Are you a doorkeeper or a God-seeker?

In psalm 84 David expresses his heart for the presence of God. He says:

“Better a day in your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than live in the tents of wicked people.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:10‬

Do we yearn for God like this? Are we wanting to be close to where God is?

David is happy to have even one day on the presence of God than none ever. He would rather live at the threshold, the doorway, the edges, of Gods presence than to live anywhere else.

Notice also that David isn’t saying he wants God to be where he is – he wants to be where God is. There’s a world of difference in these two desires.

Where is our longing for Gods presence today?

Where is our desire to be where God dwells?

Will we seek the presence of God in our lives today?

Be an encourager

There’s a guy in the bible called BARNABAS – he had a great reputation. Why? Because he was a great encourager.

To encourage someone us to give them strength and courage. It is to lift them up.

How can we encourage those around us?

Here’s three ideas:

1. Pray for them

2. Help them practically

3. Give them your time and positive words

What are some other ways can we be great encouragers?

020 Try being helpful

We live in a rather selfish world! Please don’t stop reading, I’m not having a go at anyone – I see so many people taking selfies; trying self-help programmes; promoting their own agendas at the expense of other people. Just look around at Facebook, Instagram or twitter and you’ll see what I mean. Life can be so full of self, so I have a small challenge for you:

Be helpful to others around you – look for opportunities to be HELPFUL.

Helping others takes the focus off ourselves, and helps us to break out of our own egotistical goals, to see the world from another persons’ perspective. Today I was working with a student (SEND needs) and his feet were really smelly. I had this strong conviction that I should not avoid the smell, but that I should clean his feet – and that’s what I did. I cleaned smelly feet today. That might not be your task today, but how could you give a helping hand?

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Maybe you could make your grumpy boss a cup of their favorite tea?

Perhaps you could make dinner to give your wife a well earned half hour of quiet space?

Maybe you could…? – you fill in the blank there. Just try to be helpful. It helps others and makes them feels better; supported; special. And in the process… you might just feel a bit more happy and joyful in the process. The aim of helping is to help others, while the by-product is that it will lift your spirits too!

Be full of joy today as you help those around you.

This could be you

How I recently handled a big Disappointment

I recently had a major upset and disappointment in my career journey. I decided early on that I would not let it define me, but rather I would embrace the situation and navigate through it with my head held high, and my eyes on a more positive journey. I have listed some of the things that helped me. What would you add to the list, and what resonates with you?

1. When knocked down – Get up again every time!

2. Be positive – negativity helps no one!

3. Surround yourself with support – listen to those who say you can!

4. Believe in yourself – it helps those around you to believe in you!

5. Remember failure is not the end – it’s part of the journey of life

6. Learn from failure – but move on from it!

7. Keep on keeping on – your perseverance will be worth the effort

8. Be positive – negativity helps no one! 😉

9. Take advice – and filter it down to what helps

10. Accept help – the world is full of amazing, gifted people who can give you strength

11. Don’t be an egotist – remember we still need to look out for those around us

12. Identify your purpose – and move in that direction

13. Have faith.

14. Write down every idea you have – act on as many as you are able

What would you add to the list and what resonates with you?

019 How not to be bored or how to be bored (or 7 ideas for filling your Summer with relaxing stuff)

So in our house its the Summer holidays – we are 2 week into the holidays and already we are hearing the cries “I’m bored”. So today I took the proverbial bored bull by the horns and sat down with my kids to come up with a list of things they could do to fend off the beautiful beast of boredom. So here it is, our list of 7 un-boring things to do:

boy wearing black jacket holding electric guitar

Practice that instrument: does your kid play something? Have they a passion for piano? Do they go gaga for guitar, or are they ecstatic about the xylophone? Manipulate their passion to excel in and instrument or in using that wonderful singing voice.  Music fills a place and a heart with joy!

toddler reading book

Read a good book: I’m a mug for reading and for learning and I love that kids are like little knowledge sponges. I think there are few kids who don’t like a good book, but there are a lot of kids who don’t want to read books that don’t engage them. It took a while for my son to find books that engaged him when he was about 10-13 – then he found Lee Childs and BINGO he’s reading like a pro! I love talking with my kids about what they are reading, and more importantly about what they are observing and learning through their reading!

architecture building business cinema

A Trip to the Cinema: Kids climbing the walls? Do you need a break? Treat yourself and them to a movie. Once the lights are down they can enjoy the film and you might even manage 15 minutes sleep without anyone disturbing you, or even noticing.

bicycle bike biker cyclist

Bike Ride: What’s not to love? It’s exercise so its great for fun, health and your mental balance. It might even fill you with joy as you blow off the boredom cobwebs. Who am I kidding!!!! I hate bikes

bridge child children fashion

Go for a Walk: Now I’m back to good ideas. A walk allows you to slow the pace of life down. Choose somewhere you know the kids can run ahead a little bit (allowing you moments of peace). Give the kids a challenge: how many types of leaf can you find and identify? Lie down in the grass and see who can find the coolest animal shape in the clouds. Imagine you’re walking through Jurassic Park (might not be restful, but it wont be boring)

photograph of men having conversation seating on chair

Help your local coffee shop make a profit: Coffee is one of the gifts of God to the world, so it would be a sin not to indulge! My kids love when we go for a coffee, always hopeful that some cake will be thrown into the mix! Coffee shops are great for people-watching – one can learn so much about people and Hipsters when consuming coffee (or tea, or some other drinky thing!).

Bored

Get bored: My kids are ALWAYS telling me they are bored, and I now always respond with “It’s good to be bored – enjoy!” Someone once said that boredom is the birthplace of creativity (Ok, I admit that it’s only me who ever said that!). It is true though – when we allow our minds to wander around in boredom, our minds wander into places they might not otherwise have reached. Boredom allows us to mentally and intellectually go ‘off piste’. It helps us think where and how we don’t usually think. Embrace boredom and you will embrace creativity.

My 8 year old is currently building a house. Yes, you hear that right – building a house! She was bored last week and began to imagine a little house with rooms. She began collecting crafty bits and pieces and yesterday began constructing her house. She’s collected paper for the walls and carpets; loo rolls for cupboards; etc. All this came from boredom.

So I implore you to change how you view boredom – boredom is a pathway to joy. Embrace it like an old friend; wear it like a winter coat; wander in it’s directionless travel through the beautiful fields of your imagination – you never know what creative genius you will find.

we got bored

018 Why the character of your heart really matters

I have been thinking much recently about what is important regarding how we conduct ourselves when life goes pear-shaped and messed up.

The bible has much to say about the importance of looking after your heart (not-least because it is the wellspring of life!). In the bible there’s this story about a prophet called Samuel. The story tells how Sam is sent to find and anoint a new king (a death-worthy mission when you consider the current king is still very much alive and well!). Sam visits a family with plenty of strong lads who look ‘kingly’ They all stand before him and one by one they are rejected. In the story God tells Samuel not to look at the outward appearance when trying to choose a new king. Why?

Because God looks at the heart! Therefore, so should he!

Whatever we face in life, the state of our heart is really important. It’s not enough to ‘get the job done at any cost’ – the state of your heart while you are working really matters to God, and it ought to matter to us too. We don’t often hear people talking about integrity, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. In today’s world we see business and political leaders treating others like they are of no value at all (did someone say Trump?!). How we treat other people matters – it really matters!

Whatever you have on at the moment, do it with a heart filled with good character and integrity. Treat those around you well. Don’t burn your bridges – you might need to meet those people again in a context where they are the power-holders. Act out of kindness, humility and concern for ‘the other’. Let your heart burn with love. It will not only help you get great results, it will bless those around you, and at the same time it will cause your heart to swell with joy!