GO Figure- the Transfiguration and Prayer!

   Before my knee problems started, I would travel to different parts of the world to scale mountains because I loved to take in the spectacular views, and the sense of freedom I felt. However, these days I usually choose somewhere by water, since I find it calming and refreshing at the same time. I grew up in Australia by the sea, and as a child found myself on many occasions walking totally alone to enjoy an empty beach in the coolness of the changing seasons.

Now, in my senior years, I live by the sea once again and I just love the feeling of the deep serenity that an empty beach brings. When it is just me and the sea birds, the sand, and the vast sea, I feel alive and very close to God. Also, near where I live there is a river, and I often walk up the wooded path alongside the fresh bubbling water coming off the Welsh mountains. For me, the sound of moving water is like nature singing thanksgiving to God – beautiful! Nature is wondrously delightful, which reflects the love and nature of God. And what about you? do you feel a sense of wonder when you see a beautiful sunset, or snow-capped mountains, or even a great building? The next time you are out about, try to see God’s handiwork everywhere- even in the eyes of others, this can bring you such joy. All these wonders of nature can help to clear your head and bring peace to your soul. 

Romans 1: 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

To show his disciples something special, Jesus took them up on a mountain. That would seem remarkable enough. The view from the mountain would have been glorious. Jesus wanted to lead them forward into a brave new world, and he needed them to be willing to be led and guided. Jesus had a particular purpose in mind on this mountain visit. He took his disciples to this remote place on the mountain to pray – or that is what they thought, and they could never had imagined the wonders that awaited them.

On that mountain, Jesus wanted to give them something more than a spectacular view of the landscape- he wanted to give them a glimpse of God. So as Jesus prayed, the disciples watched his face change in appearance. His clothing changed as well, they became white and dazzling (v. 29). Then to add to the spectacle, two great men of Israel’s past Moses and Elijah, popped in to visit and joined in with the illumination. Startled, the disciples then found themselves in a mist when a cloud suddenly descended. If there was television around in those days, they would have thought that they were in the middle of a science fiction-fantasy movie. But that is not all, it got weirder by the minute.

Coming from the cloud, a voice spoke. The voice declared “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him! (v. 35). Wow, that was a real clear-cut announcement, no wriggle room there! It was then that the disciples realised that the purpose of this visit was not to simply pray. The deeper purpose, however, was that Jesus wanted to give them a memorable glimpse of his glory so they could be confident in his leading into future. Prayer prepared their hearts and focused their minds on God.

Prayer opened their minds and heart to what was to be subsequently revealed. We don’t know how long they were praying, it might have been hours or minutes, however, the point is that Jesus wanted to get through to them that he was something more than just a great leader, like King David. He was more than just like God- he in fact, wanted them to know that he was Gods’ reflective glory (Son), in other words- he is the manifestation of God on earth- this is the only one true God who would lead them in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake, then eventually, they would take that Name to the world.

However, we know from the scripture readings to follow, that it seemed that the disciples were not geared up for that task because following events were turning out quite different from what they expected. The disciples anticipated that Jesus would apply a predictable strategy, like forming an army to defeat and push the Romans out of their land. The disciples must learn that Jesus was more than a good teacher or a political figure, and their role would be pivotal in building the new kingdom. However, they would not fully grasp the meaning of Jesus’ life and death until after the resurrection (John 20: 6-9). 

Nonetheless, the experience on the mountain started to prepare them to be led, so they could lead in turn. It was a seed planted in the disciple’s hearts and would grow and blossom in due time. Have you ever had an experience like that? Some people have – I have. I have heard people talk about their dramatic experience when they were headed in the wrong direction, and suddenly without warning came face to face with God, which turned their lives around. 

How has God turned you life around. May be your seeking to have your live turned around- you wont be disappointed giving your life to Christ to put God in the driving seat.

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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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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. 

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I look forward to your next visit here and remember…….

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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