ABCs of Relationships

 

The beautiful depths of life require connection with others.  God created humanity for relationship.  Much of our culture today draws us away from deep connection with others–but the longing never leaves us.  It is the design God wove into humanity.

Part of the plans for Heartsong Ministry include using horses (and other animals, in time) to teach relationship principles.  The ABCs of Relationships is the beginning of those curriculum plans.

As you read, consider posting comments or questions.  Have you seen these principles in your own relationships?  Are there other key components to healthy, thriving connections you feel need to be included?

A

Attentive – tune into your thoughts, feelings and desires.  Consider same for ‘other.’

Ask – what do you want?   Is it ‘good’ for both?  How will you communicate the ask?

How can you create a safe space that allows ignoring, resisting or cooperating?

Accept – limitations, weaknesses and differences of opinion.

B

Bear with each other – no one, no relationship is perfect; create your unique relationship by working through your unique challenges

Bond – working through problems creates that special bond; the more things you go through, the stronger the bond

Blessed—humanity was created by love, in love, to love; the work of relationship brings great blessing.

 

C

Committed—The blessing of the bond develops deeper desires and more opportunities.  Every layer of depth in a relationship demands more sacrifice and surrender.

Connected—Paul said he was constrained by the love of God…the deepening bonds of relationship ‘constrain’ us to love more, give more.  Getting what we want or simply going along is never goal.

Creating—God created humanity for connection.  Relationships develop to give life and create more connection.  We see more possibilities and the process of connecting is endless…always new ways, new depths.

Each ‘letter’ offers one or more AART opportunities.  Awareness is the starting place.  In most every relationship, we enter in consumed with self–even when we think we are thinking of the other.  In reality, our thoughts are really on how we feel about the other–not on their best interests.  In an AART session, participants practice the art of relationship with the horse to gain insights into personal realtionships.

For more on how horses can help us learn relationship skills, pop on over to Building Relationships or contact me at billiejoyoumans@heartsongministry.net.

Love is a VERB

Being loving is not an easy thing, but it is something we all desire to be! Love is a need for every person.  Stories written with love never end.

1 Corinthians 13 is the ultimate definition of what love looks like.  This is one of my favorite ways to remind myself what love looks like.  Perhaps it will bless you too.

Love is not just a word; it must be active and visible.  

I am loving when my actions are:

Patient. I don’t need to get even.

Kind. I seek to give and to do good.

Content. I don’t want what others have.

Humble. I don’t need to make myself look good.

Peaceable. I don’t always have to be right.

Courteous. I show respect.

Serving. I don’t have to get my own way.

Calm. I don’t blow up and lose my temper.

Forgetful. I don’t keep a list of ways I’ve been hurt.

Righteous. I want the best for others.

Truthful. I love God’s word and try to obey it.

Protective. I don’t say hurtful things about (or to) others.

Positive. I believe the best about others.

Hope. I believe good will come.

Endure. I will not give up.

Sometimes we need to read things ‘bottom-side’ up to have the TRUTHS penetrate.   Try this on for a change:

I am unloving when my actions say:

I will get even!

I will not be patient–I will not suffer long for you!

I have given enough!

I don’t want to do anything good for you!

I want more!

I am more important than you!

I am right!

I don’t care about what you need or think!

I want you to do it my way! I am mad and you need to know it!

I have been hurt by you too many times!

I want you to get what you deserve!

I don’t care what God says–I’m doing it my way!

I will say what I want–so what if it hurts you!

I know you can’t do that–you’re a loser!

I know you will never be loving to me!

I give up!

Love is a Verb PDF

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What Good is Praying?

The coming elections evoke much heated discussion.  Every hot button topic of society flares up as the issues boil down to the choice of one candidate.  This won’t be a piece on whom you should vote for or what you should consider.  It is a glimpse of how God works individually in the midst of our lost world.  That is the hope we must bring to the world because every political issue is a storm that obscures our view of souls precious to God.

Look for individual needs and seek the face of God.  Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father….to pray!  What greater work can we undertake than imitating Him.  This is a call to prayer for we who wear the name Christian.  Prayer for one person at a time…prayer that God’s will be done in each and every life beginning with our own… Prayer is the key choice we must make no matter whom our nation elects.

I don’t know the global answers or the national answers, but I do know God speaks to us individually as we navigate our way through this fallen world.  The story below is one I wrote several years ago…the story of a Christian caught in a dilemma of conscience and career…a story of calling out to God.

I don’t need all the answers because I know the One who wrote the story…and its ending.  History unfolds every day; my choice is to go my own way or seek the direction of the Director.  Prayer–for myself, for others–links me up to the very heart of God.  When I don’t have a clue about the plan, I can have confidence in the Planner.

First published in The Baptist Voice, Conklin, NY, 2011

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (Psalms 91:14)

Our victory report today is of a devoted young Christian who came face-to-face with sacrificing her dreams to make a stand for Jesus Christ. Her personal courage and convictions join with the Lord’s work to provide us with an opportunity to rejoice.

The legality of abortion in America has created a dilemma for pro-life medical professionals. In many instances, the law requires one to set aside personal moral convictions. Jane understood the situation and actually chose a medical university located in a state with what is known as a ‘conscience law.’ This is a law that protects pro-life medical staff from being required to assist with any procedure they personally find morally objectionable (e.g. abortion). Sadly, Jane learned that the law is not necessarily extended to Christian medical students.

Well into her graduate studies, Jane was assigned to work in a family planning clinic. Recognizing that the stated requirement of ‘abortion counseling’ did not mean offering a pro-life viewpoint, Jane approached the Dean. He informed her that she was the only student who had ever objected based on moral concerns, and that the requirement would not be altered to accommodate her views. She was informed that failure to perform the duties assigned would result in a failing grade. Completing her education would be impossible. Praise God, He deals with the impossible perfectly!

With great trepidation, Jane prepared to work at the clinic—and to face the spiritual battlefield. Her family engaged prayer support through their church and internet chains; prayer for her courage to stand strong and for God to orchestrate the details perfectly. As Jane began her rotation, the dean firmly told her “leave your (moral) baggage at the door when you see patients…”

Jane’s plan was to approach the supervising physician directly with her concerns; however, the busyness of the clinic prevented any such private conversation. The first week passed in a whirl with no abortion-counseling situation arising. Rather than simply hope for the best for the duration of the rotation, Jane made the difficult decision to contact her Supervisor at home. Despite his reputation as a rather irascible individual, the doctor was gracious and supportive. A former Catholic, he respected her convictions and protected her from the obligation to provide abortion counseling! God provided the requested courage for Jane, managed the caseload she was assigned and worked in the heart of the supervising physician. God is faithful!

As Americans, we know our country was founded by individuals who were willing to sacrifice for their personal beliefs. What a joy to know the same depth of conviction lives on in a young American. Might we all support one another in prayers and by living with such integrity. We do not want a world that believes moral convictions can be ‘checked at the door.’ We need courage like Jane’s—we need to be prayer warriors!

Love Life

Shortly after 9/11 there was an interview with an ISIS member who captured for me the essence of their heart.  He said something like this:

“America, you will never win because you love life and we love death.”

He may be right…our country may not win, but we don’t have to lose.  Christ is life; He already won by overcoming death.  He offers us life.

In the face of yet another murderous attack, I share a piece from Fixing our Eyes on God.  We need not be fearful or victimized.

Know Jesus.  Know Peace.  No Jesus.  No Peace.

Our look at the Lord today is a well-known title: Jesus is Life.  It (life) is a passion for God; He is the giver of Life.  God loves Life and longs for every soul to know the abundance of true Life. Jesus came that we could know the fullness of eternal life.  But Satan loves death and constantly seeks to blind all to true Life.  He directs our attention to illusions of life that are only death in masquerade:  fame, fortune and adventure.  True Life is Jesus.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, Scripture guides us to Life.

All Scripture points us to the fullness of Life—to Jesus.  The writings of the disciple John repeatedly remind that Jesus is Life.   John quotes Christ’s own words that ‘He is the way, the truth and the life.’  Jesus is the only way to God; He is the source of truth; and Jesus is Life itself.  The gospel of John opens by beautifully laying out Christ’s eternality as the Word, the Life and the Light of the world.  John’s gospel ties perfectly with the Psalmist who praised the light given by the Word.  It knits with Paul’s explanation that the presence of Jesus reveals eternal life.  The Word, Jesus, is light and life to all who receive it.  The Greek dictionary defines the light that the life of Christ brings as a light unable to be kindled or quenched by another!  Satan can deceive for a time, but he cannot produce a light that endures.  The Word who is Life and Light will never pass away.
Fixing our eyes on the source of life is the only way to navigate this treacherous world safely—and to help others do likewise.  No path on earth can resist the light produced by Christ’s life.  As we allow His life to fill the darkest parts of our lives, the pathway we should take becomes clear.  The shadows that fill the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ flee in the presence of eternal Life!  The despairs that threaten our souls—loneliness, addictions, fear—dissipate when the truth of His life penetrate.  Lives filled with His life illumine the paths of others as well.
In addition to the Light that accompanies the Life, scripture reminds us of other ways Christ is life to this world.  Jesus is the ‘living bread’ and the ‘living water.’  His Life is sustenance and refreshment in this dry, weary land.   As pilgrims, we are not to rely on any other source for life than Jesus Himself.  When the Life of Christ fills us, that which is ‘dead’ becomes alive.  In fact, Christ calls us to be ‘living stones’ in this world of death.  Our lives are to evidence what Christ told Martha:  “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25).  Our lives are to overflow with the Life of Jesus so that He spills onto those who walk nearby us.

Singing my Heartsong

Writing has been a part of my life for over twenty years.  I believe God called me to writing because I’m a slow learner.  I have to go over things again and again before I can get them.  Writing makes me do that.  As the years and the studies accumulated, a dream to help others do the same kept nudging me.  I saw how God changed me as I focused on Him…I rejoice in His love and power to do that.  Finding a way to take my passion public gave birth to Heartsong Ministries.

Many of you have been on this journey with me for a long time.  This summer I spent time creating a real business plan…and began the laborious process of legalities of becoming a non-profit.  Most of the SC work is now done…the federal paperwork will then begin.  All of that was daunting but today, I ventured out as an entity into the public eye.  The spiritual battle that endeavor generated surprised me.

Heartsong is the essence of my heart:

finding out HOW Jesus is the answer

when everything visible negates Him as that answer.

Creating a brochure and table displays nearly stymied me.  Setting up a table to share my vision felt like walking on a stage naked.  The process left me feeling vulnerable, foolish and presumptuous.  Doubt and fear clouded my mind and heart.  Doesn’t everyone already know all of this?  Isn’t it what church is all about?  Yet I know that hearts are burdened, truth gets stuck in the heart and there is often no one to ‘sit in the mess’ and help you.  Heartsong is about taking what we all know…and putting it on our feet!

So, I battled from what I know about God.  He is faithful to His Word.  Knowing and living it changes everything–and defeats the enemy every time!

God met with me every morning this week, reassuring me..pressing me forward,  Throughout each day, He reminded me of who He is and how He works.  His kids, my friends encouraged and supported me all week…helping with projects, praying and loving.  God gave me grace and sweet ‘holy ground’ experiences of planting seeds in some hurting and hard ground throughout the week.

Today:  The table visitors were sweet God-appointments.  It was sheer joy to spend the morning giving God glory…and I was reminded it is that joy in His goodness that calls me to full-time service to my King.

The vision for the ministry includes involving more of God’s willing servants. When we who wear His name lift Him up with more perseverance and passion, He will draw people to Himself.  Come be a part!   Community events like the upcoming International Day of Prayer, a Christian Speaker’s group and Service Fairs to help you find your particular avenue are some of the plans.  The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church offers a great group project experience.  It is a powerful reminder of what faith is meant to be!  The pictures below show you a bit more; I now have brochures I’d love to share, but what is God saying to you?  We are the Body; we need each other:

What has God laid on your heart?  How can we encourage one another!

 

Six Days to Abundance!

What a joy it was to share the Six-Day Journey to Abundant Living with so many of you through Glory Glimpse News.  The material included in each daily missive is timeless.

I have gathered together the links for that Journey for those who wish to explore again, share with loved ones–or adventure through them for the first time.  I’d love to hear your journey stories.

Day One   Day Two   Day Three  Day Four   Day Five   Day Six

Enjoy the abundance of the life Christ provides:

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.  2 Peter 1:3