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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Time Shall Not Be My Master.

Time is a funny thing isn’t it?

It is a part of our created order and while it is a good thing, it seems like we can be really bad stewards of it sometimes…Do you know what I mean?

How often are we simply CONTENT with the pace of our lives rather than feeling too busy, or even the opposite of not being productive enough?

It seems so often I hear someone remarking of time flying by along with a regretful statement.

How often do we just be still with God?

How often do we STOP and make the effort to reach out to the person He is prompting us to contact?

How often do we settle for the status quo and make excuses for ourselves?

This is not to say that our lifestyles today are not genuinely demanding…

But how good are we at managing our time? In setting sensible boundaries and leaving time to just be available for our closest and dearest?

I am sitting here thinking about time due to the sensitive trigger for my family at the moment with our Dad’s death being around a year ago.

I was on Facebook and the social media site reminded me of things I shared this time last year, just before Dad’s death and funeral…and I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise that it was simply life as usual…

The blog had reached a new milestone of 145 posts; I had been out to lunch for my sister’s birthday; I’d done a quiz and updated my profile pic…I did not see what was coming.

Fast forward a year and here I sit; I’m still blogging; I saw my sister for lunch yesterday and I’m again thinking of updating my profile pic!

What’s different is Dad is no longer here with us – we can’t even call and say hi…

I caught up with an old friend for an easy lunch and afternoon today. It was really lovely and special and even though it had been quite a while since we’d caught up, it felt like no time had passed. I remarked how it was coming up to two years since I’d moved to this area! Both our lives keep changing with our children now growing up so fast and in adolescence.

To be honest, sometimes I can get stressed when I think about time…

Yet I come to a place of PEACE when I stop striving in my own mind and remember I am loved by Jesus regardless of what I do, simply because we are friends. That it’s how we journey through life that counts more than arriving at the destination we think we need to get to…

Today I am deciding to not let TIME rule me…to not measure my life by every day, month and year…To live with a mentality of it’s the QUALITY that matters over the QUANTITY…

To live each day as a gift and a chance to reach others with His love.

To not resign to the idea that my worth is found in the opinion of others ~ rather just to love those He allows me to journey with!

May you know His peace, Melanie.

Let me leave you with a song, 'Life of Praise' by Casting Crowns

Friday, 24 July 2015

10 ways to be friends with a modern Christian woman: An insight written particularly for men.

1. Be like Jesus – This means being willing to be a servant and to give to the friendship with no expectations of any return. I cannot think of one, genuine, Christian woman I know today who is impressed with a guy’s STUFF – I’m sorry to be so blunt but most women I know do not care about a man’s money, car or job, rather their character. We are friends with people irrespective of their ‘position’ in life…the women who aren’t like this are usually fake, gold-diggers. Of course we are happy for our friends who are financially stable and want them to remain so, but we will care equally for a friend with limited income who loves us purely as Jesus does and doesn’t just take.

2. Pray for her – Pray for your female friend for no other reason than her wellbeing, regardless if you remain in her life for only a season…and do not promote this to her.

3. Respect her boundaries – A guy overstepping boundaries is not cool or mature in a modern Christian woman’s eyes! If you’re not sure if something is okay simply check with her. You will lose a female friend quickly if you demand from her or expect her to compromise her life for yours and really this should be vice-versa.

4. Your words need to match your actions: If you say you are just her friend but get upset over small incidents and need ‘space’ or ‘time out’ it’s quite obvious you thought of her as more than just a friend. If you want to spend time with her, getting to know her for a possible future relationship, be honest about it, otherwise be prepared for her to cancel catch-ups and to not have you as a main priority; friends are flexible and catch up sporadically! Furthermore we look for actions matching a friend’s words – So if you say you’re going to call or get back to us soon and you don’t, it makes us think you don’t keep your word, or value our friendship and we don’t have time for taxing friendships as we usually already have enough burdens we’re carrying.

5. Understand your female friend is FEMALE: This doesn’t mean; all women are identical, that they don’t like sport or they don’t appreciate maleness and humour! Rather they are simply not a male friend. This may seem obvious yet I know many males who seem to simply forget this fact. To clarify, I am not saying modern Christian women are sexist! Generally speaking women treat their friends how they want to be treated (big tip right there) and while they appreciate their male friends’ maleness they ALSO expect to be RESPECTED. This is why generally, mature women are not flatulent in front of others; they joke but without serious ‘put-downs’ or name calling; they’re willing to shout their friend a meal or a new lipstick; they love knowing the details because they find beauty in the story not necessarily the conclusion; they talk to not only be heard but to also listen. Respect our femininity or else simply go out with a male friend.

6. Pay attention and listen during communication: Communication is paramount for so many women; therefore if they do not feel listened to by a friend it’s most likely they will not continue the friendship. Healthy women love to communicate; now the amount of interaction desired by individual women can of course vary but I believe it’s safe to say we desire quality over quantity!  A conversation with a friend who; pays attention, is not distracted, who perhaps puts their phone on silent, is greatly appreciated.

7. Don’t be a caveman: Seriously! I do not believe a healthy, modern Christian woman wants male friends who; have big egos, beat their chest for attention, only want to be heard for in their mind their opinion is right and superior, or must always drive or pay for a shared meal. Personally I value maleness, and my male friends as my brothers in Christ – I would never expect them to treat me as lesser than and I certainly never want to take advantage of their generosity. I want to manage my own money and make my own choices with Jesus as my head as a single woman…A friend is a friend regardless of their gender. Friends share and give and take; it’s equal, so…share costs, split bills, shout occasionally and accept the returned favour. Also, if you want to say something nice make sure it's a genuine compliment, flattery will be seen for what it is.

8. Don’t leave your brain at home: When females catch-up with friends, generally speaking we desire lively engagement. If we desire counsel from you because something has happened, we’ll let you know and that would most likely be a catch up in a simple setting – like coffee at home. But if we’ve arranged an outing, you can count on us expecting an engaging time and that’s something special we value about our friends (otherwise we’d just stay home in our sweat pants)! So when catching up with a female don’t leave your brain at home or I’m sorry to say we’ll become bored – Bring your A-game, that being; a non-tired body, your opinion on recent events, your wit and stories.

9. T.H.I.N.K: A meme shared by many women is one which says before you speak think is it: T – True, H – Helpful, I – Inspiring, N – Necessary, K – Kind. Women don’t share things like this for no reason. For this post however I would like to change it to – Before you act T.H.I.N.K! So for example, before lunging into an action to provide a service for your female friend…T.H.I.N.K…check your motives and intentions before helping by actions or in words because you could actually do more damage than good at times. Females and males desire friendships which will encourage and add value to their life. Many women have children to consider, so if you desire to be her friend don’t drag her down, be thoughtful and considerate to all that impacts her life.

10. No is ALWAYS NO: Last but by no means least, this point should be obvious, but again some men fail to realise when it comes to women, their NO is above what they think, or that women can change their minds and say no even after a yes and it is the NO which stands…period. A mature, Christian man MUST NOT take offence at this. You cannot be friends with a modern Christian woman or any woman without really understanding this point. A woman ALWAYS has the right to say no or to cancel plans without providing friends with specific details. Women MUST have their privacy and dignity respected by their friends, irrespective of their friends’ genders.

Hope this post provided some helpful insight! Would love to hear your thoughts as always, Melanie.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

When the door SLAMS shut: How to find the KEY for opening the RIGHT door!

How do we find the key to opening the right door?

What do we do after we have a door slammed in our face, when we were so sure God was pointing us toward stepping through it?

Have you ever experienced this? I certainly have at least a few times and I must say it can be quite challenging on many levels...even after I have prayed, "Shut this door if it isn't Your will!"

It can be emotionally challenging as so much energy has been put into taking the necessary steps to invest into this new, seemingly very possible outcome, only to have it extinguished in an instant. Afterwards we can be physically exhausted.

It can be personally challenging and cause a person to doubt their self-worth, perhaps leading to increased stress, anxiety or feelings of depression.

It can be spiritually challenging, resulting in thoughts coming to mind questioning our own ability to discern.

Most often it at least causes a person to wonder, “Why?”

Now this, “Why?” in my opinion is the beginning of us finding the KEY for the right door! Yet the crucial part of this, “Why?” is in what follows…

You see, someone may ask, “Why God?” in disappointment but then sit with negative, unscriptural thoughts, or even ask feeling dejected with their pride wounded.

But to ask in all humility, “Why God, what are you saying to me in this?” is actually the beginning to finding the KEY to opening the RIGHT door!

When we reject negative, unscriptural thoughts and focus upon the truth that we are beloved children, and our Father slams doors shut for His plan to be fulfilled, we can begin to prayerfully reflect and listen for what He is saying to us afresh…to not feel dejected, rather to look for the LESSON being taught from the experience.

We can ask, “Why God? What are you saying to me in this? What did you want to teach me in allowing this to happen?”

When we think like this and approach our Father in humility, we are better able to discern what He wants to teach and show us. I believe even if later we do not have a clear why, we still will have His peace and a calmness in knowing He stopped something for our best interest.

I do not always understand God’s ways and I have come to a place of accepting that this is okay!

His ways and thoughts are always going to be higher than mine (Isa 55:9), He is always going to be ABOVE me in all matters. But I do have a choice as to how I process what occurs in my life and this is paramount for a close, intimate walk with Jesus.

I can choose to sit with negative thoughts, or continue to let Him transform my mind which results in spiritual growth. I can view an unpleasant experience as one which will not be wasted, that it has served a purpose for my own personal growth and also enables the ability to minister to others during a similar time of need. 

This is how we find the KEY to opening the RIGHT door! The KEY is the right PERSPECTIVE. This is the KEY to opening the RIGHT door to later step through because we've come to a place of understanding by having the right perspective and listening to our Heavenly Father!

I have had some doors slam shut in recent years and I can testify that although the experience was not very pleasant, I learnt so much more about myself and God from it. I can be thankful for the experience, as I know my perception on what transpired is the KEY for opening the right door to step through later in His timing, and remain in His will in my life.

In His service, Melanie.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Be the Salt: 3 Attributes of Salty People!

What is good about salt?

It’s a good question as Jesus said we are to be like salt and salt that loses its saltiness is good for nothing and should be thrown out! Read it here.

In my opinion salt does three great things:
  1. It adds awesome flavour
  2. It makes people crave
  3. It preserves & cleanses

I want to be salt, for Jesus tells us to be so and I also want to have salty friends! Today I am being thankful for true salty people and I’ve been really encouraged by some recently, so let me share with you what I think is great about them…

1. Salt adds awesome, genuine flavour:

Salty people simply are not plain! They are not like the rest. They genuinely extend themselves to add flavour into the lives of people they are in contact with. They are delicious!

I have a salty relative and he simply adds a godly flavour into my life with his presence. He listens and speaks the truth to me in a calm and gentle way that is not threatening; rather it prompts me think things through from another perspective, because truth be told sometimes I am not so objective when it comes to situations I am personally involved in.

Salty people add awesome flavour because they don’t live their lives by the status quo. Their lives match what they say…they lead exemplary lives which show the Gospel is living!

2. Salt makes people crave:

I have read in articles that salt makes people want to eat more, as well as drink water.

Jesus is the bread of life and also gives life giving water.

Salty people are an agent God can use to put the desire for spiritual bread and water in others.

Salty people add the taste for Jesus into the lives of others.

3. Salt preserves & cleanses:

Salty people help others to preserve their faith in Jesus Christ.

They don’t tear down or get annoyed, rather build up and encourage.

Salt is powerful and only a small amount is needed to preserve our food – Salty people are powerful and need to discern how much to contribute to preserve.

Salt cleanses too and heals. Salt is present even in our healing tears.

Salty people help others to cleanse and heal by crying with those who are hurting, picking up the spiritually crippled and leading them prayerfully to Christ Jesus.

May we all desire to be salt and prayerfully reflect how we can be Salty! This may require change, so we must be prepared to let go and be different, for salt that is not salty is good for nothing…Jesus has put the challenge out there for us to heed! I thank Him for His genuine, salty people.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

A time to speak out:

My heart is breaking over the new era of the genocide of mankind. 

The slaughter of the unborn.

People today are so ready to say, "Only God can judge me..." even when one does not judge, only speaks the truth in love! I tell you, no amount of good deeds can clear ANY OF US from His righteous judgement and I know I cannot stand before Him without the robes of Christ's righteousness. Hebrews 10:31 says, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." NKJV

If you have not seen the amazing documentary 180, I urge you to please do so! Here is the link: 180 Movie.

Jesus spoke of the very real consequences of rejecting Him, but so many want to fashion God into a god of their own liking to appease themselves...picking and choosing scriptures to suit and not looking at the Holy Bible as a whole, concise document...Once again an idol is made, for God does not change.

I say to you, it is a good thing to have a healthy fear and reverence for our Holy creator, to understand our inherited depraved nature, so we can humbly come to a place of genuine repentance accepting the great gift of salvation for eternity that Christ offers, for judgement IS coming.

So many today have sex as their god...

People often wonder about the love of Christ and the seemingly different harshness of judgement...But I ask you, would a loving and good judge pardon a person from abusing a child when their heart desired no forgiveness or to change? We know the answer. And God is the highest of high, our conscience comes from Him as we are made in His image. But we must exercise our free will and choose life which is Him.

For those of you who think Jesus is only a MAN, I ask you why do you curse His Name? Why do you not curse Buddha or any other demon? You curse Jesus because He is God! Do you think any of us who has cursed His precious and Holy Name can have fellowship with Him? Jesus is the ONLY way for eternal life and I will die saying this, for I refuse to be a pawn of the enemy and say other religions are fine so that you LIKE me...I only desire to LOVE God and stay in relationship with Him, only possible through the perfect One, Jesus Christ!

Watch this video:

I feel physically nauseous right now but am so glad I followed this link and watched the video! In the OT pagan's sacrificed their children to their demon gods...and really this is just today's version. Children are ALWAYS a blessing from God no matter how they are conceived...there are so many women who rejoice over their baby being the most precious gift after enduring rape...shame on the people who counsel rape victims (who are in reality such a minority) otherwise and the selfish families who won't support them through this! 

Women who abort, so often regret their decision for the remainder of their lives but this isn't talked about...once again we have people in "CARE" professions who just want the "QUICK FIX" for people..."Give them what they want so they'll be HAPPY and go away"...this disgusts me...people too busy with their narcissistic selves, wanting to post another selfie while out for lunch or coffee, to spend an hour talking with a hurt person and discussing REAL long term factors for decisions. 

I have to even ask where is the church on this issue – specifically where are the Christian people ready to speak out? I have many online Christian acquaintances who are simply silent on this issue but then again the majority are silent on most issues - and I think it's out of the fear of offending, yet I’d rather have no friends and a moral backbone rather than a large number of Facebook followers liking my shares. I know I have my mother to thank for this and Jesus’ example in scripture, standing up to the religious leaders of His day and turning the tables over in the temple. Jesus knew who His enemies were, who His friends were and who would betray Him and He still chose to live the life of righteousness which would cost Him everything so that you and I could inherit eternal life rather than the death we deserve!

Jesus said to love the world is to be an enemy of God…can we really chose friends over Him? Yes, we need to be compassionate and full of His grace but this doesn't mean we don't stand for what is right! When I was in rebellion I didn't want to talk to a born-again believer, it didn't matter how nice they were, but when my time came I knew I wanted to speak to those who were genuine and lived what they proclaimed! Even though today there are times when I feel the truth of belonging to a minority, He never leaves me totally alone, there are others sold-out for Him who I have alongside.

Someone online prepared to speak out the other day, said the disgusting practice of aborting BABIES (yes babies) and selling their body parts is even something ANIMALS would not do to their young!

When will people listen to their CONSCIENCE rather than the propaganda that is shoved down their throats in the name of "PROGRESSION" - women's rights? Please! Where is the support for women to keep their babies? And it all starts with sex-ed in schools...the sexualisation of our children is everywhere...state sex-ed says to kids, "It's YOUR body so you can have sex with your friends as long as you wear a condom (and if you don't know this, then you haven't been in a sex-ed class) and if you get yourself in a predicament then again, it's YOUR body so you have a right to terminate the pregnancy for the sake of YOUR future..." No rights here for the HUMAN BEING inside the woman! But let's dehumanise babies and call them another name to make the presentation more palatable and make MONEY - palatable, please it makes me sick…

I want to finish with my OWN STORY because this is truly how I know the love of God.

I know what it is like to be abandoned by a man.

I know what it is like to be a single mother to 3 children, and living on social welfare payments…to have visited food relief centres…to ask a charity for money…to struggle to finish a degree so I have the tertiary piece of paper to obtain a decent job to help others…and I would NOT trade any of it for the ‘freedom’ of a child-less life, as some like to say…

I can write to you with all honesty and say that my 3 sons are the BEST gift from God to me EVER after salvation.

Yes, I have no husband but I have 3 loving sons to cuddle and hold.

Yes, sometimes life is hard but I have 3 smiling faces looking at me each day to do life with!

Mankind is so good at stuffing up the good gifts of God we have, because the enemy gets into minds with subtle, slick, seemingly good thoughts, because he ultimately wants to destroy our lives and our happiness.

With His heart for life, Melanie.

Monday, 6 July 2015

5 Traits of Controlling People

Don’t hold a pity party for the only guest who will turn up is the spirit of control: 5 Traits of Controlling People

Sometimes we all groan inwardly due to trials we experience, pressure we endure or even spiritual attacks. Sometimes we can even go through a season wondering, “What, do I have a sign on my forehead saying ‘feel free to give me grief’?”

Yet we need to understand that the Christian journey is one of sanctification to become more like Christ and a major part of this transformation is the renewing of our mind.

The most wonderful truth of the gospel is we can go from VICTIM to VICTOR through Christ Jesus.

You see, as human beings born into this world we inherit a sinful disposition from Adam which leaves us broken and in need. We are incomplete. Our mortal bodies and death should be testimony enough to this fact. Death grieves us so much as it is not a part of the way things should be. It is not a part of original creation. We are victims of Satan and sin and need God to save us.

When we realise our need and call out to God to forgive us for our sin, to re-birth us with His sinless nature (receiving the blessed, perfect Holy Spirit)...When we call out for salvation through Jesus Christ – the only way possible because God made it, not us – we are transformed from Victim to Victor. Our sin is nailed to the cross of Jesus, we are redeemed and we become a child of God and a Victor of life through Jesus’ victory over death.

But we MUST hold firm to this truth in our mind during our spiritual pilgrimage, for the enemy will try his best to attack our minds and keep us in a place of spiritual immaturity where we still have the mind of a victim, so that we do not bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God.

The enemy will plant unbiblical, negative thoughts in our minds and water them with controlling people. I know this from experience, yet I also choose to not feel sorry for myself from having had the experiences, rather to learn from God through them and to share what I’ve learnt with others for His Kingdom and Glory!

We need to grow in wisdom and discernment to SEE the spirit of control for what it is a tactic of the enemy to make us less productive. We need to understand that we are NOT THE ONLY ONE undergoing challenges and that we can help others from our experiences. When we are experiencing hardship remember 1 Peter 5:6-11 and 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4.

As a Christian when we do not have a mind of a VICTOR and retain the unbiblical mentality of a victim, we begin to hold very lonely ‘pity parties’ in our mind…we begin to entertain thoughts like;
Why am I lacking…..x, y, z? (Fill in the blank; for it doesn’t really matter we won’t be content with whatever we have)
Why did I stuff up again?
When will I ever be good enough?
Why don’t I ever get a break?

Entertaining these thoughts in our very own pity-parties keeps our minds from focusing upon the TRUTH which is we can be content in whatever situation we find ourselves as CHRIST is ENOUGH, period! We DO NOT need to strive for perfection in anything in our lives like finances or personal relationships, for Christ is PERFECTION and His work for us has been completed once and for all on the cross…We have gone from Victim to Victor no matter what anyone or the world may do to us! What we now strive for is a close and intimate RELATIONSHIP with Christ and from that will stem the fruit of peace and righteous living.

When we take our eyes off Christ Jesus and entertain these thoughts in our own private pity parties, the only guest who will turn up is the spirit of control and this is not of God.

You see God gives us His blessed Spirit who gives us the gift of self-control. He leads us is all truth and righteousness but we are not under robotic control.

I believe the spirit of control attacks us through other people (yes, even those in the church). The following observations are from my experiences and may help you discern and avoid the spirit of control infiltrating your own life. I believe controlling people can exhibit the following traits:

1. They move quick ~
Controlling people will generally move quite quickly in regards to relationship building. They will intentionally want to move through friendship/relationship stages quite quickly which can leave someone feeling quite baffled, as to how this still relatively ‘new’ person came to have such authority in their life.  Some moving quick signs are people who do not follow social etiquette when they know better like; texting at inappropriate hours; making contact too often; trying too hard to make an impression. This moving quickly can be difficult to see as some great and healthy friendships can also move quickly when people ‘hit-it-off’ but this moving quick point is still very valid, as it will be accompanied by other traits. Remember there is NOTHING wrong with taking time to observe people; getting to know them well before divulging private matters and limiting contact with people when you simply choose to. Furthermore it is valid to ‘test’ people (1 John 4:1) if you feel things are moving too quickly. You could simply cancel a catch-up and don’t say why (it is fine to keep details private) while reassuring them all is well. Watch for their reaction. Is it healthy and mature or reactive making you feel anxious, insecure or guilty? People who do not desire to control you will be respectful and accommodating.

2. They will not respect boundaries ~
Controlling people will perhaps at first seem to respect boundaries but will begin to not respect your ‘fences’, rather hurdle them with seemingly effortless ease after they’ve tested and perhaps found they are made of straw rather than brick. A boundary I have experienced being tested is one of physical intimacy. I had a Christian man at the beginning of our friendship try to put his arm around me and later move in for a kiss with no prior discussion or much thinking. Controlling people will take advantage of kind, good natured people; it may be simply not respecting your schedule and ask you to run all their errands too. They may expect you to skip church to do a different Christian activity with them and tell you that their idea is more important. They will expect to be able to cancel plans with you or not commit to a plan of yours, yet not extend the same grace to you. They will conduct themselves with a subtle arrogance which even when unspoken conveys their boundaries matter while yours are invalid. This disrespecting of boundaries can even be in professional relationships; the controlling person will not keep the relationship professional and will often treat the other person as lesser than, rather than as a colleague.

3. They will be arrogant ~
Arrogance was mentioned in point no.2. However it does deserve its own specific point. Controlling people may say all the right things, especially in the early stages of a relationship as they will want you on their side. They will want to eventually control your decisions, so they will begin by winning your thoughts over, to convince you they are always right. This will begin with flattery rather than true encouragement. Be wise and pay attention to the negatives. This may sound harsh but we are to be as gentle as doves, yet as wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16) as we live out our Christian lives among wolves. A controlling person will flatter you, yet also subtly degrade your self-confidence and autonomy in Christ. For example, “You are so beautiful and therefore vulnerable to deceitful men!” Or “No I don’t believe what you heard was from God…you defiantly have a gift of blah, blah but I have the gift of discernment!” You will find controlling people find it difficult to admit when they are wrong and also to apologise.They will also find it difficult to submit to others and will therefore be predominantly loners (because everyone else in their opinion you will come to realise is wrong). They will not be involved as a member of many groups and insist they are more of a leader. Controlling people will if able, control your activity and participation in even Christian service. At the beginning it may seem as if they are entrusting you with a task but you will come to see that you will be only able to participate at their discretion. For singles this point is important, as we can think making friends with another single who doesn’t associate with many others is a good idea as they may be lonely too…NO, it’s not! Stick to group activities to find healthier friends.

4. They will exhibit some traits found in 2 Timothy 3:
You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.  As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people, of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith, also oppose the truth. 2 Timothy 3: 1-8.

For example, I went to dinner once with a person who said all the right Christian things yet had an air of arrogance and complained about the waitress while treating her with rude indifference. The same person when I said that I desired to live a simple life free from the love of money told me that this wasn’t true and I deserved the best! I have experienced conversations with people where they are happy to be heard, actually very happy to be heard, and while they sprout they are open to discussion, have quickly downplayed my remarks as simple or old fashioned. Controlling people will not encourage you to do good deeds, being led by the Spirit, rather they will stifle you and inhibit your Christian growth. Some people will even work against you serving in a way they don’t think is right!

5. They will want to be Christ for you ~
I have intentionally left this point till last for I believe it is the most important. A controlling person may seem at first to be so full of godly wisdom, and they actually may truly give some, but it will become more and more so that they will get you to a place in your life where you seek them above Christ and this must NEVER be so. I have been blessed to experience true, Christian encouragement in my life and I know this is interaction which builds me up; does not leave me questioning my integrity or worth; and never confuses me or tells me what to do. It points me ALWAYS to spend more time with Christ for clarity and confirmation not a person. I believe a true encourager will foremost listen. They will then offer a scripture or word based upon scripture which helps (never tears down). They will pray with you and exhort you to not worry but continue to stay close to Jesus. They will be happy to let you have time alone with God, even if they never see you again – they will be healthy individuals, secure in their own relationship with Jesus and never desire to replace God in your life and also have the wisdom to step away from people who desire them to be so.

To conclude the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Look for this fruit as evidence of genuine Christian people. Remember God will never confuse you. Sometimes we may feel it is difficult to hear His voice when competing ones are so loud in their effort to gain control over us. God will not push us beyond what we can handle and will confirm His will through more than one person! Don't let controlling people pull you away from a strong relationship in Christ, be wise in the scriptures so that you walk as you truly are; a VICTOR in Jesus!

In His love & Peace, Melanie.