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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Ever had a dream deep inside of you that you believe God has put there?  Ever done your best to follow His instructions and come to a point where you just didn’t see how the dream was going to actually be birthed?

I’ve been there several times.  In fact, was just there again last night.  It’s difficult to keep your mind and heart focused when you are discouraged by the outward appearances of what’s happening.

The voices that resonate in our head during times like that are so easy to listen to.   Things like:  Who do you think you are to even believe you could do this? It’s just like everything else you’ve tried, it’s a silly pipedream!  You are just an ordinary person, you weren’t meant to do great things.  You aren’t smart enough, don’t know the right people, etc. etc. etc.  God isn’t really in it.

These are just a few voices that cause so many of us give up on the thing God has put in our heart.  The first sign of struggle or the first objection can throw us into a pit of despair and discouragement.  And sometimes we labor, pray, travail and give up just before the birth happens.

What it really boils down to is faith versus fear.  We are afraid to let God really shine through us….to dare to believe we can do big things through Him.   We are afraid that God might not love us enough, might not have chosen us, might not think we are significant to His kingdom.

While we are believing the lies of the enemy, here is what God says in Isaiah 66:9.  “Shall I bring to the moment of birth and not cause to bring forth?, says the Lord.  Shall I who causes to bring forth, shut the womb? says your God.”

What kind of God would we serve if He didn’t care about the deep desires He put in us?  What kind of cruel God would He be if He brought us right to the moment of delivery and then ran away or stopped the birthing process?  God isn’t like that.  As long as we stay open and ready to birth what He has spoken by His strength He will bring it forth.  As long as we are willing to follow the plan He has given us, He will bring it forth.

We were meant to birth the things of God in our marriage, our children, our businesses, our relationships, and our lives!  God will bring it forth.  The question is:  What can we do to cooperate with Him?

Go forth and multiply!  Birth the baby God has for your life!

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Personal trainers are a very popular way to get in shape and move to a healthy lifestyle.

When I read this verse this morning, I couldn’t help but compare that to the spiritual training God has provided. I Timothy 1:4,5(Amplified) tells us the importance of accepting in faith God’s ‘administration and divine training.’

Two words stand out–in faith and love. 

I love the way the Amplified explains faith.   “leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence.”

In the gym……one has to trust that the personal trainer knows what they are talking about and asking us to do.  The understanding must be that they know how to get us in optimal shape and increase our well-being.  They are trained to work with our unique body type and style while implementing some consistent principles into our daily routine.

The same is true in our relationship with God.  He understands our unique human personality.   We can either choose to do our own thing  or put our strengths and weaknesses in the hand of God and listening to His divine instruction for our lives.  That is true faith.  Having confidence that when one of God’s principles or commands runs into conflict with our own desires or how we “feel”  we will choose to trust him and do what He asks.

The second part of this passage, talks about the purpose of our instruction.  Just as a personal trainer creates a program to bring us into health, God’s instruction and His charge to us has a purpose.  That purpose is love.

Pure love starts with loving God.  When we love God we can love ourselves and others.  So where does love begin?

Verse 5 makes it clear.   Love “springs from a pure heart and a good clean conscience and sincere unfeigned faith.”  If we are to truly love……we must be clean before Him.  That takes honesty.

A personal trainer will get no where with us if we are going home from our workout and “sneaking” food that is off the program.  Unlike the personal trainer, God knows every place we are being dishonest, every failure due to poor choice.

Yet we try to hide.  We either hide because we are ashamed of our weakness and don’t trust God’s love or because we are in direct rebellion against Him.  The results of that kind of life can lead to a lot of destruction rather than the abundant life God wants for us.

A sincere and pure heart is necessary to love and leaning on God in trust and confidence is the first step toward a sincere and pure heart.

What are the places in your life that you haven’t trusted or had confidence in God?  Where have you been insincere about following His ways?  What is clouding your conscience?

What steps can you take today to begin to get in shape spiritually, emotionally, and physically?

God and His word is the ultimate personal trainer.

 

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Repost

This repost of a 2010 blog seems appropriate today.  Sometimes I think we forget that we reap what we sow and that it is our choice to sow good seed.  What do you think?

Choose Your Seed

If you want tomatoes you don’t plant lemons.  If you want roses, you plant roses.

So what do you want in your life?

It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.   If your life is not producing the fruit you want, you have to start with examination of the seed you are planting.

If you are planting discord, you can’t expect peace and harmony.  If you are planting debt and poor financial stewardship, you can’t expect financial blessing and abundance.  If you are dishonoring or disrespectful in a relationship, you can’t expect honor and respect from others.

On the flip side, if you follow God’s precepts, planting seed that is reflective of His character, you can expect a good harvest.  That kind of planting is mentioned in Galatians 6:8.  It is sowing to the Spirit instead of to the flesh.   That kind of harvest is not only good, but lasts forever.   It produces eternal results.

Take a minute and reflect on the kind of result you want in some situation in your life.  Maybe it’s a situation with your children, spouse, or friend.  Maybe it’s something you desire emotionally, physically, or  spiritually.

What kind of seed(ie.habit, attitude, action,belief) have you been planting?  What could you change in order to reap a good harvest? What step can you take today to begin that process?

If you want a different result, you have to choose good seed.  God has provided what you need and promised to bless it.  It’s up to you to plant it, nurture it, and gather in the harvest.

What seed are you choosing today?

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I just reached an impossible goal in our home-business.  It was amazing to watch what happened after I became convicted that it could and committed to working until it did. There were so many times when it looked like it would not happen, but in the end, it came to be.

Life is like that.  Sometimes we have lofty and good goals but what is happening or what we are seeing makes us think it is impossible.

I love II Corinthians 5:7-9.  Here’s my paraphrase:  We move in life by faith.  Our lives and our behavior is regulated by our conviction and belief  about God’s relationship with us and the divine things He’s promised.  We accept those with trust and holy burning desire and therefore we don’t walk by what we see or what appears.  We have confident courage no matter where we are at.  We are constantly ambitious as we work earnestly at pleasing Him. 

One of the reasons I do this blog is because I want every person to really understand and experience a PERSONAL relationship with God.  I know the more personal that becomes the more we understand God’s love for us.  The more we understand how much God loves  the more we will do what pleases Him.

Here’s a few keys to that relationship and a life of blessing.

A. If you need a behavior change, it starts with your belief about your relationship with God.  How seriously do you take what God says?  How strongly do you believe His principles and trust that He will do what He promises?

B.  A life of faith requires burning desire.   What is more important to you–your own desires or what pleases God?  When we have a burning desire to pursue the principles  of His kingdom rather than our own way, we will experience a life of faith and blessing.

C. A life of faith requires ambition.  When I reached for my business goal, I gave it all I had.  I left every ounce of energy on the table and at the end, I was spent.  That is what ambition looks like.  What could change for you if you determined that you were going to pursue God and strive to please Him more than anything else in your life?

I dare say, we would have better marriages, parent better, experience better finances, be more satisfied in our work and play, have better relationships and a greater circle of influence if we would live a life of conviction and belief about God and His relationship with us.  We would take it seriously.  We would understand that life is sacred and we would work with everything that is in us to establish and grow His kingdom on earth and strive with all we have to please Him. 

 

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Ever felt like your heart(mind, will, and emotions) were a tangled mess?  That inner battle is a difficult one but I want to encourage you that untangling them is possible.

There are so many things that can cause uncertainty, insecurity, and confusion in our lives.  For me some of them were:  the idea of fairytale love, my childhood hurts and experiences, my misconceptions of God, and some of the things I had been taught incorrectly. Because of all those other things, I also was not able to see or move toward my purpose and I gradually moved toward a season of hopelessness and despair.

And then there is the women problem of hormones! At least once a month I could count on that tangled mess of emotions and believe me it did wreak chaos.  No matter how much I should have recognized it, I would forget that was why I was feeling bad.

I was not happy for sure and it began to effect everything–my marriage, my relationships with people, my finances, my ability to reach my goals, my children, and my faith.  Not to mention I had very little influence on others or the world around me because I had gone to that inner place where everything was about me.

But praise God, He untangled the mess.  He will do that for you too.

If you are without hope, hope in this.  Nothing you have done is unforgivable and nothing you are facing is unfixable.  First, Isaiah 44:22 tells us He has blotted out our sins and trangressions like a thick cloud!  He goes on to say “Return to me, I have redeemed you.”

The first step to untangling, is returning.  And why wouldn’t we return to someone who loved us enough to forgive us by sending Jesus!  Just like you can’t untangle your hair without picking up a comb and a brush,  you can’t find make sense of your tangled mess without accepting the truth of redemption and forgiveness.

The second truth is in Isaiah 45:2.  Understand that God never expects us to untangle the mess alone!  Here’s what He promises.  “I will go before you and level the mountains (to make the crooked places straight).  I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut asunder the bars of iron.”  Whatever the mountain or door that is keeping you from your destiny and calling, if you come to God, He will destroy the obstacles in your path.

And I LOVE VERSE 3!!!!  “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I the Lord, who calls your name.”

Wow!  Do you get that?  If we return to Him, He will take the dark places and give us the treasures in them!  And we will find our true identity because we will know He calls our name!

I’m doing cartwheels inside right now.  I pray that you get this truth!   Don’t live in a tangled web of confusion any longer.  God is right there to untangle You if you come to Him.

 

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Remember the line from A Few Good Men when Tom Cruise asks Jack Nicholsen to tell the truth on the stand.  Jack, vehemently looks at Tom and says, “Truth?  You can’t handle the truth?”

Throughout the years, truth has been debated.  It’s no different today but as an “older” person, it seems to have changed into a time when all “truth” is what we say it is.

As a Christ follower, what God’s word says is important.  Scripture is not something to be used to beat someone up with but it is the roadmap for a life well lived.

James 1 paints two very different portraits of the way people handle the Word (the truth of God).  There are two camps of people.  The DOERS and the LISTENERS.

In James 1:21-24, a listener is compared to a man who looks in the mirror, sees himself and then goes away and forgets what he looks like.  Mmmmmm, I wonder if doing has anything to do with knowing who we are.  What do you think?

The problem with listeners, is that they are not living authentically. Instead of obeying the truth, they make excuses and try to reason with it.  Verse 22 says they betray themselves and fall into deception.   It’s kind of like a teen-ager.  Ever known one who told you where you were all wrong, while making excuses for their own behavior?

Think about the TRUTH, (God’s way).  If we say we are Christ followers, then we have to follow Christ!  We must ask ourselves:  Am I walking in His way in my marriage?  Am I parenting my kids like He says?  Am I following His principles in my job or business?  Am I handling my money, my health, my relationships the way He directs me too?

I think the biggest question of all is, “Am I trying to reason with God and His principles and commands to justify my choices?

We can’t truly say we are followers of Christ and ignore a life of true worship.  True worship is expressed in the outward actions of our inner lives.  A blessed and authentic life is one that handles God’s truth by acting on it!

 

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“He leads me beside the still and restful waters.”  Psalm 23:2

Summer is full of activity.  Vacations, camping, barbecues, yard work, etc.  It’s about fun and refreshment after the long winter season.

I never understood the wonder of being still and taking time outs to refocus and renew.  When I did, it was in the summer season.  I would sit outside in the sunshine, near some water and take time to journal and reflect.  It was during that time that the most personal growth of my life took place.

Here’s a few being still tips.

1. Find a quiet place and reflect on the things that are important to you at the core.  Journal about them and how you implement those things in your life.

2.  Find a place in the shade or sunshine that you can rest. Put on some quiet “soaking” music and clear your head.  Don’t think.  Just reflect on the music.  You might even fall asleep.  Let it take you where it takes you and you might be amazed at what you realize.

3.  Take your Bible and notebook and read outside.  Journal about how the verses you read apply to your life at this moment.

4.  Create a dream board.  Summer is the perfect time to be still and think about where you want to go in life.  Create a dream board with pictures and goals.  This will help you refocus on what is important.

5.  Don’t crowd out those quiet moments.  In the midst of activity, you can still “steal away” a moment or two of reflection.  While you are making a potato salad, “think” about Jesus.  While you are driving to the picnic, play a worship tape.  When you wake up take 5 minutes to meditate.

Hope you have many moments beside God’s still and restful waters!

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Psalm 23 is a great summer sip passage!   Can you picture a shepherd and his sheep on a summer day?

I love the analogy of Jesus being our shepherd.  Who better to feed, guide, and shield us from harm?   There is nothing we need or want that is not found in Him.

Verse 2 is our summer sip for today.  “He makes me lie down in fresh, tender green pastures:  He leads me beside the still and restful water.”

The first thing that caught my eye was that the pastures are fresh, tender, and green.   Left to our own ways, we often revisit the old, dry, stale places and things in life.   We look to the same old things to fill us or satisfy our hunger.  As one person put it, we do the same things over and over again, expecting a different result.

But our shepherd is different.  He understands the need for fresh places.  He knows the things that will really nourish and satisfy our souls.  His ways are new every morning.   He doesn’t feed us with stale bread.

When a sheep wanders away from the fold, they not only put themselves in danger but they risk not having the good food and restful places.

If you need a fresh start, the answer is clear.   Follow the Shepherd.   He’ll always take you to the fresh, green, tender grasses of life that will satisfy your hunger.   He’ll always lead you to the quiet, still, and restful water where you can center yourself again.

What can you do today to follow Jesus to fresh food and quiet water?

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Life is so rewarding and fulfilling when you are what I call in the flow.  There is really a place when you are moving being guided by the Spirit day in and day out.  Even when trials come at you, there’s a inner place of refuge and sometimes you don’t miss a beat.

There is also a place where every little thing can cause us to stop in our tracks or experience an uneven plane of emotions, up and down with every joy or every pain.

So what creates a life of flow?  John 7:38 says: He who believes, cleaves to, and trusts in Jesus will experience a continuous flow of living water from their innermost being.

If you aren’t experiencing the continuous out flow of a full life, from the inside out, you have to ask yourself:  What do I believe about Jesus?   Where am I not trusting and hanging on to Him?

A stopped up flow is the result of incorrect beliefs or who or what we are leaning on and trusting in.

Join me this summer in living in the the flow of the Spirit.   You won’t regret that kind of life.

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River Run Wild!

There are times when a sip of water just won’t do it.  When you are parched and dry it seems you just can’t get enough.

Life can be like that.  Sometimes we are so thirsty for something new or different, nothing seems to satisfy.   We have gone so long without hope, or used up all the strength we had in reserve and it seems like our lives are like a desert, barren, cracked, and dry.

One drop of water can’t wipe out the dryness of land or repair it’s cracks.  One glimmer of hope won’t help us quench our dry and barren places either.

That’s why God doesn’t give us just one drop.   HE POURS LIVING WATER on us!   Isaiah 44 :3:   “I will pour water upon him who is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground.   I will pour My Spirit on your offspring and blessing upon your descendants.”

God’s promise is to POUR out His Spirit.  He describes it as a river of living water.   It’s not only vast enough to quench our thirst but to spread to our kids and grandkids.   There is not just enough.  There is more than enough.

Summer is the time for river rafting.   It’s so refreshing and cool to feel the water and for the adventurous types to ride through and over the more rapid water waves as they envelope our bodies.

You have an open invitation to jump in the river of God’s Spirit.  It’s a river ride that is wild and free as you explore the promises of God and discover more of who He is.   It’s a river ride that will repair your dry places and quench your thirst for a fulfilled life.   And best of all it’s a river adventure that will never end.   There is a boundless supply of living water.

Lord, let this be a day when we jump into the river and let you pour your spirit on us!

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