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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Let the Holy Spirit have His say

Let the Holy Spirit have His say

Today I wanted to share a quick reminder and a quick encouragement with you about what to do when we get in the situation where we are anxious about a problem because there doesn’t seem to be a solution and your mind gets stuck on trying to work it out. And no matter how long you think about it your mind just seems to keep going round and round in circles with the same ideas that don’t work.

When you find yourself in this situation, don’t forget to let the Holy Spirit have His say. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to solve the problem and so stressed about not being able to find the answer that we completely forget to stop and see what God has to say.We are all guilty of this, myself included. Our minds race from one thought to another about how we could fix this and nothing seems to work and the more we are unable to solve the problem the more stressed, anxious and focussed on the problem we become.Sometimes it helps to be reminded that God has an answer and it just takes for us to stop and be still and make some space to hear Him.

This happened to me recently. I got so caught up trying to solve a problem that I kept going over the same two possible options over and over but neither seemed to work and I was driving myself crazy going round and round in circles.

That’s when I realised that a “God-answer” won’t come to me when I’m anxious and distracted because when you’re anxious your mind is not open to creative ideas coming to you, or in other words, the Holy Spirit speaking to you.

And just a side note – one of the ways the devil tries to keep us from peace and from our meditation time with God is by distracting us with issues that we feel the need to think and worry about.

I have learned that when we get into a situation like this, the best thing to do is let go of all of our own ideas about how we could fix it, let go of anxiety, breathe… and wait on God. A creative idea will come to you when you are relaxed and open and you will hear the Holy Spirit when you are not striving to find a solution.

When you relax and let the problem go to God your mind becomes open to ideas you have not thought about before. It’s like my dentist said to me once when I was clenching my teeth – he can’t get in and do the work properly if I’m tense.

Ideas and thoughts from God can’t get into our heart and mind when we’re tense and anxious.

So here are three things that I have learnt help me to stay in peace and hear from God when I am feeling stressed and anxious about solving a problem.

  1.  Deal with fear
Usually when we are anxious about something it is because we are fearful about what is going to happen if we don’t find a solution. I had allowed fear to get into my heart when I became anxious about the problem and it is almost impossible to hear God’s answer when we have fear in our heart. We need to get rid of fear by giving the problem to God and trusting that He has an answer for us.In my case I realised I also needed to ask God to forgive me for not allowing Him to lead me in the first place. I had got myself in the predicament I was in because I had acted out of fear instead of waiting and listening quietly for His leading until I had peace in my heart. When we make decisions and act out of fear it always makes things worse.It was a great lesson for the future to not act of fear but to listen for God and wait until I had peace in my heart before acting on something.
  1. Stay Present
And the second thing that we need to do in a situation like this is to “stay present”. If you’re so busy and distracted by the problem that you are not “present” then you’re not in a good place, especially for making decisions.Being present is powerful. I have a saying about meditation – and that is “Be still, be present, and be aware of God’s presence”. It is not just a quaint little saying – being present is a very powerful thing that protects us against distraction, which causes fear and anxiety.Don’t be tempted to become distracted by the problem. It will only lead to fear and anxiety.Being present keeps you in peace and stops you from wandering (or running) into distraction. When I was trying to find my own solutions I was not present. I was caught up trying to find the solution.  I was researching all the ways I could try and solve this problem but it only made me more anxious. Being present brings you back from that. It is powerful to practice being present in all our everyday moments of life and not just in meditation.

  1. Empty yourself of your own ideas, thoughts, plans and solutions
And lastly, we need to be completely empty of our own ideas, thoughts, plans and solutions and we need to be completely still to hear God’s voice. It’s not just about a solution, it’s about hearing Him.His solution might be the complete opposite of what I was expecting but I won’t hear it if I’m fixated on the only ideas that I can come up with.Come to God in your meditation time and present your cares to Him, having no preconceived ideas about the outcome and allow God to have His say. Just like Philippians 4:16 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.Then wait on Him for His answer. Come to Him and be still, not anxious and striving and wait patiently for Him. The answer will come.

Psalm 40:1 – “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry”

So if you have been striving to work out a solution to a problem this week, I encourage you to let it go, be at peace, spend some time just waiting on God in stillness and He will bring a fresh idea, the perfect plan or thought to you that you would not have otherwise thought about. Let the Holy Spirit have His say. His ideas, plans and solutions will always be so much better than ours.

And if the answer doesn’t come immediately don’t become anxious about it, His timing will be perfect if we stay in peace. Just keep waiting and trusting and He will bring the answer to you.

I’m praying that this helps you this week. I will leave you with a couple more scriptures to meditate on. I encourage you to use these in your meditation time to help settle your mind if you find yourself striving over a problem.

Psalm 37:7 – “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him”

Psalm 27:14 – “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD”

Psalm 62:5-6 – “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Remind yourself of this verse every time you feel fear start to rise – I will not be shaken!

Praying you have a peace-filled and God-blessed week.

Leah  ♥♥

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Surrender the Outcome

Surrender the Outcome

In the last blog post called “Peace. Be Still” I talked about finding peace through coming to God and letting go of our worries and cares and focusing on Him.

I want to talk about that a little bit further today. I want to share something I have learned about letting go. It’s not necessarily easy but brings incredible peace, release and freedom to our hearts and minds.

I had a situation recently where I had become quite anxious about something. I knew I had to let it go and leave it with God.

I shared last week how in times like this we need to go into our meditation time and focus on God and stay there until peace comes and fear goes.

But what about when it’s something that we really want to work out a particular way. Something we have our hearts set on; something we really need or want to happen. But maybe it’s not in our control. Maybe it’s in the hands of another person. Maybe we are anxious about getting a new job, or something we really have our hopes set on. Maybe we just need someone to make a decision that will go in our favour.

And we have no peace about it. We’re anxious and we’re hoping and we’re praying. This week I want to talk about how do we let go of that and keep peace in our heart?

This was the situation I was in recently. I was finding it very difficult to concentrate in my meditation time because I was anxious about a decision that I very much wanted to go in my favour but was in the hands of another person.

Well God is so good. He teaches us hard lessons in the most soft and gentle way. And what He taught me through this trying time was about surrender.

Surrender is the pathway to freedom and peace.

Sometimes I get so worked up and anxious about trying to work things out and I realise the lack of peace is not because of the problem it is because of my inner striving to work things out.

That’s when the Holy Spirit taught me to come into my meditation time and pray “Lord, not my will but yours be done. I surrender to the process. I surrender to the growing and maturing that you are doing in me. I surrender to what you want to teach me through this journey. And most of all I surrender to the outcome”.

Jesus taught us this so beautifully when He prayed about the situation He was in “Father if you are willing remove this cup from me” (Luke 22:42) and then in perfect surrender followed it up with “yet not my will, yours be done”.

I call it sweet surrender because it’s hard at first but when I give up my will for His, sweet beautiful peace replaces the striving and anxiety in my soul.

This is what I learnt letting go really means – this is what will bring true and lasting peace. We have to let go until we reach a point that we are no longer fixed on having a particular outcome.

Trusting God is letting go of having your heart set on a particular outcome. It is being prepared to go wherever He leads even if it’s not the way we thought it should be.

If we are anxious about something working out a particular way then we will never have peace unless that things happens. But if we can reach a point in our meditation time of being able to say “God I leave it with you. I surrender to the outcome because I know you work things together for good for me, your plans for me are good, you never leave me or forsake me, I trust that no matter what happens, you are good”.

True trusting God is not trusting that He will work things out the way we want them. True trusting God is being prepared to go with the process and letting go of our desired outcomes.

Peace and freedom come when we surrender the outcome; when we reach a place where we can say the outcome does not matter. It does not matter if it goes this way or that way because I know that no matter the outcome, God is with me, God is for me and God works all things out for my good. He does not always work things out the way I want them but He always works things out for my good.

You might be thinking but it absolutely has to work out this particular way as any other way would be a disaster – there are no other options. That’s where faith and trust come in. That’s where we need to learn to say even if the worst happens God will still work it out for good. When we let go of the fear we hold in our heart, release the controls to Him (because let’s face it we can’t do as good a job as God anyway) and when we hand that thing over and say “yes God you can have it. I trust you” that’s when peace comes.

And when we can stay in that place of being able to say “you know what, the outcome doesn’t matter to me” that is when it no longer has a hold of you.

Are you inwardly striving and in turmoil about something? Do you need to surrender to His plan, His will or His timing? Surrender the outcome. It will bring you so much peace if you do.

Praying this helps you this week. God bless, and look forward to seeing you next time.

Leah  ♥♥

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Peace! Be Still!

Peace! Be Still!

Sometimes people ask me what is the difference between prayer and meditation. I usually answer that prayer is about us talking to God and meditation is about stillness and about making space to be with God and God speaking to us.

This is true but there is also a difference in our mindset. There are many types of prayer but often prayer simply becomes about getting something from God, whereas meditation is simply about being with God.

This sounds like a minor difference but is actually massively different. In one we come to God anxious and with all our requests, desperately hoping God will do or change or fix something for us. In the other, we come to God (not necessarily peace-filled to begin with) but our focus is on Him until the point where we are no longer anxious and we are able to say “God, I let all other things go, because I know you will work it out and I simply want to enjoy being in your presence”.

This is what meditating on God is about.

In Mark chapter 4 verse 39, the Bible tells the story of when Jesus was in the boat with His disciples in the middle of a storm. Jesus stood up and said “Peace! Be still!”

It is generally understood that Jesus was speaking to the storm, which is true, but I can’t help thinking that He was also speaking to those on board the boat.

Their hearts had become panicked and fearful. With authority Jesus commanded the storm to be still and with love, compassion and comfort He spoke to their fearful hearts.

The Pulpit commentary on this verse likens it to the storms of the soul.

If you are feeling panicked and fearful about something at the moment, I know Jesus is saying to you “Peace, Be still”.

But how do you really do that in the midst of the storms in your life and the storms in your soul?

That’s where meditating on God comes in.

If you have been following my blog for a while you will have heard me say that sometimes our prayers simply become a case of us blabbing all our fears to God. And this is not good because God is not activated by fear. God is activated by faith.

That is when it is better to come aside with God in peace and stillness and instead of focussing on the worries and troubles that you have, set them aside for a while to focus on God.  My favourite scripture for doing this is Colossians 3:1-3.

I come into my meditation time and still myself internally and externally and remind myself of this scripture.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”

Instead of focussing on my worries and problems, I spend my time in meditation focussing on Jesus. I set my eyes, heart and mind on Him.

And I stay there until peace comes and fear goes.

Alicia Chole (a well-known Christian author) calls this “Periphery Prayer”. She says that if we hold our worries and fears behind us it is denial, if we hold them in front of us then we are hyper-focussed on them. But if we put them to the side and look up to Jesus, then we are not denying they are still there but our eyes are on the One who can give us peace and bring peace to the situation.

Before Jesus spoke those famous words “Peace, Be still!” His disciples were in a state of fear and panic. They said to Jesus “Teacher don’t you care that we are going to die?” because it seemed like Jesus was not doing anything about the storm but I have found that it is only when our hearts are in a state of peace that Jesus then speaks to the storm around us and says “Peace! Be Still!”

It is only when we come into His presence and set aside our fears and worries and focus on Him; it’s when we say “I’m going to set those things aside that are worrying me and I am going to focus on God” that not only does peace come into our heart but answers are released too. This is because it takes faith to set aside our worries and trust that God will take care of things for us – and faith is what activates God. That’s when Jesus can stand up in the midst of our situation and speak to the storm and say “Peace, Be Still”.

Praying this helps you this week. Look forward to seeing you again next time.

God bless,

Leah  ♥♥

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Never Despair of the Fathers Goodness

Never Despair of the Fathers Goodness

Welcome to the God Centred Meditation blog. I’m Leah Bulfin. Thank you so much for joining us this week.

This week I want to share with you from Matthew chapter 4 verses 1-11. It’s the story in the Bible after Jesus had been baptised and He went into the desert for 40 days to fast and pray. The Bible tells us that during this time the devil tempted Jesus in three particular ways. I was reading this recently and doing a study on it and I came across this fantastic message from one of the famous Bible commentators, Matthew Henry.

I thought I would share this with you today because I found this very helpful. Matthew Henry says –

“Directly after Jesus was declared to be the son of God and saviour of the world, He was tempted. The devil tempted Him to despair of His Fathers goodness and to distrust His Fathers care concerning Him”

When I read that it immediately put into perspective for me that when we’re worried and when we’re anxious about things, really it is just the devil’s way of tempting us to despair of the Fathers goodness toward us.

And as soon as I read that I felt like I could put aside my worries and my cares because I was reminded that my God is so much bigger and so faithful; He has never let me down and He will never let me down and I never need to despair of His goodness.

I find it really helpful to remind myself of this – that when I’m feeling stressed or worried or anxious, not to despair of God’s goodness toward me.

Matthew Henry finishes this passage off by saying –

“Let us learn not to take any wrong courses for our supply when our wants are ever so pressing in some way or other. The Lord will provide”

I pray this helps you too. If you’re feeling stressed or worried or anxious about something and you come to your meditation time with God and you have that sense in your spirit of not being at peace, I pray this word will remind you to not despair of God’s goodness. He IS with you. He WILL help you and He will provide for you.

God bless you! I’m praying that you have a wonderful week.

Leah  ♥♥

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Meditation Focus to experience Peace and Strength

Meditation Focus to experience Peace and Strength

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E674sscouY8?sub_confirmation=1

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to the God Centred Meditation blog. I’m Leah Bulfin, it’s wonderful to have you join us today.I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has responded to our email about the weekend retreat we are running in August. We still have the possibility of squeezing in one or two more people if you are still thinking about it. Just get in touch with us and let us know.

We have a lot of readers all around the world, so for those who are not able to join us this time I just wanted to let you know that we have plans in the near future to do some online meditation and hopefully you will be able to join us that way.

So today I wanted to share with you something that I hope will help you. Something that maybe you’ve experienced when you’ve come into your meditation time. This has happened to me on a number of occasions and even just recently.

I came into my meditation time one morning feeling very, very tired. I was extremely tired.

So one of the things I sometimes do when I meditate and I feel like I’m not really focussed and I want to find a way to help focus myself to come into that still, quiet place of God’s presence, I’ll sometimes start my meditation by meditating on a scripture – just to help focus my mind and still my spirit. It’s one of the tips that I shared in the “Finding Stillness” series, which I recommend that you go back and look at from time-to-time if you’re finding it hard to get into that still, quiet place.

So this particular morning I thought “I know what I need to do. I’m feeling really tired – I need to find a scripture about God’s strength”.

I found Habakkuk 3:19 and it says “the sovereign Lord is my strength” so I thought “yes that’s what I need to meditate on. I need to meditate on this scripture. I’m feeling so tired and that will really help me”.

So as soon as I started to meditate on that scripture, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me “you’re focussed on your tiredness, not on me”.

I was amazed. I thought – yes – that’s so true! I was really focussed at that point on trying to overcome my tiredness. The key to successful meditation and to being able to enter into the beautiful stillness of God’s presence where you just find peace for your soul and strength for your soul, is actually focussing on God – not focussing on our problem and not focussing on our need but focussing on God.

We need to be 100% solely and soul-ly focussed on God.

When we are completely focussed on God, faith is attached to that scripture and we’re able to say “He IS my strength” instead of having that desperate plea in my heart “oh God please help me through today”.

It makes such a difference to the strength that can come into our soul when we just let everything else go – even the things that we seemingly feel like we can’t control like tiredness. We let that go and we put our complete focus and attention on God and not on our problem and not on our need. And we’ll find that peace comes into our soul, strength comes into our being and it makes such a big difference to our whole day and our whole life.

So I just want to encourage you. I hope that helps you today in your meditation. I hope if you’ve come in but are feeling like “oh God I’m tired. I don’t know if I can get through this day” to not focus on that but to focus on Him. And He will give you all the strength you need.

God bless you. I really pray that helps you this week. If you find these blogs and videos are helping you, I’d encourage you to like and share with others, with your friends to share the good news with them as well.

Thank you, God bless and see you next week.

Leah  ♥♥

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