Express His Glory in Your Life

ct studd only one life

Confusion is a tool of the enemy.  God is a God of order and peace.  He says what He means, He means what He says…and He offers us a choice to believe it or not.  Our choices have consequences.

We live in a confused and chaotic world because so many choose not to believe what the Word of God states.  That truth is truth for believers and non-believers alike.  For those of us in the Church, some of society’s confusion seems so extreme we are tempted to judge with condemnation and criticism instead of speaking with a clear, gentle voice of truth.  The heart of God breaks for those confused about such a clarion issue as gender.  The rejection of the clear Word of God, (Genesis 1:27, 5:2; Mark 10:6) creates chaos at many levels.  There are more subtle rejections of the  Word of God that create equal chaos.

Circumstances. Experiences. Opinions. Desires. Needs.  The temptation to elevate any of those to ruling power in our lives often overcomes believers.  We elevate those things–our selves–above the Word of God and allow our thoughts to be clouded.  “I can’t…” is a phrase that is only accurate if it partnered with “I can’t do anything without Christ.”  The mind–and the power to choose what we allow into our mind–is a transforming gift given by the Creator to humanity.  Every circumstance, experience, opinion, desire and need offers us an opportunity to seek the will of God and step out in faith.  This world is the proving ground for the glory of God…He loves to work in the fragile, imperfect, fallible clay vessels of humanity.

Choosing to believe His promises, HIS WORD, in the midst of life prevents divided living.  The choice is for ALL of His Word–not just the pieces we like. God is not divided.  He is love and He is wrath.  His Holiness if complete…it does not include any unrighteousness.  He cannot be impure and pure at the same time.  Neither can we.  We are to live wholly in the redemption of the Cross…wholly in the life of Christ that lived upon the Word of God.

Departing from the pure wholeness of the Scriptures creates divided lives of chaos and confusion.  It prevents unity in the Body and clouds the glory of God.  We are not called to create unity but to keep unity in the Spirit–and we do that as we walk in the Word.

Do you know who God created you to be?  

Do you know your design and your destiny?  

God wants you to.  He wants you to know it and to live it…so others will do the same.

DESIGN AND DESTINY

The Serenity Prayer…do you remember it?

  • Serenity to accept what can’t be changed.
  • Courage to change what can be changed.
  • Wisdom to know the difference.

Often, we fall into self-pity instead of choosing to accept responsibility for what we CAN change!  That keeps us from ever reaching serenity…or developing courage.  Instead of seeking wisdom–which begins with reverence for God–we listen to our world, but:

We live in a confused culture that idolizes independence, develops dependencies and prefers the blame game to the challenge of change. 

Choice is powerful!  It is the greatest God has given.  Awe for the gift and the Giver delivers us from every difficult.

Take time to consider what needs changing in your life.  All of us fall short of the glory of God; we all have areas that God points to.  Don’t run from it.  Run into it!  Will there be pain in change?  Most likely!  Will there be greater–unproductive pain–if you do not change?  Undoubtedly!!  Perfect love casts out all fear.

AWARENESS

What aspects of my life are out of line with the goodness of God?

Galatians 5 is a great filter to identify those areas.  Where are you not feeling joy…or peace?  Or where is there tension?

ASKING

Let the Holy Spirit work the Truth into your heart.  The enemy wants you run from the awareness; he’ll pour out guilt and condemnation.  In the name of Jesus, tell him to leave.  Then listen to the Holy Spirit.  Conviction is His work.  Conviction that leads to change pierces your heart but draws you to the grace and mercy of God.  The Holy Spirit speaks with love that transforms.  Listen to His loving voice and ask for the next step you need to take to align that area of your life with the Father’s will.

ACTION

Love is a verb and obedience to the will of the Father is nourishment for our lives (John 4:34). The Scriptures are clear that God guides us.  The earthly reality is equally clear:  we don’t always like what He says, so we CHOOSE to ignore Him.  This us brings us back to where this entry began:  CHOICE.

We have the choice to align our lives with God or not.

Every choice comes with consequences.  Choose Life!

An extra treat for your enjoyment:  the rest of the story on the Serenity Prayer!

 

 

Faith in the Pool?

Heartsong Ministries presents:    FIT FAITH POOL PARTIES

WaterART© is not ‘just’ water aerobics…it is functional fitness!

 

Want some exercises to do in your pool this summer?  Why not invite some friends and host a Fit Faith Pool Party.

Working out in the water makes the work of daily life easier…and working out in the water is fun.  EVEN BETTER:

Paul says, ‘Physical exercise is good but training for godliness is even better.’ (1 Timothy 4:8)

 

There are lots of faith parallels to physical exercise.  

Heartsong Ministry is all about discipleship…growing in our faith walks.  Seeing spiritual truth in the natural world helps me walk more consistently in the Spirit.

Why not give it a try?  

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Loosen up Stiff necks  & Sore Joints
  • Strengthen weak muscles and aching knees.
  • Improve your cardio-respiratory function
  • And learn the faith parallels to each of those!

Every party is tailored to the needs of participants.  Choose the muscle/joint focus that interests you and schedule an hour of FIT FAITH FUN today.

PARTY FEE is just a tax-deductible donation to Heartsong Ministries.

Schedule your party today!

The Serenity Prayer has spoken to hearts for decades.  The author is often listed as ‘Anonymous’ and frequently the second stanza is eliminated. The longing for peace transcends time and culture.  Sometimes, though, the piece is attributed to certain theologians or martyrs of the Christian faith–which takes one a little closer to the truth of its history.

As it always does, well-researched history provides us a deep richness.  There is even humor in the fact that the author is often listed as anonymous.  I’m quite sure he wouldn’t care–for he knew where real serenity was found.  Living that way produces greatness that can never be lost.    Check out the fullness of his writing and then I’ll share the rest of the story:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.   

The author was Reinhold Neibuhr.  an American theologian, pastor and social activist in the 1900s.  One of the millions whom Neibuhr influenced was the great Dietrich Bonhoeffer, another Christian whose life & faith has strengthened millions.

Serenity is found, as Mr. Neibuhr says, when we trust God and surrender to His will.  Living with trust & surrender produces eternal fruit…even if others don’t have a clue!

It is the question we hate feeling:  Do I matter?  Does anyone care?  We spend much of our lives seeking activities and relationships that give us an affirmative answer.  There is only One who can answer that to our complete satisfaction.  The only One who can answer it is the One who created us.

Animals are amazingly helpful in leading us to the Answer.  You don’t need to come to an A.A.R.T. session to experience the power.  Use your own pets…even observe on in the wild and ask yourself some questions.  Come on an AART discovery with me!

ABCS of Safety, Security & Significance

In the Garden of Eden, the choice to reject God’s one command cut humanity off from the Need Meeter. When we seek to meet the needs that God built into us…instead of seeking Him…we sin & become captive to that sin. Restoring connection to the Father begins the process of healing…and fulfillment…and loving ourselves. From childhood to senior citizen, we must find how Christ is the answer we seek and understand how to apply that answer to diverse situations.  It isn’t a ‘one and done’ process.  Life gives us new challenges DAILY.  Living fully means knowing IN THE MOMENT, every moment, who we are in the eyes of God.

Acceptance by God restores IDENTITY for individuals.  It provides strength for life in a changing world. When roles or actions give a person identity, they never learn the unique design God gave them. “Who am I” is a necessary question because the answer gives stability.

Animal-assisted Insight

  • How & when did you become a ‘pet parent?’
  • Are they conscious aware of your  care & provision?
  • Does their awareness of your effort change your care for them?

God-sightings:

  • What does God do for you that you may not have noticed?
  • How does awareness of His provision change your view of your worth?

Scriptures:                  Psalm 139:13-14

Belonging to God restores boundaries that provide safety and security. In the natural world, safety is an increasing concern from childhood to old age. Involvement with animals requires learning to be observant of body language and danger zones. It is easy to appreciate the value of fences, leashes and lead ropes. Let’s extend those truths to things we face daily:  the internet, to strangers with candy or puppies and to individual choices.

Animal-assisted Insight:

  • What ways to do you protect your pet?
  • What happens when they break through those boundaries?

God-sightings:

  • What ways does God ‘limit’ His children?  Where do you feel limited TODAY?
  • How does He make us aware when we break through those boundaries?

Scriptures:                  Psalm 46:1

Calling of God restores purpose to lives. The Word tells us God has created us for good works…and for connection to Him. He treasures His children and cares for them. Using the natural needs of animals (nutrition, coat & hoof care, exercise), coaches draw parallels to caring for the body as the temple of God and caring for others.

Animal-assisted Insight:

  • What needs do you meet for your pets that you tend to neglect for yourself?
  • What do you expect from them?
  • Are your animals meeting a need for you that they are not designed to meet?

God-sightings:

  • Christ died so we could take our needs to God:  What needs do you take to God?
  • Are there things you know God desires for you that you do not press toward?
  • What need are you facing today that you are trying to meet on your own–or even with your animals?

Scriptures:               Ephesians 2:10

Heartsong AART

Birthing a new program feels like extended labor.  My gratitude to those who labor with me and listen as I seek to articulate the vision of my heart.  I wanted to share part of the labor with you for feedback, prayers and interest.  We have a new booklet, A.A.R.T., Animal Assisted Relationship Training, which outlines the sessions currently in development to aid in discipleship.

This piece of Heartsong will grow with other animals but the heart remains the same:  to see Christians LIVE out the calling God has placed within them.  Future endeavors include a children’s workshop of “Buddies or Bullies” that will use the characteristics of bunnies to point out bullying tactics.

Coming up in June there will be a Servant’s Fair aimed at helping more folks enjoy the opportunity of growth found in serving others.

Later this year, a Joy in the Journey workshop will help people capture their personal stories and see God in their lives.

For now, though, here is a sample of what A.A.R.T. will provide:

ABCS of Safety, Security & Significance: In the Garden of Eden, the choice to reject God’s one command cut humanity off from the Need Meeter. When we seek to meet the needs that God built into us…instead of seeking Him…we sin & become captive to that sin. Restoring connecting to the Father begins the process of healing…and fulfillment…and loving ourselves. From childhood to senior citizen, we must find how Christ is the answer we seek and understand how to apply that answer to diverse situations.

Acceptance by God restores IDENTITY for individuals; it provides strength for life in a changing world. When roles or actions give a person identity, they never learn the unique design God gave them. “Who am I” is a necessary question because the answer gives stability. AART activities help us see through our facades. Scriptures focused on identity in Christ & being treasured by God. (Psalm 139:13-14)

Belonging to God restores boundaries that provide safety and security. In the natural world, safety is an increasing concern from childhood to old age. Involvement with animals requires learning to be observant of body language and danger zones. It is easy to appreciate the value of fences, reins and lead ropes. Extending those truths to the internet, to strangers with candy or puppies and to individual choices is the goal of the coach in the follow up. (Psalm 46:1)

Calling of God restores purpose to lives. The Word tells us God has created us for good works…and for connection to Him. He treasures His children and cares for them. Using the natural needs of animals (nutrition, coat & hoof care, exercise), coaches draw parallels to caring for the body as the temple of God and caring for others. (Eph 2:10)

Who am I

I have one eye that is used a lot but I cannot see.  What am I?

You see me where I never was…and really can never be.  What am I?

If you say my name, I disappear.  What am I?

If I drink I die, if I eat I’m fine.  What am I?

Riddles are kind of fun, aren’t they?  If you want the answers, join the Six-Days to Abundance journey and let me know about it.  I’ll send the answers on! 

But did you ever consider that each of us is a bit of riddle?  We spend much of our lives trying to answer that question, who am I?  It is a critical question because it is the foundation of our lives.

Whether we know it or not, we make our decisions based on what we believe gives us worth.  We choose our actions, our friends, even life-time pursuits based on what we feel gives us ‘value.’  In fact, who we understand ourselves to be is a life & death matter.  The heartbreaking reality is that over 44,000 people commit suicide every year…and that’s the reported suicides.  Life is difficult.  Without understanding the value of this life we have, we end up assigning value to parts of life.  Those parts will not hold up to the rigors of life.  Identity rooted in the Giver of Life grows stronger as the years progress.  It is the only foundation for life.  So, how do you define yourself…do you even know?

Write an advertisement for yourself.

What would someone need to know to know you?.

What do you come up with?

Wife.  Athlete.  Or maybe disabled.  Mom.  Divorced.  German or Italian.  Teacher.  Pet owner.  Couch potato.  High School drop-out or PhD candidate.  So & So’s child…or parent.  A Christian, a Muslim.  Jewish.  Homosexual.  Prisoner.  Addict.  Pastor. Winner.  Loser.

 All of those are important but anyone of those things can change (even ethnic heritages are sometimes not what we thought).  When things change, you will still be you.  So ‘who are you?’

We are each a riddle…until we go to the One who created us.

You (God) made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13

God is the Giver of Life.  As Paul said to the Romans, in Him we live and move and exist.  The only way to know who we are is to go to Him.  God has given us life to search out the answer to the question of identity.  He calls to us throughout life and sent Jesus to open the way for us.  The choice to go to Him is ours.  What often drives us to Him are the disappointments that comes with a faulty understanding of self.

  • If I am what I achieve, what happens when I fail?  My identity…my sense of self bottoms out.
  • Or what if I achieve great things…think of the celebrities who have ended their own lives or whose lives are stolen by addictions….and still can’t find fulfillment?  The praise of others is not life-giving.
  • If I build my life on my children…or a spouse…and their quest takes them from me, what is my foundation?
  • Or if my identity has been in my job and my company closes, how do I face the rejection that comes with job-hunting?
  • What if I made one bad choice that haunts me for decades?  Is that the sum of who I am?

No!  The stuff of life is where we live out who we are…it is not supposed to make us who we are!

We find out identity by going to the maker.  We recognize that in other realms of life.  Take a look at this picture.  What is it for?  You can click the picture to find out but thepoint is we go to the creator (or one who has experience) to find out purpose.  

With the precious gift of life, why would we not do the same!?  We want to be the masters of our fate, but the ways that seem right to us often create havoc.  Jesus came that we might have abundant life!  Listen to who the Master says you are…and then live with awe for His love and the masterpiece He has wrought in you.  Give yourself to the world and to revealing Him.  You will be blessed and so will the world!

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Image result for identity in Christ verses

There are countless resources aimed to help Christians embrace the identity that comes with faith in Jesus.  This is one.

Living out this identity is a life-time challenge that requires us to stay connected to God and others.  It gives us a foundation for living.

All that we search for is found in Jesus. Let Him Love You! 

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