Journey to Abundant Life – Day 3

Here we are half-way through our week.

The journey to a life of peace, joy and purpose is found in the life of Christ that dwells inside of us when we put our faith in Him.

We lose sight of the fact that we are the dwelling place of God!  We are the clay pots that hold the priceless treasure of divinity.  We fail to grasp our value and even beat up on ourselves.  It is a horrible hindrance to the life Jesus came to give us.

The Scriptures tell us that our life is now hidden in Christ.  We identify with His death–placing our natural self on the Cross and joining Him in resurrection life.  All throughout the book of Romans, Paul seeks to help us understand what side of the Cross we now live on.   We live inside of the very life of Christ.  Our failures are hidden in Him.  Grace is the air around us.

Today, the focus will be on your relationship with yourself.  It is more important than you know.  Self can get in the way by demanding its own way–or by limiting your confidence in the life of Christ within us.  Learning to love ourselves is imperative for a very important reason:  it is no longer I who lives.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20.
The Scriptures give us two standards for loving.  An Old Testament premise was quoted by Jesus:  “Love others as you love yourself.”  For years, I saw this is a ‘divine loophole’ of sorts. Clearly many people do not care about themselves very much–and their treatment of others is in kind with their treatment of themselves.  However, the life of Jesus presented a high standard in every behavior:  Love others as I have loved you.

THAT is not a standard we can reach on our own.  The love we have is inadequate.  We must receive that love for ourselves…and then allow it to overflow.  One of the easiest ways to test where you are in this is to place yourself in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Read the passage below twice.  The first time, put the name of Jesus in the blank.  The next time put your name there.

________ is patient and kind. ________ is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. ________  does not demand its own way. ________  is not irritable, and ________  keeps no record of being wronged. ________ does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. ________  never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Reading it with Jesus’ name feels fairly easy, but putting our own name in challenges us!  Consider, though:  the life we live IS His.  This passage is how God, the Father, sees you and me.  Do you fail that standard?  Yes.  Is God mistaken in seeing you that way?  Is it your destiny?  Yes.

Emerson (among others) once wrote “Treat a man as he could be and he will become it.”  That is a vital principle in growing into the likeness of Christ.  How we love our self impacts how we live our life.

So, how do you love yourself?
How much of the love of Christ do you allow yourself to enjoy?
Do you put conditions on His love for you?
Can you see Jesus looking at you in love or do you feel judged or condemned when He looks your way?

On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate your relationship with yourself?

Until tomorrow…joining you in prayer for God to direct your faith future,

Billie Jo

Journey to Abundant Living – Day Two

Hello, again!  Yesterday, we began our journey to a life of peace, joy and purpose!  Jeremiah 29:11 reminded us that God has great plans and purposes for us.  The writer of Hebrews encouraged us to step out in faith, and we relied on the wisdom of Solomon as we sought the direction of God.  Today, we are going to explore the most important connection we can ever make.

The most important connection for every individual is the one we have with God. And there is only one way to enter the presence of God:   True connection with God cannot take place except through Jesus Christ.  Here is a beautiful song you may enjoy that shares the Truth.

THERE IS NO OTHER NAME!

Humanity, originally made in the image of God, lost its connection to life when sin was welcomed into Creation.  Sin—choosing a way other than God’s way—brought death then and does today. Human nature carries the deadly infection; Jesus Christ offers healing.  He came to restore us to connection to God, the Giver of Life.

The most memorized verse in the Bible conveys the truth so many struggle to accept.

Eternal life is something that cannot be earned.  It can only be received.  Eternal life is not the gift from God–it is the gift OF God.  He gives Himself.

The key to a life of peace, joy and purpose begins with understanding the life of Christ.  Take time today and really consider the following questions:

What do you understand about the life of Jesus?
Does your experience–the life you live–match what you understand?
How much time do you devote to your connection to God each day?
How satisfying is that connection?
What is most frustrating about it?
What one thing would improve your relationship with God?

Yesterday, we discussed that Jesus came to give us abundant life.  (John 10:10 ). Today, after considering the questions above, rate your relationship with God on a scale of 1-10.   We will be rating our CONNECTIONS throughout the week.  Keep journaling your thoughts!
Until tomorrow…joining you in prayer for God to direct your faith future,

Billie Jo

Journey to Abundant Living!

DAY ONE

Jesus died so we could live abundant lives…not a life of mere survival. Think of this Discipleship Series as “Cross-Life Coaching” –coaching to move you toward the life the Cross offers!

In the next five days, you will explore your personal faith walk and how to live in the abundance Jesus desires for you to have.  I encourage you to grab a notebook and begin jotting your thoughts down as you read these messages.

Every faith journey is unique.  Every person is designed by God to enjoy Him and express Him to the rest of the world in very personal and profound ways.

Those words were written to the people of Israel at a time when they were in captivity.  It did not ‘seem like’ prospering them was in God’s plan.  Sometimes we feel tied up and hopeless too.  It does not have to be that way…there is life in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…  (Hebrews 11:1)

And FAITH is the very work of God.  Learning to walk in faith is contrary to our nature.  It can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit.  For the next five days, a series of posts will give you glimpses of how that kind of life can be yours!

The goal of Heartsong is helping people find the abundant life Christ came to give us!  Unlike counseling where a professional teaches tools to help you produce the best life you can imagine, Discipleship focuses on the application of Truth so you can live the LIFE  of peace, joy and purpose that only Jesus offers.

Counseling helps individuals know themselves better–and how to manage life as they are designed.  Discipleship puts God first, believing He is life–and that knowing Him intimately produces abundant human life.

As a fellow traveler on the journey of life who loves living in the Spirit…loves having the life of Christ expressed through me, I am excited to share this series with you.  And I rejoice in the grace that allows imperfect humans to be His vessel!  That joy is what Cross-Life Coaching offers to all who weave the message into their life.

In the coming days, you will glimpse how abundant living works!  It is not hard.  It is not even something we do.  Like showers of rain, the Spirit of God produces the life of Christ in us.  Cross-Life Coaching offers truth that allows you to surrender to the plans and purposes of God.

CREATING CONNECTION

We are designed for connection.  There are four key relationships in our lives that must be balanced.  We will explore one each day.   At the end of the five days, you will have insights to create your own plan for moving into the life Jesus came to give you!  Christ lived for the plans and purpose of God.  We must do the same if we desire to enjoy His gift of abundant life.  We will close today focused on surrendering this process to the guidance of God.  Proverbs 3:5,6 offers us a great promise to plan from:

Until tomorrow…joining you in prayer for God to direct your faith future,

Billie Jo

 

Be sure to “Follow” this blog to stay with the series!

Silence & Song (Advent Week 3)

Christmas Day is quickly coming!  We’ve spent the last two weeks focusing our thoughts on welcoming the events and people in our lives as direct gifts from God–for that is what they are.

This week, let’s concentrate on choosing only silence or song as the sound of our days.

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Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Instead of chatter, meaningless words or grumbling, let’s choose to sing songs of praise.  Instead of frantic rushing about with noises in our ears and in our minds, let’s choose quietness–that we will hear and celebrate our God more fully.

We live in a noisy world….quiet is a rare commodity, seldom experienced, appreciated or even sought.  God uses it often and well!  He calls us to quiet and promises us strength.

“…Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.”  Isaiah 30

When our world is not noisy, the sounds that fill our world are not songs but the buzzing of schedules and negativity.  Every day is a day the Lord has made; praise ushers us into His presence.  As Christmas Day draws closer, be intentionally about quieting listening for God or loudly praising Him!

Throughout the week, pause each day to refocus on the blessed truths of the One who is coming…and how we can receive Him and share Him with others every day!

Mon.          Luke 1:67-79       Heart Focus:  Use your words only for the praise of God

Tues.          Job 37:14              Heart Focus:  In silence consider that one day every knee                                                             will bow before Jesus Christ!

Wed.          Hebrews 2:6-8     Heart Focus:  Rightly praising God requires ALL eternity!

Thurs.        Isaiah 9:6               Heart Focus:   True fulfillment & joy is found only in Jesus.

Friday       Psalm 81:1-3           Heart Focus:  What song (or story) is in your heart that                                                                needs to be told?

Saturday     Luke 2:8-9             Heart Focus:  Divine encounters are His desire…seek Him!

As we celebrate this season, may we keep in the front of our minds that Jesus is coming again!  He will not be coming as a vulnerable baby–but as the conquering King.  Let us do all we can to encourage others to prepare Him room.  See you next Sunday!

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He’s Still Coming! (Advent Week Two)

The days before Christmas speed by as we add into our busy days the bountiful extras of the holiday season.  Last week, to start our Advent awareness, we set our hearts and minds on receiving the interruptions of God.  Trusting that the Sovereign God is involved in our days is a habitual thought we must incorporate into our lives.

This week we will focus on another precious concept:  opening our hearts to every person God brings into our lives.  God is a God of relationships–and we learn to love Him as we learn to love others!

We all know the story:  When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, the city was busy….and there was no room at the Inn.  Our hearts are the place Christ longs to live in today.  Sadly, many of us repeat the story of Bethlehem day after day.  The King of Kings found a welcome in a humble barn; His first resting place was a feeding trough.  Christ  longs to be our nourishment as well.

We receive Him when we receive those He puts into our lives.  It has been said, ‘We only love God as much as we love the one who annoys us the most.’  Let’s determine to love Him well this week!

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’  Matthew 25:40

Throughout the week, pause each day to refocus on the blessed truths of the One who is coming…and how we can receive Him and share Him with others every day!

Mon.          Luke 1:44-45, 56       Heart Focus:  Speak & hear Christ’s name with joy

Tues.          Hebrews 13:1-2        Heart Focus:  Who can we open our door to today?

Wed.          Matt. 25:35-40          Heart Focus:  Seek to see the face of Christ in others

Thurs.        Proverbs 11:25        Heart Focus:   Welcome others in your life as Christ                                                                      welcomes – without pretense.

Friday        Isaiah 32:1-2             Heart Focus:  Who do you need to open the door of                                                                       forgiveness to?

Saturday     Luke 1:13,20            Heart Focus:  Quiet your heart & receive Jesus.

As we celebrate this season, may we keep in the front of our minds that Jesus is coming again!  He will not be coming as a vulnerable baby–but as the conquering King.  Let us do all we can to encourage others to prepare Him room.  See you next Sunday!

lion lamb

 

Lessons From A Large Love

Have you been entrusted with a ‘large love’ in your life?  A love that is equal parts gift, privilege, responsibility and vulnerability?  I believe those loves are to give us a glimpse of the love God has for each and every person.  Learning to steward such a love takes a lifetime!  It requires embracing the love and then living the legacy it creates.

This piece is a stewarding of a love our family enjoyed–and it is offered to help you steward the loves God has given you.  It is offered to turn your eyes to the love of God that is the greatest love of all.  Love transforms when we allow it.  Let’s love well.

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The large love that captivated our whole family entered our home just six years ago.  Scout arrived as a 16th birthday gift for our daughter.  He loved his ways into everyone of our hearts.

He was 10272773_10207170337528839_2400701400572314300_onever a demanding dog–he never needed to be.  His gentle presence lulled you into giving him most anything he wanted.  Even at 90 pounds, he lived as a lap dog.

He simply loved and taught us how to do the same.

The Bible is the place to go for the best definition of love.  1 Corinthians 13 is the ‘love chapter’ and I know it well…but head-to-heart learning has to be lived.  This precious dog reminded me of truths about love too beautiful not to share.

Love it patient and kind…It does not demand its own way.

It’s wonderful to be around love, but it’s an even greater joy TO LOVE.  The nature of this 46897238_10215414416865670_8701322365503537152_n (1)gentle giant wooed everyone.  His size made it common for him to 46514110_2120609104669020_1511515110198214656_nget his way–but he never demanded it.  He was a quiet giant who loved cats, bunnies and doves…and his nature was such that they loved him too!    The love of Scout was felt by the tiny animals he adored–and they quietly loved him back.

 

Love is not irritable and it keeps no record of wrongs.

Like most dogs, Scout lived in the moment.  Any wrongs were forgotten and love always his offering.  Miraculously, the nature of this precious boy led us to emulate the same beautiful characteristics.  90 pounds of dogs takes up a lot of space, creates a lot of mess and eats a lot of food.  It never mattered–until he wasn’t here and then the absence of those things just proclaimed his love more intensely.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful,

and endures through every circumstance.

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The same soulful eyes that talked to us daily, pleaded with us as the pain set in and his heart grew weaker.  The love he taught still pleads with us to not give up on love.  It is worth the grief to have loved well–and to have been loved.

But all of this is truly for a deeper purpose than the love of a great pet. For you see, love is from God.  We thought Scout was a birthday gift, but really he was a gift from God to us as a family.  The gift of Scout was to remind us what real love looks and feels like.  It was to remind us each what love accomplishes–and how to love better.  Scout was to remind us how God loves us and what that love will do if we will really live in the ‘large love’ of God.  Real love transforms!  Have you let Him transform you?

 

 

He’s Coming!

Anticipating the arrival of a loved one is a joyful time, isn’t it?  A Christian’s heart has the possibility of that joy every moment of every day…and at ‘Christmas time’ we have an open door to discuss that joy!  Are you ready to grab the moments that come your way?While we’ve never been part of a church that liturgically celebrated Advent, it is our family tradition to prepare our hearts in the days prior to Christmas. I wanted to share some of that with others this year.

We live in a world that has so secularized Christmas that its original intent is often obscured.  We must not let that happen to our own celebrations.  While the reality is that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th anyway, the world gives us an open door with its Christmas celebrations.  Even the secular world turns its eyes to God in this season.  Let us use the world’s preparations to proclaim the love, grace & mercy of Jesus Christ that more might be won to the Kingdom.

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When we fix our hearts and eyes on Truth, it flows into our days…and people see the Word in our walk.  That is how it ought to be.  When we celebrate richly, others will take note.  Today begins the Advent Season for this year.  In the midst of busy-ness, consider how young Mary welcomed God’s interruption of her life plans.  A young woman, betrothed to a man….and told by God she would soon be carrying the Messiah in her womb.  That was an ‘interruption’ that was likely to cost her impending marriage–and quite possibly her life.  But Mary’s response was “Be it unto me according to thy word.”

“Mary’s faith is a wonderful example for us.  Rather than resentfully looking at her pregnancy as unfair and embarrassing, she understood that she had been uniquely blessed by God.  John MacArthur, Jr.

Throughout the week, pause each day to refocus on the blessed truths of the One who is coming…

Monday          Luke 1:35-38               Heart Focus:  Obedient Submission to the will of God

Tuesday          Jeremiah 29:11-13     Heart Focus:  Trust in the plans of God

Wednesday    Proverbs 16:3,9          Heart Focus:  Enjoy the story God is writing for you

Thursday        James 4:13-15             Heart Focus:   Let God give you the details as He wills

Friday             Psalm 37:4-7                Heart Focus:  Be rooted & joyful in the love of God

Saturday         Luke 1:39-41                Heart Focus:  Loving others is loving God

As we celebrate this season, may we keep in the front of our minds that Jesus is coming again!  He will not be coming as a vulnerable baby–but as the conquering King.  Let us do all we can to encourage others to prepare Him room.  See you next Sunday!

lion lamb

 

Thank you for the Candle  Best Animations !