Creating a Receptive Heart

            Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop with a close personal friend. You’re drinking your favourite beverage and chatting about life and what’s been happening lately. As you are talking about a tough situation your facing, suddenly, your friend says to you, “I have something to say about that.” How do you react?

                Do you immediately close yourself off? Sit back in your chair and fold you arms getting ready to defend yourself against what they have to say? Or do you lean in closer, prepare yourself and anticipate what they are going to say. It’s easy to assume that we automatically respond warmly whenever someone approaches us, however, sometimes our response to Jesus is less than amicable. It can be uncomfortable to have Jesus, or another human, speak into our hearts and situations. You’ve maybe heard the saying that “God responds in only a few ways, ‘Yes, Wait, or I Have Something Better in Mind/Trust Me’.” I think this profound statement can be true in most situations, but what if he responds in a way that is not the one we want?

                Receiving anything (gifts, affection, correction, help) is something that is overly difficult for many people. But there are a few ways that we can reframe our mind to receive better.

1.       “Let all you do be done in love” – 1 Corinthians 6:14. Whether giving or receiving remind yourself that the other person is worthy of love and appreciation. Let Christ’s love for you dictate your actions towards yourself and others.

2.       “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” – 2 Corinthians 4:15. Nothing that God does in your life is to harm you, there is always a purpose and a promise in every trial.

3.       “For my grace is sufficient for you and my power is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Corinthians 12:9. Receiving help in any way is not a form of weakness, it shows the strength of God inside you and inspires thankfulness.

Thankfulness, humility, and trust are keys to receiving anything from anyone, but especially when receiving anything from Jesus.

How to Handle Crisis Moments

                In moments where everything feels like its crumbling to pieces in your hands, what is your first instinct? Do you cry, shut down, get angry, avoid the situation, or talk to a trusted friend? Most of the time, it might depend on the intensity of the situation but our reaction should be, in every situation, to run to Jesus and ask him to help.

                That may sound simple, but I know I’ve asked myself “what does it actually look like to run to Jesus and ask his help?” Well, first of all, I would suggest stopping and praying. Right where you are, in all your emotional turmoil, no matter what you’re doing. Ask Jesus to make his presence known and for the Holy Spirit to begin moving in the situation. When my niece, Kailey, was sick in the hospital, prayer played a huge factor. We prayed and had friends supporting us in prayer as well, it honestly kept me from completely unravelling in that insanely difficult time.

                Prayer shouldn’t stop, I know it sounds insane when Paul says to “never stop praying” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. But a common misconception about prayer is that it needs to be structured in a specific way or that you need to be completely separated from everything to pray. Jesus commonly withdrew to spend intentional time with the Father, but I think we can also assume that Jesus was constantly talking to the Father, communicating with him and asking for his help.

                If we can be in constant communication with our Creator during times of stress or turmoil, he will make his presence known and will carry us through those times. We are never meant to carry the burdens of life alone, Jesus is there and he always will be.

What to do in a Doubter's Dilemma - Guest Post

How many times a day do you look at yourself (literally or figuratively) and say or think “I can’t…. [insert task here].”? For me, its more often that I want to admit. Doubt can be crippling when our focus is in the wrong place. If we are looking at our personal circumstances, attitudes, strengths and abilities certain tasks can seem impossible and daunting. A few years ago, I was dealing with an issue with a personal friend – we were having a disagreement about some life choices she was making and I thought it would be impossible for us to resolve the conflict. I began spiralling thinking I was going to wreck the friendship if I continued to press the issue and that I would end up hurting myself and her if we didn’t find a solution. So, I gave up. I told her that I had changed my mind and that I was genuinely okay with her choices. I let doubt and fear seep into my mind and I chose to avoid losing something instead of maintaining truth and integrity.

A few weeks later, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit about my actions. I could hear God’s voice, whispering in my heart saying “Child, why didn’t you come to me with this, why didn’t you ask me to help you in this situation, why did you lose heart?” I was gutted and after repenting to God, I also repented to my friend and oddly enough we stayed friends and she had also had a bit of a heart change in the few weeks between our initial conversation and this one.

When we ask God to help us, even in what feels impossible or frightening, he comes through for us. Jesus came as hope on earth but he also came with power and authority. We need not doubt his ability to work in our lives and we can trust the powerful Holy Spirit to instill hope and life into our circumstances

Written By: Carina Sterzer