longer in my meditation time without my mind flitting all over the place.

I haven’t cut back completely because I do love to stay in touch with friends and family and stay up to date with what they are all doing. And of course, I love staying in touch with my God Centred Meditation community on Facebook and Instagram (and if you don’t already – I would love you to follow us – the links are below).

But I have taken more control over how much time I spend on it because I don’t want social media dictating, controlling or affecting my ability to be still, focus and spend time with God.

Romans 8:6 says that the mind controlled by the Spirit (not social media 🙂 ) is life and peace. I would say a big amen to that!

I know today’s blog is a bit more of a practical nature but I hope that it might help you if you’ve been finding it hard to be still and stop your mind from jumping from one thing to another while you’re trying to meditate on God. If you spend a bit of time on social media, you might find it helpful to cut back a bit if you find that it is training your mind to be less focussed than you would like.

My prayer is that every one of us would be able to experience the deepest, closest encounter with God that we possibly can without any interruptions or disruptions to our ability to connect with Him, so I really pray that this helps you this week as you meditate on God.

Praying you have a blessed and peace-filled week! God bless,

 

Leah  ♥♥

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God Centred Meditation Exciting News!

God Centred Meditation Exciting News!

Dear Friend,

I know it has been a while since I last wrote to you. I want to thank you so much for your patience as I share with you the exciting news that has kept me very busy these last couple of months.

I know some of my readers who also follow me on social media may have heard the news, but I wanted to give you a little background and share a revelation (or two) that has come out of this experience I’m about to share.

About five and half years ago I was not in a very good place. I was a Christian but did not have peace or joy in my life. In fact, I was very stressed, worn out, unhappy, angry a lot of the time and exhausted.

Then just at the time I most desperately needed it, I had an encounter with God where I learned to meditate on Him, which has been the most wonderful, life-transforming experience of my life. I became very passionate about sharing this message because as I said, I had been a Christian all my life and even as a Christian had never experienced the peace, joy and freedom of life that I do now.

I knew how to pray and that’s an important part of our relationship with God but my prayers simply became a case of me giving my grocery list of needs to Him. I did not know how to get into the deep place of my spirit where God lives and find peace and relief from the stress and pressures of life. I didn’t even know as a Christian that I could meditate on God.

My life was transformed in every possible way – where I previously felt stress, I now have peace. Where I was anxious and unhappy I am calm and no longer worried all the time. The anger is gone. The constant, anxious racing thoughts have stopped. I just have constant peace and relief and a knowing in my heart that everything that is going on in my world will work out for good. I also found my family became happier (you know the saying – happy wife, happy life), our financial situation started to turn around and all sorts of situations that I was no longer stressed or worried about began to work together for good (as the Bible promises).

I felt so overwhelmed by the turnaround and goodness of God that I was experiencing in my life that I became passionate about sharing this message any way and anywhere I could and that is how and why this blog came about.

I also believe that at the time God placed a little dream in my heart to “one day” get this message on television to reach as many people as I could. In my mind “one day” was many years down the track – maybe 10 or more years.

But God totally amazes me! One of the things I have discovered since learning how to meditate on God is how quickly He opens doors without me even pursuing it or trying to make it happen. And this is the exciting news that I want to share with you. God has orchestrated a way for me to be able to share this message on television every week starting this month!

I am so excited to be able to share this life changing message of hope and peace in a short segment on the Australian Christian Television Channel (on Foxtel and online) every Sunday morning at 7.55am (Sydney time) and it will be re-played at various times throughout each week.

I am so amazed by God and maybe one day I will share the details on how it came about but today for those who want to read on (I know it’s a bit longer than usual) I wanted to share a revelation that came about through this experience that hopefully may encourage you.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be in television. I wanted to act or be a Television news presenter or something like that. It was just a little dream in my heart. I can’t explain it except to say God puts dreams in our heart.

However, every attempt I ever made to be involved in acting in our plays at school were met with rejection. I was rejected from the school play every year. And I mean serious rejection.

There was one year our class was doing a play for the end of year school spectacular and the play was called “Elvis Presley, This is your Life”. It was based on the TV show of the same name. The teacher wrote the play and created parts for every student in the class except … for me and one other student.

There was even a scene where there was a screaming mob of female fans and my teacher would not allow me to be part of the mob. Really, what’s one more screaming fan? The other child and I had to sit out not only the performance but every rehearsal leading up to the show. Every time the class practiced we had to sit on the sidelines and watch. Total rejection was what I felt. I was a painfully shy child as it was and this was a huge blow to my self-esteem and confirmed my sense of being a total loser.

I was remembering this as we started filming the first episodes of the new TV segment we are making for God Centred Meditation and was totally in awe of God – how He takes the one that no one else believed in and uses them for His glory.

After my experience at school of being rejected from anything to do with acting or shows and plays and performances, the dream kind-of died. I never pursued it or thought much about it over the years.

But God didn’t forget. The Bible says “God knows the plans He has for me (and for you) And here is where the revelation comes in – I suddenly had one of those revelation, light-bulb dawning moments when I realised that the devil was trying to kill, steal and destroy my dreams even before I knew it was a God plan.

Wow, the opposition, rejection, disappointment, devastation, hurt and hardship that I faced and that you may also have, or currently are facing in an area of your life may just well be the devil trying to kill your dreams even before you realise it’s because of a God-plan for your life.

Even as a little child too young to understand any of this, the devil is so wicked, he will do anything to kill the God plans and God dreams for your life.

I cannot stress it enough, if you are feeling frustration about not knowing the purpose for your life or if you have battled against rejection and inferiority or you’ve always asked yourself “what is wrong with me?”; the only way to see God’s plan become a reality in your life is to seek Him with all of your heart.

For most of my adult life I have wondered about the plans God had for my life. And in 40+ years of being a Christian nothing released those God plans until I learned and began to practice meditating on Him.

40 years being a Christian and the dream lay dormant. 5.5 years meditating on God and the dream became a reality without my even trying.

If that sounds like I’m saying seek God and He will give you the desires of your heart – I am. Actually that’s exactly what Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart”.

But it’s not about that – the dream for me, as I’m sure it is for you, today is God Himself.

When we learn to meditate on God, when we learn to get in to the secret place where we meet him heart-to-heart and we become so consumed with Him – nothing else matters. Our heart only wants Him – everything else fades away.

Actually I believe this is what the secret is – God releases the dream to us when it doesn’t matter to us anymore. When our heart is only hungry for Him. When He holds and fills every place of our heart not because we’ve disciplined our self into that position but because we have discovered the beauty of Him, the incredible depth and amazing wonder of Him. When we get a glimpse of Him nothing else matters.

I hope that has helped, encouraged or inspired someone today – that God really does have a plan for your life. And the rejection and opposition that you have experienced in your life has been the enemy’s attempt to kill God’s plan for you. But, you know, there is healing for the damage the devil has done and there is release for all of the dreams in our heart and all of God’s purposes and plans when we seek God in meditation with all of our heart.

I would love you to tune in to watch our new segment on the Australian Christian Channel. You can watch it in Australia on Foxtel or worldwide online at www.acc.tv

It is showing at 7.55am AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) every Sunday morning and at various other times during the week. After the show airs on television we hope to upload the episodes to the website.

God bless! I pray you have a wonderful week!

Leah  ♥♥

PS.  I will be continuing to write this blog

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Your Blue Sky Day is Coming

Your Blue Sky Day is Coming

Happy New Year dear friend!

I pray you had a very happy and blessed Christmas and New Year.

Our family was very blessed to spend Christmas in Canada this year where it was very cold and snowy. I want to encourage you at the start of this new year with a little story from our trip.

We were at a ski resort in Canada, where the temperatures, even by Canadian standards, were unusually cold. Day time temperatures were averaging around (minus) -20 degrees Celsius (-4F).

We found it very difficult to ski in temperatures so cold and would have to stop after 1-2 hours of skiing to come inside, have a hot chocolate, some food, warm up and then go again.

There was one day that we were skiing and we only had an hour or so left before we had to pick up our youngest son from ski school. My husband and older son had been skiing on the far side of the mountain where I had not been and suggested that we had enough time to have a quick ski over there before we had to be back.

The only problem was that as we headed off, as so quickly happens in the mountains, the weather started to turn. Dark, angry clouds came over, it became windy and the visibility became very poor.

It was a very long, cold run down to the chairlift that we needed to get on to get back. Continue reading “Your Blue Sky Day is Coming” »

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Find Yourself in the Shadow of the Almighty

Find Yourself in the Shadow of the Almighty

This past month or so has been a very busy and emotional time for our family. Our eldest son recently sat his final high school exams, which as many will know, is a busy and emotional time for the whole family as you go through the ups and downs of their exam experiences, and as a parent come to terms with a child leaving school and becoming an independent adult.

During this time, my father-in-law became unwell and sadly passed away. We are thankful that he lived to the ripe old age of 95 and that he loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart.

After having a great first half of this year, I have found this latter half to have been much tougher. I have heard quite a few friends express a similar sentiment. Maybe your year has been a bit more difficult than expected too, or you have been, or are going through a difficult season, I just want to encourage you this Christmas season to “find yourself in the shadow of the almighty”.

Psalm 91 was my father-in-law’s favourite psalm and I have found much peace, comfort and strength in meditating on it these past few weeks.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart”

During busy and tough seasons sometimes things are happening so fast that we don’t have time to properly process them and I find an accumulation of things begin to build up in your heart – not necessarily bad things but just the “stuff” of life.

One of the beautiful things about meditation is that it allows you the opportunity to process the things that are happening in your life on a daily basis. We can give our “stuff” to God and He helps us to understand, process, forgive, let go and heal. But when we are very busy, worn-out, or going through a particularly difficult time we may not be able to process these things as fast as they are happening and an accumulation begins to grow in our heart.

And we find that we are longing for a good, long, one-on-one time with God to clear it all out.

I sat down in my meditation room one morning recently to do just that – have a good, long, one-one-one time with God and I thought about how we often talk about the Holy Spirit coming like a flood or “flooding our soul”. That’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted the Holy Spirit to flood my soul and wash away all the harsh things of life that had been so painful for my soul.

But the thought occurred to me; in the natural a flood leaves disaster, devastation and mess – especially if you are not prepared for it.

I would definitely NOT say the Holy Spirit leaves devastation and disaster but I would say that having a powerful encounter with Him often results in our having to clean up and get rid of some mess from our life. This is a good thing – the clean-up; getting rid of mess.

I realised the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about cleaning out the clutter that had accumulated in my heart and life. Not necessarily sin (although when I sort through I might find some of it is sin and I need to deal with that too) but just the mess that accumulates in busy-ness.  I’m talking about heart issues – things that we haven’t had time to deal with or process; things like hurt, pain from things not working out the way we had hoped, sadness, disappointment, stress, anger etc.

When you’re busy and tired and don’t have time to deal with, and process heart issues they accumulate and at some point we all need to take time to sit with God and clear it all out.

There is nothing more soul restoring than just sitting and resting with God in His presence allowing Him to help you clear out the clutter and mess that has accumulated. And once you take the time to stop, be still, breathe and rest in the shadow of the almighty, He will go to work on your heart… healing and restoring your soul.

You will come out of your meditation time feeling much lighter, free, peaceful and calm. Our world becomes “right” again when we re-centre ourselves on Him.

I pray that this Christmas season, especially if you have had or are having a difficult year, that you would find yourself in the shadow of the almighty (Psalm 91); find a moment, maybe even today, just to sit, breathe and be still in His presence… because there is healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2).

God bless and praying a very happy and blessed Christmas for you and all your loved ones,

Leah  ♥♥

Here is the link to read all of Psalm 91

 

 

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