Special Deals on eBooks

This summer has got off to a busy start! I’ve created some eBooks on smashwords.com that are either available for free download or for a small cost. Just stick Connie Barrett into the search bar and you’ll find the four eBooks I’ve produced.

‘Faith Undiluted’ and ‘Caffeine Fuelled Reflections’ are FREE to download while ‘Frank’ and ‘Parables from a Prodigal’ are both for sale at $1.99!

I am currently working on another book which will hopefully be published by the end of the summer. Thanks for your support so far, please continue to support and pray for me as I invest a lot of time and energy into this project.

Thanks,

Conniex

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The Next Step

hi guys,

a week ago i handed in my final assignments and dissertation so i am officially finished college! it’s a long wait until august to hear how i got on. i have found my degree a struggle but thank God i’ve made it through, and learnt so much in the process.

as i’ve finished one thing i’m looking for what’s next. please ask God for wisdom and direction as i apply for jobs. i have been accepted for a postgrad in counselling this september so i’m hoping to secure employment that accommodates this.

pray that God would be with me as i leave my placement church, which has become my home over the past three years. it’s not going to be easy saying goodbye. i am so thankful for the support, love, and care that my church family has shown towards me, it’s such a testimony to them. praying that the time i’ve spent with the young people will bear fruit and that they will go on to be great men and women of God.

i also plan to start writing this summer so ask God for fresh ideas, determination, and discernment.

that’s all for now,

connie xox

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Judgement Boomerangs

Look in the Mirror. Go on, I dare you. Take a long hard look at yourself. What do you see? Can you stand to look at it? When I look in the Mirror, the Bible, I can never look long without seeing the ugliness of my sin. And it doesn’t take much longer for me to look away and point the finger in someone else’s direction as a diversion.

Just the other week I was sitting with one of my housemates when she noticed that someone had signed out of our dinner rota when numbers had already been counted. I made a blunt remark before getting up to see who had signed out. It was me. I had passed judgement on myself without realising.

Why is it that when we’re so embarrassed of our own sins we focus on others? We have to stop looking around us and look inside of us, examining the hidden motives of the heart. When I’m shocked by what I see in the Mirror I shouldn’t take out my disgust on someone else, I should face up to my sin for myself. We should give ourselves a spiritual MOT. God wants us to focus on our own spiritual health. We should carry out this ‘health check’ every day, in case our faith takes a turn for the worse.

We can’t justify our sin by judging others. We can’t make something right by pointing out a wrong. Who do we think we are to judge? We have no right; we’re far from perfect. We can’t forget that judgement is in His hands, in His time, and on His terms. Sometimes I catch myself judging others, standing on my man-made pedestal casting judgement as if I’m in a court of law. Sometimes it’s second-nature to me to pass judgement. There I am all dressed up in a wig and robes, pronouncing someone ‘guilty’ when I know I haven’t a right to say that word.

Here’s a bit of a Greek lesson for you, the word ‘judge’ can be translated as ‘condemn’. If we go through life pointing the finger this could be God’s final judgement on us. Our judgement will bounce back. Judgement boomerangs. When my attitude towards someone screams ‘guilty’ I should stop and take note of this: this word will rebound.

There’s quite a difference between a speck of sawdust and a plank of wood, isn’t there? The scale of one is dwarfed by the other. This reminds us not to pick at the flaws of others, choosing to overlook our own faults. The problem is that our sin is so large we can’t see it. We have to catch sight of this. So often I hide from my sins, I refuse to look in the Mirror because I’m scared of what I’ll find. I stay ‘blinkered’; having tunnel vision, because I think that bypassing my sin will protect me. It doesn’t. Ignoring a growing problem only make matters worse.

Matthew 7:1-6 can be summed up in two words: don’t judge. If we don’t want to be judged, then we shouldn’t do it ourselves. Justice is inevitable, it’s going to happen. So why don’t we stop trying to take it into our own hands? In the meantime mercy should triumph over justice. Mercy should have the upper hand and we should leave God to sit on the judge’s seat. We don’t do ourselves any favours when we judge others. The more we judge the more we will be judged in return. If we make a judgement we should expect the same in return, it’s only fair.

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Having the Guts to Get Out of the Boat

After feeding the 5000 Jesus sent His disciples ahead of Him, crossing the Sea of Galilee in a fishing boat, while he went up a mountain to pray. During the night the disciples were caught in a storm. Jesus came to their rescue, calming them with these words, “…Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid!” (Matthew 14:27 Amplified). Stop right there. Read that again. Did you catch that? Jesus voiced His Father when He said I AM is here. YAHWEH was there in the storm with them. Beautiful, isn’t it? Immanuel. God with us. Wherever we go.

In response to this Peter asked, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water” (Matthew 14:28 NLT). Jesus invites Peter to walk towards Him, so he does. We know how the story takes shape, when Peter took his eyes and attention off Jesus all he could see and hear was the wind and the waves. Peter was caught off guard, and as he began to sink he cried out to Jesus. Jesus reached out and caught him; He fished him out as quick as a flash. Likewise, when doubts arise and you find yourself drowning in your problems cry out to Jesus to rescue you.

Have you ever found yourself in the same water as Peter? If you’re being honest you have, we all have. We’ve all stepped out in faith only to lose our focus and allow our fears to drag us down. We shouldn’t be too hard on Peter; we shouldn’t point the finger and accuse him of being afraid. If we found ourselves in his skin could we honestly say that the outcome would have been any different?

If I was to find myself in Peter’s shoes I’d have jumped out of the boat as soon as I’d have been asked! With my armbands. And not forgetting my rubber ring. Now, is this faith? I don’t think so. Faith can be translated as total reliance on God. Placing your trust in anything other than God would result in you being in over your head before you’d have known it.

What about you? Would you have stayed in the comfort of familiar surroundings? Dipped your toe to test the waters? Or stepped out of the boat and into the ‘impossible’? Remember this: Jesus will never push you overboard; He won’t make the decision for you. It’s up to you. Peter put his inability to walk on water aside; he risked his life in showing his faith. He placed his trust in God as he placed his life in His hands. He didn’t need to be asked twice; in he went without a second thought. We tend to overemphasise the fact that Peter began to sink, forgetting that in order for Peter to sink he had to first of all be stepping out in faith! Peter had more faith than the other eleven put together. How do I know this? He was the only one to get out of the boat. Don’t fear, even though you may have left the security of the boat God won’t leave you high and dry. Storms have a way of surfacing faith and keeping you afloat. The most frequently repeated phrase in the Gospels is “…Do not be afraid!” We have to make a conscious decision to not allow fear to catch a hold of us; we have to have the guts to get out of the boat.

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