Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Claudia De Nobrega

Moments Of Life

Have you ever thought about the word “moments” and what it represents?

Moments are the building blocks in order for God to create the bigger picture and a greater purpose.

As a photographer, I capture photographic moments and in my life I trust that God will guide each moment just like I know that He guides each photograph that I take. Moments can never be recreated and each moment is different and unique.
We cannot create these moments ourselves. For God oversees and plans each moment according to His will.

My life consists of moments.
Not days.
Not minutes.
Not years.
But of unique moments that make up every detail of my life.
These moments are the reason I wake up and breathe.
These moments are special thoughtful gifts from my Father God.
These moments define my life, and in these moments I learn more about myself and the person I am and the person I want to be.
God works in these moments to give me inspiration and build my character.
He shows me life in these moments, He shows me love, joy and happiness, and sometimes He shows me difficulty and hardship in these moments.
Sometimes they are moments of strength – when I reach heights I never thought I could.
Sometimes they are moments of weakness – when I fail and struggle.
More often they are moments of joyful happenings, laughter and fun!

Little moments. Big moments. Happy moments. Sad moments. Inspiring moments.
Beautiful moments. Loving moments. Weak moments. Strong moments.
Great moments. Quiet moments. Funny moments. Challenging moments.
Creative moments. Motivating moments. Life-changing moments.

These are the moments of life.

I hope you have a moment this week where you feel the sun shine on your face and feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on your skin, know that in the moment of sunshine God is with you! He created that moment just for you to enjoy and smile!
Isn’t our Lord Jesus just the most awesome! GOD LOVES YOU.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4

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Saying No

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Do you ever go through seasons in life, where you feel overwhelmed by the weight of trying to do it all, carry it all and balance it all?

As a mom, I find that there are moments where I can do it all, balance it all, and even do it with a smile on my face. Then there are seasons where I feel like I can’t keep up, I feel overwhelmed, I feel anxious and I feel defeated. I am one of those people that want to do it all.

Let me explain, I want to be an awesome wife, I want to be that hands on mom to my son, I want to be a successful entrepreneur, and still have an amazing social life. I want to make the most of my time here on earth, as I have no idea when my time will come to an end. Therefore I feel passionately on my heart to do things that will bring hope, encourage and inspire those around me, I want to leave a legacy behind that speaks of inspiration! Therefore I feel this sense to help others wherever I can, and I push myself to keep on growing by saying yes to so many things.

What I struggle with, is being kind to myself, and keeping healthy boundaries in place that protect my emotional wellbeing. You see if we are not taking care of ourselves emotionally, or even physically it starts to affect the way we behave and think daily, which in turn affects how we behave around the people we love.

If I am trying to be everyone’s “go to”, everyone’s “hero”, I end up taking on more than I can handle. I say ‘yes’ to things that steal time away from my family, or make me feel emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed. It truly is hard for me to say ‘no’ to people, or say ‘no’ to things, as I feel rather strongly that “I must help others whenever I can”. When I say no to things, I feel guilty afterwards, I worry if it offended them, or if it puts them in a worse off position.

Saying No

I heard this message by two amazing pastors Joel, and his wife Julia O’Bell the other night. They were talking about how to handle the pressures of life, and how to balance everything. They said something that changed my whole outlook on this predicament that I find myself in. They said :

“When you say NO to things, you give power to the things you say YES to”.

WOW!

The truth is we can’t do it all. But with saying ‘yes’ to the right things that we can commit to, we are adding power, focus, and strength to it. Because we are dedicated and wholeheartedly there.

“Say NO out of strength instead of YES out of weakness”.

If we say ‘yes’ to lots of things, we are a bit scattered, distracted and not fully engaged as we are trying to carry and balance way too much than we can handle.

Stolen opportunities

If we feel the need to help everyone all the time, we tend to feel like “we are the only ones who can help”. When in actual fact that is not the truth, maybe with us always saying ‘yes’ (all the time) we steal from another person who wants to say ‘yes’ to that particular opportunity to step up and do something new.

Have Boundaries

If you are like me, you honestly feel guilty about saying NO, and it’s a real struggle for you. May I just encourage you to earnestly take a step back and remember that if people truly loved and respected you, they wouldn’t take offence by you saying ‘no’. They would value and honour your NO, because it means they understand that you have boundaries, that you have limits, that you have a family you are thinking of, and that you are human and you can’t be everywhere, doing everything. That’s God’s job! The thing is we need to sometimes say NO, because in that NO, we are looking after ourselves emotionally, mentally or even physically.

Don’t feel pressured into saying Yes

Try not too feel pressured in saying YES right away , if someone has asked you do to something. Maybe say to them, “Can I just think about it and get back to you, I need just see if I can commit to it properly.”

Be realistic with your time

Now, I am not saying say NO to EVERYTHING. But be realistic about your time, and what you can commit to when considering saying YES.

Ask God

If like me you get caught up in saying ‘yes’ far to quickly, pray and ask God to show you where you are going with the things that are currently in your hands : “Family, work, health, hobbies, etc”.

Ask God to give you the wisdom on how to create boundaries in your life that look after your well being as well your families well being. Then ask God to give you the courage to say NO, and to YES to the right things that will add to your life, and not steal from you in anyway.

For me when I feel overwhelmed by life in general, I know it is because I haven’t gone to God to ask him what he thinks I need to know or do about my current situation. When I seek him, and ask him to show me how to carry it all, he starts to quietly speak into my heart and he shows me what I need to say YES or say NO to.

Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Life should be enjoyed, not endured. Why not ask God today to show you how to say YES with power and NO with courage by clicking on the link below.

He Is Not Finished With Me Yet

I would like to inspire you today with a song that has completely inspired me!

It’s called Wait & See by Brandon Heath

Brandon explains: “‘Wait and See’ is probably the most autobiographical song I’ve ever written.  But I think that anybody can relate to this song, and be encouraged to know that God has a plan for us, even if we still feel like a failure at times.”

If we come to know Jesus as our Savior, He is going to change our hearts
and lead us into a greater existence other than for ourselves.

I know the plans I have you for you declares the Lord
Brandon explains:
“The last verse of ‘Wait and See’ is really what my journey is all about,

now’s my time to be a man,
follow my heart as far as I can,
no telling where I’m ending up tonight.

Most nights, I am in a hotel room and I barely know where I am,
but I know that I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing.
I just have to wait and see what God is going to do with the rest of the story.
I’m encouraged by what He has done already, but I know that the story will continue to unfold and I’ll keep learning more about the purpose of my life.
by Brandon Heath

Below you can read the lyrics to the song:

I was born in Tennessee
Late July humidity
Doctor said I was lucky to be alive

I’ve been trouble since the day that I got here
Trouble till the day that I disappear
That’ll be the day that I finally get it right

There is hope for me yet
Because God won’t forget
All the plans he’s made for me
I have to wait and see
He’s not finished with me yet

I never really was that good in school
I talked too much, broke the rules
Teacher thought I was hopeless fool alright

I don’t know how but I made it through
It’s one of those things that you’ve gotta do
But I always had a knack for telling the truth

Chorus

Still wondering why I’m here
Still wrestling with my fear
But oh, He’s up to something
And the farther on I go
I’ve seen enough to know
That I’m, not here for nothing
He’s up to something

So now’s my time to be a man
Follow my heart as far as I can
No telling where I’m ending up tonight
I never slow down or so it seems
But singing my heart it’s one of my dreams
All I gotta do is hold on tight

There is hope for me yet
Because God won’t forget
All the plans he’s made for me
I have to wait and see
He’s not finished with me yet

2008 Essential Music / Sitka 6 Music (ASCAP).
All rights admin. by Sony/ATV Tunes LLC (ASCAP).

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Spring: A New Season of Life

Spring is the season of new beginnings, fresh starts, the season of growth, life and renewal.
Where the flowers begin to bloom into beautiful floral masterpieces and the rain lessens in exchange for the glorious sunshine. It is a colourful season, and for many a happy season, as people come out of their winter hibernation and start preparing for the upcoming, energetic summer season. Some people take this time to do some “spring cleaning”, sorting and organising.

I love the springtime in South Africa, it is so beautiful. Today I drove past the beachfront and stopped my car to take a photo of the stunning scenery that surrounded me. I was filled with so much joy just taking in the beauty of it all. It feels as if there is an awakening in the air, hearts are being stirred and prepared for something bigger, a new season, growth, renewal, change.

God says it so beautifully in Ecclesiastes 3:1
“There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has it’s special season… “

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Some of you might be going through a very difficult and tough season, the feeling of being in the desert or stuck in the wilderness, lost or afraid. Some of you may be entering into a season of growth and learning and some of you may be blossoming into a healthy and happy season of life. God tells us that there is a time and season for everything. I believe just as there are seasons of nature there are also seasons of life. The other day I drove past a sign on the highway, it said: “Sometimes new beginnings are disguised as painful endings“. It’s quite a bold statement, but all too often true. We fail to see past our current circumstance, and are blinded by the emotions, but God see’s further, He see’s deeper and He knows best.

God works everything out for the good. He is the architect of our lives. He knows the plans and what lies ahead. God created the seasons of life so we can grow and learn and develop our character. God gives us the opportunity everyday to change, grow, learn and make a difference, but it is up to us to make that decision.

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In the verb tense, ‘spring’ means to kickoff and produce and develop suddenly, moving forward by leaps and bounds, hence the old saying, “Spring has sprung”. Are you going to move forward in leaps and bounds and spring into action this new season of your life? With a positive attitude and a willing heart to make this your very best season yet, and then take it on through to the next season and the season after that…  most importantly are you going to move forward in FAITH and HOPE and allow the Creator of the universe, God Almighty, to help you grow, learn and change in the very best possible way?

Seasons change… Leaves fall… But God’s Love for you remains the same through it all.

God loves you so very much! You can never stop growing and learning, if you have stopped then it’s the season to start fresh and start growing and learning again! I feel like I am growing and learning with each new day! Make this your best season ever! Remember the best is yet to come!

Spring into action by clicking on the banner below and watching the video about truth and love.

Make Time To Take Time

Time. It’s what we see when we look at our wrist watch or mobile clock. It’s what we hear when the alarm goes off. It is what we realise when we blow out our birthday candles. It is what we vent about when we are running late. Time is something we cannot replace. We can never regain lost time. It is ongoing, never stopping, always ticking, forever changing and a very significant part of our daily lives.

What are you doing with your time? Think about this question truthfully and deeply.

There is a great quote by J.R.R. Tolkien: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”

TIME IS A GIFT FROM GOD. He gives us each second of each day to make a difference and use it to seek Him in all things, are you seeking God in your life, what are you doing with your time that has been given to you, are you wasting time or utilising your time, do you have a balance in life? Are you being intentional about how you spend your time ? Every single second of every day is time gone by and a piece of legacy we will leave behind.

I challenge you to MAKE TIME TO TAKE TIME; but what does this mean and where do you start? It might mean different things to different people, some may see it as rest and taking time out, and others may see it as being productive and utilising every bit of time for efficiency. It all depends on the season of life that you are in. I have been using this theme of “Make Time to Take Time” in all areas of my life.

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There are 3 areas of life that I have highlighted below, where time plays a very important role,  how we value time, how we spend time, how we appreciate the time God has so generously given to us:

  •  WORK & STUDY:
    When you are at work or in the office or busy with your studies, are you being productive and working towards becoming better and increasing your value as an employee, business owner or student? Not because you have to, but because you want to.  This is time well spent , because you are working towards goals and dreams and allowing God to use your talent and skills to work all things for His great glory.
  • LIFE & FAMILY:
    Are you using your time to efficiently grow and develop your character and enrich the legacy that you will leave behind by impacting the lives of those around you?  By spending quality time with your family and loved ones and building great friendships. Investing in their lives by investing your time and attention towards them, making them feel loved, supported, encouraged and appreciated because you took the time to care and show love.
  • REST:
    Don’t you often wonder why God created the earth in 6 days and on the 7th day He rested? Genesis 2:2
    By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work
    If rest is very important to God that he set aside a day for it, then shouldn’t we also take it quite seriously.
    What gives you rest? What refreshes you? 
    Is it a walk on the beach, is it a jog around the block, is it meeting a friend for coffee, is it going to church, is it being cosy on the couch with a good book, is it an afternoon nap, is it time spent with your loved ones and family, is it taking a hot bubble bath or planting some flowers in your garden, is it baking a cake or cooking up a stew, or is it a power session at the gym? Rest does not have to mean sleep, many people get confused with this and think rest means sleep and rest equals laziness. Not true. Sleep is very important but it is actual rest that refreshes you and uplifts your soul and brings you joy and the energy to go about your daily activities. It inspires you to have fresh eyes to see what your tired mind couldn’t see before.

Just imagine, someone gave you a gift, all beautifully wrapped and stunning to look at and told you there was something so valuable inside that no amount of money in the world could buy it… the precious GIFT OF TIME.

So what are you going to do with the time that God had given to you?

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Let Light Lead You

Sometime ago, I was driving home, it was late and a very cold, dark, winter’s evening. The roads were quiet and I had a long journey to make back home. Anyone close to me will tell you that I am a nervous driver, I never drive faster than 100 kph and I hate driving next to a barrier wall or on very high bridges, and on top of all of this, I especially dislike driving at night.

The crazy thing is I drive a lot and I drive far distances, as my job requires me to drive to different locations often. Over the years, I have gained more confidence, the more I drove the more confident I would be, however that said, driving at night really makes me feel nervous especially if I am not familiar with the area around me. The fear of getting lost and losing cell phone reception really freaks me out. My husband is permanently on speed dial!

On this particular evening, I was driving in an unfamiliar area and at night. To make things worse, as I drove a heavy, grey mist surrounded my car, I couldn’t believe it; felt like something out of a horror movie. All I could see was the front of my car and my headlights shining on this grey, gloomy mist.

My heart was in a panic and I didn’t know if I was driving the right way or if I missed my turnoff. I couldn’t see a thing. I was alone, afraid and I thought probably even lost. In this moment of utter fear I remembered something, something I had read, something short, sweet and simple…

“Your Word is a LAMP for my Feet, and a LIGHT on my Path” Psalm 119:105

Lamp

It was then I realised that I was living that moment. The headlights only enabled me to see clearly for about 2 metres in front of me, beyond that I was surrounded by a heavy, crazy mist. In that moment I had to rely on my car headlights to light up the way for me. I had to trust those headlights to light up my path. It was what my eyes focused on. Every inch of me clung to trusting that light to take me home.

I learnt so much from this experience. I learnt that Jesus is like my headlights. He lights up the way for the lost and afraid. He gives us hope even though we can’t see our future. When life feels hopeless and we don’t know if we can carry on, He is always there to help us on our way. Will you trust Him today? Will you allow Him to light up your path and give you direction? When your situation feels like there is no way out and darkness surrounds you, will you allow Jesus to be that lamp, that headlight in your life to help you and lead you?

That evening I got home safe and sound with a fresh revelation and a new perspective that we aren’t alone in the darkness because the light is always present to help you find your way back home. Click on the banner below to find out more!

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