Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘blessings’

Free from the Past!

‘Don’t cry over spilled milk,’ says the old adage.  ‘What’s done is done,’ we say.  Is it true?  Is there no hope in the past?  I believe Scripture tells us differently.

The lens of faith transforms the darkest images.

In Joel chapter 2, verse 21 we read “the LORD will do great things.”  Joel continues in verse 25 with:

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,

the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

There is nothing in our past that God has not allowed.  It may not have been what He longed for us to have…sin and its consequences are never His desire…but He allows anything that can draw us closer to Him.  The call of God is always “Where are you?” because the desire of God is always that we will choose to be where He is!  Time does not confine God.  He was, is and always will be.  Taking the time to find Him in the hurts of the past brings healing to the present.

Nothing that happens—past, present or future—is devoid of the presence of God.  When we purpose to look for Him in the difficult things of our lives, we find healing!  Fear traps us in the traumas of life…faith frees us.  God promises we are never alone.  He is always faithful to His promises.

Living in the hurts of the past effectively nullifies the work of the Cross in today.

When we allow Jesus to walk in the depths of our pain, He touches us with love that brings peace.  Many of us learn to isolate emotions, to pack them away because they terrify us; it feels as if the pain is a tidal wave that will drown us.  Jesus walks on water…He quiets storms.  Let him into those reservoirs of fear and He will transform them to rivers of living water for others.

In the Old Testament we read that curses last for three or four generations.  We see generational curses all around us:  legacies of shame, rebellion and violence.  Every individual has opportunity to take the inheritances of yuck and let Jesus transform them into generational blessings.  The curses are short-lived in comparison:  blessings pass on to thousands of generations.  Take the hard stuff you have endured to Jesus; let Him speak life into you that blessings might flow forth from you.

 “Joy in the Journey” – Tools for Spiritual Growth helps those who wish to unpack the treasures God deposited in those tough times.  To be sure you hear about other new tools, sign up for Glory Glimpses, the newsletter for this site!

 

Turning Life’s Battles into Victories

Battles in life are a sure thing.  Those battles are our individual, unique opportunities to enjoy the victory of Christ personally.  Each of us has victories to give back to Jesus that only we can give to Him! Isn’t it exciting to think of giving Jesus Christ a special gift?!  Unveiling God in the details of our days is both a privilege and a responsibility.  Every child of God is blessed by His presence; it is challenging to fix our eyes on the victories in our lives though.

Leave a note about Jesus victories that have blessed your life, won’t you?

The battles of life are as diverse as our own individual personalities. A battle against alcohol may have no greater spiritual significance than another saint’s battle against critical speaking. Self-mutilation, lies, murder, unforgiveness, slander—all are sins which, when grown, produce death and destruction. Jesus came to set us free from sin’s captivity. Giving Him the glory for chains released is our glorious privilege. It has been said that our battles are our unique opportunities to give a victory to Jesus that only we can give!

We love to recite Romans 8:28 but too often we present Christianity as a future hope more than a present reality. People need to know faith in Jesus Christ can make a difference when:

• The children are sick and the boss insists on your presence at the meeting.

• Your frail and aging parents have more needs than you can meet.

• Your spouse chooses to end the marriage.

• Your child loses their way and continues to spin farther from God.

• Failure seems to be the only thing you are capable of…

Jesus meets us in our battles in ways and times perfect for our needs. He uses all we encounter to help us learn who we are and to reveal to us that He is the great “I am.” God reveals Himself in His people (in the details of our lives) so that others can see Him and know who He is too! We have the joy of helping people glimpse new dimensions of our awesome God as we share the victories that walking in the light of Christ’s presence.

God’s Word enlightens our path and reveals ways we can obediently follow Him as we face hard times. Sharing the instructions and victories we receive helps others see Truth as well. Consider the glimpses of God from the battles above:

• A parent learns God still provides as she prays and shares her dilemma.

• The overwhelmed caregiver finds new understanding about God’s ability to meet needs and learns to rest in Him rather than ‘do it all.’

• The abandoned wife realizes more of Christ’s passion for people who have rejected Him as she confronts her own emotions.

• A parent feels the depth of comfort there is in knowing the Shepherd who searches relentlessly for the lost.

• One focused on perfection finds the peace of knowing that the love of God does not depend on performance.

Those of us who walk with God must tell the difference He makes in our day-to-day lives—and what lies we have to release to receive Him. Please consider sharing the details of how you have glimpsed Christ in your life. The Master Weaver entwines the thread of our lives in amazing ways. We need each other to broaden our view:

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

Cross-Life Coaching aims to help Christians live the realities of faith in the midst of the realities of life.  Learn more here:  Cross-Life Coaching

Light Over-rides the Dark

Reality includes ugly, hard truths.  Mistakes, evil and hardship touch every aspect of every life.  But contrast creates beauty…and against the backdrop of darkness, glory shines!  I am always looking for stories that illustrate such Truths of God.   Recently, I saw such a story at a local state park.

Every story, whether that of a business, a country or a person, has a mix of good and bad in its history–and its present.  A walk around Chester State Park reveals some incredible good that came in the midst of both sin and stupidity.  I take great encouragement in stories like this because darkness can sometimes deceive us into thinking nothing good is happening.  As a Christian, the Park story reminds me that ‘stuff happens’ but my good and powerful God has a way of bringing good in the midst of bad.  Take a stroll with me through the history of Chester State Park and be encouraged!

According to history documents, in the 1920s, the land of Chester County was severely over-farmed.  Some say South Carolina had the dubious distinction of having the most15742990546_5cbd1c4f35_m depleted, eroded land east of the Mississippi.  Undoubtedly, a lack of knowledge and a surplus of greed joined forces to mine the land for every cotton dollar available.  The result paralleled the mid-west experience and the great Dust Bowl horror.  The present day park land was a prime example of the dark reality of those years.  An old cotton field with a history of crop failures, it was worth little.

Into the darkness came the flickering light of a dreamer.  Carlisle White looked at the
dried up property with two trickling streams converging into one and envisioned a lake-side housing development.  He set about sharing his vision, purchased the land and formed Lakeview Corporation.    The corporation built a dam, created a lake and sub-divided the property into building lots.  However, no homes were ever built there; no lots were ever sold.  The Great Depression crashed down and the developers’ dreams never materialized.  Instead, necessity forced them to turn the property over to the federal government.  The light of the dreamer wavered precariously.

But darkness can never overcome light.  A new federal government program, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was about to fuel the flame that would redeem that plot of land.  Part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the CCC put people to work re-building the infrastructure of America.  The State Park system across the US owes its beginnings to the CCC.  Chester State Park is one of the treasures that shines out of the dark years of the 20s and 30s because of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Darkness, though, does not surrender easily.  The first CCC crew sent to Chester actually abandoned the project because of the severity of the erosion.  Their inability to see beyond the difficulties joined forces with the darkness of another community to deliver the right team to Chester.  The work crew which did most of the work at the park was originally assigned to another county.  The ignorant racism of that community led them to reject the crew based on the African-American heritage of its members.  The fortitude of that CCC Crew, Unit 4475, conquered the darkness and became the primary tool of restoration for the land we now enjoy as Chester State Park.

Unit 4475 built an impressive array of structures–some of which remain today: the roads, a larger dam, shelters, a boat house and a residence for the rangers.  All of that construction was on top of the ‘camp’ the members built for themselves to live in while they created the Park!  Sadly, per federal law, every camp structure had to be removed when the CCC crew left.  Their camp included a chapel, store, barber shop, barracks, mess hall and administrative buildings.  This same crew also initiated several other projects to combat further erosion, including planting 400,000 trees and building additional dams.  Almost a century later, their labor continues to bless the County and countless visitors.

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Debbie Blakley, Photographer

Today, the Park is a picture of abundance and beauty.  It serves as a place of recreation and respite for many.  But its history includes a mixture of good and bad:  vision, discouragement, greed, racism, fortitude, foolishness and hope.  Goodness and light won out because that is how God designed this world.  The law of sowing and reaping means there are consequences from every action.  In the goodness of God, He deemed that curses are limited to four or five generations while blessings pass on for thousands.  May this picture of sowing, reaping and redeeming encourage you to rejoice in the goodness of God.

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’  Hosea 10:12

Finding Your God-Given Design

GIFTS FROM THE FATHER – Romans 12

DESIGN
SIN TO BATTLE
VICTORY TO WIN
SCRIPTURAL EXAMPLES
NAME OF GOD TO MEDITATE ON
Idol of control
Fullness of Relationships!
John the Baptist, Miriam, Naomi
Jehovah Jireh
Idol of peace
Finding value in God’s eyes!
Joseph (father of Jesus), Barnabas, Timothy
Jehovah Rophe
Idol of being right
Live Truth not just know it!
Luke, Isaiah, Samuel
Jehovah Nissi
Idol of comfortable
Embracing hard times for joy set before you!
Paul, Jeremiah, Moses
Jehovah Shalom
Idol of materialism
Excellent stewardship of God’s resources!
Matthew, Abraham, Job
Jehovah Rohi
Idol of me
Leadership that blesses masses!
Joseph (coat of many colors), Nehemiah, Noah
Jehovah Tsidkenu
Idol of my way
Intimacy with God that delivers holiness!
John (son of Thunder), Ruth, David
Jehovah Shammah
JESUS FULLY PORTRAYED EVERY ASPECT OF THESE DESIGNS. WE ARE DESIGNED TO GROW INTO HIS IMAGE…TO GROW INTO ALL OF THESE AREAS, BUT WE HAVE A DEFAULT DESIGN THAT GOD GAVE US.

This is only a portion of the gifts from the Father, Son and Spirit.  Visit Discipleship-Coaching for further information.

Enjoying All God Has Given!

Did you know that billions of dollars sit in ‘unclaimed funds’ accounts across the United States? Deposits have been made to the legal, rightful owners of monies (i.e. inheritances, refunds, settlements), but they never actually ‘get’ those monies because they don’t know it’s there!   In the spiritual sense, ‘unclaimed funds’ accounts litter the ‘Church’ and impoverish the world!  As Christians, we all have more than we are using:  let’s resolve to get more of our spiritual inheritance in the coming year.

God loves to give!  In fact, II Peter 1:3 tells us we have everything we need already!  But receiving is passive; getting requires awareness and action!

Think about it:  salvation is the start of life itself.  That Gift requires belief to activate it.  Every other spiritual gift requires active faith as well.

As the gift of a New Year languishes on our doorstep, ponder this:

“What has God given to me that I am not actively enjoying?”

Obviously, having everything we need doesn’t mean life will be perfect.  Unfairness, rejection, and evil littered the life of our Lord; it will ours as well.  Like Christ, though, we can enjoy abundant life with eternal purposes!  None of the wrong, ugly things of life can separate us from the love and power of God, though.  Emotional woundings, destructive addictions and ungodly lusts are no match for the resources we possess—when we know we have—and use it!

Knowing is the key concept.  We received all things at salvation but we ‘get’ them as we gain more knowledge about God Himself.  Answering our call to glory…to eternal significance, virtue and holy right-ness demands that we know the Truth about those things…and then do our best to live them out.  We must ‘get’ it so we can pass it on to all we encounter in our journeys of life!

The very power of God delivered us from sin—and delivered all things to us for His grand purposes! This life of faith comes with the power we need to walk out His godliness in the day-to-day—blessing others as we go.   We are saved for a purpose!  Let’s not leave unclaimed resources in our spiritual banks this coming year.  We need all we have…and so does this world.

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