Making Room for ABUNDANT LIFE

There is a classic object lesson that many of us have seen.  I have watched and used this concept for years–but I can do it better.  I bet you can as well!

Stephen Covey offers masterful truths in his “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”  We all have the same amount of time.  Jesus came to live in this world, and even He experienced the constraints of time.  The will of the Father governed all Jesus did…and when we live that way, we enjoy what Jesus came to provide:

The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.  John 10:10

Learning to use our time to well allows us to use this precious gift of life–given by God–in the abundance that Jesus intends.  May this bless you and yours abundantly.

The Great Barrier to Peace

One of the most difficult things in life is forgiving those who hurt us–or the ones we love.  Forgiveness is never for the offender, though.  Forgiveness frees us!  I am excited to share another ‘taste’ of the spiritual journaling book.

Working through Forgiveness

Forgiveness allows us to LIVE the Gospel in the most tangible way possible.  Practicing forgiveness is an immense privilege!  In it, we share the fellowship of Christ’s suffering:

Matthew 6:9-15 (v 12) _______________ says to forgive.

Mark 11:25 …so that Your Father in heaven may _________________.

Matthew 18:21-35  Forgiveness sets _________________.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Prevents ______________ from gaining a foothold.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Measure of the _____________ I have received.

Romans 8:28 All of life is Father-filtered.  All works for the _________!

Now even with all those encouragements, forgiveness is hard!  One technique which helps is learning to separate the person from the sin.  Jesus did it.  On the Cross–as He suffered and faced the horrifying time of separation from the Father, he said:

“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”  

The soldiers knew they were crucifying him, but they didn’t understand the fullness of their acts.  The same is true for those who hurt us (and those we hurt).  Mercy triumphs!

The details matter in forgiving.  Blanket statements will not suffice; be specific in forgiving:

“I forgive ______________ for ________________.”

Face the emotion(s) knowing there is nothing Jesus cannot heal.  A friend uses a rhyme that helps me in times of deep hurt:  “I will feel it because Jesus will heal it.”  

Allow yourself to feel the emotion and ask Jesus to come to it, through it and take it away.  Jesus is unchanging and His presence still heals.

When you have soaked in the beauty of Christ’s presence, you will see the past in a new light.  What had been hurt becomes a spot sweetened by the presence of God.  

Alongside that aspect is this: time and maturity offers a different perspective.  Sometimes a fresh perspective eliminates what had been a wound.  In either scenario, awareness of the presence of God brings light to darkness.  

Allowing the past to have a hold on you negates the work of the Cross.  There is nothing Jesus has not atoned for…the price has been paid.  

 

Life shows what we believe

Just sharing the morning challenge God gave me:

“What do you really believe?”

Jesus told Nicodemeus that we have to be born of earth and heaven to see the Kingdom of God.  This earthly life has great purpose and value.  Jesus came that we would have abundant life.  I cannot live abundantly by hiding from the tough stuff.  I cannot live abundantly if I isolate my faith from my footsteps.

So, I jotted down some of the things my head knows–and believes–about my faith to see if my feet (and even my heart agrees).

I say I believe…. God is enough.    

…but sometimes I resent what I don’t have.  I doubt that He is better than my longing.

I say I believe….God is at work doing greater things than I can think of.

but sometimes despair settles in and frustration erupts.

I say I believe….I am loved and protected by the King of Kings.

…but sometimes I don’t even feel noticed and I fight for myself.

I say I believe….my righteousness is nothing more than filthy rags and we all have sin muddying our souls and our steps.

…but sometimes I think I know best and anyone not doing things my way is wrong.

I say I believe….God owns it all and will provide for me.

…but sometimes I plan and strive for how I can have what I want, forgetting my life is for Him and He has my needs in view.

I say I believe….the very power of God lives in me.

…but sometimes I feel weak and hopeless and curl into a self-protective ball.

I say I believe…. God’s ways are superior to mine.

…but sometimes I stomp off in my own direction.

Those ‘sometimes’ are doorways for mercy.  May we each take time today to consider what our steps reveal about our beliefs.  God is worth the time…enjoying heaven requires humble awareness.

Understanding is the foundation of heaven–we have to seek His view or we will never understand the beauty of His presence.  Seeing and hearing comes through walking out our lives on this earth with a desire for wisdom and understanding.

What do you believe that stops at your head?  

Where do you listen to your heart instead of the King?  

Where are you feet not walking out faith?  

Receive His mercy and watch His glory fill your world!

Whose fruit?

There is a silly picture that keeps popping up in my mind.  I see a young fruit tree curling its toes (I mean, roots) and pushing with all its might.  Its face is scrunched and holding its breath, the tree mutters, “COME ON, FRUIT!  POP already.  I’m trying as hard as I can.”

On either side of this striving little tree are giant trees, loaded with fruit.  They are quiet, faces (make that leaves) turned upward seeking the Son (err, sun).

Can you relate?  I sure can.  That picture comes straight from the Holy Spirit for me.  I am a doer…a toddler crying, “Me do it!”  And my Guide, my Comforter says, “That is my work, not yours.  Seek the Son.”

The Amplified version of Galatians 5:22-23a renders more clarity:

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,  Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence)…

Spiritual success never flows from striving but only from surrender.  The fruit that I produce will have earthly impact, but only the work of the Spirit produces eternally good fruit.  I don’t want to waste my time striving anymore.  I want to soak in the sun and live with joy–that will produce the growth I long to see!

It is pride that pushes. Hope is found in humility.  Seeing our need, seeking the One who meets all needs and joyful receiving Him produces victory.  Putting our roots into the soil of God’s love while reaching up to the Light of His love is the key to beautiful fruit that blesses us and others.

What desire beats strong in your heart?  What blocks that desire from being fulfilled?  Ask the Spirit within…He knows and wants you to know as well.  Press in deeply and watch Him work!

Receive your free Spiritual Maturity Assessment tool by signing up for Glory Glimpse News.  Already a Subscriber…or don’t want to subscribe but want the PDF?  Email me at billiejoyoumans@gmail.com!  Be blessed and a blessing!

HIS: Hands in Service

Christians know they are called to be servants.  All sorts of things get in the way of that…some we see and understand, some we make excuses for and some we don’t know how to overcome.  I grew up in a family that almost worshiped work–though surely my brothers would tell you I was lacking in that :).  Nevertheless, working is a part of who I am.  God in His mercy and grace has used serving to grow me.

I believe in service as a transformational tool.  We can not work our way to heaven.  We can not create faith.  We can be transformed!

May the short video below make you thirsty for that transformation! There is much more to explore and know about it! Schedule a workshop for you group by contacting Heartsong!

Please comment below how has God used serving to change you? .

 

 

The content of this presentation is also in book form.  If you are interested in obtaining a PDF version of HIS Hands in Service or scheduling a workshop, see below.

HIS Hands in Service – PDF

Jesus said He came to serve, not be served. We have the immense privilege of serving in HIS name. Understanding the privilege in its depths shows honor to God and brings good to ourselves & others. This book was originally developed as a homeschool guide for developing service opportunities that could generate high school credit on a transcript.

$1.99

 

If you cannot afford the suggested donation or would like to schedule a workshop, please fill out the contact form below and indicate the specific resource you would like to have.

The Value of Emotions

Feelings are good things–even when the feelings are bad.  It has taken me a lot of years to truly understand that truth in my heart.  The only comic strip I have ever cut out was a Lockhorn comic on feelings:  the grumpy husband said, “I am in touch my feelings.  I just don’t happen to like them.”  I related to him…and I know many others do as well.  We risk damaging ourselves with that approach though.

We need to value emotions as a gift from God.  Mixed Emotions by robom8

If you have struggled with emotions, you may find it hard to even label what you feel.  Extra ‘feeling’ help is available in this blog piece that highlights The Feeling Wheel. 

Why do I have to feel them instead of just manage them?

Emotions are ‘real things.’  They are movements of energy in our mind.  Limiting hard emotions also limits good emotions.  Control cannot be exercised on just the negative side.  We limit our lives by controlling instead of feeling emotions.  God is wise and kind.  Emotions have peaks (or valleys); they will subside.  And Jesus controls the life of the believer…one sweet quote that a friend uses is:  “I will feel it, because Jesus will heal it.”

Scripture admonishes us to take control of thoughts.  In fact, it says take them captive to Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)  What that means it that we intentionally consider what thoughts are in our mind and determine if they line up with what Christ tells us.  Thoughts come from our beliefs…thoughts based on TRUTH bring health.  Thoughts based on LIES deliver death–literal physical ill-health comes when our thoughts run amok.

Two other aspects of ‘Thoughts’ worthy of mention.  Thoughts can also originate in the Spirit World.  The Holy Spirit gives thoughts, but so does the enemy.  ALWAYS ask yourself, ‘Does this sound like my loving Father?’  God is LOVE; He does not shame, criticize or belittle.  He does convict through the Holy Spirit.  Conviction is pure sorrow and sadness for having hurt our Lord.  The devil produces shame and guilt with his prods.  Learn the difference and enjoy the mind of Christ we have received!

The chemicals produced by emotions have direct physical impact on our bodies.  God wired us to be at peace.  When we walk outside of His will–or when we let our minds wander there–we suffer.  Dr. Caroline Leaf, a brain neurosurgeon, has incredible resources on the biological impact of emotions on the brain.  I highly recommend her materials.  A brief look at Thoughts and Emotions is available here.  Full length shows can be found on the broadcast link.

Just to Know Him…

The calendar is fresh and new.  I’m not a resolution person, but I do love to take time at the start of a year to re-evaluate my discipleship.  God gives us responsibility for how we live:  I want to live to please Him; all of us who have seen Him desire that.  We all have ways we can please Him more!

The first three Gospels record Jesus saying those who follow Him must deny self and carry our cross.  A discipleship plan helps me see Him–and me more clearly.  Be sure to understand, though:  There is nothing we do to earn the love of God or make a way to heaven.  But this life is our opportunity to show our reverence and thankfulness for all the Father, Son and Spirit do for us!

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  Romans 13:14

Christ in us is our hope of glory.  Christ on us reveals Him to others and builds the Kingdom.  Designing a discipleship plan is very personal.  We must know our weaknesses and be willing to sacrifice our personal desires in exchange for the will of God.  It is what Jesus did and what He calls us to do.  He will guide and direct when we ask how we can know Him more.

Over a decade ago a speaker offered a plan that has blessed me, and I wanted to share it with you today.  It is simple, yet profound.

Set aside some time to prayerfully consider your future.   Jot down some notes of likely happenings in the next year…the next five years…the next ten years…and 20 years.  As you look at that list, consider what you will need of the Lord to walk through such changes victoriously.   Now, take the list and broadly categorize the needs into three-five areas.

At the time I took this challenge, it was clear our children would be going through school, our parents would be declining in health and probably passing on.  The decade-plus has proved all that true–and much more besides.  Specifics are unnecessary; broad generalities suffice to give a glimpse of our heart needs in the coming years.

I heard God calling me to deepen my understanding in five specific areas:

  • What agape love looked like: His for me…for each of us.
  • His trustworthiness.
  • His promises of guidance.
  • How to speak life-giving words.
  • What fruitful living looked like.

Taking a five-subject notebook, I set out to gather Biblical instruction in those areas.  That notebook is a treasure!  And the fruit of it beyond my true understanding.

That is just an idea for you to consider.  You are uniquely designed by God, and He alone knows the way He has designed for you to grow in grace and knowledge.  Seek Him and He will show you.

Perhaps you would share below and inspire another to ask God if there path might look like that?

Jesus Christ is all we need.  We already have all that is needed to walk in victory.  Find the framework that fits you, and press in to know Him more.

Click here for a free tool to assess your spiritual fruit.