Archive for April, 2011

Life is like school.  You would never think of putting your kids in high school at the age of 5.  They aren’t ready for that.  Our capability to learn builds as we mature.  As each year and level of education comes, the quality and retention of what we learn depends on those early years of training.

I went all the way through school struggling in math.  I hate to admit it but back in the day we didn’t use calculators!   Third grade was awful for me because that was the first year we did long addition.   I could spell up a storm but math was quickly becoming my nemesis!   My aversion to math continued until my studying business math in my vocational training.  It was there I learned to group in 10’s when adding, a fact that had escaped me throughout my grade school years.   That one thing made the difference for me and I can often add a series of numbers quicker in my head then on a calculator.  Why?

Once I experienced it, I got it!

When exercising your faith to develop an excellent life, you can’t forget the importance of learning.  And just like my math story, experience helps you learn.

I have met some Christians who seem to think using your brain in certain areas of our journey is somehow an “unchristian” thing to do.     There seems to be some conflict between their view of  faith and intelligence or common sense.  I love how Jane Hamon put it in a teaching she did.  “Why do Christians have to be so stupid?”

Truth!   And being stupid is not part of God’s plan for us.  After all, He made us with a brain that was capable of absorbing and learning a wealth of information.

2 Peter 1:5 continues, “……and in exercising virtue (excellence) develop knowledge (intelligence.”

Intelligence and knowledge isn’t necessarily based on our level of education.  It is based on how much we are willing to learn on our own and the effort we put behind it.  It’s also based on how we choose to use our life experience.

Think about a concern you have or something you desire to change.  Here are some steps to develop intelligence.

1.  Look at your life.  Look back on all your experiences so far whether good or bad and ask yourself, “What worked and what didn’t?  What can I learn from that?”

2. Read, Listen, Watch!   Read good books, listen to teaching and other experts, watch people and situations.   This is all part of the learning process.

3.  Develop relationships with people who are where you want to be in life.  We learn from others and someone can’t teach you what they don’t know themselves.  Good relationships are valuable to being knowledgeable.

If you want a more excellent life, gaining knowledge is part of the equation.

Faith works with knowledge.  One is not as effective without the other.

Let’s get smart!

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The Big E

2 Peter 1 is the perfect picture of what setting goals looks like.  As I wrote yesterday we have the  great foundation of God’s grace and power combined with His promises.   What a great place to start our race of life.

When we add our diligence (mind set, attitude, and effort) to our faith we will run well.

If you want to begin exercising you don’t start by running a marathon.  You build up to it.  It might start with simple stretches, a short walk, a little strength training if you are as out of shape as I am.  The same is true in life.

Each time we add a quality or character to our life we gain strength and ability.  Each one builds on the other, moving us toward the big goal of finishing well!

Here is the first thing to be diligent about.  2 Peter 2:5 continues.  “……employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue…..”  Virtue is a word we don’t hear much any more.   Sounds a bit archaic but it’s as relevant as it’s ever been.    So what’s it mean?

When you go back to the Greek, the word comes from “manliness”.  It’s root probably means man as in strong enough for lifting according to Strong’s Concordance.   It translates as excellence, both inside and out.  The Amplified Bible defines it as excellence, resolution, and Christian energy.

Lot’s to think about there!  Here’s how I put it.  Resolve to be excellent in all things, empowered by the Holy Spirit who is our source of energy.

In a race, energy comes from what we put into our bodies.

If you are going to run life well,  that’s how we have to think of it.  The Big E, excellence starts with what we fill ourselves with.  The things we read, watch, and the close relationships we have are all influential factors in our excellence.

Our commitment to whatever change we are making is also part of achieving excellence.  Do we want what we say we want badly enough to work at it?  The amount of effort we are willing to put in is reflective of how resolute we are to make the change.

My husband and I run a business and I love what one of our associates says.   “Success equals consistent, persistent determination with a positive attitude.”

If you want success in the race of life, consistently and persistently reach for achieving excellence in all you do.  Whether you are trying to lose weight, make a career change, enhance a relationship,  be a good parent, or any other improvement, doing anything you do with excellence is the place to begin.

What is one thing you really want to add to your life?   What step could you take to help you move toward excellence in that area?

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So, I’ve been on this healthy eating journey for a month now.  Doing ok there but my missing link is exercise.  If I want to see more results I’m going to have to put some effort behind it.  God’s plan for our life includes us having to exercise too.

Yesterday we talked about how our wanting more or what we don’t have can lead us away from the character of God.

In my observations of people, there are many people who call themselves Christ followers that live as if God will take a magic wand and solve all their problems–even the ones that are because of their own choices.

The verses in 2 Peter 1 are clear that we have responsibility for developing our character and our life.  It’s like a math equation.   1 + 2 + x+ y =z

1 and 2 are known.   1 is the foundation of Grace and power of God that Jesus gave to us through His sacrifice.  2 is the promises of God that we can rely on.

From then on it’s us that has to exercise our faith to grow! Scripture uses a lot of ands and add to  in this passage.

What I love about this scripture is it is a roadmap to reaching the end of our life, having finished the race well and hearing the words, “Well Done!”

Over the next week I’ll take these steps one by one.  I hope by the end you’ll have enough food for thought that like someone who has eaten too much you’ll have to get up and move!  🙂

For today, the word is DILIGENCE.  2 Peter 2:5:  “For this very reason, adding your diligence to the divine promises, employ every effort in exercising your faith……..”

Diligence implies a mind set.  It’s a word of commitment toward the goal. It’s that determination and work ethic that shows how serious someone is.  It’s that unwavering attitude that is built on strong beliefs.

Another math illustration for you…..

God’s Love + Jesus death and resurrection + the Holy Spirit’s power in us=All we need for life and Godliness.

That’s the belief we all must start with in this race of life. That is where we put our faith.  It’s the the route that leads us to the finish line.

If we are going to run well, we have to condition ourselves and give ourselves every resource and advantage.  We have to take it seriously, be diligent.

So imagine your life today as a race.  Where do you want to finish?   How committed are you to seeing that happen?   What promise of God can you set your mind on that addresses this area?  What action do you need to take to exercise your faith in what God has promised?

Ready, Set, Go!

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Your Way Out

Yesterday, we talked about the power of God providing us all we need for life and godliness.  (II Pet. 1:3)   This verse makes it plain that we are called because of His glory and excellence and that we are called to manifest His character.

That’s easier said then done.  It doesn’t just happen.  All you have to do is watch a little news and you’ll find as verse 4 tells us that the world is full of moral decay, rottenness, and corruption. 

It’s easy to see that the Bible is correct when it traces the root of this back to “coveteousness (lust and greed).”

How much of our dissatisfaction in life is based on what we want because of what we think someone else has or on our own self-centered desires?  If we look at our poor choices in life, I’m certain we could all agree that the foundation of those choices was usually because we thought we needed something emotionally, physically, or maybe even spiritually.  Truth is if we fall into this trap, we will never have enough.  We will always crave something more.  Our lives will begin to look like a hamster on the hamster wheel, running, but getting no where.

The longer we run on that wheel, we seem to lose who we are. We lose our balance because we are dizzy from the chaos that often ensues,  and have no idea where we are going.

So how do we stop the never ending motion of the wheel of life before we are consumed by it?

Verse 4 has the secret.  Because of His own glory and excellence, “He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises so that you may escape…..”

It’s by His promises that we find a way out.  God’s promises to us are the foundation we can build on.  They are the wings we can use to rise or fly above the weak spots of our character.

The underlying truth of each of those promises is:  I am loved by God and He has given me what I need based on who He is.  When God looks at me, He sees me through Jesus blood.  That sacrifice has made it possible for me to reach for the very nature and excellence of Christ for my life.

The same power that Jesus exhibited through His death and resurrection, provided us with all we need for life and godliness…..His precious and exceedingly great promises.

What promise of God could you embrace to move you from death (selfish desires)  to life (the nature of God)  in your circumstances, relationships, or your character today?

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A New Approach

I wonder what could happen if we began to approach life’s difficulties with the truth of 2 Peter 1.

About two years ago, this passage of scripture really got into my heart and spirit.

People come to me as a coach to help them change and move beyond their obstacles.  I’m thinking if they really grasped the truth in this passage, I’d be out of business.  That would be alright with me because we’d all be living in a world of unlimited possibilities as we began to view circumstances differently.

Just think about verse 3.  “For His divine power has bestowed on us all things that are needed and suited to life and godliness, through the full, personal knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence.”  (Amplified)

What could happen in your life if you:

a.  really believed in His Divine Power?

b.  really believed you have already been given all you need for life?

c.  really believed that access to the things you need for life and godliness did not depend on your own goodness but were yours because of Jesus?

Our beliefs are the foundation of everything in our life.  We get to choose what we believe.  With that in mind, what difference could it make if we embraced the truths of this verse?

Here’s how I see it.  If I believe this scripture:  When something in me needs to change, I’ll acknowledge that God has given me what I need to change it.  When I face the uncontrollable circumstances of life, I will understand that I already have what it takes to overcome them.

I will understand that I have a full, personal relationship with God and have access to His wisdom and knowledge.

It seems to me we have a choice to keep our eye focused on the problems or the promises.  Our attitude is affected by our perception.

I can’t help but wonder if life is all in how you see it.  I’m not saying that we deny the struggles or the pain.  But, what could happen if we began to look at everything from a view of having all we need to get through it?

The correct knowledge of God is that He has given us all we need for life and godliness!  If we believe that we can walk in verse 2.

“May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you(in the full, personal, precise, and correct knowledge) of God and of our Lord, Jesus.”

So be it!

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Many Waters

Can’t believe it’s been 39 years since I married my high school sweetheart, Erv. When salt and pepper get together it certainly creates an explosion of flavor!   That sums up our years together. 

We’ve had our struggles.  Marriage can be interesting when you buy into the “fairytale”  and believe the other one is there to fill all the gaps in your soul.  Thank God we are past that stage!

We’ve had our trials.  Life has not always been kind to us.  We’ve had the normal everyday money worries, ups and downs in our careers, health challenges, and looking back many injustices that were outside of anything we could control. 

We’ve had our blessings. Both of us had a rich, spiritual heritage that created a foundation for our faith.  We share three wonderful, caring sons and five beautiful grandkids. 

In Erv’s ring I had today’s treasure engraved.  Song of Solomon 8:7: “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. ” 

God’s love for us is like that!  Life brings many waters and it’s easy to feel overcome by the  sea of our choices, circumstances,  even the good things of life. 

Erv and I always came back to our commitment to one another when times got rough.  In our relationship with God, there is one constant we can come back to. 

He’s committed to love!   His love is not quenched by what we do or don’t do, by circumstance, or trials in our faith.  His love last forever.  His love is sacrificing.  His love is priceless. 

The verse in The Message says it this way.  “Love is invincible, facing danger and deeath.  Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.  The fire of love stops at nothing–it sweeps everything before it.  Flood waters can’t drown love, torrents of rain can’t put it out.  Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold.” 

As we reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection, I pray we all will come to a greater understanding of how invincible, unchangeable, and overcoming the love of God is.  

When we understand that, we can rise from the ashes to live and love again! 

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A Pure Prayer

I love the Lord’s prayer.  Such a beautiful example of what prayer should be.  There is one line that has become my mantra in prayer for the last year.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

I see a correlation between this and the prayer Jesus prayed in the garden before His crucifixion.  “Nevertheless thy will be done.”

As a human, it must have been agony to look at what He knew was ahead.  Who could possibly want that?   But He also knew that if heaven and earth, God and man were ever to be reconciled He had to follow God’s plan.

When we are faced with a difficult situation it’s natural to try to fix it ourselves.  When we have to make a decision or choice when we don’t really know the outcome it seems overwhelming.

I don’t know about you, but there’s been many times that I’ve tried to control or make something happen the way I saw it.  There have also been times I’ve run away and hid, unwilling to face whatever was going on in my life at the time.

Here’s what I love about that line in the Lord’s Prayer.

1. They are words of  surrender.  When we pray on earth as it is in heaven, we are leaving the results to God.  We take our hands off the situation.

2.  They are words of trust.  We are acknowledging we don’t see everything and that God does.  We are putting our faith in His ability to complete His purposes in our lives.

My strongest belief about these words is:

3.  They are words of proclamation.  Every time we pray that prayer we are coming into agreement with and declaring the power of heaven over earth.  We are speaking in God’s authority.  We are acknowledging that what is real isn’t the present reality of the moment.  It is the way things are from God’s perspective.

I LOVE THAT!  It has brought me through some tough stuff.  It brought Jesus the strength to go to the cross.

Do you see it?  When we line our entire being up with this prayer, we are inviting God to bring the reality of His kingdom to us and our lives on earth.  It’s not just an eternity promise.  It’s a NOW word.

What could change for your life if you began to pray this prayer?  Where have you seen God change your present situation into a heaven filled one?

Thank you Jesus for your submission to God’s purpose.  Help us to understand the reality of your kingdom is different than our worldly and earthly viewpoint.   Holy Spirit remind us to pray as Jesus taught us.  “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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The Hunt

I loved the festivities of Easter when my kids were little.  It was fun filling those plastic eggs with coins, surprises, and candy treats and finding special places to hide them.  Seeing the excitement and joy in the eyes of my boys at their discoveries was worth every minute of the preparation.

This year, there are no kids or grandkids around so no egg hunt this year.

Since I love festivities, I thought I’d plan an adult hunt for you! For the next three days, I’ll post a blog around one of God’s promises.  Everyone who reads the blog and posts a comment on my facebook page will be entered into a drawing for a special basket full of surprises.

Here’s today’s verse.  Proverbs 16:3:  “Roll your works on the Lord (commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed.”

Love it!  When we give our plans to God and trust Him with them, our thoughts will line up with His will.  No more wondering if we are in God’s will or not!  We will think like He thinks if we are trusting Him to direct us.

And we can be certain of success because God NEVER fails!   If He is marking our plans and directing our steps we do not have to fear failure.  We can move forward boldly and confidently because our trust is in Him.

What plans do you need to give to God and trust Him for direction? When has God changed your thoughts about something you wanted to do?  What plans have you seen God establish in your life?

What could happen in your life, if you really believed that God was establishing your steps and ordering your life?

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Unspeakable Joy

Ever have one of those moments when you are so overcome with emotion you can’t speak?

God is birthing something in me and I’m there.  Don’t even know if I can explain it.  I am getting a fresh glimpse of what Jesus really accomplished for us through His death and resurrection.  And I’m recognizing that nothing in life can hold us back unless we let it.

Let’s face it.  We spend a lot of our life trying to control things.  We strive for that perfect life, career, family and so on.  We might have spent a lifetime putting it together.  Our comfortableness and satisfaction has almost lulled us to sleep.  We have a feeling of invincibility or at the very least security.

Then  all of a sudden we are faced with the biggest difficulty ever.    We may feel like death.  We may be overwhelmed by things we can’t control.   Whatever happened may take us by surprise.  We are jolted into a different reality. Have you been there?  I have.

Just like death could not hold Jesus in the grave, circumstances can’t keep us there either.  That is unless we let them!

In fact, according to scripture, these types of situation serve a great purpose in our lives.  In II Corinthians 1:9, Paul speaks of the his imprisonment.  “Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the very sentence of death…”

Does it seem like whatever you are going through is like a death sentence?  Paul goes on to explain….”but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves, instead of on God who raises the dead. For it is He that rescued us from death and He will still rescue and save us; in and on Him we have set our hope (our joyful and confident expectation) that He will deliver us again.”

Ten years ago, we went through the biggest ordeal we’ve ever faced.  I can honestly say this scripture was proven true in our life.  The situation was used to teach us we could depend on God when we could do nothing about it ourselves.  Because we walked through it with our eyes set on Him, we found grace and joy to stand the test.

Many people commented that they didn’t know how we made it through.  In ourselves, we couldn’t have.  We did all that we could with what was in our control but when it really came down to it, we couldn’t do much.  We were forced to either trust God or let it destroy us.

I am so grateful that we chose trust and that God proved himself again.  It didn’t turn out as we would have liked but we were never alone.  God was there and brought us out to a better place.

Want joy?  Trust God.  If He can raise Jesus from the grave, doesn’t He have the power to raise you above the things that try to destroy you?

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I was sitting in church yesterday I had a powerful picture of resurrection.  We were singing this song by Matt Maher.

Listening, my mind remembered the story of Lazareth.  As the powerful words infiltrated my spirit, I saw people in grave clothes.  Like mummies they were tightly wrapped in strips of white cloth. God clearly spoke to me and said so many of us have been wrapped in things that bring death instead of life for so long that the peoples’ comment about Lazareth, “He stinketh.”  applies.

What are the grave clothes that keep you bound?  Perhaps it’s anger, unforgiveness, hurt and offense.  Maybe it’s the wrong choices you make daily or disillusionment because of unfulfilled dreams.  Is it a relationship gone bad, a lie you’ve believed, or something you are unwilling to change?

Whatever the “thing” is there is hope.  Jesus loved us enough to lay down His life.  He conquered death and the grave.  If He has conquered that, isn’t He able to free us from the grave clothes that keep us down?


If we want that freedom, that resurrection life, all we have to do is present ourselves to Him with an honest and sincere heart.  He is waiting to roll back the stone to our heart.  He is longing to unravel the threads of the past that have made up the grave clothes we are wearing.

He is the resurrection and the life.  That’s who He is and what He does.  If we allow Him freedom to work in and through us, we’ll experience the power of resurrection.

As you listen to the words to this song, I pray that you will COME AWAKE.  It’s time to rise up from the ashes of death, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  The price was paid by Jesus for your resurrection now and eternally.

It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been wrapped in those grave garments.  What matters is that we present ourselves on every level.

“If the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, He who raised up Christ shall restore to life your mortal body by His spirit.”  Romans 8:11

Come Awake!

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