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How to Prepare for Death- talk about it.

It’s 2022 and the COVID variants are still with us. Healthy people are dying from this dreaded virus every single day. For example, today, I learnt of a perfectly healthy 19-year-old who had died within 48 hours of not feeling well. The autopsy revealed it was COVID related. 

Later in the day, I received another call about the news of a young mum with two tiny toddlers. She tested positive for COVID 19, and she felt a bit unwell but was still walking around independently. However, her doctor decided to admit her to the hospital. As the young mum settled into her hospital bed, the nurse attending her asked how she felt. She said, “I feel a little bit unwell, but apart from that, I have no other symptoms”. Unfortunately, the next day she passed away. 

On hearing this sad news of these two people who suddenly died, my heart immediately went out to these dear families who are faced with one of the worst tragedies of their lives. My Dad passed away recently, the death of a loved one is hard enough to bear when you are aware that they have but a short time to live. However, no one has time to prepare emotionally for such a horrible event when it is totally out of the blue. 

At such times, it often happens that the loved ones who are left behind are so shocked by this event they either want to freeze, flight or fight the situation. Shock is a terrible state to deal with, especially if you don’t realise that you’re actually in shock. I have a section in my book “Nothing Good about Grief, shown below, which explains what shock is and how to recognise it in yourself.

Yet, in a state of shock, the loved one is expected to deal with all legalities and funeral arrangements, leaving no time to reflect or grieve. Just after a loved one dies and the body is released, each day becomes filled with notifying banks, social services, employers, collecting death certificates, notifying utility services, etc. In addition, one might be faced with arranging the care of any children left behind, not to mention any pets. Then there is the heart-breaking task of notifying friends and family of the death of the one that you dearly loved and wonder how you do without them. 

The funeral arrangements alone are a massive task because one is not prepared for this and perhaps has never experienced dealing with these kinds of things before. All these tasks and others are terribly time-consuming, exhausting, and sleep does not come easy. Finally, the day of the funeral arrives totally exhausted from the previous week’s events the loved one feels as if they have hit a milestone. They are perhaps comforted with the words. It will be over soon. But in reality, no words are sufficient to bring the comfort of any kind. 

What most people dread is the funeral service itself. Family and friends gather around, paying respect to their loved ones, and as the funeral service progresses, the reality of the situation is revealed, a loved one has died and will not be coming back. The day after the funeral, the loved one who is left greets not only a new day but a new lifestyle and, for many, a totally new life entirely. Now without the hustle and bustle of arranging this, and arranging that, notifying this person notifying that person is behind them, then suddenly everything comes to a standstill. Busyness does not wind down slowly but ends the day after the funeral abruptly. Here, the shock is compounded, and one may ask, what shall I do now?

None of us wishes to face the reality of death, particularly in our western culture, where we tend to tuck it away, and it is never a topic of conversation. Unfortunately, not discussing what will happen in our own death has become a cultural norm and is not helpful in times of tragedy. When we are mentally and emotionally prepared for an event, we can cope with it a lot better than when we are not prepared.

We need to talk about death & Dying

Conversing around the dinner table about death and dying prepares us all mentally and emotionally for the inevitable, however distasteful we might find it. There are many other cultures that death is part of living and is celebrated in ways that support good mental health, and we should learn from them. None of us can be prepared for sudden death. However, we can prepare for the eventuality that our loved ones and ourselves will eventually die one day. 

Over the last 40 years, I have done countless funerals and supported many grieving families. I have found that those who have arranged instructions for their funeral are more likely to openly and naturally talk about death than those who don’t prepare. 

It is evident to me those people who have prepared for their funerals mentally, emotionally, and taken some action, like choosing their hymns, readings, where they want the funeral to be etc. In this case, the loved ones left behind cope far better than those who don’t benefit from prior arrangements to the death. 

I know this subject goes against our cultural grain, but we would be doing our loved ones a great favour if we did talk about death and dying and plan for our funerals. This is an act of love because it will be a considerable weight off our loved one’s shoulders when we die.

I’ve also met dozens of people who have been left in substantial financial debt, or their estate has been left in massive disarray due to a loved one’s death. If we love our loved ones, we will get our affairs in order not to overburden them at the time of our death.

I know death is not the best subject in the world, but it is a necessary one to be addressed calmly and naturally. None of us likes to think that one day we will be no more. However, the Christian hope is that that life will continue beyond this world, just in another form and in another dimension called heaven. Having this point of view and assurance that our life will continue after our death, life and death take on a completely different hue. No longer is death the scary big boogie man that must be ignored at all costs, but a fact of life that has hope for today and for an eternal future. 

  • ARE you nervous about the subject of death & dying?
  • Do you believe that there is life after life?
  • are you bereaved and finding it hard to cope?

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Lessons from the Book of Job 

Prince William, Catherin, and Harry founded a mental health charity after figures showed the number of female suicides rose sharply in 2015.

The number of women who killed themselves rose sharply last year as the number of suicides for England and Wales reached a 20-year high. According to figures released from the Ministry of Justice, there were 3,899 rulings of suicide in coroners’ courts in 2015. This was more than for any 12 months since 1995 when the data series began.

While the number of men who killed themselves fell to 2,997, 23 fewer than in 2014, the statistics for women increased by 70 to 902. The fewest suicides were in 2007 when 3,007 such verdicts were recorded, and the number has risen consistently since then.

What is it that causes a person to take their own life? The easy answer is to say its’ mental illness, shrug our shoulders and move on. But who assesses what mental illness is? By what measuring rod does one assess if a person is mentally ill or not?

I have ministered to perfectly healthy people who outwardly seem successful, and happy but have experienced an acute amount of stress that caused them to despair for their very life. However, these people were not mentally ill. 

I really believe that some people will not admit they feel suicidal for fear of being labeled mentally ill. However, wanting to die in the face of acute stress, illness or circumstances is not so unusual. 

For example, in the book of Job, we read how he wanted to die and cursed the day he was born. The Bible did not label Job as mentally ill, but we see a very human reaction through Jobs’ despair when there seems to be no hope. 

Lessons from Job 

Job can be a difficult book to understand, however, it can help us in our everyday life. I am studying Job in my personal daily quiet time and found it a wonderful insight into the human condition. None of us need to feel ashamed by having such thoughts, even if an attempt to die has been made. Like Job, we are human, and we are weak at times and may feel there’s is no way out of our circumstances expect to die. 

That’s why, just like Job, we need to be in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gives us hope and strength to live each day. Read John chapter 3 & 1 Corinthians as the whole 13th chapter.  

You have Meaning & Purpose.

We were born for a purpose, and that purpose is to love. To be loved by God and love God back and love other human beings. Each of us is unique and very important and much loved by God. We may want to end our life, but God wants us to live life to the full.

 If you haven’t already, give your life to Christ and wait on Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and you will have the passion to live out God’s purpose for your life. You will find true meaning and happiness and courage to face the most difficult of circumstances. 

Every day you will be living in God’s strength and not your own. 

Also, if you know someone who is struggling with life, pass this article to them, and pray for them. Be light in someone’s darkness today.

The real problem arises when we don’t know what to do with our troubles. We wonder how on earth do we get through this! And how do we survive this phase of mourning and not allow it to immobilize us in some way? How can we make sense of what is happening?

 This is where the 23rd Psalm helps us. As you read on, I pray that the Holy Spirit of God will minister to you and heal you in this time of grief. Psalm 23 is found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

It is important to understand who God is. If really difficult to receive healing from someone you know little about. So, let’s take a brief look at the character of God.

So, who is God? There is no name for God as we understand the term to be. God is not a John or an Eric or even a Fred, for example. But what we believe are names for God are actually descriptions of God’s nature, characters, and actions.

For instance, Jehovah-Raah, which means The Lord, my Shepherd. Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known. This denotes a God who always discloses who He is. A shepherd is the one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture (Ezekiel 34:11-15). An extended translation is “friend” or “companion.” This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people and can be understood as “The Lord, my Friend.” 

 GOD HAS NO GENDER

I refer to God as Father a lot however it does not indicate that God is a man. To be able to accept help from God. we need to trust who God is and will do what he promised us. Therefore, understanding God will benefit our faith greatly. So here we will briefly discuss who God is. God is Spirit- not a man.

People get hung up on God’s gender, but God has no gender. Why is this so important? I have found that some find it challenging to receive from God because God is a man. Past or current toxic relationships with men cause their relationship with God to become problematic. Therefore, understanding that God has no gender is especially important. 

Well, He’s a father, right? He’s a he – The concept of a genderless God can be confusing.

So let’s take a brief look and see. 

In Christianity, the Hebrew scriptures are referred to as the Old Testament. Here, God is a He. The ‘he’ simply is an allegory for His authority and creativeness. The Hebrew word he is usually not written out, but more understood from the verbal form. Then he is used as a reference to God not to be confused with the Latin HE, which refers to one’s gender.

 All the names of God in the Scripture are simply a description of his actives in creation. By this, we then understand who God is. Therefore, the is He is referring to the Infinite Being (Ain Sof), who is the creator of the universe and is above all divine names. So, God is not a he or she (Numbers 23.19-20). God is a spirit.

Jesus taught us to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4.24). A spirit is a genderless being who is eternal, beyond time and space. God is the Alpha (the beginning) and the Omega (the end) of all things. Beyond time and space (Revelation 21:6). It is the eternal creator who lives in you by his Holy Spirit so you can succeed, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” Philippians 4.13.

 We could grapple with meanings of words all day, but the vital point to grasp is that God is Yahweh, which means, I Am who I Am. It is not God’s name but describes the Eternal Divine. God in Christ is above all names, in other words, God just IS. God is past, present, and future. God is a timeless, genderless Spirit being whose essence is love.

God The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist as One beyond the universe or human imagination and yet present with us in our worst fears and the most profound grief. God shows himself in Christ, on earth. I know it’s mind-blowing, but that same Christ lives in you, who we call, the Holy Spirit. Colossians 1:27-To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

To place that into today’s understanding – Christ is the matrix of all that is. Christ IN YOU the hope of glory. ( the promise of beauty). How wonderful!

God is also depicted widely in Scripture as having female attributes. This is a beautiful metaphor depicting his nurturing character. We see this clearly in many scriptures, and just for an example here Deut. 32:18 “You forget the rock who begot you, unmindful of the God who gave birth to you“. Here we understand that God is not a rock, but the allegory is used to describe the steadfastness of God’s nature. Likewise, ‘he’ is also used in this way. Job knew the steadfastness of God and place his trust in this infinite being.

In my book ‘NOTHING GOOD ABOUT GRIEF: from grief to recovery’ I go into this in more detail.

 When we know who God is, we come to understand God in Jesus Christ, securing us in our journey through our darkest valley. 

You have meaning & purpose because God loves you and has a wonderful plan for a happy life.

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If you have, how did it get you?

Let me know, and I would love to hear from you and your testimony, in our comments section below. 

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NEW YEAR Tips to turn a setback or failure into a Comeback.

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Paula Rose Parish💕

😀So many people want their faith and church to grow. The problem is to figure out where to begin. This site is about helping people do just that. It’s for anyone   who feel stuck in their faith and long for a breakthrough. It’s for people who are exploring Christianity and want to know what it’s all about – apart from what they see in the media. If that’s you – please consider subscribing .

Subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL,  its free!

Paula is an Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.

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How to Survive Transition – Ruth, the Bible’s Cinderella Story

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Ruth in the Bible :

Ruth is a person I identify closely with. I’m drawn to the story of Ruth again and again. Ruth was a widow in a strange land with a family not her own, her life went terribly wrong for her, yet God provided for her in her poverty- why? Because she loved Naomi and trusted in the God of Abraham. There is a book in the Hebrew Bible devoted to telling Ruth’s story, and Jews read her book every year at the Feast of Weeks.

The Gospel of Matthew mentions Ruth as a Gentile who was adopted into the Jewish family for doing the right thing. It’s interesting to note that The genealogy of Jesus includes Ruth the Moabite.

There are only two books of the Bible named after women: Esther and Ruth. Ruth is also one of the few women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew when women weren’t ordinarily included in genealogies.

Ruth’s story – it’s an important one. A simple Moabite widow becomes an essential character in the powerful story of salvation woven through the Bible. Ruth’s story is commonplace, and possibly that’s what makes Ruth’s story so fascinating. She doesn’t come from a famous family. She doesn’t have great riches or a great position. Ruth is just a widow from a foreign land. At first, nothing is going in her favour, but she’s brave, and her faith never wavers. The life of a foreign widow who has nothing becomes so vital that it’s included in the Bible and her name recognized in the lineage of Jesus.

RUTH BEGINS HER JOURNEY 

A food crisis in Canaan forces Elimelech, Naomi, and their sons, to migrate from Bethlehem to Moab. In Moab, the sons marry Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Unfortunately, Elimelech passes away, and about 10 years later, both of Naomi’s sons die, as well, so Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah become widows.

Being a widow back then was even more difficult than it is today. In fact, Naomi encourages both girls to go back to their parents and find husbands who can take care of them. 

The story goes that Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law, Naomi.

Ruth 1 NIV -In – Bible Gateway

 VERSEThen Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye, and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons? Who could become your husband? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13, would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

14 At this, they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. So go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”

So, Ruth and Naomi both return to Bethlehem; unfortunately, they have nothing, so Ruth works in the grain fields to survive. It’s there that Ruth meets Boaz, who also turns out to be her “redeemer.” This means as a relative of her dead husband, he has a legal right to claim her as his wife.

 After Boaz legally secures his place as her redeemer, the two are married and later produce a son named Obed – the grandfather of King David.

What you do see is an ordinary – and challenging – life shaped by faith and guided by the God she believes in, and today we can look back and see the mighty way her life was used.

There are many things to learn from the story of Ruth, however in this article, here is just ONE powerful lesson that helped me when I was in crisis.

Lesson – WE WILL LIVE PURPOSEFULLY WHEN WE TRUST GOD

At the very beginning of the book of Ruth, she’s living in Moab, her home nation. Moab was a place that most Israelites didn’t like. It was an enemy nation, and Israelites hated the Moabites. To make matters worse, Ruth was a widow, she was childless, and she lived with her mother-in-law, in other words, not socially acceptable.

Ruth chose to stay with Naomi and help her, all the while knowing that life would be hard. Her country of origin made her an outcast, and so it would be the same in Israel. Having no husband, no children gave her plenty of reason to disappear and simply live the rest of her life in obscurity.

But that’s not what she did. She decided to go with Naomi to Bethlehem, left her country and her family behind. Ruth didn’t let her past hold her back. She chose to serve the God of Naomi while believing she would live purposefully and meaningfully.

No matter your past, it does not count for anything-you still have a purpose in your life. 

You will find meaning if you put your most authentic faith in Jesus Christ. Your past is not the predictor of your future when you make a choice in faith. Your fantastic Future Awaits YOU!!

Can you relate to Ruth in some way? If so – leave a comment- I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

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Remember to Live Life on Purpose

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Paulax💕

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How to Stay Healthy over Christmas

Many people look forward to the Christmas season, where the birth of Saviour Jesus Christ is celebrated. Visiting relatives and friends and enjoying the break from the general routine can be a welcome opportunity to relax.

 However, for many others, it can be a season of dread. For whatever reason, some have been estranged from their families or friends and will spend this time alone. For others, maybe the busyness of the season leaves them totally exhausted and grumpy.

However, you may spend Christmas and the New year; the season draws us away from our usual routines and habits that keep us on an even keel. Frequent disruptions can leave us feeling unsettled and not particularly jolly!

This is a time that we should not neglect self-care. Neglecting to care for our wellbeing may lead to stopping us from enjoying the festive season, and we don’t want that!

Before, during, and after Christmas and New year, you need to take the time to look after yourself mindfully – even if it’s just in a small way.

As you know, I am a big fan of mindfulness because it brings my mind in sync with my health and wellbeing. For example, mindfulness can play a part because when you enjoy your food and are at peace when you eat, it aids your digestion and assimilation, therefore crucial to your overall health. 

If you are following me, you will know that there is far more to mindfulness than a short blog can contain. This is because I have so much to share. Therefore, I am writing another book on Mindfulness Living, which features issues around mental health. It will be published and made available to you later in 2022 – so keep a lookout for that! 

Here are Important practical Tips to help you stay well and relaxed over the festive season and into the new year.


If you are anything like me, it’s so easy to over-indulge and stop paying attention to what you’re putting in your mouth, how you are eating, or how much you’re’ actually eating. Mindful eating slows us down to appreciate what we’re eating. 

Eat with Focus

Make it your primary focus not to get distracted when eating and ensure you enjoy the meal.

Mindfulness is simply focusing on what you are doing, feeling etc- also a great practice to stop you from overeating. Mindfulness eating is simple- think about your body and stop eating when you feel full – and eat only when you feel hungry, not just because you want to or have to.

We grab a bite or two wherever we can. Without thinking about it, we eat in our cars, at our desks, walking up the street or in front of the telly, and before you know it, we have polished off far more than we should have! We lament at our growing waistline or that sickly feeling that comes with overeating. 

Overeating may become a habit but is not an ideal approach to eating and may cause digestive problems.

To eat mindfully, we need to develop god Well- Habits as I call them. When we develop the habit of eating mindfully, it will come naturally without any deliberate effort. The healthy- habit of tuning in to all the sensations while eating will make eating food a more meaningful experience and healthier for you in the long run. Develop the habit to become aware of your bodily sensations when hungry and the right time to stop feeling that hunger. 

Mindful eating is a habit to be developed to become aware when you feel satisfied and have enough to eat. Practice the following exercise in a place where it is unlikely that you will be interrupted. 

How to Eat Mindfully

  • Find a quiet space and make it enjoyable. 
  • Put your food on excellent dishes.
  • Use good cutlery you enjoy using.
  • Sit down in front of your food and take several deep breaths. 
  • Notice the colour.
  • Notice the shape of the food.
  • Notice the texture – is it appealing to you? 
  • Ask yourself, how does it smell? 
  • Notice how the food makes you feel (excited, reminiscent, happy or anxious -other). 
  • Notice these things as you begin eating. 
  • Slow down, Don’t rush to eat- take it slow.
  • Move your hand slowly toward the cutlery, being mindful of the below steps
  • Begin to eat Mindfully.
  • Watch your hand move the utensil toward your mouth, becoming aware of the smell.
  • Notice how your body reacts to the food near your mouth and notice your teeth chewing the food. 
  • Ask yourself, how is the food positioned in my mouth? Begin chewing slowly. What are the sensations in your mouth, on your tongue? 
  • Notice what tastes you are experiencing -such as salty, sour, and sweet? 
  • When you swallow, become aware of the movement of your throat, and try to become aware of the food entering your stomach. 
  • Ask yourself, can I feel it in my stomach? Is it empty, complete, or somewhere in between? 
  • Notice when your stomach begins to feel complete.

Go for a Mindful Walk

Over Christmas, after a few days, cabin fever begins to set in We react to being cooped up with the same people– and you end up in a mindless slump watching repeats of old movies and eating and drinking far too much- No thanks.

Walking meditation involves deliberately thinking about and doing a series of actions that you usually do automatically. At first, thinking about these steps may feel awkward, even ridiculous. But, even if you feel a little silly, try to observe at least these four essential components of each step: 

1- the lifting of one foot. 

2- the moving of the foot a bit forward of where you’re standing. 

3- the placing of the foot on the floor, heal first. 

4- the shifting of the body’s weight onto the forward leg as the back heel lifts while the toes of that foot remain touching the floor or the ground. Then the cycle continues…

5- lift your back foot totally off the ground. 

6- observe the back foot as it swings forward and lowers. 

7- observe the back foot as it contacts the ground, heel first. 

8- feel the weight shift onto that foot as the body moves forward.

It may be icy outside- or it really depends on where in the world you are but try to get outdoors. If you can walk in a forest, nature reserve, or the beach- let the wind blow through your hair! If this is not possible, take a leisurely walk around a local park which is enough to clear your mind and blow away the cobwebs.

Continue to eat the meal this way, noticing as many sensations as you can.

Let me know How you stay healthy over Christmas? I would love to hear your story – so please leave your comments.

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in the top menu above.

Bye for now- and remember live life in Hope, Faith & Love!

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Paula Xx💕

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A New Baby! But who is it?

TO READ Luke 1 ON LINE- https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%201&version=NIV

Congratulations to the new mums who are experiencing their baby’s first Christmas.

A lot of us welcomed a new Grandchild or Great Grandchild into the world during the pandemic and were not able to see them until the lockdown was over. Our hearts were heavy and we wondered will we ever see our loved ones again soon. However, now it’s all over we hope- and this Christmas can be a real celebration when we once again, enjoy the company of our loved ones and cwtch those new babies!

Most of us love it when a new baby is expected into the family. Whether the child was planned or a surprise, with excitement, we speculate on what gender of the child might be, if he or she will look like mum or dad or even one of the grandparents! Our thoughts, conversations, and plans in the months running up to the delivery are full of joy and hope.

It was no different with Mary and her family. After all, they were an average family from humble roots. Having learned from the angel that she will give birth to the Son of God, Mary hurries to visit her pregnant relative Elizabeth in the hill country.

The intimate conversation that follows portrays Jesus as more important than Elizabeth’s baby John. It also shows that God is already at work to bring saving grace into the world. The limelight shines on Mary and Elizabeth, ordinary women through whom God has chosen to begin the transformation of the world.

Luke 1:39-45,
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham, and to his descendants forever."

The Power of Prophecy

Then and today, women are often overlooked or ignored both in society and in biblical narratives. Mary’s first words prompt an immediate response from Elizabeth’s unborn child. Invitro John leaps, acknowledging both Mary’s presence and the significance of the child she carries in her womb. John’s reaction to Mary’s voice fulfills Gabriel’s prophecy, “even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:15).

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth, prophecies what is not yet visible to the eye. Furthermore, through the Spirit, she knows who Mary’s child is- the saviour of the world- for she calls Mary “the mother of my Lord.” In time to come, it is her son, John who prepares the way for the Lord.

It’s worth noting here that by greeting Mary with reverence, Elizabeth overturns social expectations. Mary is an unmarried pregnant woman. She might expect judgment, ridicule, even banishment from her older kinswoman.

But Elizabeth doesn’t judge she also blesses, by proclaiming both Mary and the fruit of Mary’s womb is “blessed” she begins a series of blessings that intertwine within Luke’s birth narrative.

Mary is indeed blessed not only as of the mother of the Lord but also for her unhesitating and complete trust in God’s promise.

When Elizabeth says, “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord,” she compares Mary’s trust in God’s power and promises with her own husband Zechariah’s distrustful questioning.

Question. How do we know that Zechariah is distrustful?

Answer. He asked for proof that the angel’s word was true. (seeing is believing)

Mary although very young and marginalized (as women were in those days)- obviously was an intelligent, thinking woman, asked for an explanation of what was going to happen to her, and then gave her willing consent. (believing is seeing)

In contrast, Zechariah the educated, experienced in years, a religious professional who should know better doubted God!

Elizabeth continues to turn social norms on their head by opening her arms and her home to the young, single relative whom her neighbours may have expected her to reject.

Jesus Manifests Elizabeth’s Welcome

Surprise- Surprise- When Elizabeth welcomes Mary, she practices the same kind of inclusive love that Jesus will show to the marginalized, prostitutes, and sinners. She sees beyond the shamefulness of Mary’s situation to the truth of God’s love at work in a society that rejects and excludes. I wonder- Do we do that?

The Challenge for Us

Elizabeth’s words and actions invite us to reflect upon our own openness to the ways that God chooses to act in our world.

What is God doing through unexpected people in our society today?

Where is God at work through people whom our neighbours or churches often exclude or treat as shameful?

Will we listen to the Spirit’s prompting when the champions of God’s new reality show up on our doorstep?

These are indeed sobering questions for us all this Christmas! I hope you will be with the ones you love this Christmas, but, if you find yourself alone- be assured that the Lord is with you- so you Never Walk Alone!

Happy Christ – mas (translation- Christ Celebration)

Virtual Hugs –  Paula💕

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Featured

4 WAYS SELF-LOVE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE – For good mental health

THE TRUTH ABOUT SELF LOVE- 4 TIPS to Self-love, and why it is important  WATCH THIS VIDEO

FOR MORE ABOUT HOW TO BE SELF COMPASSIONATE FOLLOW THIS LINK- https://www.moonrosemindfulness.com/post/how-to-love-yourself-3-tips-to-mindful-self-compassion

NOW, let us LOOK AT how to have self-compassion

  1. Forgive Yourself 

Forgiveness means that you accept what has happened and your behaviour and be willing to move past it and move on with your life without worrying about things that cannot be changed. As a therapist, I learned this approach to self-forgiveness, which is also the Biblical way to forgiveness. Jesus taught us to forgive others- however- we need to forgive ourselves as well! Matthew 6:14 14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 

The below method suggests that four key actions can help you to forgive yourself. 

The 4 R’s of Self-Forgiveness 

  1. Responsibility 
  1. Remorse 
  1. Restoration 
  1. Renewal 

Forgiving yourself is beneficial for any good mental, physical, and relationship health.  

Letting go and offering yourself forgiveness can help boost your feelings of wellness and improve your self-confidence. The act of forgiveness can also positively impact your physical health. Have you heard the expression “he’s eaten up with hate”? Science and the Bible tell us that unforgiveness can manifest itself negatively in our physical bodies. If we can’t forgive ourselves, then it will be impossible to forgive others impacting our relationships.  

  1. Remind Yourself – No more People Pleasing.  

Have you heard the expression keep your opinions to yourself? Well. That’s the philosophy I was brought up with, as were many of my generation. As a result, I became fearful of what others thought of me. To this end, I expressed no personal opinion of my own in case someone did not agree with me, and I would upset them. To avoid upset, I learned to keep my opinions to myself. Unfortunately, this led me to the weakness of people-pleasing. The problem with this approach is that one forgets what is important in their own life and tends to live ‘through’ other people’s experiences, which I sad. 

I began to observe the same behaviours in others and saw what resulted from their lives down the track. Therefore, I decided that I would no longer be a people pleaser and that my opinion does matter. After a struggle of years, much sweat, and tears, I finally rid myself of such behaviour and began to value myself. In valuing myself, I was able to love myself.  

  1. Do Things That Make you Happy. 

Someone once said, ‘you were not born to live to just pay the bills then die’. No, you are more highly valued than that! 

If you are happy, you will be more productive, motivated, and fulfilled. So when the alarm sounds, you will bounce out of bed in the morning, ready to begin ad brand new day with its challenges. However, if you are unhappy, you’ll be more likely to pull the covers over your head when the alarm sounds because you just can’t face your day. 

If you are happy within yourself, it will become self-evident. You’ll automatically spread positivity, love, and joy, and Others will notice and want to be around you. After all, who wants to cosy up to a grump? 

So, think about what makes you happy and ensure you engage with those things regularly. Don’t get so busy that you have no time to do the things you enjoy. Maintaining happiness takes effort because it is a state of mind, and then doing those things that make you happy will reinforce that attitude. 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.  

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  Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post! 

  Paula Rose Parish 💕

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LIVE in HOPE, FAITH & LOVE because Your Best Life is Yet to Come! 

Paula is an Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.

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Featured

The Real Story of Christmas- from Fear to Faith

Because the birth of Christ shows us God’s Presence, Luke 2:9-14 The shepherds, working in the countryside, are suddenly confronted by an angel of the Lord, who said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.” Don’t be afraid, “he said to them, because God is coming to be with you.” “For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

The shepherds were shocked and terrified at the presence of an angel because they may have thought that he was coming to bring judgment upon them. When the glory of the Lord shone around them, they didn’t know what to do, and caused fear to come into their hearts. That is why the angel said, “Fear not.” But their reaction is similar to the way many of us would react today because many of us are afraid of the supernatural presence of God.

When the angel told them to stop being afraid, not only was their terror soothed, but the angel’s words had a deeper meaning as well. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” What were those good tidings?

There is born to you this day a Saviour.” God has come into your world to live among you! From here on, the world will be a different place—your lives will be different—because you have the presence of God with you physically.

 If we remember the angel’s word to Joseph in Matthew 1, we’ll recall that Joseph was told the baby’s name was to be “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.” When Jesus was born, that was the moment in history, when God became one of us. Even though Jesus was crucified and rose again, and then ascended to the Father, we today still have the presence of God with us through the Holy Spirit. We need to stop being afraid fear not! —God is with you.

In the Hebrew Bible- (Old Testament)- God promised His presence to His people, so they didn’t need to be afraid anymore. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’ (Isaiah 41:10). God’s presence makes all the difference! That is why we don’t have to be afraid anymore. Jesus spoke about this: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

Jesus wants us to be aware of His presence with us – in us-, for in some of the last words He said to His disciples, He assured them: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Because Christ was born, we have the benefit of being in presence of God at all times! You remember the words of Christ to the thief on the cross: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus had already told His disciples in John 14, “Let not your heart be troubled.” In other words, don’t be afraid! Why? Because Jesus was going back to the Father, and there He would prepare a place for us. Don’t be afraid, because are going to be together forever.

Not only that but Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” John 14:3)

But wait on! It gets better! The apostle Paul writes about the return of the Lord Jesus in 1 Thessalonians 4:17— “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord.”

All these wonderful things happen because Jesus was born as a baby in Bethlehem!

The Good news is that God’s presence is with us all the time, not just at Christmas, but many times we cannot see it. The presence of God was made available to us when Jesus was born into our material world. “Fear not, for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

So, this Christmas and every Christmas, be aware of God’s purpose for your life. Do you know that God’s promise, is for you as it was fulfilled through His Son? Is God present in your life through Christ? Let me know, what you think I would love to hear from you in our comments section below

The word of God to you today is go from fear to faith. Fear not – Jesus has been born! God has entered the world—and you don’t have to be afraid, anymore!!

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Bye for now- and remember live life in Hope, Faith & Love!

Virtual Hugs

Paula Xx💕

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How do we Prepare for the Second Coming-and for whatever life brings us?  

Reading

Luke 21:25-36  25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

This is a difficult text.  If it weren’t in the Advent 1 Year C lectionary, I probably would skip it. But that bothers me.  You see, I respect the Bible as God’s Word.  I believe that God inspired the writers of the Bible.  God caused them to write about the things we need to know.  Therefore, if I don’t like a particular scripture, the problem is probably with me and not with the scripture.  In fact, I often find that, when I take the time to deal with a text that I don’t like, God often turns on lights for me that I hadn’t even imagined were there.

 Again, we are tempted to ignore apocalyptic texts such as this.  Not only are they difficult to understand, but we are embarrassed by the extremes of today’s apocalyptic preachers.  However, we must acknowledge that Jesus spoke clearly about the Second Coming (also known as the Parousia), and other New Testament writings emphasize it as well.  The lectionary does us a service by helping us to recover this important doctrine.

Our Gospel lesson for this week has its beginning in Jesus’ prediction that the temple will be destroyed (vv. 5-6) and the disciples’ question, “Teacher, so when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are about to happen?” (v. 7).  Jesus responds by telling of wars and rumours of wars, earthquakes, and plagues (vv. 9-11), the arrest of Christians for witnessing (vv. 12-19), and the destruction of Jerusalem (vv. 20-24).  Then come the cosmic signs of verses 25-26, which is where our Gospel lesson begins.

Jesus does not say these things to frighten us, but to prepare us. 

Our proper response is not to be terrified (v. 9), but to avoid being led astray by false teachers (v. 8) and to take advantage of opportunities for witnessing created by the turmoil (v. 13).  We are not to be concerned about preparing our defence, “for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to contradict” (v. 15).

This is a very different scene from that which is too often proclaimed from apocalyptic pulpits today.  There is no car suddenly left driverless at the Rapture.  Jesus does not lift us above turmoil and suffering but drops us into the middle of it. 

“The ‘redemption’ that is promised is not a private lifeboat to save a few privileged folks while everything else is destroyed” (Ringe, 253).

Jesus’ purpose is not to insulate us from discomfort, but to prepare us for redemption.
Jesus makes   two major points are made here

POINT ONE LUKE 21:25-28.   THERE WILL BE SIGNS

5″There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and on the earth anxiety of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the waves; 26men fainting for fear, and for the expectation of the things which are coming on the world: for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28But when these things begin to happen, look up, and lift up your heads because your redemption (Greek: apolytrosis–sometimes used for being redeemed from slavery) is near.”


Jesus has been speaking about the destruction of the temple (vv. 5-6) and Jerusalem (vv. 20-24).  He now turns his attention to the future of the world at large.  The former will be characterized by the coming of armies, who will bring destruction (v. 20).  The latter will be described by the coming of the Son of Man, who will bring redemption (v. 27).  Both events will be devastating, but the destruction of Jerusalem will be catastrophic, while the coming of the Son of Man will be redemptive.

The coming of the Son of Man is heralded in Daniel 7:13-14.  That chapter describes Daniel’s vision, where he saw frightening beasts doing terrible things.  Then the Ancient of Days (God) took his throne, destroyed the beasts, and was joined by “one like a son of man”–a human figure in contrast with the earlier beastly images.  This “one like a son of man” is given “everlasting dominion,” and “The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole sky, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High” (Daniel 7:27).  The picture is that of a world restored to God’s intent–an end of chaos and evil–a beginning of peace and justice.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and on the earth anxiety of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the waves” (v. 25).  When Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple, the disciples asked, “Teacher, so when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are about to happen?” (v. 7).  Jesus then talked about wars and earthquakes and famines and plagues and great signs from heaven and persecution (vv. 19).  Those were the signs that would point to the destruction of Jerusalem.  Now, in verse 25, Jesus talks about the signs that will point to the coming of the Son of Man–cosmic signs involving the sun and moon and stars.

Jesus portrays a scene very much like the one described in the book of Daniel.  The coming of the Son of Man will seem catastrophic (vv. 25-26)–and Jesus implies that it will be catastrophic for unbelievers–but it will usher in the redemption of believers (v. 28). 

The picture is that of the birth of a new world–of all creation in labour.  However, that labour will give birth to a wonderful new world where evil will be ended–where creation will be restored to God’s design.  It is therefore a time for hope–for eager anticipation–for joy.

“the roaring of the sea and the waves” (v. 25b).  If the sun, moon, and stars are affected, they can be expected to have an effect on earthly things as well.  We know how the moon controls tides.  Just imagine the ways an altered sun would affect us.

“men fainting (Greek: apopsuchonton–faint or die) for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world: for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (v. 26).  Fear will be so intense that people will faint.  The word apopsuchonton can also mean die, so it seems likely that some people will be literally scared to death.

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to happen, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near” (vv. 27-28). 

The surprise here is that the warning signs pointed, not to the destruction but to the coming of the Son of Man–to redemption.  Gardner Taylor, the great African-American preacher, had a sermon on this text that he concluded by shouting, “Look up!  Look up!” Then he paused, his voice softening, and he proceeded very deliberately:  “For your redemption–draweth–nigh!”  Great words for an African American congregation that has suffered more than its share of turmoil!  Great words for us all!

“But when these things begin to happen, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near” (v. 28).

Jesus’ language seems strange to us, but that would not be the case for Jesus’ disciples, who know Hebrew scripture.  Hear these examples (see also Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10; Haggai 2:6).

o The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts (Psalm 46:6).

o You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them (Psalm 89:9).

o The earth is utterly broken, the earth is torn asunder, the earth is violently shaken (Isaiah 24:19).

o I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke (Joel 2:30).

Such language is poetic.  We cannot expect to connect it to specific events but need instead to hear the promise that God intervenes decisively in our history.  It is not a threat, but a promise!

“your redemption (Greek:  apolytrosis) is near.”  Redemption involves bringing liberty to a captive, usually through a ransom payment–the payment required to secure the redemption.  The New Testament presents Jesus’ death on the cross as a redemptive act for humanity–as a “ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Paul speaks of “the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).  He says that Christ Jesus became for us “wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).  He tells us that “we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7)–and that Jesus Christ is the one “in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins” (Colossians 1:14).

POINT TWO LUKE 21:34-36.   Be ready & BE CAREFUL

For one thing, this scripture tells us to get ready and to stay ready, because you never know when the day will come.  Jesus says:“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with overindulgence and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap” (vv. 34-35).

That’s good advice, isn’t it?  Get ready and stay ready, so that:

Those are three killers, aren’t they!  overindulgence and DRUNKENNESS and the WORRIES of this life.”Those three things literally kill people.  If you don’t believe me, ask your doctor whether overindulgence drunkenness and worries kill people.  I am confident that he will say, “yes”

            Soldiers talk a lot about readiness.  Commanders remind them regularly that they need to be ready for whatever might come–whenever it might come.


“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life (PAUSE) and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap.”

It would be so easy to say, “Well, let’s not get excited now.  After all, Jesus hasn’t come back for two thousand years.  Why should we think that he will come soon?  Let’s not inconvenience ourselves now.  Let’s not pray now.  Let’s not worry now.  After all, we read the Bible last month.  Surely we don’t need to read the Bible this month too.”

But Jesus says to us- Be on guard Jesus calls us to be ready now because we might have no warning. That’s good advice whether we are preparing for the Second Coming or just preparing for tomorrow.  “Get ready” is good advice for every day, regardless of what that day might bring.  If we are spiritually ready for the Second Coming, we will also be spiritually ready for whatever else life brings.

IN CLOSING

Former British Prime minister Benjamin Disraeli said “The secret of success in life is to be ready for opportunity when it comes.”

Then there is this Chinese proverb –“ Dig a well before you are thirsty.”

The early church thought a lot about Christ’s Second Coming, and their message was always one of hope. 

The great preacher, Alexander Maclaren, put it this way.

“The primitive church thought more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ than about death or heaven. The early Christians were looking not for a cleft in the ground called a grave, but for a cleavage in the sky called Glory. They were watching not for the ‘UNDERtaker’ but for the “UPPERtaker.

I know this can be a difficult subject for some people, however, I hope you enjoyed reading it.

  • ARE you nervous about the second coming?
  • Do you believe that Christ will return in physical form?
  • How are you preparing for the second coming?

 Let me know, what you think  I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

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Bye for now- and remember live life in Hope, Faith & Love!

Virtual Hugs

Paula Xx💕

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4 Simple Steps to the best way to make a decision you won’t Regret.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Sometimes making decisions is hard, especially when some doubts or fears make you reconsider your position, and so you hesitate and wonder if you should give up or keep going. This indecisiveness can be a torment if we allow it to be. Trying to make a choice that feels unclear is really difficult to do. Choosing to move on from something, to take a new job, to begin or end a relationship – you know the big decisions – can sometimes be so all-consuming, confusing, and fearful that we end up making none at all, and just settle for the status quo.
So, how can we teach ourselves to make our decisions with confidence? The best way through is to try to be objective.

Ask Yourself Questions

To be objective, ask yourself a question as if someone else is asking you. Try to remove yourself from any apparent emotion that may influence you and ask..

.a. how do I choose the right thing?

b. How do I know that I am not making a mistake?

In this blog, I am here to share with you that Mindfulness can help you in this regard.’ Along with prayer, I have found Mindfulness to be a powerful tool that enables your mind to focus your attention to get the answers you need. It can become more than a practice, but a lifestyle that helps you be aware at all times. Mindfulness teaches you to pay attention to what’s happening right now. It also answers how and why enabling you to focus on the decisions you need to make.

If you want more details about Mindfulness and how to implement it into your life, search my blog post because I have many articles that will help you with that. T

To make the right choice, you need to understand each part of the step-by-step process that goes into making informed decisions.

Here are Four Simple Steps to help you Prayerfully make informed decisions

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Gather the information to define the decision to be made
  3. Make a choice
  4. Learn from feedback

1. Identify the Problem.

For effective decision-making, you need to accurately identify the problem to be solved. This might sound straightforward, but it’s impossible to begin working on a plan of action when you don’t fully comprehend the question you are trying to answer. Mindfully (stay in the moment) and reflect upon the problem, develop questions accordingly, and then write them down. Look at them and allow them to soak into you. Ensure that these are the right question to ask. Wrong decisions are repeatedly made when the question is incorrectly identified, so make sure you precisely and accurately spot the decision that must be made. When you are satisfied, move to the next step.


2. Gather the information to define the decision to be made.

Now, Take your notebook or computer and write down the information you gather. This is part of the mindfulness process. Mindfulness is kind to your brain and your brain cannot remember all that you need to. So use your notebook so you can refer to it later. Also, by writing it down it can be shared with others. Decision-making requires a good understanding of the current state of the problem to be solved to understand all implications of the potential choices you have. For this reason, it can be valuable to consider the views of all parties involved because they will be affected by the decision. These may include family, customers, employees, or suppliers. Gather accurate information on how the current problem is affecting people now.


Be sure to identify existing conditions that may be connected to the decision in question. As much information as possible should be gathered to build your confidence that a decision has been accurately and appropriately made before additional evaluation and alternatives begin. It is rare for there to be only a decision that is conclusive and there’s no alternative; Once a decision has been defined, the next step is to identify the alternatives to select from. Try to identify as many different alternatives as possible without making too narrow a distinction between them, and narrow the list based on evaluation, resource limitations, or time constraints or any other revenant factor. You may decide to do nothing, which is an alternative worthy of reflection.


3. Make a choice

To make the right choice Meditation or if you prefer to call it- prayer and reflection is a mindful process. Prayer and reflection together give you time and space just for you to clear your head of any bias and look at the facts objectively. There is nothing worse than an emotional decision- I know I have a lot of them behind me!


But when you sit down and close your eyes to meditate or reflect, you are pressing pause for a few minutes. This is a moment of quiet and peace that can help to put all the heaviness and confusion surrounding a big decision into a balanced perspective. This mindful process helps you to connect with what is right for you. There is an inner voice we all hear – our intuition. We often make decisions with our emotions which can be all over the place. If you’re confused, unsure, or overwhelmed by a decision, concentrate on listening to yourself and the voice of others.


4. Learn from feedback

Feedback isn’t simply about someone telling you what you did right or wrong – it’s a process in which you reflect on your decision and take action to correct it or improve future decision-making. Feedback is quick and easy if you ask yourself these questions….

  1. what is the outcomes of the decision?
  2. what I need to improve, or adapt and
  3. Could I have dome thing differently – If so, How?

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How to Pray with Different Kinds of Prayers.

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Prayer should not be a scary thing to do. Prayer is simply a conversation with God and should be made all the time, as we see in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. As we grow in our love for Jesus Christ, we will naturally want to talk to Him. To chat with God and to listen to his voice as well. Prayer is a two-way conversation.

You may think that there is only one proper way to pray. But in fact, there are many ways to pray. I think God encourages us to pray in different ways because we are diverse in our humanity. If there was only one way to pray- it would divide us. We would accuse each other of not ‘doing it right.

 So, diverse ways of praying do a different thing- achieve different results. This article will show you the various ways you can pray. Let’s start with scripture….

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requestsWith this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” 

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requestsWith this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” 

I love this verse! as we can see, we are told to pray in the Spirit: Pray on all occasions for all the Lord’s people always with all kinds of prayers.’

The Prayer of Faith.

James 5:15 says, “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” This is when prayer is offered in faith for someone who is sick, asking God to heal. When we pray, we are to believe in the power and love of God.

 The Prayer of Agreement.

Agreement between people is a powerful thing. Mt 18:19 ‘If two of you shall agree. Two people together constitute a Christian fellowship. The sincere united prayers of this fellowship shall be heard. Christ will be present wherever two or three are gathered in his name. After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples “all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14). Later, after Pentecost, the early church “devoted themselves” to prayer (Acts 2:42). Their example encourages us to pray with others.

 The Prayer of Request or Asking. 

James 4:2 that says “you have not because you ask not” is mainly based around two things. First, ask for wisdom because that is the principal thing, and ask with a pure heart. However, it is vitally important we ask and let all of our requests be known unto God. We are to take our requests to God. Philippians 4:6 teaches, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Part of winning the spiritual battle is to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18).

 The Prayer of Thanksgiving.

We see another type of prayer in Philippians 4:6: thanksgiving or thanks to God. “With thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Many examples of thanksgiving prayers throughout the Bible

 The Prayer of Worship.

 Worship means to bow and serve. Worship, therefore, focuses on who God is; thanksgiving focuses on what God has done. There are many examples of how to worship in the Bible. This one is from Psalm 75:1

‘ We praise you, God, we praise you, for your name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.

 The Prayer of Dedication.

Sometimes, prayer is a time of setting us apart to seek God’s will. Jesus made such a prayer the night before His crucifixion: “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).

 The Prayer of Intercession/praying for others

Many times, our prayers include requests for others as we intercede for them. We are told to make intercession “for everyone” in 1 Timothy 2:1. Jesus serves as our example in this area. The whole of John 17 is a prayer of Jesus on behalf of His disciples and all believers.

 Praying in the Spirit 

 The Bible also speaks of praying in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:14-15) and prayers when we cannot think of adequate words (Romans 8:26-27). In those times, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. The scripture I really love is and relate to is….

Jude 1:20 ‘But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Course.  

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

 Paula Rose Parish X💗

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How to know you’re dealing with a toxic person: Matthew 11:23

Mark 11:28 Context

25And when ye stand praying, forgive if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father, which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. 27And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? 29And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30The baptism of John, was it from heaven or of men? answer me. 31And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?

When the Bible talks about scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests, we pretty much know what to expect. They were religious leaders, but we know them as Jesus’ enemies. This is because they were constantly scheming against Jesus, trying to trick him, trap him, and try to trip him up.

This story is about Toxic people, and we can learn how to deal with such people who are in our lives.

Sometimes it’s fun to read the stories about them because they often find themselves caught in the trap they had set for Jesus. Reading about the scribes and Pharisees is a little like watching a Roadrunner cartoon. If you are around my age, you may remember the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote? 

The scene would open with Wile E. Coyote standing at the lip of a cliff, struggling to push a huge boulder to fall on Roadrunner as he comes by on the road below. Then we would see Roadrunner running along the road at warp speed and Wile E. Coyote struggling to push the boulder in time to squash him. Then, finally, Roadrunner would zip by–beep, beep–before the rock ever posed any danger, and Wile E. Coyote, in his panic, would trip and fall over the cliff. 

We would see him falling through the air and being squashed flat as he hit the road. He would then pick himself up and begin to pull himself together, then he would look up–and there the rock would be, right above him–and Wile E. would find himself squashed flat one more time by the rock that he had intended for Roadrunner. And then we would see Roadrunner again, still moving at warp speed–beep, beep! I love Roadrunner cartoons.

The Toxic People

The Scribes and Pharisees are toxic people, they try to trap Jesus, they often fall into their own trap. It’s fun to watch–especially if you’re a Roadrunner fan!

In our Gospel lesson today, the chief priests and elders ask Jesus where he gets his authority. That was a legitimate question! The chief priests and elders were responsible for the religious life of Israel, and Jesus was doing some pretty provocative things.

For one thing, just before today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Yet, at the same time, the people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” And Jesus did nothing to correct them.

Then Jesus went into the temple, where people were buying and selling animals for temple sacrifice, and others were serving as moneychangers. These sellers of animals and moneychangers were well within their rights to do what they were doing. Nothing happened in the temple without the priests’ permission, so the sellers and moneychangers must have asked for and received permission to do what they were doing. In other words, they were AUTHORISED!

If you have ever served in the military, you know that word–AUTHORISED! If you are authorised, you can do it. If you are not authorised, you cannot. It’s that simple!

Well, these animal sellers and moneychangers were AUTHORISED! They had permission to sell animals and to change money on the temple grounds. The priests had given them permission, or they could not have done what they were doing.

And there was a good purpose behind their activity. People came from afar to make sacrifices at the temple, and it wouldn’t work to require them to bring their own animals. Sacrificial animals had to be outstanding specimens–perfect–no blemishes. Just imagine trying to bring a lamb from Nazareth or some other faraway place–having picked out the best of the flock–and seeing the animal injured on the long journey. Then you wouldn’t be able to make your sacrifice. And then you would have to take the injured animal home again.

No, that wasn’t practical, so, the priests had AUTHORISED these sellers of animals and the money changers in the temple. It was a public service–and it also brought in some money to the temple. It made sense, and so it was AUTHORISED!

But Jesus walked into the temple and drove out the buyers and the sellers, and turned over their tables, and scattered their money all over the floor. He accused the merchants of making God’s house into a den of thieves. Can you imagine! These people were well within their rights! They were AUTHORISED!

And then Jesus set up shop inside the temple, as if he owned the place, and began to teach. Now, to teach in the temple, one needed to be a rabbi. To be a rabbi, one had to go through the proper training–and the laying on of hands–in other words, ordination. Jesus was not adequately trained, and no one had ordained him. What right did he have, then, to teach in the temple? None! But there he was, teaching the people, and the people were acting as if Jesus were someone extraordinary. 

But Jesus was NOT AUTHORISED!

So, the chief priests and the elders asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Good question! Exactly the right question for them to be asking!

“By what authority do you do these things, and who gave you this authority?”

In other words, they were asking Jesus if he was AUTHORISED–and, if so, who AUTHORISED him. There was only one correct answer because only the priests could authorise a person to do what Jesus was doing–and they had not AUTHORISED Jesus.

If Jesus were not AUTHORISED, he was clearly wrong to do to the animal sellers and the moneychangers. Perhaps even criminals that made his teaching in the temple questionable. So, the priests and elders asked, “By what authority do you do these things, and who gave you this authority?” Good question! It was their job to ask such questions!

But Jesus responded by asking them a question. He told them that if they answered his question, he would answer theirs. So, Jesus asked, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” 

 He talked about John the Baptist, the great prophet–greatly respected by the people–dearly beloved by nearly everyone–but not dearly beloved by the chief priests and elders. So, Jesus asked, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?”

That was a good question, too, because Jesus was asking who AUTHORISED John the Baptist to be a prophet. But, of course, as a prophet, John’s authorisation came straight from God. 

Everyone knew that–everyone except the chief priests and elders. The chief priests and elders would not admit that John was AUTHORISED because they had not AUTHORISED him. It was a power thing! The chief priests and the elders were in charge. 

They didn’t like people like John and Jesus coming out of the blue–claiming authority from God–challenging the authority of the priests and elders.

By this time, John was already dead–killed by King Herod. The chief priests and elders must have breathed a sigh of relief when they heard the news of John’s death. One down and one to go!

But now Jesus was asking, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” That put the chief priests and the elders in a bind. If they said that John’s authority came from heaven, then Jesus would ask why they had not obeyed John. If they said that John’s authority did NOT come from heaven, then the people would rise up against them because they knew that John’s authority DID come from God. That was very clear to the people. They would not tolerate anyone–even these powerful priests–saying anything wrong about John.

Then, the chief priests and elders said, “We don’t know!”. But it was their JOB to know! It was their job to protect the people from false prophets. It was their job to make decisions about prophets! But they said, “We don’t know!” then, Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things”.

Jesus Explains in a Simple Way

Jesus told a story about a father who had two sons. He asked the first son to work in the vineyard, but he said, “No way!” But then, later, the son realised that he had been wrong, so he went into the vineyard and did what the Father had asked him to do. In the meantime, the Father asked his second son to work in the vineyard, and the second son said, “Sure, Dad!” But then the second son wandered off, doing his own thing. He never did go to the vineyard.

Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders, “Which of the two did the will of his father?”

Now the chief priests and the elders indeed realised, at this point, that they were in deep trouble, but they couldn’t say, “We don’t know!” again. Everyone was watching, and they already looked pretty foolish. To say, “We don’t know!” one more time would have confirmed that they were, indeed, incompetent. So, they answered that in the first song, the one who initially looked disobedient but turned out to be obedient–that first son was the one who had done the will of the Father.

So, Jesus said to the chief priests and elders–and I want you to hear this–keep in mind that Jesus is talking to the best of the best–the holiest of the holy–and Jesus said to these holy men – ALBEIT TOXIC PEOPLE!

“Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes

are entering into the Kingdom of God before you.

For John came to you in the way of righteousness,

and you didn’t believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.

When you saw it, you didn’t even repent afterward that you might believe him”.

 That was harsh language for Jesus to use on these holy men, but we’re glad that he did. We’ve seen people who seemed to be something that they were not–in other words, fakes –and we’re glad to see them exposed! 

We’ve seen influential people who use their power to keep themselves in power rather than using their power to help people.

The Problem with this Story

But there are a couple of problems with Jesus’ story. One is the problem of today’s tax collectors and prostitutes–in other words, today’s unrepentant sinners. It’s easy for sinners today to read this story and think, “I am terrible, but at least I am honestly terrible–and so I am better than these holier-than-thou hypocrites who go to church every Sunday!”

We have to be careful not to take that attitude. Jesus calls us to holiness–absolute holiness–, not to a life of judging the other person.

The other problem with this story is that we might think that it concerns people who lived two thousand years ago–and has nothing to do with us today. That, too, would be wrong. 

This Story is about You and Me

This story has everything to do with us today. We all know toxic people and sometimes we just have to get tough with him like Jesus, and not let them walk all over us- like Jesus.

This story also speaks with extraordinary power to preachers and deacons and Sunday school teachers and–well, it speaks to all of us who try to be true Christians. It warns us that if we’re not careful, we’ll become smug and self-satisfied. It warns us that if we’re not careful, we’ll wake up someday to find that we good guys are really the bad guys, and the wrong people are the good people!

In her book, Amazing Grace, Kathleen Norris talks about a Methodist pastor from Montana, USA.

This pastor told Kathleen about a woman who had become a member of their little church. She had been a drunk–a terrible drunk! She had been a cocaine addict! Some people referred to her as a “cocaine whore!” because she was sleeping with whomever! 

And then she sobered up! And then she started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and some of her AA friends took her to church! So now I want you to stop thinking about how much courage it took that woman to step inside that little church – but she went–and she kept going back–and then she joined the church. She began volunteering, and you know how hard it is to get anyone to volunteer. So she volunteered for everything that came along, and started studying, teaching, and visiting. Kathleen Norris sums her up this way:

“It was as if she had tasted salvation and couldn’t get enough of it,

or of the new relationships which these activities had led her to.”

Salvation took such hold in her that, however, she was no longer a promiscuous person. The difference was that she was no longer self-destructive but a bearer of new life to others.

In other words, the woman was no longer promiscuous with her sex, giving it to men randomly. Instead, she was now unrestrained with Christian love–loving people randomly, loving them as Christ would have her to love them.

What can we learn?

Going back to Jesus’ story, we can examine ourselves and ask- Am I a toxic person? which kind of son or daughter an I?

Are you liking the first son, who didn’t want to obey the Father–but finally did? Or are you liking the second son, who said that he would obey but did not?

Are you a renegade–a rebel–but a person who finally decides to do the right thing? Or are you one of those people whose name is on the church rolls but who never does anything for Jesus?

Or are you one of those people who obeys Christ when it feels right but who feels free to disobey the rest of the time (hidden toxicity?

Or are you one of those people who says, “I just don’t want to get involved!”

Or are you one of those people who just doesn’t care!

Jesus says, Careful! Get busy going where God has called you to go, lest you find the tax collectors and prostitutes going into heaven while you watch from the sidelines.

Get busy doing what Christ has called you to do, lest you find yourself watching the drunks and junkies at heaven’s gate while you ask, “When will it be my turn?” Time to get serious, to be the person that God has called you to be!

What strategies do you HAVE TO SPOT A TOXIC PERSON? Let me know- and If this article was helpful to you, please let me know, I would love to hear from you.

Has this post helped you in some way – If so – leave a comment- I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

If it was, please follow this blog, you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also, head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Stress Relief Master Class. 

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post.

Paula x

Thank you for visiting me here and being part of this new community!

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Your Best Life is Yet to Come! 

Paula is an Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.

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6 Tips for staying sane at  Christmas 

The United Kingdom Mental Health Foundation reports that 54% of UK adults are worried about their mental health or someone they know this Christmas. As we approach Christmas, significant numbers of people are expressing their concern for the mental health of relatives (38%), friends (31%), partners/spouses (27%), and children (28%).  

Psychological Health Care, based in Australia, reports that a third of Australiansreport that their relationships are negatively affected by Christmas due to work-life balance issues and financial concerns.  

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, only 46% of Americans say they celebrate Christmas as primarily a religious rather than a cultural holiday. 

Christmas is often thought to be a season of peace and good cheer; however, the opposite is true for many. 

 I live in the United Kingdom, where the suicide rate, domestic abuse, family estrangement, and job losses are at their peak during the Christmas season. So instead of celebrating the birth of the saviour Jesus Christ (Christ- Christ-mascelebration), with joy, thousands are facing an uncertain future.   The expectations of having to celebrate Christmas whether one wants to or not can be enormous. As a result, researchers point out that The role of Christianity in Christmas is at an all-time low. 

Most have taken the ‘Christ out of Christmas and celebrate it as a regular holiday. I wonder when we devoid the original value of a long-held tradition of being Jesus Christ Birthday, we go down the rabbit-hole of secularism that widely holds to the ‘me’ culture. If we are honest, we have fallen into that hole at times!  

 The ‘me’ ideal promotes one’s desires above all others. Whereas the Christian ideal is to put others above oneself.  

 I include believing Christians in this following statement- have we lost the practical teachings of Christ to conform with the status quo? We have no wonder that even believers end their own lives, abuse, or divorce those they promised to love and protect.  

However, if you celebrate the Christmas season or don’t, you must care for yourself and those you love. 

So, here are a few tips for your consideration. 

  1. Have Realistic Expectations 

Christmas can become highly stressful when your grand plans float adrift. When things don’t go the way you intended, tension between people can ensue. Instead of promising yourself that this year will be the biggest, brightest, and best Christmas ever, permit yourself to have a less-than-perfect Christmas. Accept that you live in the real world where things do go wrong- and this is normal!  

  1. Have a Back-Up Plan 

Because things may not go as planned, having a plan B in your back pocket is wise. For example- have a pre-cooked meat joint or vegetarian option in the freezer that you can quickly defrost if you need it. The same goes for desserts or other foods.  

  1. Plan Ahead 

Some people hold to the that Christmas Eve is their primary celebratory day. It has been my family tradition that the primary day is Christmas day. These days, I visit my family for Christmas; however, when they visited me, I cooked as much food as I could the day before. I would arrange the house to accommodate extra people and set the table a day or two before. Pre- preparation allowed me to be more restful on Christmas day so I could enjoy the company of friends and family. 

  1. Avoid Debt or Overspending.  

It is wise to Set a Budget and Stick to it! My family and I agreed that we would not spend over a certain amount of money on each other. We also exchange our wish lists 4 – 6 weeks before Christmas day, which is helpful because it allows us to stay well within our budget. Also, the wish list helps because we end up buying gifts that are actually needed or wanted. There is nothing more disappointing for many people than giving a gift that will be returned or re-gifted.  

  1. Take Some Time Out 

Ensure you take some time for yourself every day to get away from the busyness. Getting outside for a walk in the fresh air, exercising no matter how light, is a great way to boost your hormones, such as serotonin, which positively affects your mood. Equally, spending some quiet time elevates your mind from the pressures of constantly engaging with people.  

  1. Relax & Enjoy Yourself! 

This tip does not need any explanation 

 – Happy Christmas! 

What strategies do you employ to cope with the Christmas season? Let me know- and If this article was helpful to you, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.  

Thank you for visiting me here and being part of this community! 

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 I look forward to your next visit here and remember.  

Your Best Life is Yet to Come!  

  

Surviving the Silly Season, 12 Tips for a Mentally Healthy Christmas

  

Paula is an Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.  

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God’s authority or ours? Mark 11:28 – who gave you the authority do these things?

When the Bible talks about scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests, we pretty much know what to expect. They were religious leaders, but we know them as Jesus’ enemies. This is because they were constantly scheming against Jesus–trying to trick him–trying to trap him–trying to trip him up.

Sometimes it’s fun to read the stories about them because they often find themselves caught in the trap they had set for Jesus. Reading about the scribes and Pharisees is a little like watching a Roadrunner cartoon. You remember Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. 

The scene would open with Wile E. Coyote standing at the lip of a cliff, struggling to push a huge boulder to fall on Roadrunner as he comes by on the road below. Then we would see Roadrunner running along the road at warp speed and Wile E. Coyote struggling to push the boulder in time to squash him. Roadrunner would zip by–beep, beep–before the rock ever posed any danger, and Wile E. Coyote, in his panic, would trip and fall over the cliff. We would see him falling through the air and being squashed flat as he hit the road. He would then pick himself up and begin to pull himself together–and then he would look up–and there the rock would be, right above him–and Wile E. would find himself squashed flat one more time by the rock that he had intended for Roadrunner. And then we would see Roadrunner again, still moving at warp speed–beep, beep! I love Roadrunner cartoons.

When the scribes and Pharisees try to trap Jesus, they often fall into their own trap. It’s fun to watch–especially if you’re a Roadrunner fan!

But sometimes, it seems like the Jewish religious leaders get a bum rap. Like today, for instance! In our Gospel lesson today, the chief priests and elders ask Jesus where he gets his authority. That was a legitimate question! The chief priests and elders were responsible for the religious life of Israel, and Jesus was doing some provocative things.

For one thing, just before today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Yet, at the same time, the people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” And Jesus did nothing to correct them.

Then Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, where people were buying and selling animals for temple sacrifice, and others were serving as moneychangers. These sellers of animals and moneychangers were well within their rights to do what they were doing. Nothing happened in the temple without the priests’ permission, so the sellers and moneychangers must have asked for and received permission to do what they were doing. In other words, they were authorised !

If you have ever served in the military, you know that word–authorised! If you are authorized, you can do it. If you are not authorized, you cannot. It’s that simple!

Well, these animal sellers and moneychangers were AUTHORIZED! They had permission to sell animals and to change money on the temple grounds. The priests had given them permission, or they could not have done what they were doing.

And there was a good purpose behind their activity. People came from afar to make sacrifices at the temple, and it wouldn’t work to require them to bring their own animals. Sacrificial animals had to be outstanding specimens–perfect–no blemishes. Just imagine trying to bring a lamb from Nazareth or some other faraway place–having picked out the best of the flock–and seeing the animal injured on the long journey. Then you wouldn’t be able to make your sacrifice. And then you would have to take the injured animal home again.

No, that wasn’t practical–not practical at all. So it was the priests who had authorised these sellers of animals and the money changers in the temple. It was a public service–and it also brought in some money to the temple. It made sense, and so it was authorised!

But Jesus walked into the temple and drove out the buyers and the sellers. He went to the moneychangers, turned over their tables and scattered their money all over the floor. He accused the merchants of making God’s house into a den of thieves. Can you imagine! These people were well within their rights! They were authorised!

And then Jesus set up shop inside the temple, as if he owned the place, and began to teach. Now, to teach in the temple, one needed to be a rabbi. To be a rabbi, one had to go through the proper training–and the laying on of hands–in other words, ordination. Jesus was not adequately trained, and no one had ordained him. What right did he have, then, to teach in the temple? None! But there he was, teaching the people, and the people were acting as if Jesus were someone extraordinary. But Jesus was NOT authorised!

So the chief priests and the elders asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (v. 23) Good question! Exactly the right question for them to be asking!

“By what authority do you do these things,

and who gave you this authority?”

In other words, they were asking Jesus if he was AUTHORIZED–and, if so, who authorised him. There was only one correct answer because only the priests could authorize a person to do what Jesus was doing–and they had not authorised Jesus.

If Jesus were not authorised, he was clearly wrong to do what he did to the animal sellers and the moneychangers. Perhaps even criminals that made his teaching in the temple questionable. So the priests and elders asked, “By what authority do you do these things, and who gave you this authority?” Good question! It was their job to ask such questions!

But Jesus responded by asking them a question. He told them that if they answered his question, he would answer theirs. So he asked, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” (v. 25). He talked about John the Baptist, the great prophet–greatly respected by the people–dearly beloved by nearly everyone–but not dearly beloved by the chief priests and elders. So Jesus asked, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?”

That was a good question, too, because Jesus was asking who authorised John the Baptist to be a prophet. As a prophet, John’s authorization came straight from God. Everyone knew that–everyone except the chief priests and elders. The chief priests and elders would not admit that John was authorised because they had not authorised him. It was a power thing! The chief priests and the elders were in charge. They didn’t like people like John and Jesus coming out of the blue–claiming authority from God–challenging the authority of the priests and elders.

By this time, John was already dead–killed by King Herod. The chief priests and elders must have breathed a sigh of relief when they heard the news of John’s death. One down and one to go!

But now Jesus was asking, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” That put the chief priests and the elders in a bind. If they said that John’s authority came from heaven, then Jesus would ask why they had not obeyed John. If they said that John’s authority did NOT come from heaven, then the people would rise up against them because they knew that John’s authority DID come from God. That was very clear to the people. They would not tolerate anyone–even these powerful priests–saying anything wrong about John.

So the chief priests and elders said, “We don’t know!” (v. 27). But it was their JOB to know! It was their job to protect the people from false prophets. It was their job to make decisions about prophets! But they said, “We don’t know!” So Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things” (v. 27). Round one for Jesus!

Beep, beep!

And now, if you look up, you will see that big rock just beginning to fall!

The big rock comes in the form of a story. Jesus told a story about a father who had two sons. He asked the first son to work in the vineyard, but the first son said, “No way!” But then, later, the son realized that he had been wrong, so he went into the vineyard and did what the father had asked him to do. In the meantime, the father asked his second son to work in the vineyard, and the second son said, “Sure, pop!” But then the second son wandered off, doing his own thing, and never did get to the vineyard.

Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” (v. 31).

Now the chief priests and the elders indeed realized, at this point, that they were in deep trouble, but they couldn’t say, “We don’t know!” again. Everyone was watching, and they already looked pretty foolish. To say, “We don’t know!” one more time would have confirmed that they were, indeed, incompetent. So they answered that the first song, the one who initially looked disobedient but turned out to be obedient–that first son was the one who had done the will of the father.

So Jesus said to the chief priests and elders–and I want you to hear this–keep in mind that Jesus is talking to the best of the best–the holiest of the holy–and Jesus said to these holy men:

“Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes

are entering into the Kingdom of God before you.

For John came to you in the way of righteousness,

and you didn’t believe him,

but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.

When you saw it, you didn’t even repent afterwards,

that you might believe him” (vs 31-32).

Beep, beep! KABOOM!

That was harsh language for Jesus to use on these holy men, but we’re glad that he did. We’ve seen people who seemed to be something that they were not–in other words, phonies–and we’re glad to see them exposed!

We’ve seen influential people who use their power to keep themselves in power rather than using their power to help people.

But there are a couple of problems with Jesus’ story. One is the problem of today’s tax collectors and prostitutes–in other words, today’s unrepentant sinners. It’s easy for sinners today to read this story and think, “I am terrible, but at least I am honestly terrible–and so I am better than these holier-than-thou hypocrites who go to church every Sunday!”

We have to be careful not to take that attitude. Jesus calls us to holiness–absolute holiness–, not to a life of judging the other person.

The other problem with this story is that we might think that it concerns people who lived two thousand years ago–and has nothing to do with us today. That, too, would be wrong. This story has everything to do with us today. It speaks with extraordinary power to preachers and deacons and Sunday school teachers and–well, it speaks to all of us who try to be true Christians. It warns us that if we’re not careful, we’ll become smug and self-satisfied. It warns us that if we’re not careful, we’ll wake up someday to find that we good guys are really the bad guys–and the bad guys are the good guys. Sometimes that happens, you know.

In her book, Amazing Grace, Kathleen Norris tells about a Methodist pastor from Montana.

This pastor told Kathleen about a woman who had become a member of their little church. She had been a drunk–a terrible drunk! She had been a cocaine addict! Some people referred to her as a “cocaine whore!” because she was sleeping with whomever!

she sobered up and she started going to AA meetings! then some of her AA friends took her to church! So now I want you to stop thinking about how much courage it took that woman to step inside that little church in that little Montana town! But she went–and she kept going back–and then she joined the church.

And then she started volunteering for things! If you have ever been to a small church, you know how hard it is to get anyone to volunteer. Some church members are like Army recruits–Never Volunteer–that’s their motto! But this woman began to volunteer. She volunteered for everything that came along. She started studying–and teaching–and visiting. Kathleen Norris sums her up this way:

“It was as if she had tasted salvation and couldn’t get enough of it,

or of the new relationships which these activities had led her to.

Salvation took such hold in her that, as the pastor put it,

he began to wonder if Christians don’t underrate promiscuity.

Because she was still a promiscuous person,

still loving without much discrimination.

The difference was that she was no longer self-destructive

but a bearer of new life to others.”

In other words, the woman was no longer promiscuous with her sex, giving it to men who didn’t deserve it. But, still, she was now Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders–loving them as Christ would have her to love them.

And the pastor was saying, “Oh, wow! I wish I had more promiscuous Christians like that!” So sometimes, the sinners turn out to be the saints.

Going back to Jesus’ story, which kind of son or daughter are you? Are you like the first son, who didn’t want to obey the father–but finally did? Or are you like the second son, who said that he would obey but did not?

Are you a renegade–a rebel–but a person who finally decides to do the right thing? Or are you one of those people whose name is on the church rolls but who never does anything for Jesus?

Or are you one of those people who obeys Christ when it feels right but who feels free to disobey the rest of the time?

Or are you one of those people who says, ” I just don’t want to get involved!”

Or are you one of those people who just doesn’t care!

Jesus says, Careful! Get busy going where God has called you to go, lest you find the tax collectors and prostitutes going into heaven while you watch from the sidelines.

Get busy doing what Christ has called you to do, lest you find yourself watching the drunks and junkies at heaven’s gate while you ask, “When will it be my turn?” So get busy, and be the person that God has called you to be–because, with God, obedience counts!

Have you had a confrontation experience? If so, how did you deal with it? Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course on the home page.

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Forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living.

Forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living.

I love Psalm 23 has been such strength since I came to faith in Christ well over 30 years ago.

The Psalm is commonly believed to be just about death; however, it’s a lot more than just a cute funeral poem. Although the context is often misunderstood, I use the Psalm as a template for coping with everyday problems.

Psalm 23 is a metaphoric story of our journey through life and a guide to comfort and strengthen us in our dark valleys. This wonderful Psalm assures us that God is our friend who is shepherding us through our pain. In the middle of suffering, God promises to be always there.

David wrote this Psalm, which appears to be his own personal experience of God as his Shepherd. He declares that God provides, and he paints a beautiful picture of the excellent care that God gives amid suffering. 

When David was a shepherd, his job was to look after the pregnant ewes (Ps 78:70,71). He knew first-hand of the care and tender warmth of a good shepherd towards his flock. One day David risked his life to rescue a lamb, illustrating God’s respect for every individual. 

Jesus Christ, our Saviour, seems to refer to this when He says, ‘I am the shepherd of the sheep the good shepherd’ John 10:11. We know the familiar story of when Jesus left the ninety-nine sheep to search for that lost one. A good shepherd guides his sheep into the fold and then cares, protects, and provides for them because they are his. The sheep knows Shepherd’s voice, and they follow him.

 When looking into Psalm 23 to use at a funeral that I was leading, I noticed that the process of going through the valley is like journeying through grief. Since then, I often refer to it at funeral serves and worship meetings, and at times, people say they feel really helped. 

 I really like and appreciate this Psalm because it allows us to understand how much God loves us. Father God is omnipresent, which means God is present everywhere at once. This is possible through the work of the Holy Trinity.

I have never been rich; however, I have lacked nothing from the time I committed my life to Christ, even during the dark valley of grief. In the middle of grieving, God has enabled me to lie down in green pastures, not striving or worrying, but lying down, chilling out in the greenness of God’s love. 

Often, I feel his guidance, albeit a still small voice, impression, or wise advice. Even though I have often strayed from the designated path, as we all do from time to time, I have been gently guided back. Sometimes I have been returned kicking and screaming, realising much later that the momentary discipline from God saved me. Through it all, God is there. You may feel in despair right now, but don’t worry; you will come through this because your Shepherd is walking with you through all the grief and pain.

Each of us has a choice, to either deal with bereavement and the grief it brings, or crawl under a rock somewhere and hide from it, and even worse, we could pretend it is not there. 

I read psychology and counselling at the University of Derby, UK, on a master’s level. It was an excellent course because I became better equipped to help those I ministered to and counselled. The spin-off was that it helped me in my personal life immensely. It was one of the ways God restored and healed me from past emotional trauma. 

Through the course, I experienced many cathartic moments- green pastures. I must admit that I have no unique gifts on walking through grief, but I have God in Christ. I give thanks from the depths of my being because Creator God has held my hand all the way and guided me through that dark valley, showing me how to live in it, emerging victorious. As I sojourned with God through the darkness, I had peace in my heart because I knew that God was with me. And you know what? God is with you as well and can bring you through the darkest of valleys.

I discovered that God heals is not the way I would expect; his ways are higher than ours. God did not just magically wave the sorrow away as if it did not exist. He did not rescue me from it but taught me how to get through it, and to journey through the valley. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him (Psalm 18.30). But, Gods ways are certainly a lot different from ours.

Father God taught me how to say goodbye to many relationships and people in all circumstances. Eventually, I learned how to grieve appropriately, how to move on. I do not boast that I have cracked it because each situation is unique.

 Each experience of grief is different from your previous experience. I am sure there will be new challenges ahead and victories to be won. So, let’s forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living, a new normal.

What method do you use to manage your grief? Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

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When a loved one dies- Grief Relief: how to make sense of your grief

HOW to When we plan to take a journey of some kind, we take time to prepare. We are savvy travellers, so we ensure that we have our navigation tools in hand, ensuring they work as they should. We then become familiar with them before we get on the road. The visit to the fuel station guarantees that we will complete our journey. If we don’t, there is a good chance of getting lost, taking a detour, or not getting to our intended destination at all. Now we have a goal, we have a plan, we are ready to begin our journey.

GOOD GRieF! 

I am a child of the 50s and have seen a lot of life. I’ve lived and worked in four countries and visited a whole lot of others. The journey through life, from the very beginning to end, make us who we are. I must have been about ten years old when my very favourite saying became ‘Good Grief Charlie Brown’! I would say it all the time, and it became somewhat of a trademark for me. It was my catchphrase. Although I didn’t know it, I struggled with dyslexia (not diagnosed until my late 40s). Dyslexia was unknown within the educational system at the time, so there was no provision for remedial teaching. Without the support I needed, I hadn’t read a book in full until my early 20s. Reading exhausted me, so I gave up in the first few pages, unable to comprehend the storyline or understand the words.

Thinking back, I seriously tried my hardest at school, but not everyone saw it that way. I could read a little bit, but not enough to keep up with my grades. My teachers reported to my parents that I was lazy, which would add to my overwhelming sense of failure. Tearfully I shouted, ‘I am trying, I just can’t read, I just can’t, and they would fire back at me ‘there’s no such word as can’t’ and told me to try harder. Finally, I was doing so badly that I had to repeat grade two twice. Then I failed in every year of primary school as well. To be expected, I had an awful time in high school, lasting there for only 6 months, leaving in favour of the workplace at the age of 15 years old.

Try as I might, I just didn’t get hold of what was going on in the classroom. I couldn’t follow the thread of ideas, and the bullies duly took advantage of my weakness. On several occasions, a group of boys and girls were waiting for me at the school gate and chased me all the way home after roughing me up. Growing up in Australian schools in the 1950s and 60s wasn’t easy. We had to be tough enough to be able to defend ourselves when needed. And it would always help, of course, if you were a fast runner. My inferiority heightened when my classmates and family devoured books like they were going out of fashion. They would tell me how easy it was to read, so why couldn’t I? Feeling very alone and misunderstood, I began to withdraw into myself. I never went to the school library except for a compulsory session in class. I did not understand why I had to attend the library when I couldn’t read properly. The whole system confused me. I quickly became overwhelmed by the hundreds of books housed on myriads of tall shelves. 

Then one day, while trying to avoid the bullies, I found myself wandering into the school library. It was there that I discovered a small booklet. It was brief enough that I managed to read it almost to the end. I loved that little book, with its cute cartoons on every page, which portrayed the adventures of Charlie Brown. I liked Charlie, he was an unusual little boy, and I found that I could relate to him, bless him. In Charlie, there was a small reflection of myself. Charlie was of short stature, ordinary, like me, and like me, he was sometimes misunderstood. Charlie had a habit of making silly mistakes, he would say stupid things and do things out of the ordinary, and that is when his friends would exclaim, Good Grief, Charlie Brown! I definitely could relate to good ole’ Charlie. 

NOTHING GOOD ABOUT GRIEF

I suffered my first real experience of grief when I split from my fiancé of three years. I was still saying good grief, but now I knew that grief had nothing GOOD about it. In the end, my favourite little motto became a thing of the past -sorry, Charlie. Whether it is death, divorce, a job loss, or anything else that causes us to grieve, all are difficult to cope with. Whatever the circumstances, grief forces us to say goodbye to someone or something. 

Grieving is such a personal and individual thing; we all experience it in our own way. But what is expected is that it makes us sad. I remember the sorrow I felt when I left my home country, Australia, creating a new home overseas. The anguish of saying goodbye to dear friends as I moved away due to work commitments. Because of my ministry, I moved around frequently, so sadness became a familiar companion. I was living 15,000 miles away in the UK. When my mother, who lived in Australia, died. I felt sad when I couldn’t be with her in her last days. The sorrow deepened because I couldn’t help my sisters to care for our aged Dad. – there’s nothing good about grief. 

HOW TO MAKE SENSE OF YOUR GRIEF

I share some of my stories, so you know that you are not alone in this. I want you to see that there is someone out there who can empathise. My purpose is to help you understand your sad feelings and learn to manage them to live a happy and fulfilling life. But, unfortunately, no actual language exists that clearly expresses the reality of the deep pain of grief. 

In 1976 I came to faith in Christ, began attending church, and was told by well-meaning people that all my problems had ended. I believed them. They assured me that because I had found a trouble-free life! It wasn’t long before I found out that this idea was terribly dishonest. Then the problems began, and I was convinced that something was wrong with me. This wasn’t supposed to happen! Discouraged and very confused, I believed that I must have done something wrong. It was my fault somehow. I already had low self-esteem, and this only compounded my sense of helplessness and hopelessness. 

My God encounter was genuine. I hung on tightly to that experience as the turmoil swirled around me. I began to research God’s word for myself and found the truth of the matter. What I was told was a lie, things do go wrong for people of faith, and bad things happen to good people – that is OK, that’s life!

 Every human being on the planet lives through sorrow in different ways and measures and always will. You can imagine my relief to find this was nothing unusual and that there was nothing wrong with me. Many teachings in the Scriptures point out that we will have troubles in this life, especially if we follow Christ closely as his disciples, don’t be surprised by what you are experiencing – God is with you. 

 Bereavement affects everyone in different ways, and it’s possible to experience any range of emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

To make sense of your grief and what you are feeling- here is a few easy tips.

  1. Accept you are not alone; the experience of grief is common to everyone.
  2. Accept you will have troubles; life is full of happiness and sorrow.
  3. Observe how your feelings impact on your thoughts.
  4. Observe how your thoughts impact upon your physical body.
  5. Observe how your feelings’ thoughts and body impact your actions and behaviours.
  6. Do you feel sad or depressed?
  7. Do you feel shock or disbelief?
  8. Do you feel numb or in denial of some kind?

If you need support as you journey through your grief. I am Professionally trained with a Master of Arts in Counselling. Let’s Talk – contact me and see what the next step is right for you. 

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course in the top menu.

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Is God calling you? 10 tips to find if you’re called by God

At the time of writing, today is a special day for me. I’ve only seen my family twice in two years due to the COVID 19 lockdowns. So today I’m travelling to see them again overnight. Sadly, I can’t stay any more than one night because I have to get back to work on Sunday – such is the life of the church minister. People don’t often realise that the minister can’t just take a Sunday off at random but has to work sometimes a year or more ahead. Ministry is no ordinary God, and it comes with requirements to make sacrifices.

Visiting my family was only arranged by them a month ago, so I didn’t have time to rearrange for anyone else to take my Sunday service. However, that’s how things go sometimes. My preaching engagements for 2022 are about 80% booked already. Most preachers have to work this way, and it is unfortunate because when family or friends, occasions happen impromptu, mainly if it falls on a Sunday, and cannot be part of it. I’ve been preaching since 1980, so this is the lifestyle I have adopted because I have answered God’s call upon my life. Unfortunately, sometimes family or friends don’t understand, they think that you can have a day off whenever you wish – sadly, this is not the case. However, I have far more flexibility because most of my work is now working from home. I am grateful for this and hope to maintain flexibility in my schedule in future years, except, of course, I’m unable to do that for a Sunday mainly.

When we answer God’s call upon our life, we need to count the cost. So if you are reading this and you believe you have a God’s call upon your life, and you are standing at the precipice of decision-making to answer that call or go into another direction, I hope that this article will be helpful to you.

How to Count the Cost.

Below are just a couple of short tips to help you ascertain if you want to answer God’s call upon your life or not, and I’m not going to explain each point; however, I may do this in a future article.

 The Bible says if a person builds a tower they must count the cost first. So Jesus, while addressing the rich young ruler, was asking him to count the cost, and we know the rest of that story!

Luke 14 : 28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

These tips will help you work out if you are called by God or not

1. Be sure that others confirm the call upon your life who are in church authority.

2. Spend a significant time in prayer and fasting if necessary to ensure that you have the mind of Christ in your situation.

3. Research the area of ministry that you wish to enter thoroughly. Understand fully what the expectations upon your life might be.

4. Draw yourself a timeline. When do you think that this call upon your life might begin? Does this fit into the commitments that you have for the next 12 months?

5. What financial implications will there be if you answer this call upon your life? Grab a people piece of paper and write them down so you can see them, pray over them, and reflect upon them.

6. What financial sacrifices are you willing to make and that of your family if you answer the call.

7. Are you and your family willing to move if the call upon your life requires?

8. Are you willing to move away from your extended family and friends if York also requires?

9. Are you willing to put in abeyance old ideas and take on new ways of being and living so you may be effective in your call?

10. How many years are you willing to attend a Bible college or university to be equipped for your call? And what sacrifices are you and your family willing to make so you are quick and embark upon the required training?.

Any way the tips will help you get started upon your quest to evaluate the cost that you will be making. These are just ten short questions, but I’m sure you will come up with more. I am sure you will be making a sacrifice, in fact, many sacrifices, and this is why many people do not last in ministry. People fail to count the cost to them and them and their families.

When I was in ministry in the USA, I met up with quite a well-known woman minister, and had coffee together. In our conversation, she said,

“I often wondered why people romanticise ministry because it is far from romantic it is full of sacrifices, heartbreak, disappointment, and just darn hard work”. She continued, “Of course, there are rewards when you can see the fruits of your labour; however, it’s not often that you see that fruit because many people that you help that I help move on. Unfortunately, I don’t get the opportunity to journey with them throughout their lives. Still, it is a comfort to me that I will know how my ministry has affected others in the halls of eternity”.

If one is entering ministry to be liked, to receive accolades of thanks and welcome, you may be far disappointed. Jesus said to carry your cross, and indeed if you are called to the ministry, you will be bearing that cross.

Matthew 16 New Living Translation
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.

Jesus also pointed out, that you will be a sheep among wolves, is your call strong sure for that, is your charter strong enough to endure that –  are your shoulders broad enough for that?

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

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Bible verses about time management: how to schedule your time

Our earthly stopover is significantly shorter than we are inclined to think. Hence, time management is vital because we are so busy. Psalm 39:4–5 points out, “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath”

I specifically want to address today what the bible says about time management to help you get your life back on track.

Moses prays, Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Maybe that should be our prayer as well. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 shows that our Creator has set eternity in our heart, and we will one day give an account to the God who gifts us with precious time on earth.

Let’s turn to the new testament, where the apostle James writes, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” James 4:14. Indeed, our time on earth is transitory—in fact, it is tiny compared to eternity.

To live as God would have us live, we must make the best possible use of our allotted time, and that is why we should manage our time wisely.

The Importance of Scheduling your Time.

I hear time and time again from people that they have never been so busy since they retired. We can be fooled into thinking that you have a lot more time because now that you are retired, you are less likely to stick to a routine or schedule. If you don’t value your time, others will intrude upon your time, routine, or plans.

Last year a friend in her retirement bought a dog for the first time. Although she looked forward to being a dog owner for many years, now retired, she has the time and energy to devote to a pet. For the first few months, she was able to enjoy the little pup, pamper it and take it for daily walks- she loved it! Because she was now retired, family and friends wanted her to do things for them, and she helped out when she was asked. Her days became filled to the brim, and she hardly was ever home. She found those precious moments of pleasure with her dog became less and less, and the poor little thing now has become a burden. Why? Because she has allowed others to reschedule her schedule. She has allowed other people to intrude on her precious time and manage her diary for her.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If someone in your life keeps wanting you to do stuff for them and if you say ‘no’, they impose a guilt trip on you, so you end up doing it anyway. Maybe you feel you need to say ‘yes to family or friends even when you don’t want to just keep happy, because of the fear that you might lose them. My friend did have all the time in the world; however, now she does not. Others have taken a little piece of her time, at a piece at a time, and then one day, she had no time to spend how she would like. 

Time is Precious.

Time is precious; your time is precious. During the numerous COVID-19 lockdowns, we seemed to have all the time in the world. We no longer needed to travel to work and were less likely to visit with family and friends. 

However, things like social media, zoom, skype, facetime, messenger video, WhatsApp, telephone, not to mention the telly, distract us from getting on with what we should. So, unwittingly, we allow these applications to schedule our diary and rearrange our plans. I battle with getting distracted, so I ensure that I stick to my diary the best possible. 

 For the retired who are reading this, find the creative you. Say ‘no’ to unwanted demands on your time and stick to it. Turn off that TV and try learning a new craft; there is a lot available to enjoy.

 Get outside, enjoy your garden, neighbourhood or pets, and breathe in the fresh air. Exercise your brain by learning a new language or doing puzzles. Get to know your computer a little bit better – we never use it to its total capacity. 

Write your memoirs as a legacy to your family. Then, whatever you choose to do, allow your time to be your time and keep it under your control, and not someone else’s. Liberate yourself, don’t submit yourself to the whims, fancies or demands of anyone else.

I come across far too many retired people who are so exhausted. They no longer enjoy their lives because they are always running around fulfilling duties to keep others happy. If your family or friends will only contact you because of what you can do for them, I would question the quality of that relationship. 

I am sure you are not a person who uses their loved ones for their own ends, and it is difficult to understand why they do that. But they often do; their attitude is – if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours. However, this is not the way a relationship should be. I hear people say how drained and used up they feel after running around after other people’s demands in my counselling profession.

So, what can be done? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

1. Ask God to help you formulate a weekly schedule.

2. Keep a strict diary.

3. Stick to as far as reasonable to the plan.

4. First thing in the morning, look over your schedule.

5. The last thing at night, review your day and ask yourself what the best part of your day was?

Be careful not to book yourself up to the hilt; leave a little time so you can be flexible for unexpected events. 

Whatever the challenges you may have, feel the feelings, work through them, and give them over to God, giving thanks in every situation. Leaving every result to God. Then you will be able to sleep peacefully without worry.

Use Your Diary

Don’t cancel that nice river walk with your puppy like my friends did to fit someone’s timeslot unless it is urgent and cannot be avoided. When someone wants you to do something for them, develop the habit to check your diary first. If what is asked of you is inconvenient, then offer other times and dates. This shows them that you value yourself and your time. Do not just have a quick knee-jerk reaction and wipe your schedule to fit in with someone else’s. I have done this for too many years, and I know it causes stress and burnout, and I do not want that for you.

Be strong and consistent, and you will find that your time will not be slipping through your fingers. 

What method do you use to manage your time? Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course on the home page.

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 HOW to RENEW your Faith to CHANGE YOUR life.

Suffering and loss are hard to bear. As believers, when we go through these times, it is natural to question God. The patriarchs of the Bible certainly did. King David wrote many of the Psalms full of questions about what God is doing and why. However, it is worthy to note that David did not leave it there. He just did not complain and complain. No, when David complained, but ALWAYS ended in a statement of faith or praise.

It is not a sin to question. On the contrary, it is healthy to do so. God has not called us to unquestioning slavery but to living faith and freedom. If we are free, we can question. However, having said that, we cannot or should not ‘demand’ answers. God in his mercy may give us the answers but may not. When we love God and give our lives to him, we put him in control and make that choice. So, we choose for God to decide to answer us or not. After all, our Creator knows what is best for us, and maybe the silence of God in the short term may be precisely what is needed at the time. Maybe we need to learn to persevere or stay faithful even when we think God is not here.

You see, our growth as Christians is so significant to God. When my children were babies, I did everything to help them thrive because to keep them as babies would be a selfish and heinous act. So, it is with God our Father. It would be a heinous crime if God kept us as babies; we would never grow up in the faith if he did.

 God calls us to ‘give’ our mind, body, and soul to him to have the throne of our heart. We ask him to rule our emotions, thoughts, and overthrow anything that is not pleasing to him. This is the love of God- who gives us a choice.

 As for me- me and my household will serve the Lord.

The Problem of Suffering

If you’re not taught to endure Suffering, failures, losses when young, you may never learn it. Those who don’t learn it check out of life, addictions etc., etc. We need to accept that Suffering is part of life, and it’s not God who causes it. Yet, our culture does not embrace Suffering but rails against it. We develop a worldview that is primarily for our comfort.

Philippians 3:10 King James Version (KJV) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

The person who trusts the Creator no matter what an absolute assault on the worldview is that culture imposes upon us. Because it is a different way of thinking and living. Liberalism is called the calculative mind and does not liberate us but binds us to our senses. The Bible calls it the ‘mind of the flesh, and the apostle Paul calls it the ‘old man’. The egocentric mind interprets everything in the sense of personal advantage, which usually has a short-term effect. It says what’s in it for me, how would this situation be to my advantage what can I get out of it. In contrast, the person who trusts in the Lord says- what is in this for those I need to help- how can I do for others.

If you read everything from the small secular worldview and read everything methodically, you will not see things in a new way. Jesus teaches us a different way of seeing, perspective, advantage points, and a different starting point. Einstein said that the problem cannot be solved by the same mind/ or consciousness that caused it. It reads everything about personal advantage and cause and effect -we need to be bigger than that.

The Power of Contemplative Prayer

The word contemplation became popular through the works of Thomas Merton, which is reasonably recent. In the fifth 50s and 60s. A lot of people use the word meditation which is more or less the same thing. The word that most Christians are familiar with is the word prayer. But the word prayer has a different connotation to us here in the West than in the East where it originated from. In the West, prayer became something functional, something that produced an effect. It became – what’s in it for me! This is due to the idea that the ego is the centre of their universe. For example-

 It’s all about me. 

If I get offended, I’ll sue somebody

If someone hurts me, I’ll take revenge

If I don’t get what I want, I only react in some way.

If I can’t resolve the conflict ill just cut the people off. 

If someone has something that I want, I go out and get myself in debt to better it.

Western culture has taught us that – it’s All about me, the egocentric me. 

Sadly, this attitude has overlapped Christianity in a big way. So, when giving the Lord our all, we don’t know how to or even desire to.

Individualism rules and reigns in Christianity in the West, but this is not what Jesus intended, and it’s certainly not what he taught. As soon as you make prayer an exercise to get something, it puts you in charge. However, Jesus does say ask, and it will be given. We must be aware that this is from a humble and obedient submissive attitude towards Jesus Christ in the first place. This is nothing new it’s the same overall old mind or consciousness. How can I get God to do what I want him to do?

In their thinking, most people approach prayer with the attitude of-   I will try to get what I want from God. 

 However, this is not the way of faith- It is the way of the world. Worldly values have always been there but just manifests themselves differently according to popular culture at the time. In this way, instead of being a transformed mind or consciousness, we remain egocentric and try to manipulate God and everyone else and think we did okay. 

That’s why Christianity is in dire straits today because it’s not transforming people as the Bible clearly states that it should and does. It’s just giving people a form of religiosity to be in charge and control. It is still the ego/natural/fleshly/false self. Change begins with our choice- if we choose to allow God to change us- it will happen. 

Transforming not Conforming

What Jesus always talked about was the transformed self (John 3). The apostle Paul uses that beautiful phrase, it’s no longer their lives; Christ lives in me. It’s a different I; it’s a different sense of self. So, saying it’s not my ego-self or my false self that lives but Christ who lives in my true self. It is not my egocentric self that lives Christ that lives within my true redeemed self. As long as you’re operating from the egocentric will, you’ll never be free, and meditation/ contemplation would be almost impossible to maintain. 

The Problem with Religion

The ego-self can be pious, religious, theologically sound, and may even be a church leader somehow, but never totally free because operating in the small self. The result? Religion has always performed two very important but two very different functions. I am not talking about being a follower of Christ- but I am pointing out the problem with ‘religion’, which is very different.

1) Religion creates meaning by offering mixed tales, stories, narratives, questionable truths, laborious rituals, and revivals used together, gives some sort of meaning and purpose.

That’s okay, that’s how you get started; you’ve got to have an ego to get rid of one, and you have to have the self to move beyond the self.

2) Religion puts you on the hamster wheel of ritual and approval- a never-ending cycle.

There are many religious, moral, dedicated people with good upright values – however- most people do not go beyond that. There is no transformation of self.

This kind of religion does not raise or transform a person’s consciousness; it does not deliver true freedom where one can let go and let God. This type of religion does not transform or fully satisfy the true self. On the contrary, it fortifies the self, comforts the self, and even deceives this true self into thinking, you are okay – I’m okay.

Whereas underneath, there is this innate dissatisfaction, unrest and yearning for something more and not knowing what it is. Christianity is the best thing in the world and the worst in the world. Why? Religious people think they are always correct, and they start from that vantage point. When one thinks one is right, they become narrow-minded, intolerant of others and egocentric.

With egocentric people, it is difficult to get to know them because the ego is so sure that they are correct and will protect their point of view at any cost, even the cost of hurting others, and that’s where spiritual abuse occurs, and that is why I wrote a Master of Art Thesis on that subject as it’s so common in the churches- but that’s another subject. 

I will make my Thesis available on this website at a small cost- you can download it. It will be available here on this site by December 2021.

 The danger is that the egocentric self is warm and fed and thinks it is correct, so they are convinced they are saved. But what does save mean?

 Most people think that being saved is a ticket to heaven. Something that is not here now but will come one day. It’s always in the future. It’s by the sweet by and by. If I am religious enough, good enough, say the sinner’s prayer, and I do the right thing, then I’ll get to heaven, and that means that I’ll be saved. Does it?

This point of view comes from a punishment and reward system. If I play the game right, I will be rewarded. It is about the works that I can do, and God will be pleased, and I’ll get into heaven. And that point of view has absolutely nothing to do with transformation, absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. This, unfortunately, is most Christians point of view, but Jesus had something completely different in his mind when he spoke to Nicodemus, and we read in John chapter 3. So please turn to it and read the whole chapter.

Through contemplative prayer/meditation, we come into fellowship with God and not in fellowship with our own ego. We learn to be patient, wait upon the Lord to renew our strength, mount up with wings of eagles, and then and only then will we run and not be weary and then only then will we walk and not be faint. So, waiting upon the Lord, confessing our sins, and repenting (turning away from sin) is the basis of our contemplation and transformation.

 God is in the business of transforming you because he loves you. It starts with the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus. Mindful contemplation is a life’s style that will help with this, and therefore this website exists.

 Romans 12:2 New International Version

Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

( you may QUOTE any part of this article however, PLEASE correctly CITE any material used- thank you)

Just to Update You

25 years ago, I wrote 2 books when I lived in the USA. In 2021 I wrote 2 more which are available in Amazon. I am working on another about Holistic Living, which features Mindfulness and Faith which will be published and made available to you in 2022– – so keep a lookout for that!

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The Power of an Empty Tomb: God of surprises.

Although we are in the fall, I thought I would share an Easter story. With all the leaves falling and the days are drawing in, we need a bit of good cheer!

The God of the Bible is always active, always making new, consistently doing a new thing. It is one of the ways God is different from idols, those things we make who do not move, speak, or do anything at all. By contrast, the God whose story is told in the Bible is continuously creating and recreating. It is why God is surprising, the God of surprises.

Of course, not everyone likes surprises. However, a quiet, dependable sure and steady life is what many desire, particularly after the drama of COVID 19. In enjoying quiet, dependable sure and steady life, we feel secure; at least we know where we are. Anyway, even those who profess to like surprises must acknowledge that not all surprises in life are pleasant and welcome, and some surprises come as a shock!

So, recalling that part of John’s Gospel 20.1-18 (please read), we might imagine how it was for Mary Magdalene. She was deeply in love with Jesus. He was the one who had given her back her life, love, and dignity. Yet, she comes on the Sunday after Sabbath to his tomb in the grief that goes with profound bereavement. The one she loved is dead and buried. That is a hard enough reality to bear. But how will she live without him?

(Dear friend, if you are struggling with grief, please check out my book ‘Nothing Good About Grief’ available at Amazon).

Getting back to Mary, who finds her way to the tomb. She expects to find everything as she left it days ago; after all, there are no surprises in death. It is all so predictable and final, except that she finds the tombstone is rolled away. This must have been for her an upsetting experience, a cruel and wounding surprise. She may have been wondering- ‘Can Jesus not be left in peace after all that has been done to him?’ She feels a knife being turned in her wounded heart.

She goes to find Peter. Her first word of witness on Easter Day is of sorrow and anger, and she cries, “They have moved his body! They have taken away the Lord! “It’s scandalous. She speaks in sorrow and burning anger. Her message is bad news indeed.

On hearing this news, Peter and John race to the tomb, with thoughts confused, they may question- “Can this indignity be true? ” When they reach the tomb, they find that Mary’s testimony, unfortunately, is the truth. The grave is empty. Strangely the grave clothes are in their place. Are they not needed anymore? Someone must have moved the body. It is the obvious but bitter explanation.

The Gospel writer says that John is outrun by Peter, nevertheless, goes into the tomb first. Then, says the evangelist, he saw and believed. Believed what? We are not told. However, the evangelist does tell us that they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. This possibility is not available to them, and all they have is an empty tomb, and there may be many reasons for that; grave robbers, a meddling gardener, who knows? So, they go home.

 So far this story, is not much of a good news story- where are the angels and the great hallelujahs? It’s what we latter-day readers expect, but to this point, the text is bleak like it was for Mary and for many in the face of death. What a disappointment this story of Jesus has turned out to be! We are left with emptiness in several senses. But, like the disciples, we are left with a puzzle. 

 So, Mary is weeping and looks deeper into the tomb. John says she saw two angels in white. They ask her why she is weeping. She tells them, “they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him. ” That is reason enough for tears. She turns away to hide her grief, but she is aware of another standing near in this morning of surprises. It must be the gardener. He asks, “why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

 Perhaps this man has the answer to her cruel puzzle. She replies, “Tell me where you have laid him.” And the man says, “Mary.” this is when she realises that it is the Lord! The calling of her name is the start of Mary’s resurrection because Jesus is not dead and gone. The tomb is empty, and Jesus has come to her in his risen love and grace. Now she has a different testimony. I have seen the Lord in her experience and announcement to the disciples.

This is how John tells the Easter Day story. No one expected this, despite what the ancient scriptures said of God. Easter is a surprise. It is the good news we proclaim today. Both the approaches in John’s witness are essential. Does the empty tomb story matter? Yes, because we are not talking about something in a private otherworldly sphere of inwardness.

 The empty tomb matters because it speaks of the new creation, of that work God is doing with the matter he first created, how he is doing a new thing. Christians proclaim that the tomb is empty, and the new resurrection body is recreated by God. Death is not the end, not even for this vulnerable creation that waits for renewal.

Although scientists today speak of many dimensions, life on other planets and parallel universes. We can hardly imagine what this means, and the Gospel proclaims that here is the work of God, taking our failure, taking the love of Jesus, and from it, bringing forth something new and wonderful. It is a miracle, a work of God. 

Some of our teachers speak of a miracle as an overflowing love at the heart of creation. The love that was in Jesus, even unto death, is met by the endless love of God for his creation and, in the dynamic, new, and beautiful things happen. Death is not the end.

As we have seen, however, the empty tomb is not necessarily good news. It needs setting in a context. That context is God’s work from the beginning, in the creation and the call of Israel, in the coming of Christ and his remarkable life of suffering love, breaking the cycle of sin and violence in his sacrificial death on the cross. It is over this Christ that God speaks the great “Yes” of resurrection. He is let loose again in the world, and Mary and countless others will speak of being restored, healed, renewed by his presence.

God raised Jesus from the dead. For Mary, this means her grief is turned to joy as he calls her name. For Thomas, it means his doubt is turned to faith as he meets the risen Lord in the company of the disciples. For Peter, who denied the Lord, resurrection means being welcomed again by Christ and entrusted with new and vital work. John wants us to understand that resurrection is not just something that happened to Jesus. It is God’s work for us.

It means that each act of worship, each gathering at the Lord’s Table, is an encounter with Christ Jesus. It means that far from life being full of boring predictability, there are the surprises of God who raised Jesus from the dead and is ever seeking to make all things new. It means that our death, even the decay of our planet, is not the end, and the tomb of Jesus is empty because God is at work. So, Christ comes to us with grace, forgiveness, love and laughter. The Lord has risen! He is risen indeed!

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Mindfulness Master Class Course.  

I blog twice a week, so you won’t have to wait long- so keep an eye out for it. Please press that FOLLOW button on the lower right or you’ll also find it in the BLOG section found on the menu. This will ensure you’ll get all my latest articles in your in box.

Remember to Live Life on Purpose

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog postxx

 Paula Rose Parish💕

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How does Mindfulness and self-compassion blend together ?

Is self-compassion the latest meme? Well, maybe the term might be, but the ideas are as old and the bible itself. Mark 12:30-31 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Self-compassion has a similar history as mindfulness in that it has existed in Eastern philosophy for over 2,000 years, but it is a relatively new concept in Western research and practice.

WHAT IS SELF COMPASSION?

Self-compassion is showing yourself positive self-regard. This is interpreted as showing yourself kindness, self-care, and love. Common humanity involves feeling part of a more extensive human experience rather than living isolated and alone. Mindful awareness is used to view perceptions and emotions through an impartial, balanced perspective and not reactionary. 

ADVANTAGES OF SELF COMPASSION

Self-compassion enables you to be more resilient through difficult times, such as in times of failure, feeling inadequate, and feeling emotional pain and suffering. At these times, it is easy to get swept up in these difficulties and get a thing out of perspective. 

 Self-compassion has elements of emotional intelligence and has similar effects to self-esteem. Emotional intelligence embraces negative aspects of oneself, takes responsibility, and does not need to conceal painful truths from themselves to maintain positive self-regard. Therefore, self-compassionate people tend to be more aware and capable of tackling problems. Due to the constant demands of the physical and social environments that some people work in, the ability to address failings, be strong through difficulties, and improve oneself is a valuable skill set for anyone.

TWO PEAS IN A POD

Mindfulness and self-compassion fit together like two peas in a pod to cope with life stresses and make decisions. 

Although mindfulness and self-compassion are congruent and both the mind and heart produce behaviours, the two are still uniquely separate concepts. This is because mindfulness is concerned with the functions of “the mind,” and self-compassion is concerned with “the heart.” The heart and mind meet when mindfulness brings awareness, a nonjudging attitude, and reflection, while self-compassion is a caring guide for individuals to integrate needed personal changes while maintaining a positive attitude toward the self.

Sandy Newsome, PhD a staff psychologist at the Counselling Center at New Mexico State University, points out that the integration of mindfulness in relationship to self-compassion in research is in its infancy yet has promising potential.

A true leader brings their best selves to work every day. My new course will bring out the leader in you by learning to work through stressful situations. Find out how by signing up for my NEW Course is Live on Udemy. Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for all the details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

OR GO TO –  https://www.udemy.com/course/the-mindfulness-stress-relief-master-class/?referralCode=1FA203E550AC769AC33A

NEWS FLASH!! This year I will be offering my courses and books directly from my website- so keep a watch out for that!! 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful to you. 

If it was, please follow this blog, you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. 

Also, please sign up for my newsletter, where you will get great tips and deals to help you live life on purpose, mindfully achieving success and happiness for your mind, body, and soul. 

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post

 Paula Rose Parish

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5 ways mindfulness improves decision making to enhance your business and your life.

I previously wrote an article about 8 tips to compassionate leadership and will link it for you HERE. https://wp.me/p9UfPQ-10o

In this smart guide, I will take it a step further, addressing mindfulness and self-compassion – after all, how on earth can we as leaders be compassionate towards others if we are not firstly compassionate toward ourselves?

This article aims to strengthen your skills to boost your best possible decision-making abilities to enhance your business and your life.

Mindfulness Awakens Compassion

In the first instance, let’s look at mindfulness in the context of decision making.

In concise terms, mindfulness has been defined as paying attention to purpose in the present moment. If you are paying attention, you will automatically become more compassionate to yourself and the people in your environment. 

Westernized mindfulness has yielded many positive findings, and practitioners, studies, and patients have been found to cope with pain, stress, emotional exhaustion, and other factors influencing stress and overall health as measured through various questionnaires and brain imaging scans. Further than having a broader awareness, mindful individuals are more creative and are more likely to find innovative solutions to complex problems. The studies have shown that mindfulness helps people handle multiple tasks more effectively, so we know that mindfulness is not just another new age scam but serious science! 

By being in a mindful state regarding decision making, you can see the depth of the issues you face more clearly and shift your attention more quickly to what is most needed. The ability to shift your attention quickly and respond suitably is essential to good decision making.

1.    It can be natural and automatic for us to pass judgment before we know the facts; however, this is not a process that leads to success. Mindfulness helps decision making by developing the ability to be non-judgmental of the inner experiences of oneself and others. Also, having the ability to disengage from initial thoughts and reactions allowing space and time for a full appraisal of the facts and different perceptions before a decision is reached.

2.    A lot of us go about our daily business mind-less-ley. Mindfulness helps decision making by developing observation by attending to sensations, thoughts, and feelings, creating an acute awareness of the self, others. We become more keenly aware of the environment and the developing changes, which gives us the stimulus to make the right decisions. 

3.    I am a procrastinator and have found that mindfulness helps decision making by giving us how to spring into action with awareness. The awareness of the details of one’s actions is an excellent plus because you are not overtaken by distractions but can remain focused.

4.    Mindfulness helps decision making by putting into thought-forms descriptions of what is really going on effectively. When you are mindful, you become aware of your thought process better and, therefore, develop the ability to correctly ascertain and convey core and peripheral observations.

5.    Being highly sensitive, most of my life, I had got into trouble by reacting to a situation immediately, and usually, it was to my detriment and of others. However, I have found that mindfulness helps decision making by giving you the ability to perceive your inner emotions and others without having to react to them – Knee jerk reactions are gone forever (that’s the goal)! 

I hope that these five reasons that mindfulness helps you to make good, solid decisions is a help to you. I am not implying that you will never make a wrong decision- of course, you will – you are only human after all! However, being mindful will significantly improve your chances of making stress-free choices that work to grow your business and your life!

A true leader brings their best selves to work every day. My new course will bring out the leader in you by learning to work through stressful situations. Find out how by sighing up for my NEW Course is Live on Udemy. Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for all the details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

OR GO TO – https://www.udemy.com/course/the-mindfulness-stress-relief-master-class/?referralCode=1FA203E550AC769AC33A

NEWS FLASH!!

This year I will be offering my courses and books

directly from my website- so keep a watch out for that!! 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful to you. If it was, please follow this blog, you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. 

Also, please sign up for my newsletter, where you will get great tips and deals to help you live life on purpose, mindfully achieving success and happiness for your mind, body, and soul. 

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post

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Where did Jesus Christ come from? Christ before time and space.

based on Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12

It was recently one of my sons 40th birthday, and my daughter-in-law booked a family boat ride on the Thames River in Oxfordshire as our surprise gift to him.

It was a pleasant day but overcast and a little bit of sun here and there and about 18°C, which was very comfortable. We were provided with a lovely picnic lunch, and we had the boat all to ourselves because nobody else had booked a ride on our particular boat, although the other boats were all full of people. 

We saw three Kingfishers, Egrets, and many other birds on the water for our three-hour journey up the Thames River. The scenery was utterly different along each section of the bank, which made it fascinating. Also, what made it enjoyable was that the helmsman informed us of the river’s history in detail. We passed the town centre, saw houses built right on the riverbank and went through a lock which my son and granddaughter opened, so all in all, we enjoyed a pleasant family day. I enjoyed the stories the helmsman who shared with us about the history of the area because, and I like history because to a certain extent, history defines who we are. 

You may not realise it, but the traditions you hold dear, the expressions you use, and the ideas you have originate from a time and place in history. When we realise this, we can change things and create our own traditions: expressions, ideas, etc. The given passage in Hebrews which I encourage you to read is about history. The writer is encouraging the Hebrew Christians about the value of their history in relationship to Christ. The history he is teaching occurred before time and space. So, in this article, I will take a couple of verses at a time and briefly explain them.

Introduction

The opening affirmation in verse 1 that God spoke through the prophets is essential. While Hebrews as a whole is written to establish Christ’s superiority to the old covenant, which is a foundational belief. Thus, the old-new contrast presented in Hebrews is not arguing what is the finest, but between what is most excellent  and the incomparable. It was no easy thing for God’s revelation in Christ to surpass the old ways — but it is terrific that it does!

SO, LET’S JUMP INTO THIS

Verses 2-4 present a series of assertions about Christ that establish this exceptional quality. Each describes aspects of Christ’s status as God’s Son, distinguishing Christ from the prophets. 

New Revised Standard Version readers may be surprised that Christ is referred to as “a” Son of God in verse 2, rather than “the” Son (most other translations add “his,” though there is no such word in Greek). 

Christ’s Divinity

The first point that the verse makes is about the superiority of sonship to being a prophet as a method of disclosure; it is not making a direct trinitarian assertion even if we suggest that the verse ultimately does point to the idea of the Trinity.

The second point is that the prophets were spokespersons for God; we would not claim that any of the prophets were “heir of all things” or involved in the act of creation.  

These two points together establish Christ’s presence at the beginning and at the end, or as revelation puts it, the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13). 

Verse 3 adds the third point of Christ’s role in sustaining all things by his powerful word.” 

So, all three points combine to make a powerful statement about the son’s role and activity in creation throughout time from genesis to revelation. In other words, Christ always existed.

Such a claim of extensive pre-eminences makes no sense apart from understanding the son’s relationship to God, and verse 3 supplies this understanding. 

The meaning of Jesus being “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.”  The emphasis on the unity of Christ and God is also seen in Colossians 1:16-20 and 2 Corinthians 4:6, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

It is worth reflecting on the whole meaning of such phrases is to fully understand the concept. The latter part of verse 3 adds that Christ “made purification for sins” and “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” 

The previous claims focus on who Christ points out the chief elements for the Hebrew believers of the purpose of Christ. 

Christ’s exalted status at God’s right-hand connects into the first claim in verse 2 that he is the “heir of all things.”  It is an image from Psalm 110:1, mentioned here and there throughout Hebrews and the New Testament as a messianic prophecy. 

It also provides the primary basis for the claim here in verse 4 that Christ is superior to the angels. In fact, the rest of chapter one is occupied with demonstrating Christ’s superiority to angels. This theme is continued in 2:5, which points out that God “did not give the coming world…to angels, but to Christ. This idea picks up again on Christ being the “heir of all things” and is seated at God’s right hand, and in the new world, which is the coming kingdom of God, and Christ will be overall.

Christ’s Humanity 

So, how can Christ’s humanity be reconciled with this superior status? The basic answer provided by Hebrews is that for Christ to atone for the sins of humans, he had to share in their humanity. Therefore, Christ’s humanity does not detract from his superiority but makes him relatable to us.

Hebrews 2:6b-8a quotes Psalm 8, as I have read, and the first part of the quote is translated in the RSV as, “What is a man that the Father be mindful of him, or the Son of man, that YOU care for him? the Father made him for a little while lower than the angels. 

Jesus, the Son of Man, referred to in the psalm, was temporarily made lower than the angels when he became human to fulfil this psalm’s prophecy. But, as the rest of chapter 2 explains, he had to become human to save humankind.

Christians today often stumble over the idea of Jesus having to be made perfect, but the claim here is merely about Jesus’ being fitted to his task. Perfection here is not about sin or morals or anything else regarding his character — it is about Jesus perfectly fulfilling his role in salvation. This role requires him to enter the whole human experience. In that sense, Jesus’ experience of suffering and death indeed was a matter of achieving perfection. Verses 11-12 affirms Jesus’ solidarity with humankind – he calls us his brothers and sisters. 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Mindfulness Master Class Course.  

I blog twice a week, so you won’t have to wait long- so keep an eye out for it. Please press that FOLLOW button on the lower right or you’ll also find it in the BLOG section found on the menu. This will ensure you’ll get all my latest articles in your in box.

Remember to Live Life on Purpose

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog postxx

 Paula Rose Parish

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8 Qualities of a Compassionate Leader

When I was called to be a leader, I pursued that call; however, I didn’t feel confident because I am not a natural leader. Some leaders are born, and others are made like me. I shrunk back from the task many times in fear with overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. Finally, the call on my life was so strong that it gave me the courage to push through my fears and learn to be a leader. The first thing I needed to sort was what kind the leader I wanted to be. 

So, I asked myself how my personality and experience contribute to what kind of leader I am?

 I only answered that question over time as I observed how I developed and emerged as a particular kind o leader. The shepherd leader style came to the fore repeatedly, so I became aware of what kind of leader I am. The problem with a shepherd leader, some people regard me as weak because I do not demand my own way. Conversely, I prefer to enable people to be the best they can be and do the ministry Ephesian chapter 4. I want to be a compassionate leader. It took many years for me to recognise what kind of leader I am; it may be quicker for you, it may not, so be patient and regularly engage in self-reflection. 

Leadership traits, like other skills, can be acquired with time, education, and practice. Below are seven traits that I have found of an effective leader:

1. Effective communicators

Leaders are excellent communicators, able to explain problems and solutions clearly and concisely. Leaders know when to talk and when to listen. In addition, leaders can communicate on different levels: one-on-one, via phone, email, etc.

2. Accountable and responsible

Leaders hold themselves accountable and don’t blame others for their own mistakes. 

Leaders take responsibility for any mistakes and support and encourage individuality while abiding by organisational structure, rules, and policies that need to be followed. 

3. Leaders can submit themselves to others

Christian Leaders are humble people and are ready to put others before themselves for the greater good.

4. Long-term thinkers

Leaders are visionaries. This is demonstrated by the leadership trait of planning for the future through tangible and quantifiable goals. In addition, they understand the need for continuous change and are open to trying new approaches to solve problems or improve processes.

5. Self-motivated

Leaders are self-motivated and can keep going and attain goals despite setbacks. In addition, good leaders try their best to exceed, not just meet, expectations. Leaders also are self-learners. They don’t need anyone to tell them to improve their skills because they desire to do so and pursue them. 

6. Confident

Virtually all good leaders share the leadership trait of confidence. They can make tough decisions and lead with authority. By being confident, leaders can reassure and inspire others, establish open communications, and encourage teamwork.

7. People-oriented

Leaders are typically people-oriented and team players. They’re able to foster a team culture, involve others in decision-making, and show concern for each team member. By being people-oriented, leaders can energise and motivate others. By making each individual feel vital to the team’s success, they secure the best efforts from each member of the team.

8. Emotionally stable

Leaders exercise reasonable control and regulation over their own behaviour and can tolerate frustration and stress. Leaders can cope with changes in an environment without having an intense emotional reaction.

In summary

To be genuinely effective, leaders need to build a toolkit of knowledge, skills, and behaviours that will establish their teams and their ministry up for success.

As mentioned above, there is a broad combination of fundamental skills that leaders need to acquire and develop. Setting objectives, motivating, delegating, coaching, and giving feedback, to name a few. Leaders are managers, and good management starts with the self. Therefore they must develop an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. They must be aware of their preferred style and approach and their emotional triggers; and learn how to manage, alleviate and maximise these for the benefit of their teams.

The best leaders expand their thinking beyond what’s obvious and can benefit from the hidden opportunities of organisational success: inclusion, swiftness, flexibility, and employee or volunteer wellbeing and engagement.

Leaders are also role models, and the example they set has a significant impact on the organisational culture. So, it’s critical that they first appreciate and then show the appropriate behaviours that build trust and encourage a positive ministry environment – and do so genuinely and consistently.

Consistency in the leader’s behaviour is of utmost importance because there’s nothing worse for a co-worker dealing with the leader’s unpredictable behaviours. 

A true leader brings their best selves to work every day.

NEW Course is Live on Udemy. Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

OR GO TO –  https://www.udemy.com/course/the-mindfulness-stress-relief-master-class/?referralCode=1FA203E550AC769AC33A

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

If you want some more information about Leadership Click hehttps://paularoseparish.com/2021/10/06/5-ways-mindfulness-improves-decision-making-to-enhance-your-business-and-your-life/re

Please follow this blog, you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. 

Remember to Live Life on Purpose

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post.

 Paula Rose Parish

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How to Reduce Your Stress

One of the blights of humanity is frustration. We get frustrated when we don’t get what we want or what we think we deserve. It seems that we’re a living contradiction. We really are our own worst enemy, working at cross purposes against our own best interest. We want meaning, purpose, and peace of mind, but we aren’t ready to strive or sacrifice for it. Why? Because human beings are forever seeking that kind of thing through enjoyment, which is temporal by nature. 

 Pleasure is a good thing, and we need to have some fun; however, it’s not the be-all, end-all that we imagine it to be, and we become disappointed with our life and can’t put our finger on why. Maybe it’s about expectations, and when those expectations are not met, we become very disappointed. For example, when we are having fun, and the pleasure we feel comes to an end, we want to chase after it, trying to create familiar feelings of joy. Sometimes we try to recreate experiences at a considerable cost to ourselves; we try to convert pleasure into something permanent.

When life goes wrong, we try to fix it by increasing the feel-good factor and strive to make it stay with us, but we just can’t do it. When we are frustrated, we search for ways to make ourselves happy, and often unwisely so. No matter how hard we try, we cannot make what is temporary permanent, and we cannot make what is imagined real. We can’t get back our loved one who is gone, the job that fell through our fingers is in the past, or even the children who have become adults and now live their own lives many miles from us. Also, it’s worth noting here that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its devastating toll, and we will never get back what we lost.  

Several hundred years ago, along with other religions, Christianity began engaging the West in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Although it was not named as such, that is precisely what it is, the aim and objective and results being the same. Within the act mindfulness practice, if one removes the idea of God, it still works. However, I prefer to still relate to God as far as mindfulness goes because it enhances not only my mind and body but also my spiritual person.

The scientific evidence to date of the success of mindfulness to enhance human life is overwhelming, and for those interested in their wellness, we cannot ignore it. Various professional disciplines and social movements, such as medicine and health care, psychology and brain science, and education at all levels, the law, business, leadership, and much more, enhance their practice by inserting mindfulness.

 Today’s mainstream medicine is developing an ever-growing interest in mindfulness-based intervention, such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Mindfulness is something we can practice for peace of mind and a way of relieving a wide range of chronic medical conditions. It is much like snowmelt flowing inevitably downhill from a high mountain source, flowing around obstacles, finding many pathways under the gentle tug of gravity, and ultimately merging into major rivers systems. The gravitational pull is the promise of liberation from suffering and the potential safe harbour. As human beings prepare for the awakening and embodying of wellbeing, greater wisdom and wise action in the conduct of our individual lives so we may peacefully carry ourselves in the world as a species. In other words, mindfulness can become a normal and natural way to live your life, and the feeling of wellbeing is inevitable. Living a mindful life as Jesus Christ did would not end our frustrations but the beginning of successfully managing them. 

Jesus gave us the answer to our frustrations and said don’t chase after things that are here today and gone tomorrow, but rather, strive for eternal things. Eternal things are more satisfying, like top quality peace, joy, and love, that only God can supply. Mindfulness can help us to pursue eternal things naturally and consistently.

Trying to hold onto relationships or things that are gone will leave you frustrated and keep you grieving for as long as you hold onto them. All human relationships, albeit long term, are temporal and subject to the joys and pains of this life; our lives are so fragile and short. The only permanent relationship and forever is a relationship with God offers to us through Jesus Christ.  

The nature of my work is that I aim to empower others with education and motivation to help them make for themselves a purposeful and happy life. In addition, I enjoy helping others to set wellness goals and then provide resources, helping you determine which changes would make the most significant impact on your health.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

If it was, please follow this blog, you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests

CLICK ON LINK BELOW FOR details of my Stress Relief Master Class. 

Remember to Live Life on Purpose

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post.

 Paula Rose Parish💗

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How to Count the Cost before entering the Ministry and avoid tears.

Today is a special day for me. I’ve only seen my family twice in two years due to the COVID lockdowns in 2020 & 2021. So today I’m travelling to see them and staying overnight. Sadly, I can’t stay any more than one night because I have to get back to work on a Sunday, such is the life of the church minister.

People don’t often realise that the minister just can’t take a Sunday off on the spur of the moment because we must often plan a year ahead and can’t have random time off. My preaching engagements for 2022 are about 80% booked already, and this is how most preachers have to work. It is unfortunate because I cannot be part of Sunday family events when they happen spontaneously. Because I have answered God’s call upon my life, this is the lifestyle I have adjusted to. Unfortunately, sometimes family or friends don’t really understand that the minister must plan way ahead and think you can just have a day off whenever you wish, sadly not the case. We ministers pay the price in answering God’s call upon our lives, so we need to count the cost before we enter the ministry.

How to Count the Cost.

When we answer God’s call upon our life, we need to carefully count the cost to our family as well. So, if you are reading this and you believe you have God’s call upon your life, you are standing at the precipice of decision-making to answer that call or go into another direction, so I hope that this article will be helpful to you.

Below are just a couple of tips to help you to ascertain if you really do want to answer God’s call upon your life or not. This is just a brief overdue, and I’m not going to explain each point; however, I may do this in a future article. The Bible says if a person builds a bridge, they must count the cost first. So, Jesus, while addressing the rich young ruler, was really asking him to count the cost, and we know the story the ruler did decide not to follow Jesus after all.

1. Be sure that the call upon your life is confirmed by others in church authority.

2. Spend a significant time in prayer and fasting if necessary to ensure that you have the mind of Christ in your situation.

3. Research the area of ministry that you wish to enter thoroughly. Understand fully what the expectations upon your life might be.

4. Draw yourself a timeline. When do you think that this call upon your life might begin? Does this fit into the commitments that you have for the next 12 months?

5. What financial implications will there be if you answer this call upon your life? Grab a people piece of paper and write them down so you can see them, pray over them, and reflect upon them.

6. What financial sacrifices are you willing to make and that of your family if you answer the call.

7. Are you and your family willing to move if the call upon your life requires?

8. Are you willing to move away from your extended family and friends if York also requires?

9. Are you willing to put in abeyance old ideas and take on new ways of being and living so you may be effective in your call?

10. How many years are you willing to attend a Bible college or university to be equipped for your call? And what sacrifices are you and your family willing to make so you are quick and embark upon the required training?

These are just 10 short questions, but I’m sure you will come up with more, and I hope that these will help you get started upon your quest to evaluate the cost to you. I am sure you will be making a sacrifice of some kind, and sadly, many people do not last long term in ministry because they have not previously counted the cost.

When I was in ministry in the USA, I have met quite a well-known woman minister, and we had coffee together. In our conversation, she said, “I often wondered why people romanticise ministry because it is far from romantic it is full of sacrifices, heartbreak, disappointment, and just darn hard work”. But, she continued on, “of course, there are rewards when you can see the fruits of your labour; however, it’s not often that you actually see that fruit because the people you help often move away, so, I don’t get the opportunity to journey with them throughout their lives. Still, it is a comfort to me that I will know how my ministry has affected others in the halls of eternity”.

You may be sorely disappointed if you are entering ministry to be liked or to receive accolades of thanks and welcome. Jesus said to carry your own cross, and indeed if you are called to the ministry, you will be bearing your cross. As Jesus pointed out, you will even be a sheep among wolves – are your shoulders broad enough for that?

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. 

If it was, please follow this blog, you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also, head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Mindfulness Master Class Course. 

I blog three times a week, so you won’t have to wait long- so keep an eye out for it. Please press that FOLLOW button on the lower right, or you’ll also find it in the BLOG section found on the menu. This will ensure you’ll get all my latest articles in your inbox.

Remember to Live Life on Purpose

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post xx 

 Paula Rose Parish💗

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#107 How to change your mindset to enjoy good health and wellbeing.

Since having the COVID19 vaccination over six months ago, I’ve had things changed dramatically in my health. I have been out of sorts for at least three months, constantly feeling weak and tired with losing appetite, and I lost a lot of weight. I also had a rash on the upper part of my body that no number of creams could get rid of. The doctor told me I had a severe reaction because my immune system was so strong that it fought the effects of the vaccine, and my body violently reacted.  I am pleased about my strong immune system as medical professionals have informed me of this in the past. However, when one is suffering, it is of little consolation!

Just Getting Old?

 Now six months on, the rash is nearly gone; just a tiny patch remains. The problem is that it also left me with terrible shooting nerve pains in my legs, arms, hips and in my shoulders. This has stopped me from working at a pace which I am accustomed to. I also, during this time, stopped doing my daily workout because it was just too painful to do so. On sharing with friends and the medical profession, the feedback I received was all similar. They all agreed that now I am over 65, I should expect aches and pains and things to go wrong with my body.

Ordinary painkillers did not touch the pain, so I went for something far more potent. I’m not a medication person and have never been. Unfortunately, Strong pain killers taken long term can mess with ones’ kidneys and liver, etc., and I undoubtedly didn’t want to go that route.

Then when the fourth person chimed in with this mantra about getting old, I made a decisive decision that I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with this painful condition.

I have always been a fan of holistic health which is about good eating, a good mindset, and exercising regularly, and faith. My faith has kept me going because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and as I appropriate that truth; I find that to be so.

I got quite irate when even my mind told me ‘you’re getting old’ and said, “no, I’m not going to be living like this anymore, I’ve had enough! I knew I needed to change my mind-set.

 After all, by God’s grace, I could be living for another 20 to 30 years on this planet, so there’s NO WAY I will be living with this pain for that long! So, to begin to change my mind-set I said out loud- “this pain is no mine- it does not belong to me!” Importantly,  I prayed, and I asked God to help me gather ideas of what to do.

My Mind Workout

I knew if I wanted to  change my mind set, I had to first change what I was putting in there. I got the idea to consistently listen to many audiobooks on YouTube, which is absolutely free, to help me to change my mindset. The topics I choose reminded me about our minds, how thoughts affect us profoundly and how having a healthy mindset makes for a healthy body. I will list the books below this blog.

I soaked upon these audiobooks for several months and then decided that I would start running again. I haven’t run far for over six years because my knees began to give out, and I fell over in the street, which was very embarrassing!  After all these years, I am still waiting on the NHS for a knee replacement. I could hear and felt the grinding bone upon bone, so I stopped running and stopped walking fast as well.  However, I did continue to work out in my little mini gym at home.

My Body Workout

But I felt that the pains in my legs are so severe it’s going to take something severe to stop them. So, I prayed and asked God for healing, but like everything, sometimes we need to get to the cause of this problem to cure it. I knew that I had nerve pain that affected my muscles. Nerve pain is there because the nerves are damaged in some way. Or the connection between my brain and nerves aren’t syncing.  Whatever, which one was the cause, I had to do something to increase my blood circulation to help my nerves to heal.

I never do anything by halves, so I set myself defiantly against the pain by creating a running program, and I am now steadily following that program.

It was hard to get started and still is. My legs felt like lead as I dragged them around, making the poor things run. But, by the end of the first week, the pain in my legs, arms and hips subsided; I no longer did need painkillers during the day.

My Diet Workout

I am now well into the second week and finding that I can sleep all night without being aggravated awake by intense pain. I also researched about the nerves and revised from my past experience, that our nerves are protected by the myelin sheath. The sheath is feed by vitamin B12.  So, I wondered whether I was not getting enough vitamin B12; indeed, the other Bs’ to feed my nerves, so I reviewed my diet.

I discovered that my vitamin B12 reserves were low, and one of the symptoms of vitamin B 12 deficiency is weakness and tingling in arms and fingers and pains in legs and hips, which is precisely what I have had.

I would get leg muscle cramps also, so I looked up the effects of magnesium and potassium on the body. A lack of these essential minerals results in muscle cramps.

Do Something Positive

So I purchased vitamin B12 drops and magnesium and potassium liquid because the liquid is more readily absorbed into the intestines.

It’s still early days, but I’m feeling much better. I look forward to my runs three times a week and other workouts each day. I run in an area where nobody can see me because I’m so self-conscious about not running like I once did. Now I kind of hobble along, but as I re-gain my running confidence and get into the swing of things I will get better at it.

I Still hear my knees grinding, and they still hurt, but I get my heart beating really fast and pick my legs up and am finding that my legs don’t feel so heavy anymore, and the pain is a lot less.

Keep On, Keeping On!

It is still a struggle, but as I keep my mindset and affirmations positive, I will gain the strength of mind and body.

Set Your Health Goals

 I want good health, so that means that I have to do something to achieve that goal. If I do nothing, I will achieve nothing. I have set my goals because I need to be healthy to continue to help and serve others in various ways.

Your Thoughts have Power.

And this is where mindfulness comes in as well. However, we only can have a mindfulness lifestyle if we change our mindset. Our thoughts are powerful things, and the Bible tells us that we will become what we believe. Indeed, neuroscientists have discovered this truth in more recent years. And this is why having a mindfulness lifestyle is essential for holistic well-being. The reality that God has given us the responsibility of managing  the thoughts. Read Proverbs 23:7.https://www.learnreligions.com/you-are-what-you-think-proverbs-237-701777

 I am advocating a lifestyle of mindfulness living which means that your attention is in the NOW. It means giving your full attention to the thing that is before you, and God within you. This helps to heal your brain, heal your emotions and body. Mindfulness enables you to control your thoughts, giving you happiness and appreciation of what you’re doing right then and right now. Time goes quickly- you will never have this day again, so enjoy it, be mindful within it.

Focus is the Key

The opposite of mindfulness is hurrying, constantly pushing to get to the next thing to be done. The opposite to mindfulness is failing to focus on and appreciating what is right in front of you.

Create a Gratitude Attitude

And so, when I run or do my work workout in my mini gym in my home, I am mindful of that moment. I concentrate on my body, how it feels and how I want it to feel, and visualise my body being strong and well again.  Then, I give thanks for my surroundings and joy in it all.

Share What You Know

 There is so much more that I want to share with you on mindfulness, that’s why I am working on a new book. My goals are to bring hope, joy, and love to you by encouraging you to live a better lifestyle for your own happiness and well-being.

If you are not happy with what you have, you can change it by changing your mindset.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog. Please come back here as I post regularly. Within the next few months, I will be starting a brand-new YouTube channel about personal growth and lifestyle design through mindful living. 

 Check out my menu bar above; there, you’ll find the online courses about mindfulness masterclass that will help you begin your mindfulness journey.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog. Please come back here as I post regularly. Within the next few months, I will be starting a brand-new YouTube channel about personal growth and lifestyle design through mindful living. 

 Check out my menu bar above; there, you’ll find the online courses about mindfulness masterclass that will help you begin your mindfulness journey.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Course.  

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

 Paula Rose Parish

Thank you for visiting me here, and we hope to see you soon.

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How to Stop Self-sabotaging and learn how to truly Love Yourself.

In my previous blog, I gave you some tips on self-love and why you should love yourself. Here are some further thoughts to help you to start loving and appreciating yourself.

It is vital to learn about your false beliefs about yourself. Learning about yourself can be a terrifying experience but also a deep and compassionate process of exploration. 

It would help if you learned what your values are because it reflects upon your behaviour. To do this, dig deep into your feelings and ask- “What am I thinking that’s causing self-sabotage or pain to myself?” Allow the answer to come from deep inside your soul. Dig deep into your intuition and true feelings.

Once you understand what you’re thinking and feeling, think about the fears and false beliefs that lead you to sabotage or pain.

Listen to your self-talk. What are you saying to yourself? What are others saying, and you are buying into it? What are the negative thoughts and actions against yourself? Write it all down. If you don’t your will forget what you discovered or the idea my be distorted.

All of us have the unconscious habit of keeping a running dialogue with ourselves throughout the day. Once you are fully aware that you do this, you have the opportunity to change the tune- create well habits and fill your day with positive self-talk. 

Instead of continuing a pattern of negative self-talk, be committed to breaking the cycle, research and learn how to change your outlook on life with positive thoughts that will increase your self-esteem. 

Self-exploration like this will take time, be patient with yourself and keep on keeping on- don’t give up. In time, maybe sooner than you think, you will detect that inner dialogue, so then you can correct and control it.

When your self-esteem is healthy, loving yourself will come naturally. 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and details of my Course.  

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

 Paula Rose Parish

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#106 Not an optional extra-Joy is the evidence of the Holy Spirit

When you  go for a burger you order the main thing. Then you may order ‘fries on the side’ then there’s other extras’ that that may take your fancy. Burger take out restaurants offer  so many options it is often hard to make a choice.

Sometimes as believers we think that joy is an optional extra. You may buy into the salvation by grace but think that the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ and joy being one of them,  are extra somehow and will come later at some point.

 This view is a distorted view of what salvation does for you. The fruit of joy like all the 5 fruits (Galatians 5) are a by-product of your inner change and not an ‘extra option thing.

Not an Optional Extra

Joy is not an optional extra, but is the evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. Joy is not a side order but an essential ingredient of the main course.

During our most painful losses and sufferings, we discover just how deep the supply of Christian joy is. Such joy is not thin and frivolous and empty, but thick and substantive and full.

The joy of the Lord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 1: 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.

The joy of the Lord may be totally weird  to those who don’t have it. But, for the believer in Christ, the joy of the Lord comes as naturally as grapes on a vine. As we abide in Christ who the True Vine,  are full of His strength and vitality, and the fruit we produce, including joy, is His doing John 15:5.

Keep Joy Alive in You

Philippians 4:4-7

Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful! Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.

You have inexpressible joy as a result of salvation- so allow it to grow, and nurture it to keep it alive.

Acts 8: 34-39

In this passage  the Ethiopian Eunuch, heard, understood and believed the gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ, so wanted to be baptised and asked Philip to baptise him.  When they came out of the water, the Holy Spirit caught Philip away and he disappeared, even so the Eunuch went on his way rejoicing. (39). This is the Joy of Salvation.

The Joy Of Salvation: What Is It?

Salvation though faith in Jesus Christ is an experience that brings deliverance, restoration and preservation, and as a result you are filled with joy.

It is a deliverance from the grip of Satan, a restoration and a U-turn from the pit of hell. Salvation and the joy of salvation are closely connected though separable. Joy is the natural fruit of salvation, which you open yourself up to so you experience it.

Joy is a foretaste of heaven (1 Pet. 1:8). Unfortunately, not many people have this joy, including those who attend Church services regularly.

This is because they don’t nurture it and allow it to dry up.

Spiritual dryness is one of the worst things that can happen to a believer. Joy is the water that will bring your life. Joy is the result of the infilling of the Holy Spirit who is the Living water Revelation 21.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. Come back here soon because In my next post I will share more about joy and how you can maintain it in your life.

 Please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests. Also head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for lifestyle tips and more details of my Course I am offering.  

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

 Paula Rose Parish

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#105 Tricky Bible Verses: should we always expect an agreeable answer?

 A few years back, I bought a book called Answers To Difficult Bible Texts by Joe Crewa.

I expected about 10 difficult passage for the author to deal with, however to my amazement, he listed 76!

Over the years, I have been asked many tough questions, and here are a few:

· How often should I mention Christianity to my adult children who have left the faith? 

· Should I secretly baptize my grandchildren since my children refuse to have them baptized? 

· What happens to babies who die without baptism? 

· I’ve been a church goer all my whole life; this the first time I’ve seen an individual confession and absolution offered- is this appropriate? 

· Do I have to go to church to be a Christian? 

· Why don’t most free churches offer first Holy Communion classes? 

· Can my visiting non believing relative take communion today? 

As a minister of the Gospel, the most common question I have had to help folk with is, Why do some hear the Gospel and believe, and others don’t? 

That’s a real tough one; however, my best answer is, “I don’t know”.

 Look at Romans 11:33 as this will help to why some and not others fall under God’s hidden will- 

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God

How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond discovery! 

While we don’t know the ultimate answer to this question, here is what we do know from Scripture. 

First, we know that all are dead-in-their-trespasses sinners and deserve hell; no one is righteous (Romans 3). We also know that God loved all and sent His Son to suffer hell on the cross and die for the sin of the world (John 3). 

Second, we know that God desires all to hear and believe this Good News and have everlasting life (I Timothy 2 & 2 Peter 3).

Third, we know that God elects to heaven but doesn’t predestine anyone to hell (Romans 8:30). 

So why do some hear and believe, and others don’t? Again, ultimately, God hasn’t revealed this to us, so we should take a guess at it.

Fourth, we know that all of us, by our human nature deaf to the Gospel and are in desperate need of the miracle of having our ears opened.

Finally, we know the miracle of faith in God’s work (Ephesians 2:8), and rejecting the Holy Spirit’s call by the Gospel is sinful our responsibility. God gets credit for salvation, and because of what we choose- God’s way or the other way- we get credit for the consequences of everlasting judgment (Acts 7:51; Matthew 13 & 22). 

Our Bible states that we are justified by faith alone and not by works of the law (Romans 3 & 4). As Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (ESV). 

Our Lord uses grace to create and sustain our faith through the Word and Sacraments ministry. The Holy Spirit creates faith through the vehicle of the Word as we hear and receive it in our hearts and live it in our lives. 

So, why do some believe, and others don’t? Well, as we have seen, this really isn’t a question for us to ponder. 

However, the question we can ponder is- when Jesus asks is, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Therefore, we would do ourselves a great favour to hear the Gospel and receive the Sacraments often in faith so that God who began a good work in us will carry it to completion (Philippians 1:6). 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests.

Also head over to my other blog www.moonrosemindfulnes.com for Mindfulness lifestyle tips and details of my Course.  

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

 Paula Rose Parish

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#102 How to live Gods way with true fairness.

Have you ever been in a situation that you believe is so unfair? I can tell you many stories that I feel I have been mistreated or a situation happened that just wasn’t fair! I am sure you can recall many situations that have been unfair to you.

Matthew 21:1- 16 is a parable that teaches around issues of unfairness and fairness. However, it is not a factual story and revolves around the equal rewards given to workers in the vineyard for unequal amounts of Labour.

In the context of Matthew, Jesus uses various events to communicate his vision of what the kingdom of heaven should be on earth, as it already is in heaven. And not surprisingly, it differs from the current ideas of it. Jesus says the last will be first, the first will be last

Just before this parable, Jesus accepts the children, blesses them, and uses them as a model for how the kingdom is granted by grace and God’s mercy alone. 

Then in the encounter with the rich young ruler, he indicates that it is almost impossible for anyone to be worthy of the kingdom based on their own actions, showing that it is only on God’s grace and mercy alone can we enter God’s kingdom.

  1. Firstly, 

This story is about a farmer who hires at regular intervals right through the day from sunrise at three-hour intervals to the ninth hour, which is mid-afternoon. 

And the casual labourers are called together at the end of the day and beginning with the last hired. They receive a day’s wage, a denarius, considered enough to live for just one day. And here, the farmer pays the last ones first and the first ones last they all receive the same amount. The workers who have worked all day are agitated, and so they should be – we say. They were so upset by this apparent unfairness that they were outraged.

Jesus has a way of using outrageous scenarios in his stories. It upsets the hearers; it unsettles us, challenging our comfortable traditional ideas. Jesus uses shock tactics to get people thinking, and his storytelling turns what we consider typical values upside down. 

At first glance, the scene is one of exploitation and decisions based on a whim and injustice. It’s not fair! We say, and yet the story opens new mental pictures for us to what the kingdom is like in heaven and should be on earth.

  1. Secondly, 

The story is unjust as we think as the farmer kept the contract he had made with the first hired and gave the last hired what they needed to live the just today.

 The last men hired received their denarius. Viewed from this perspective, the practice comes close to what we understand as normal. For example, unemployment benefits were created to ensure that everyone has enough to live on in the short term without working for it. Likewise, the National Health Service in the UK provides medical care for free to all people regardless of income. Here, the standard is on need and not on earning rights, is emphasised. 

Jesus promises in earlier parts of Matthew that he will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory and not according to our income. 

 And this upside-down kingdom should be reflected in the life of the Church. To accept this different way of thinking puts the question of justice into perspective for us today. 

Interestingly, Jesus uses familiar imagery, familiar even to us some 2,000 years later. The images are of hiring people who wait about the town centre for work. We get the image of desperate people, local people battling unemployment, looking for just one day’s wage to feed themselves and their families. Things aren’t good for them. These are poor people. 

Hanging about the town centre waiting for work is humiliating because they are at the beck and call of other people’s whim and be exploited and seen as an expendable resource. The poor are dehumanised in their poverty, and this to Jesus’ thinking is unjust – they are in need, the kingdom of God would make a significant positive change in their lives

  1. Thirdly,

There is a familiar cry today about human rights, but we have found that those who shout the loudest demanding their rights get accommodated while those who do not shout the loudest or cannot shout are marginalised, and their human rights are denied.

Through this story, Jesus is showing us that there are no favourites with God. The weak and the strong are equally loved and shown God’s mercy. 

I believe that this is a story about what our earthly reality should look like. And it is more about equality rather than justice. Because without equality, we can have no true justice. 

But I think it is also about what our spiritual reality should look like. What do I mean? 

Well, Those who have accepted Christ’s saving grace early in their lives and have lived 70 or more years following him will have no particular advantage over those who have lived an unrighteous life but repents on their deathbed. But, nevertheless, they will have the same gift of salvation.

Far from exploiting anyone, God’s kingdom brings love and mercy, equality and justice based on the need for a saviour, the need to be saved from the power of sin and death, and not based on our own ability or status. Equality and justice look like in God’s kingdom because it reflects what is happing in heaven. 

And for us, it’s the upside-down kingdom. But God is actually saying to us that our human way is upside down, and God’s way is the right side up!

  The Challenge 

Jesus is challenging our long-held ideas of what society should be and is bringing the idea of a new society called the kingdom of God. In so doing, God is showing us in picture form, through this parable of what Gods kingdom should look like here on earth, indeed in our day-to-day living. 

This parable can unsettle us and raises a lot of questions because this is what Jesus wants, to unsettle us, so we will listen to the alternative. 

Jesus uses this story to show us what the kingdom of God is like, and within that, what Gods mercy, equality, love and what true justice is.

In Jesus, we are learning that God is not working with purely human rights, but simply that Father God loves us all equally without prejudice; this is at the heart of God. It is God’s very being- God IS love!

the last will be first, the first will be last

And that is a challenge for us all to do likewise.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right, and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

NEW Course is going Live on Udemy . Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

OR GO TO – https://www.udemy.com/course/the-mindfulness-stress-relief-master-class/?referralCode=1FA203E550AC769AC33A

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#101 How to find meaning and wholeness in the ordinary things of life.

A clifftop street at Hensby in Norfolk UK, began to crumble into the sea as Britain’s coastline was battered by wild weather by the beast from the east. 

One home-owner described feeling a sudden tremble like an “earthquake” as the cliff gave way taking his house with it.  

At another property half a house and a garden shed fell into the sea after days of high winds and waves eroded the sandstone. Along the coast line, many houses were left teetering on the EDGE!  

Hemsby, Norfolk, has been deemed “too dangerous” for the residents of 13 chalets who have been evacuated and may lose their homes. Survyours warned about these chalets that there is a “very good chance” at least six of the properties will collapse into the sea.  Those residents found out what it means to live on the edge- quite literally  

  But what about thinking of living on the edge as a Metaphor? 

The average person lives a life of quiet desperation. There are many things to experience but they cannot. There are many things he or she does not want to do that is forced to do because there are many sacrifices that must be made to earn a living.  Day in and day out one must keep doing the same things in the same way in order to survive.  

Life can become repetitive, boring and there for some, it feels as if there is no way out.   

There is another type of human being, one who revolts against this mundane life, and revels in the unpredictable and the unexpected, who always takes risks, flirts with danger, and believes in living on the edge. 


A true-life story of a which occurred recently. A young woman on her 18th birthday parachuted out of a plane in celebration of this milestone. But sadly, celebration turned to tragedy as she plummeted to the ground as the parachute failed to open. She lived on the edge and lost.  

In every profession—be it business, sports, politics or movies— there are people whose adventurous streak never lets them rest in peace, who are forever on the move, going out of their way to do the most extraordinary things because they believe in living on the edge. For many people, such a life seems exciting and colorful, and would give anything to lead a similar life. Only if they had the guts, time and money! 

But how healthy or desirable is such a life? Boredom may be bad for one’s health, but so is the constant pumping of adrenaline into one’s blood-stream that results from a risk-taking lifestyle. The risk of an untimely death is certainly real, as we have seen. 

Looking at the teachings of Jesus Christ we see the real art of living is in the ability to find meaning and wholeness in the ordinary things of life? in the now, in this moment? The epistles  declare to us a guideline on  the best way to live 

 1 Timothy 2:2 Pray for kings and all who are in positions of high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 

  Whether it’s living on the edge quite literary as in Hornsby Norfolk or jumping out of planes, whichever way one looks at it, living on the edge is certainly a risky and perhaps an unpredictable way to live – it’s not sure or solid, it’s transitory – however- living on The edge feels much better! 

And maybe living on the edge feels so much better, but maybe that feeling does not last. And maybe one has to create that feel good factor to keep living on the edge, but it seems to me that living on the edge is just chasing feel-good feelings, but when that moment fades, when that feel good feelings goes,  then what?

A quiet and peaceful life is a precious thing indeed and we will find it in prayer and following our Lord Christ.  And of course, following Christ is not without excitement,  we can live our life to the Max in Christ and find all the adventure we can handle! 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right, and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

NEW Course is going Live on Udemy . Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

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#100 How to “wait” on God, to “hope” in Him

  Lets Celebrate! this is my 100 Blog article ! I get feedback how much these articles are helpful to you which spurs my on to keep writing.

The Bible  readings below encourage us to keep trusting God even when we a tired and weary. These truths that should bolster our Faith. We are waiting in hope for God’s salvation from this pandemic. Are you lockdown weary? I certainly am!! Although it seems to be over by now, and no more lock downs are in the pipeline, its has left me feeling exhausted.

When we feel exhausted and just plain worn out feeling that we can’t go on we need reminders to wait on God, and to hope in Him. When we do, our strength is renewed. By our own resources, we will never achieve total satisfaction or serenity. Trusting in God produces confident expectations which gives us a meaningful life.

Isaiah closes this chapter with words of enormous meaning and encouragement which shows that he understands deep despair. Some were complaining about God; others had given up and were resigned to their fate. They were sitting–despondent and weeping–by the waters of Babylon. In their minds, God had ceased to care. God had not given up on them; they were not abandoned. To all who’ve lost hope, Isaiah cries out… “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary.”…We do, and often. We may be on the verge of giving up- we cry, “I’m down and out!”.

That’s when we need a reminder to “wait” on God, to “hope” in Him. When we do, our strength will be renewed. By our own resources, we will never achieve satisfaction or serenity. Trust in God produces confident expectations and meaningful life. We need to recall God’s actions in the past so that we may trust His providence for the future.

Part of our problem is that we’re time-bound; God is not. He is “the everlasting God.” God belongs to eternity; He is outside of time, not limited by time, so He sees the beginning and the end. We can face tomorrow knowing that God’s already been there in our future- exciting!

God “gives strength to the weary.” We grow tired and discouraged, yet God provides all we need.

God “gives power to the weak.” The word “power” is related to the Hebrew word for “bone”. Our bones hold us together, and so the image is one of durability and stability. 

If we trust purely in ourselves, we will faint and fall…when we hope in the Lord, we find the strength to carry on. Trust enables us to “renew our strength”, verse 31. The word “renew” means “to exchange”, as in taking off old clothes and putting on new. “We exchange our weakness for God’s power”. God alone sees the big picture, and it takes Faith to trust that He has all things under control, and Faith assures us that God is up to something good!

A Psalm – 147:1-12, 21

Hallelujah! How good it is to sing praises to our God! *
how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!

The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; there is no limit to his wisdom. The Lord lifts up the lowly but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God upon the harp. He covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth; He makes grass to grow upon the mountains and green plants to serve mankind.10 He provides food for flocks and herds and for the young ravens when they cry.11 He is not impressed by the might of a horse; he has no pleasure in the strength of a man.12 But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him, in those who await his gracious favour. Hallelujah!

OT Reading – Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

The Epistle – 1 Corinthians 9:16-23If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.

For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

The Gospel Mark 1:29-39After Jesus and his disciples left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Until next time- Live Life on Purpose in Hope. Faith. Love,

My Blog posts are part of Paula Rose Parish Ministries for your encouragement.

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#99 Conquer the Fear – Trust God and Fulfill Your Dreams!

Available on Amazon

As you know, last year I wrote 2 books that are available on Amazon and scheduled to write another this year.  Starting a new book is far more complex than one would think. With each book, I found that getting in the flow is difficult. However, once that flow begins its like sailing happily downstream. I am dyslexic, so writing for me is a mixed bag. It’s both pleasurable and painful. I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give me ideas. It may take a little time and starts with a trickle, but then they flow through my brain like fast-flowing water in a river.

The problem is that I need to capture the ideas before they float out of sight. It’s capturing the ideas that are the hard part. Writing them down in some semblance of order is even more challenging. I have toyed with many ideas for my next book for months, but fear has prevented me from making a start. God supplies the ideas, then it’s my task to put them too good use. There’s no point in praying and receiving ideas and doing nothing about them, is there? 

Sometime ago I made a video for my YouTube channel ‘The Christian Lifestyle Channel’ about setting goals. In that video, I share how, as believers, we can tend to leave ‘everything up to God’ then we sit back and do nothing. In sitting back, we think we are being faithful and relying on God. However, we need to understand that Jesus taught us that we are co-workers with him. God, the Holy Spirit, supplies the ideas and the strength and understanding. We need to put all of that together into action. We need to start somewhere. If we don’t begin somewhere, we end up nowhere. 

I have a routine when I do morning pages. The ideas i from Julia Cameron who wrote ‘The Artist Way’. I read through the artist way for guidance and then i write my morning pages. This give me inspiration and semablec eof though helping me to over comes my fear of writing.

In the Artist Way, Julia points out that ‘God will take care of the quality if we supply the quality’.

This is a pulled idea from the Bible which teaches that we work together with Christ in this world to build his kingdom on earth. Sitting back on our laurels is not the luxury we have. If you are a kingdom builder- you need to do just that- BUILD!

When building a house the bricks, mortar and all the other materials and tools that are you needed must be available for you to use, otherwise you can not build the house. Tools are useless unless you use them. Often we take our un-used spiritual tools to polish them, admire them, and carefully put them back into our toolbox for another day. In the meantime, you are not building the kingdom, you are starting nowhere, and the reality is that if you continue, you will end up no-where ! 

Some people think it’s being ‘spiritual’ to wait on God- and to wait on God- and to wait on God (whew!) years pass, and they are still waiting on God! The only result is that we get thoroughly worn out in our waiting. We misinterpret what waiting is, and in all our waiting- we end up being redundant in the kingdom. 

I am talking to myself as much as I am talking to you about this. Don’t let fear dictate your goals, today, I began somewhere to plan my next book. I seriously began. I set up a particular process folder, outlined my chapters and researched different cover designs. Writing this post is giving me accountability because now I have shared this with you, I need to continue to move forward in the book writing process. Then I can continue to share with you what I am doing in my life authentically. 

I am in the last part of my life, and due to circumstances that I will share with you at another time, I had to reinvent myself. Part of the reinvention is becoming an author. I learnt a very long time ago that life is for living, not for just existing. Jesus promises us abundant life and calls us to build his kingdom, and it’s up to us to put it into action. So I encourage you, don’t let fear dictate what you will do and what you will not. Follow your dreams by overcoming you fear and trusting in the ONE who supplies all the tools you need.

I hope my sharing has been of help to you and I wonder, what will you do with your visions and dreams? Will you let them float forever in the forgotten realms in your head, or will you begin somewhere, will you begin now? Let me know where you are in achieving your Goals,

Until next time- Live Life on Purpose in Hope. Faith. Love

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right, and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula

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📚Nothing Good about Grief: Path to recovery with Psalm 23 after COVID-19 & other losses  

📚Psalm 23 Unwrapped: Hope in difficult times

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#98 Anger Management: 5 Tips to tell if your anger is hurting others.

The story is told that in the latter 1800’s, Alfred Lord Tennyson an English aristocrat, invited a Russian nobleman to his estate. And early one morning this nobleman took off with dogs & guns & servants to go hunting on Tennyson’s vast estate.

At mid-day he returned & Lord Tennyson asked him how he did. He answered, “Not very well. I shot two peasants.” Lord Tennyson thought for a moment & then said, “No, we pronounce it with a ‘ph’ here. It is ‘pheasants.’ You shot two pheasants.”

“No,” the nobleman replied, “I shot two peasants. They were insolent towards me, so I shot them”!

 Now we smile in disbelief at a story like that. But last May  a driver in Swansea South Wales UK, abused  another driver a woman in road rage. He was charged with verbal assault. When asked why he was angry and abusive, he said it was because she was black.

That happened in Swansea,  But stories like that have popped up all over the country. People becoming abusive due to their uncontrolled mindless anger.

 Now, of course, none of us  would do anything like that. But have you ever lost your temper? Do you ever do things you wish you hadn’t done, or say things you wish you had never said? I can certainly say YES to that!

Well, the Bible has something to say about overcoming anger. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience. It is to his glory to overlook an offense.”

If someone offends you, & if you are a person of wisdom (God’s wisdom) then you can easily overlook it, & not allow the situation to become a major event that overwhelms you, causing rage within you.

 I discovered that there are 4 types of anger dealt with in the Bible.

First of all, there is sudden anger. The Bible says that sudden anger is to be controlled.

Secondly, there is sinful anger. The Bible says that sinful anger is to be condemned.

Thirdly, there is stubborn anger. Stubborn anger is to be conquered.

Finally, there is sanctified anger. And sanctified anger is to be channeled.

 So let’s look at each of those 4 types of anger.

SUDDEN ANGER IS TO BE CONTROLLED

First of all there is sudden anger, & the Bible says that sudden anger is to be controlled.

Proverbs 14:17 says, “A quick-tempered man does foolish things.” We already knew that because we’ve experienced that in our own lives. We may blame our quick temper on our red hair. Or we may blame it on our heritage. After all, we’re Irish or something like that. We may even be proud of it.

But the bottom line is, if we have a short fuse, we’re going to do a lot of foolish things. When we lose our temper we’ll say things we know we shouldn’t have said, & do things that we’re going to be sorry for later on.

Next, Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot tempered man stirs up dissension.” That simply means that if you have a short fuse, if you’re always losing your temper, if you’re walking around with a chip on your shoulder, if you’re just looking for somebody to say something that will irritate you, then you’re going to leave a trail of hurt feelings & unhappiness behind you.

Will Rogers was a famous American actor in the 1940s and a believer in Jesus Christ. Will said, “Whenever you fly into a rage, you seldom make a safe landing.” And he is right.

Chuck Swindoll an American author said, “I got so angry that I gave him a piece of my mind. And it was a piece that I couldn’t afford to lose.”

The writer of Proverbs said, “A hot temper stirs up dissension.”

Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening – that is his folly & his shame.” He is talking about jumping to conclusions. We hear just a little bit of what is said, & we instantly jump to a conclusion, & oftentimes it is the wrong conclusion.

Have you heard about the dog named “August” who was always trying to chase a mule named “Conclusion?” One day he jumped at Conclusion & bit him, & Conclusion kicked back at August. And that was the last day of August. Think about that for a moment.

Sometimes we jump to conclusions, & King Solomon who is mentioned in the Holy Bible, says that jumping to conclusions before knowing the facts is to our folly & our shame.

Proverbs 19:19 says, “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty.” We’re being told that almost every day. Doctors tell us that losing our temper consistently brings about high blood pressure, dryness of mouth, & a fast-beating heart. It could even bring pre-mature death.

A hot temper could also mean loss of family & friends. The penalties of losing our temper are many.

So the Bible says, “If you have a sudden temper, then you need to control it.” But how can we do that?

You say, ” I just can’t control my temper. It gets away from me.” But you absolutely can. Have you ever found yourself engaged in a heated discussion with your voice getting louder & your words becoming more rapid? Then the telephone rings & you say, “Hello.” very calmly ? If you have- then you can control your temper.

So we need to recognize that we have a problem with temper. As long as we deny it, as long as we blame it on our parents or short-fuse or whatever we choose to blame it on, we’ll never improve.

God is there to help us if we ask. Confess your problem to God & ask for His help.

Pray something like this “Lord, I’m beginning to lose my temper, & I’ve done it many times before. Please help me see what is causing it to happen, & then help me to overcome it.”

The Bible teaches that when the Holy Spirit guides our life, that one of the fruits of the spirit is self control. And if you have a sudden temper, you need to control it.

SINFUL ANGER IS TO BE CONDEMNED

The second type of anger discussed in scripture is sinful anger. Not all anger is sinful, & we’ll talk about that in just a minute. But some anger is. So let me give you a test to help you determine whether your anger is sinful or not.

A. In Matthew 5:21, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, & anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”

Now that passage tells us some things about anger that should help us realize when our anger is sinful & when it is not.

Notice first of all that it says, “Anyone who is angry with his brother.” Now if you’re a brother or sister to someone it indicates that you are a member of the same family, whether a domestic family or the family of God.

If we’re brothers & sisters, we ought to be lifting each other up, supporting & helping each other. We should not spend our time being angry at one another. If we do, the Bible says its a sin.

The King James Version speaks about being angry at your brother “without a cause.” If we are angry & don’t have a legitimate reason for being angry, then this tells us that our anger is sinful.

Then if you’re angry at your brother, that indicates that you are focusing your anger toward that person, instead of trying to love them. We should never focus our anger on people, but rather on the sins they commit.

Jesus was never angry at people, but He was angry at their sins. He loved everybody that’s why he died for everybody. So look beyond the person. We must love the person, but hate their sin.

So if you’re angry , if you’re focusing on a person, then that means that your anger is sinful.

REVENGE

Now in Romans 12:19 Paul says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: `It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

So the third test of our anger is this: Is it anger that seeks revenge? Are we always trying to get even? The Bible teaches that God is the one who has the right of vengeance. Not us. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord. We don’t have the right to repay anyone. But rather, turn that over to God.

So if our anger is geared towards seeking revenge, then it is very definitely sinful anger.

If it is vengeful, then most likely it is also an anger that is cherished.

Remember what Jesus said to the man who was by the pool, waiting to be healed, & he couldn’t get to the water soon enough? Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” Important question!

There are a lot of people who enjoy being sick because of the attention it gets them. And there are a lot of people who love being angry for the same reason. They’ve been angry for years. Inside of them there is a boiling mass of anger. They are used to it, they think its normal to feel like that.

So if anger is cherished, it most certainly is sinful anger.

If it is a cherished anger it will also be an anger with an unforgiving spirit. And the secret to getting rid of anger is to be able to forgive. But if you can’t forgive, if you can’t release it, then it is a sinful anger.

So here are the 5 tests to tell whether or not our anger is sinful anger.

1. Is it anger directed towards a person?

2. Is it anger without a justifiable cause?

3. Is it anger that seeks vengeance?

4. Is it anger that is cherished?

5. Is it anger that has an unforgiving spirit?

If any of the answers to those questions is “yes,” then our anger is a sinful anger. And the Bible says that it is to be condemned.

If it is sinful, then we need to repent, to turn away from it, & allow God to forgive us of it so that we can become forgiving people, too.

STUBBORN ANGER IS TO BE CONQUERED

The third type of anger is stubborn anger. It is an anger that just stays there, day after day after day.

One of the classic passages that deals with anger begins in Ephesians 4:26. The KJV says, “Be ye angry, & sin not. Let not the sun go down on your wrath.” And the next verse says, “And do not give the devil a foothold.”

One day you go home & you’re angry. You’re carrying a chip on your shoulder, just waiting for someone to knock it off. Then your loved one says something you don’t particularly appreciate, & soon heated words are being exchanged. It really doesn’t amount to much, but you’re determined to get your way, & she/he is determined to get their way. So the argument continues.

The sun goes down & nighttime comes. Then in bed she/he faces one way & you face the other way, & you both make very sure that you don’t touch each other.

Do you realize what has happened? The Bible says that you have opened the door, & said, “Mr. Devil, come right on in. We’ll make you welcome here.”

Then in vs. 31, Paul mentions what happens when Satan begins to do his dirty work.

The first result is “bitterness.” You begin to think about all the bad things people do & say to you, all the insults, all of the inconsiderate things that go on.

Then Paul says, “After bitterness comes rage & anger.” “Rage” is bitterness boiling & bubbling inside of you. And “anger” is rage being expressed. It is no longer just inside you. Now you begin to kick the cat, & hit the wall. Now you begin to say all kinds of things, until finally it becomes “brawling,” which means “shouting loudly,” & “slander” or “insults.”.

And the end result of it all, Paul says, is “malice.” And “malice” means that you really desire to harm. That’s why we’re always reading about someone shooting his wife & turning the gun on himself. Because the ultimate end of stubborn anger is malice.

Paul said, “Here is the way to get rid of stubborn anger. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.” Vs. 32 says, “Be kind & compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

So first of all, there is sudden anger. And it must be controlled.

Then there is sinful anger. And it must be condemned.

Then there is stubborn anger. And it must be conquered.

SANCTIFIED ANGER MUST BE CHANNELED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR GOD

Finally, there is Sanctified anger. And that must be channeled in the right direction for God. Remember, Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be ye angry. . .” It is okay to be angry, but do not sin.

Read Mark 3:1-5. This is a passage deals with a situation in the life of Jesus that I think is very revealing. It says:

“Another time he went into the synagogue, & a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. And Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, `Stand up in front of everyone.’”

“Then Jesus asked them, `Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent.”

“He looked around at them in anger &, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts. . .” You see, the focus of His anger is their hearts. He is angry because of their stubborn hearts & their stubborn anger. The sun has gone down. The sun has come up. And the devil has established a foothold in their lives. And Jesus is angry at their stubborn anger.

Then Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, & his hand was completely restored.”

The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in all points, even as we are tempted, but He never sinned. So this passage teaches that Jesus became angry but it wasn’t sinful anger. It was sanctified anger, channeled anger, anger that has the right focus, & the right object.

Maybe an infusion of sanctified anger is the very thing that the church needs. To become angry at the corruption of the world. To become angry at the forces of evil. To become angry at pornography that reaches into every segment of society to corrupts it- the list goes on.

To become angry at the millions of abortions. To become angry at the increase in crime & murders & rapes. To become angry at the abuse of alcohol & drugs in our society. To become angry because there are millions of people who are dying & going to Christless graves.

It is time for the church to become angry, with a sanctified anger, a holy anger, that is channeled in the right places, and anger that springs a person into action.

There are all kinds of anger. And if you are wrestling with bad anger, God promises to give you victory, if you’ll let Him.

So be angry, but don’t sin. Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath. Don’t allow the devil to have a foothold in your life. But channel that anger so it can begin to accomplish victories for Jesus.

I offer His invitation He stands ready & willing to come into your heart & into your life. If you’ll confess your faith in Him, & repent of your sins, & be faithful to him in Christian baptism, learn of Him and from Him. He has promised to forgive your sins.

If you are already a believer in Jesus, then I invite you to join with us in the ministry that God has given us here. Please support and pray for this ministry that people all over the world will come to know that God loves them and the saving knowledge of Christ our Lord.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

If it was, please follow this blog you’ll find a button on the lower bottom right, and leave a comment with any questions or prayer requests

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

NEW Course is Live on Udemy . Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

OR GO TO – https://www.udemy.com/course/the-mindfulness-stress-relief-master-class/?referralCode=1FA203E550AC769AC33A

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#97 Does God rescue us from disaster? Answered prayer.

I’ve been reading Psalm 69 particularly versus 14 to 17, – ‘rescue me from the mire, don’t let me sink any deeper. Deliver me from my foes, from the murky depths. Prevent the flood waters from sweeping me away. Do not allow the ocean to engulf me, the pit to close its jaws around me. Lord, answer me, are you are good and merciful, in your boundless kindness, turn to me. I am in difficulty, do not conceal your face from me. Answer me speedily!’

In 20216 a plane disappeared and later found crashed in the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt’s air craft left the airport with so many souls on board, none of them knew that they all had only a short time to live. I know it leaves me cold and nervous to think about air travel now. I have travelled on hundreds of planes around the world; long and short haul, and I don’t really enjoy it, I don’t like sitting in crowned seats, and feeling like death warmed up when I get to my destination.  I only do it, because I want to get to a certain destination quickly. So, how does Psalms 69, play out in a situation where death is imminent through an accident, or indeed any other means? Does God rescue?

Christians can be overcome by disaster as much as anybody else. We can find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet we believe that God can deliver us in times of crisis, or help us through the situation, nonetheless. That’s certainly the conviction expressed in this Psalm above. 

David, who penned this psalm, was clearly confronted a desperate situation of some kind, from which he feared there may seemed to be no escape. Yet the fact that he ends the Psalm praising God, not to mention that later David became king, strongly suggests that his prayer was answered!

God does not appear in person, by stretching out his arm from heaven to strike down our enemies, nor does he lift us out of harm’s way. However, we believe God responds nonetheless, working through all kinds of people, in all kinds of surprising ways, to strengthen, support and deliver.

Let me encourage you today. We need to keep the faith in the face of adversity, and difficulty. We are unable to see the big picture, however, God is bigger than our circumstances and knows the beginning from the end so we can place our trust in God our father– always. Psalm 81 v7

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Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If you need support of some kind, please email me.

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Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

NEW Course is Live on Udemy . Beginners Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here http://www.moonrosemindfulness.com

for more details.

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#95Inspiring Bible Psalm for Encouragement : You are cradled in God Love!

Psalm 139 

Here in the UK the weather – has been beautiful and hot, warm, calm light nights and early mornings. Gardening is a pleasure as we reap the harvest of our toil, picking our strawberries, lettuces, and other plants and flowers that we have planted in the spring. It is indeed a beautiful time of year, although changeable, so keep that umbrella to hand!

Brexit and the Pandemic brought changes into our lives. Recent history has presented us with a lot of change, some welcome, others not so much. Life is all about change. Nothing stays the same. I am a grandmother to five grandchildren now, the eldest 20 years old the youngest 2 months. I have recently met my new granddaughter. I couldn’t meet her until 6 weeks ago when she was 2 months old due to the pandemic lockdown. It’s been a while since I last saw her, she has changed a lot since then I am sure, she will continue to change as she grows.

Like it or not, our society must constantly change to renew itself; otherwise, we will get stuck in the status quo and never progress. It is all change that will affect us in various ways, positively or negatively, depending on how we view that change and respond to it.

However, In the mix of all this upheaval and change, we may feel that we are just part of a nameless crowd, a mere statistic in an impersonal society that cares little for the individual. Compare that with the biblical understanding of how God views us as unique individuals in our own right valued for what we are. Psalm 139 says that we are fashioned in every part. God was there when we were woven together in our mother’s womb and are dependent on him from birth. Since before we were born, and God has loved us and been faithful to us.

Yet, we may not be aware that God knows all about us and loves us deeply. To me, to know how much we are loved by God is totally amazing, wonderful and beyond my human understanding comprehension!!!

Whomever we are and however our soul-less society can sometimes make us feel, there is one we can always turn to in confidence, knowing that our welfare and happiness matter. We can turn to our Father God through Jesus Christ.

As we continue to experience change, perhaps within our bodies, minds, family, or society, let us think about and pray for those who feel themselves to be alone. So many people feel they are in a cold and impersonal universe, having no sense of God’s love and care reaching out to them. No sense of his compassion or offer of salvation. Let’s pray for those who feel lost in a faithless and uncaring world and perhaps even within their own family. Let’s pray for those who believe that their personal well-being is of little concern to others.

So, let’s find our voice in prayer and our voice in our community so we can help make it better. Let’s find our voice in making everyone we meet feel valued, the significant human being that they are. Let’s find our voice in sharing the love of Jesus and his saving power- people need to hear good news!!

By His Grace

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Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

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NEW Course is going Live on Udemy . Beginners Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

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How to Pray: Five Simple Steps to Centering Prayer.

Letting go and trusting God is not always an easy thing to do. The practice of contemplation prayer moves us steadily forward.

Staying in a relationship within the God the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit means finding constant pleasure in Gods divine company. We connect by simply chatting humbly and lovingly without limiting the conversation in any way. Contemplative Prayer is also about listening for the Holy Spirit’s voice. This is especially important in times of temptation, sorrow, and even in times of unfaithfulness and other sins.

Pondering upon and enjoying God’s presence is contemplation. The way of contemplation is nonverbal. Unspoken words and cries of the heart become thought forms manifesting themselves before the throne room of God.

Contemplation was shortened into a simple modern method in the 1970s by three Trappist monks, William Menninger, Basil Pennington, and Abbot Thomas Keating.

This method of prayer is traditionally called Centering Prayer, which denotes focus, to be present with, and to find balance. It consists of responding to the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Christ) by consenting to God’s presence and action within.

 Centering Prayer helps to quieten our sensory faculties to cooperate with the gift of God’s presence. This wonderfully supports us to move from more active modes like a verbal prayer, to focusing and resting in silence before God, even for a few moments is revitalising. This highlights of this kind of prayer is that its easy to foster a friendship with God.

Centering Prayer also fosters a deep discipline which serves the relationship to grow.

Centering Prayer It is Trinitarian in its source, Christ-focused, and pastoral in its effects, and brings and builds together different communities in unity and faith.

There’s so much to say on this vital subject. You have learnt a little about this method of contemplation called centering prayer and prepared yourself for it. Okay now is the time to have a go!

Five Simple Steps to Centering Prayer 

1) set a timer for 10 mins

2) choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intent to give permission to God’s presence and action within. This sacred word can be anything that calms you and helps you to be still. It can be or Jesus, mar-an-atha (come here Lord)

My Word is Yahweh meaning, I AM who I AM which describes who God is.

3) sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce the sacred Word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.

4) when you become aware of thoughts, return ever-so-gently to your sacred word.

5) at the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Make this a habit at least once a day. Soon you will feel comfortable, then increase to twice a day. With regularity, this will help you journey through the valley of grief. Over time it becomes habitual. Keep in mind that it doesn’t take away suffering but rather, takes away the fear of suffering, relieves stress and brings you closer to Father God.

You don’t have to think about God to be in God’s presence. God will never leave or forsake you but is always with you till the end of the earth, (Hebrews 13:5).

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If it was, please follow this blog, or leave a comment with any questions!

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in my home page’s top menu.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

NEW Course is going Live on Udemy . Beginners Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

OR GO TO – https://www.udemy.com/course/the-mindfulness-stress-relief-master-class/?referralCode=1FA203E550AC769AC33A

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Eight easy steps to turn a setback or failure into a Comeback.

Marie had a lifelong ambition to a business owner. She quit her job as a teacher to realize her dream of owning a high street coffee shop. She wanted it to be special, selling different coffees from around the world, with a décor being with an international theme. Her investments in time, money an effort was high. The buzz of seeing this store open was one of her proudest and happiest moments of her life. 

However, by the end of the first year, her sales were far below what she had a forecasted. Marie’s excitement was replaced with anxiety and concern. She was not making enough money to pay herself and was scraping through paying the bills. Marie was left wondering what to do. 

I am sure you have been in Marie’s position at some time or another. You may have embarked on a project, business or relationship and it all went pear shaped. When business ventures, careers, relationships, or dreams don’t go as planned we are left devastated.  

It is important to remember that how we view our situation will change the course of the outcome. When we look at these situations as failures, it distorts our reality. This twisted view can prevent us from seeing the truth of the situation. Without a clear focus, it can be impossible to solve the problem or move forward. 

I have got Good News for You! 

A setback doesn’t have to be the end of your dreams. Look at it this way, a setback might be exactly what you need to get where you want to be. A setback may be a blessing in disguise!! 

I read a lot of Self-help books, blogs and listen to free audio books on YouTube about successful living. I have also experienced a lifetime of setbacks. These few points are what have learned about how successful people handle setbacks. I hope this is of help to you today. 

 1.  Expect Setbacks. 

If you let them, setbacks push you to try something improved. Setbacks will happen, so expect, accept, and prepare for them when they come. 

2. Time Yourself 

Allow yourself time to acknowledge your feelings of disappointment. It’s wise to put a time limit on how long you will focus on that feeling. I don’t allow myself any more than a couple of days to get my head straight. On the third day, I call it resurrection day. I might still feel disappointment, but I ensure that I don’t wallow but redirect that emotional energy toward progress. Ask yourself ‘now what?’ get excited and start brain pumping innovative ideas. 

3. Manage Your Weakness 

Know your reactions to disappointment. Be careful- failure may cause you to lose perspective, anticipate what will cause you to get upset and give up. 

4. Be Objective 

Accurately assess to the situation, determine what really occurred and what you need to do to remedy it. Objectively size up what happened. Was there an event or decision that created a problem? 

Note down what worked and what didn’t. Write down what factors created the setback. Was there enough interest? Was there enough funding? Was there enough help? Seeing the facts on paper will solidify the facts. 

5. Next Please 

Successful people don’t navel gaze, and get over emotional, they always find a way around or through the problems. Successful people see failures as opportunities. Write down your options and assess each of them in the light of the requirements. Don’t feed ‘pity me.’ 

6. Be Mindful and Pray 

A change in direction and making new decisions can be overwhelming or worse in fact – heart-breaking. Feeling overwhelmed leads to mind block, because doing nothing seems easier in the moment than making big decisions. The remedy is to Live in the Moment. Pragmatically, prayerfully ascertain, what can be done today, tomorrow, or next week to move forward.  

7. Be a Learner 

Someone once said to me’ if you never made a mistake, you’ve never made anything, turn your lemons into lemon aide.’ Wise words. 

I research successful people and learn from them. Successful people who have integrity will also share their failures. Learning from the failings and setbacks of others is invaluable to your learning. Learn the lessons and move forward. 

A lot of successful entrepreneurs when they first started, knew nothing about running a business or even their product they are selling. The difference is that they were willing to learn new things no matter how challenging they found it to be.  

8. Positive Self-talk. 

Setbacks may create self-doubt. You will never hear successful people say, ‘I can’t.’ You always hear them say ’I can and will.’  Manage your thought life. stay focused on what you can do next. Celebrate each time you move forward even a little.  

Remember, a setback is a setup for a comeback. 

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If it was, please subscribe, or leave a comment with any questions!

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in my home page’s top menu.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

NEW Course is going Live on Udemy . Beginners Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

OR GO TO – https://www.udemy.com/course/the-mindfulness-stress-relief-master-class/?referralCode=1FA203E550AC769AC33A

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Have you been let down? How to overcome disappointment.

You may have noticed that I haven’t written for a very long time for those who follow my blog regularly. Nor have I produced a newsletter. The reason for this is I have had a bathroom refurbishment and experienced many a difficulty with dealing with a rogue builder. I’ve also had computer problems and had to purchase another; hopefully, this one will be more reliable. The rogue builder started the work in May, made a terrible mess, and scammed me out of money. Finally, I found a fantastic builder called Afan Property and they completed their work today. They rescued the situation, and they did a fantastic job! During the turmoil, I moved away from my usual writing schedule. Dealing with the rogue builder has been of great stress and disappointment to me, and this is the theme upon which I am writing today. 

DISAPOINTMENT

One of the most complex problems in life I have personally found hardest to bear is the feeling of disappointment. Disappointment comes where there is an expectation of something happening which does not occur. With disappointment comes a sick and dramatic feeling of sheer hopelessness, which manifests in the pit of one’s stomach.

Proverbs 13:12 ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but it is a tree of life when the hope is fulfilled.’

 I have come through many a toil and storm as I know you have. I have shared some of my story with you here in my blog, so be sure to look back to earlier posts. I am sure we agree that facing the disappointments that life throws at us is undoubtedly one of the hardest things to make sense of and cope with. 

I am the type of person who wants to believe in and trust the word of others. So, when that person, for whatever reason, does not adhere to their word, in particular if its life changing, I become grossly disappointed. I feel sick to my stomach and leaves all my hopes dashed.

 In my 60+ years living on this earth, if I received £1 for every time I was let down, I would indeed be a wealthy woman! The feelings of disappointment have made me even more determined as a human being to ensure that I stick to my word. I do not want to be responsible for anyone else giving up hope. 

Are you dealing with disappointment? If you are, I know how you feel. The feeling of hopelessness is awful. I have pretty recently felt that way, and one should not live their life in a state of hopelessness, as some do. 

 I am diligent to the best of my ability, not hold a grudge, and I ensure that I forgive. However, being human, I have not always stuck to my word either; I try to bring hope for most of the time rather than dash it.

Unfortunately, I have found some people regularly make it a lifestyle of not sticking to their word, they promise you things, and for the most part, stick to it. But, then as they become more familiar with you, they become less and less reliable.

It may be a person close to you who has disappointed you. It may be somebody who works for you or a service someone has provided. Perhaps your boss promised you a raise or a promotion, which doesn’t come to fruition. A work colleague may have let you down. Maybe it’s someone you’re in a relationship with who has made false promises, leaving you feeling used. Whatever it may be, disappointment hold sway when somebody else does not fulfil their promise, dashing your hopes entirely, To be sure, disappointment can be pretty overwhelming at times.

This poses a question in my mind,  how can one be rid of the feeling of disappointment and move on?

THE REMEDY

First of all, you must not play the blame game.

When you focus on blame and criticism of the person who has let you down, it makes the matter a lot worse for you. It is an endless merry go round that you can’t get off, stirring your emotions afresh every time you bring it to remembrance. You must stop the blaming and actively seek justice through the right channels. Seeking true justice is not vengeance and will end the matter, whereas blaming and vengeance will keep it going for years. You need to heal yourself of the worry and disappointment, and you cannot do that if you have a bad attitude towards those who have disappointed you. Why?

This is because your emotions will reflect directly upon you and your future. In short- your attitudes eventually become you. What you focus on today will be your reality tomorrow. Therefore, no matter how awful the situation is for you today, don’t hang onto it; otherwise, resentment will build. Resentment will grow to a grudge and then hate, and then you will have a deeper problem on your hands in the future.

Do you think it’s worth hanging on to a grudge against the person who has disappointed you? Jesus tells us that it’s not- he clearly says that we must first forgive for us to be forgiven.

If we hold a grudge, how can we expect that no one in the world will hold a grudge against us? How can we expect others to be forgiving towards us if we hold something towards them? The law of sowing and reaping come into play here. 

Alternatively, if we refuse to hold a grudge, are quick to forgive and are quick to put it out of our minds, we can expect others to be the same towards us. And indeed, God will be the same towards us because this is what is promised to us in the Holy Bible

SCAMMED

I have been scammed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. This so-called builder scammed me; however, I do not hold a grudge. On the contrary, I have forgiven and pray for him, although I am seeking justice and will move on, and learnt some valuable lessons along the way.

THE TAKEAWAY

If you can take anything from my experience, accept that there always will be evil people who will leave you disappointed.

Accept that they are people who will disappoint you unintentionally.

Accept that the disappointment will hurt you for a time, but there is healing.

Accept that if you do not forgive, you tie God’s hands to forgive you.

Accept that holding a grudge and even taking revenge is a no-win way to play it.

Accept that the blame game will leave you sour and even more disappointed.

These are just some of the things to consider. However, there is much more that can be said that this short blog post muster.

It is worth remembering that when you are grossly disappointed, give it to the Lord Jesus, ask him to give you the power and strength to bless and forgive.

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Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If it was, please subscribe, or leave a comment with any questions!

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in my home page’s top menu.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

NEW Course is going Live on Udemy . Beginners Mindfulness Masterclass for Stress Relief – click here for more details. www.moonrosemindfulness.com

OR GO TO – https://www.udemy.com/course/the-mindfulness-stress-relief-master-class/?referralCode=1FA203E550AC769AC33A

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How to Take Action in 3 easy Steps: God won’t manage your life; that’s your job!

As a follower of Christ, we need to allow God to led us step by step. However, that does not mean that we don’t set goals or work on projects. One the contrary. God calls us to a vision and a mission to act upon. God places the acting upon our shoulders. It’s entirely up to you to put the call God placed upon your life into action.  Goals and project help to fulfil your objectives to implement Gods call on your life.

Step 1

Identify your goals.

Step 2

Sort the goals into projects.

Step 3

Break down the project into small tasks.

THE TAKEAWAY

Eugene K. Choi is a activation coach who helps individuals discover real breakthroughs in their lives. On his blog his Shares his personal faith struggles and  points out that God is able to work with whatever choices you make -good or bad. God is not there to give you step by step instructions on every decision you make. His will for your life isn’t about what you do but more about who you are becoming. If you become who God wants you to be, your choices will reflect your character. 

Over the years, I have found it imperative to write down all my ideas. I sort them into goals and develop projects. From the project, I break it down into tasks so I can bring the project to life. I use many different tools for this, like the Kanban board system. This helps me to manage what I believe God is telling me to do. God won’t manage your life; that’s your job! God put Adam and Eve on this earth to care for it and subdue it, in other words, to manage it. God has given your life to care for and to be the manager of it. God is the leader and your cheerleader, but it is YOU who puts it all into practice.

START WITH PRAYER

It’s not too late to set your goals and projects and set out your tasks. Where to start? I encourage you to start with prayer and, if necessary, fasting. Talk to God as with a friend. Ground-breaking prayers are often the simplest and most sincere cries of Your heart. Be diligent and set time aside; it might be half a day, one day, several days or a whole week. Whatever is suitable for you, make sure that you have a journal and write absolutely everything down those pops into your head. Jot it all down that is illuminated from Gods Word or that somebody says that resonates. If you write them down, you won’t forget them or misunderstand the concept, and you can see the pattern, the ebb a flow in them. We see God in the patterns and the movements of creation, and we can perceive God’s will in the movements and the patterns of our lives..

THE TAKEAWAY

Over the years, I have found it imperative to write all my ideas, thoughts, and God words to me down. I sort then into goals and develop projects from them. From the project, I break it down into tasks so I can bring the project to life. I use many different tools for this, like the Kanban board system. This helps me to manage what I believe God is telling me to do. God won’t manage your life; that’s your job! God put Adam and Eve on this earth to care for it and subdue it, in other words, to manage it. God has given your life to care for and to be the manager of it. God is the leader and your cheerleader, but it is YOU who puts it all into practice.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If it was, please subscribe, or leave a comment with any questions!

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in my home page’s top menu.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

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Dangerous Clichés: Why Actions Speak Louder than Words

Where does the Bible say that Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

The closest thought to this is found in 1 John 3:18: Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is clear evidence that God prioritises not just what you say but also what you do.

Once upon a time, when I was little, I loved to watch superman on TV. I love him because he always took the right action to solve problems for others.  I believe in actions, not words because words mean nothing if you don’t prove yourself with your actions. For example, someone can say to you, “I love you”, then do something to deliberately hurt you- have they shown they really love you? 

Empty Platitudes 

I don’t really like the saying- “It’s going to be okay.” Let’s get real- how do you know that it will be okay? 

How can you be sure that the next day, or the next week, or the next month is going to be okay? “It’s going to be okay.” This is such a cliche, and there is no action to back it up. Although they think they are helping a bad situation, all that is needed is to take some action to ease the situation. 

What about the saying ‘God will take care of it  . again, – how do you know that God will take care of it? What if God wants YOU to take care of it? What is God want you to take come action to solve the problem?  

I think these kinds of platitudes give us a false sense of comfort. We accept what is said and forget to work toward the solution. Then weeks or years up the line, we are faced with the same thing again.

 I’ve seen too many Christians seeking God’s will but never putting anything into action; then, many years down the track, they find themselves in the same place from when they started. I learned early in my years that hanging around doing nothing is not how to accomplish God’s will in my life; to the contrary, we are co-workers with Christ. God provides inspiration, and we provide the perspiration! Our Great creator will take care of quality if you take care of the quantity. In both the old and new Testaments, we see many examples of this principle at work. Understanding this, I began to pray and fast about my future and began working hard on various projects. Then, very slowly, at a snail pace, what I was to do unfolded before me. I guess that’s why Lord says, James 1:3, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. It certainly takes faith and undoubtedly takes heaps of patience, not to mention endurance, to find out and to move into God’s will for one’s life. It’s not easy. But the discipleship walk in Christ isn’t easy, and God never promised it so. 

God won’t manage your life; that’s your job! 

God put Adam and Eve on this earth to care for it and subdue it, in other words, to manage it. God has given your life to care for and to be the manager of it. God is the leader and your cheerleader, but it is YOU who puts it all into action.

The challenge is then, let’s be aware of what we say and be ready to act!

Thank you for visiting me here;

I hope this post was helpful. If it was, please subscribe, or leave a comment with any questions!

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 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in my home page’s top menu.

Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish

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How to Transform your Life: God’s free gift to you

If you’re not taught to endure suffering, failures, losses when young, one may never learn it. Those who don’t learn it check out of life, using addictions or anti-social behaviours to cope. To cope well when we experience suffering, we need to accept that suffering is a normal part of life. Yet, our culture does not embrace that. We rail against it. We develop a worldview that is primarily for our ease and comfort.

Philippians 3:10 King James Version (KJV) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Following the ways of Jesus Christ is an absolute assault on the worldview that culture imposes upon us. Because it is a different mind. The failure of liberalism is trying to critique the mind conforming it to what’s popular. But this is what is called the conniving mind. It is a mind that wants its own way and will do anything to achieve it. The Bible calls it the mind of the flesh. The apostle Paul calls it the old man. It is the egocentric mind that interprets everything in the sense of personal advantage. It is a mind that rejects suffering as a tool for self-growth. The mind of the flesh says, what’s in it for me? How would this situation be to my advantage? What can I get out of it?

If you read everything from that small worldview and read everything methodically, I don’t think you will see life in any new way. You may move along with the political spectrum from left to right and back again, but your life won’t change. But Jesus teaches us a different way of seeing, a different perspective, a different advantage point, and a different starting point. 

Einstein said that the problem cannot be solved by the same mind/ or consciousness that caused the problem in the first place. This is because the mind reads everything in terms of personal advantage, cause and effect.

UNDERSTANDING PRAYER

The word contemplation became popular through the works of Thomas Merton, which is reasonably recent. In the fifth 50s and 60s. A lot of people use the word meditation which is more or less the same thing. The word that most Christians are familiar with is the word prayer. 

We need to be aware that the understanding of prayer has a different connotation here in the West than in the East, where it originated. In the West, prayer became something functional, something that produced an effect. It became – what’s in it for me

This is due to the idea that the ego is the centre of their universe. For example-

· It’s all about me. 

·       If I get offended, I’ll sue somebody

·       If someone hurts me, I’ll take revenge

·       If I don’t get what I want, only to react in some way.

·       If I can’t resolve the conflict ill just cut the people off. 

·       If someone has something that I want, then I go out and get myself in debt to better it.

Western culture has taught us that – it’s All about me, the egocentric self is all about me. Sadly, this attitude has hugely overlapped Christianity. Individualism rules and reigns in the West. That’s why a lot of people could not cope with lockdown and bulk at the rules. They wanted to do things their way, to benefit them. They did not think of the others who they could pass the virus onto.

This kind of behaviour is not what Jesus intended for us, and it’s certainly not what he taught. As soon as you make prayer an exercise to get something, it puts you in charge. However, Jesus does say ask, and it will be given. We must be aware that this kind of prayer is from a humble and obedient submissive attitude towards Jesus Christ in the first place. 

most people approach prayer with egocentric consciousness, which says- I will try to get what I want to get from God. however this is the world’s way; worldly values are the seat of our culture. In this way, instead of being a transformed mind or consciousness, we remain egocentric and try to manipulate God and everyone else, and we think we did okay. 

That’s why Christianity is in dire straits today because it’s not transforming people as the Bible clearly states that it should and does. It’s just giving people a form of religiosity to be in charge and control. It still the ego/natural/fleshly/false self.

Jesus always talked about was the transformed self (John 3). The apostle Paul uses that beautiful phrase, it’s no longer their lives; Christ lives in me. So it’s a different way of being. It’s a different sense of self. As long as you’re operating from the egocentric will, you’ll never be free. You will never be transformed.  

THE EGO SELF

The ego-self can be pious, religious, be theologically sound, may even be a church leader in some way, but never totally free. So religion has always performed two very important but two very different Stages. 

The first stage is to create meaning for the self. The first stage offers mixed narratives, truths, and rituals to provide meaning. And that’s okay. You’ve got to be aware of the self to move beyond the self. But most religions stop at that first stage by simply giving you a positive self-image. 

Christians rarely move beyond this first stage, and it’s perhaps because they don’t think there’s anything else beyond it. This satisfied with the fact they believe they are a religious, moral person with good standing in a community. However, most people do not go beyond that. The problem is that this kind of religion does not raise or transform a person’s consciousness. It does not deliver true freedom of overcoming the egocentric self. This type of religion does not transform or fully satisfy the true self. Instead, it fortifies self-comfort, and even deceives this true self into thinking, you are okay – I’m okay.

Underneath it all, there is this innate satisfaction and unrest, a yearning for something more and not knowing what it is. Christianity is the best thing in the world and the worst in the world. Why? The religious often think they are right in all things and start from that vantage point. And when one thinks that one is always right, they become egocentric, narrow-minded and intolerant of others.

 It’s challenging to get to know egocentric people because the ego is so sure that they are right and you are wrong. They will protect their point of view at any cost, even the cost of hurting others leading to spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is prevalent, which is why I wrote a Master of Art thesis on that subject as it’s so common in the churches- but that’s another subject.

If the egocentric self is warm and fed and thinks it is correct, it is then convinced that it is saved. But what does being saved mean?

 Most people think that being saved is a ticket to heaven, and fire insurance from hellfire. For them, it is something that is not here now but will come one day. It’s always in the future. It’s by the sweet by and by. The egocentric self says If I am religious enough, good enough, say the sinner’s prayer, and I do the right thing then be saved, I’ll get to heaven

This point of view comes from a punishment and reward system. If I play the game right, I will be rewarded. It is about the works that I can do, and God will be pleased, so I’ll get into heaven. That point of view has absolutely nothing to do with transformation, absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. This, unfortunately, is a lot of Christians point of view, but Jesus had something completely different in his mind when he spoke to Nicodemus, as written in John chapter 3. Please turn to it and read the whole chapter.

A FREE GIFT

It’s by the grace of God we come into fellowship with God. So then, in God’s strength and ability working in us, we learn to be patent and pray, renewing our strength. When our strength is renewed- transformed- we then mount up with Eagles’ wings, we will run and not be weary, walk and not be faint. 

Accepting God free gift of salvation, confessing our sins, and repenting (turning away from sin) is the basis of our prayers. God is in the business of transforming you because He loves you. It starts with the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus. Mindful prayer is a life’s style that will help you transform the self into A Different Way of Being.

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Paula Rose Parish

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How to Avoid Burnout- The importance of observing the Sabbath

Genesis 2:2-3. By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing, so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Mark 6:30-34 Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going, they did not even have a chance to eat, then Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  But many who saw them leaving recognised them, they ran and got there ahead of them. So when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he felt compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Jesus sent out the disciples two by two to heal the sick and to proclaim the Gospel. Their mission was a booming success, and they could hardly wait to tell Jesus about it. 

So, They “gathered themselves around Jesus, and told him all the things, they did and taught” (v. 30).

Wouldn’t that have been fun! Can’t you imagine the excitement! 

Then, after they had talked themselves out, Jesus said, “Come away into a deserted place, and rest a while” (v. 31). They were tired! Jesus could see it! They were still on a “high” from all the beautiful things that had happened to them.  

They probably didn’t even realise they needed rest–but Jesus could see it. He wanted to stop them from burning out. So Jesus said, “Come away into a deserted place, and rest awhile.” There’s a time to work, and there’s a time to rest. There’s a time to produce, and there’s a time to enjoy.

 So, Jesus was concerned about his followers enough he didn’t want them overworked. And it also valid for today. So, Jesus bids us come and rest