Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘building lives’

Building Relationships

“There is no beauty in domination. Control is a cheap substitute for partnership.”  

Anna Blake

 Moving toward the goal of using the horses to improve the human capacity for connection is growing me!  The principles of Lifemanship include some theoretically sweet concepts:

  • If it’s not good for both, it’s not good for either.
  • A healthy relationship is a safe place…even for ignoring or resisting.
  • Asking clearly aids in building communication–and ultimately connection.

Practicing those theories is HARD WORK.

Gretchen is a good instructor; she ignores me really well.  Thankfully, her resistance is not with the full potential of her size and strength.  Yet, failing to connect will create an unhealthy–and potentially dangerous situation for both of us.  So, I have been investing time in our relationship.  Learning what to ask and how to ask with firm gentleness is part of my curriculum.  As we work, my conviction for the potential of learning relationship skills with animals grows:

Our world is full of unhealthy, broken relationships.  Failing to connect with God has eternal ramifications.  Failing to connect with family and friends robs us–and them–of the richness God intends for life.  God has given us all things that we might enjoy them…and give honor and praise to the Giver!

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS – HORSES, HOMES & HEAVEN!

Relationship requires give and take, communication, and sharing.  Our world increasingly promotes isolation and self-gratification.  Technology simplifies the stuff of life and complicates the connections of life.  Abundant living, though, can only be found in connection:  first with God and then with others.   God created humanity because His nature is love–and love has to have expression and reciprocity. We love because He first loved us…all love that does not originate in Him finds its roots in self-satisfaction.

True relationship involves meeting the needs of both.  Before that can happen, there has to be shared communication and respect.  The horses help us see the components of healthy connection with greater clarity.  In the Lifemanship model, “Ignoring” is described as an attitude that says (in response to a request), “Not really interested, and I can take this amount of pressure all day.”  “Resisting” includes any number of behaviors…but there is no doubt that neither cooperation or ignoring are in progress.  Relationships require cooperation to reach a connection that benefits both and meets needs.

So, here’s a quick run down of how Miss Gretchen is teaching me to relate more effectively to her, to myself, to others and most importantly to God:

TIME together is a necessity.  The fact that I want to connect with her has no bearing on the reality of getting to know one another.  Thinking about her while I am busy doing something else does not build our relationship.  That same truth applies to marriage, parenting and friendships.  It applies to our relationship with God.  Relationships require investing ourselves.  Establishing priorities that honor our relationship commitments is no easy task.  We live in a busy world always calling us to do more.  Time connecting deeply–first with God, then with others allows us to enjoy life more abundantly.

AWARENESS is another critical component of relationships–and abundant living.  It is so easy to live without awareness.  Being ignored is the extreme of no awareness on the part of the one we seek to connect with.  But that is just an extreme:  a lack of awareness happens all the time!  My stress or perceptions of how we are progressing have a direct impact on how I relate to Gretchen.  Whether I am afraid, insecure or distracted by something else changes how I interact with her.  On her side of the equation, awareness about her signs of stress and confusion are also vital.  Tuning in to my part in a relationship–and diligently seeking to look through the eyes of my partner is key to connection.  God cared so much about it, He came in human flesh.  Jesus knows our struggles; He can relate to us.  In Him, our awareness of others and ourselves increases.

COMMUNICATION is individual, and clarity necessary.  Gretchen and I are learning one another’s language and misunderstandings happen.  Sometimes I am not always certain what I want…and when I am unclear, she will share my confusion.  The first guiding principle of Lifemanship helps me here: ‘Whatever I ask must be good for both of us.’  That principle gives me a goal and courage.  I’m not as timid about asking for what I believe is best for all.  The same is true in our relationship with God and others.  Every instruction of God is for our good and His glory.  It is a beautiful model for relationships!  Learning to speak with consistent clarity is a challenge to aspire toward.

GOALS are a destination to move toward, not a requirement to demand.  Building relationship is a journey toward shared goals.  What I ask of Gretchen, I ask for the purpose of growing our relationship.  The length of time it takes to get where I want to go is part of the journey.  In our connections with God and others, the same is true.  I want to spend time with the Lord not to gain some new insight that I can share–but to know Him more fully.  I want to spend time with my husband…my children…my friends, so I will know more of what is on their heart.

COURAGEOUS HUMILITY is a powerful concept Gretchen teaches me over and over again.  I don’t like to be wrong–or ask for what is unreasonable–or do things poorly.  But I’m learning right alongside her.  I don’t know her well yet; there’s tons I don’t know about horsemanship.  BUT relationships don’t require perfection; they do require courageous humility.  Being willing to be wrong…willing to be a fool for the purpose of growing your relationship is RIGHT!  Forgiving mistakes is part of bonding.

We’re working at compiling all of this into experiential learning and there is more to share in coming weeks.  Follow this link if you’d like to read more about the Lifemanship Learning for Relationships.

What one aspect of this can you apply today to your connection with God…with 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

Be A GATE!

The Gate to see God is being:

Gateway, Danny Eugene - Flickr

Genuine.  Accepting.  Transparent.  Encouraging.

Genuine: Real with God and others.  Pat phrases are not what get us through life!

Accepting:  God meets us where we are at but loves us too much to leave us there.  Accepting doesn’t mean there are no ‘rules,’ it means walking alongside until the better way (His way) is seen and understood.

Transparent:  Everyone struggles.  No one arrives at ‘perfection’ in this land.  Paul boasted in his weaknesses because they are doorways to God’s greatness.  Let your struggles be seen…because God is there!

Encouraging:  God created us for connection because we need each other.  Be a cheerleader for others–it will cheer you and help them become cheerleaders!

Serving God is a high and holy privilege.  HIS Hands explores the beauty of Christian servanthood.  A companion book is in the works!  Sign up for Glory Glimpse News to receive notice–or follow this website or the Facebook Page.

 

 

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.

Divinely Designed & Equipped

 I recognize alternative teachings can be dangerous; this will stress some and bless others.  I do not take the Scriptures lightly; I ask you to read, pray and ask what if any of the alternate view God would have you embrace.  Tradition spiritual gifts assessments clump all of these passages–and leave some discouraged or confused. I find clarity in looking at the passages with the specificity of the Givers.

Clearly the instructions given in the passage are to the children of God (the redeemed who trust in Christ). However, overall the letter is in the context of the love God that covers all. Not all are children of God but all are created by Him. Paul was speaking to the Church…and we should use our design for Kingdom purposes! This view does not negate that concept; it enhances it!

Romans 11:29 says God calls and gifts without repentance–meaning He seeks us and blesses us long before we ever acknowledge it. To God be great honor and glory!

With all that and the scriptures below, I offer this with a prayer of blessing for any who read.  Individual entries for each of the ‘Designs’ can be explored by clicking the links.

Gifts from the Father

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.

But what about….

Looking at the Romans 12 gifts as individual design leaves us with many other scriptural gifts, doesn’t it? But mushing all of those gifts together in one spiritual assessment is not the answer. In Ephesians 4, we see that Jesus, the Son, gives gifts to the Church. These are often called the Five-Fold Ministry Gifts or Equipping Gifts. Not every believer receives these gifts…Christ gives what His Beloved Church needs. Every Church body has the gifts within that it needs to grow and flourish.

The gifts to the Church are the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastor/Shepherds and Teachers. The individual designed as a ‘teacher’ may or may not be a Teacher for the Church. God may use a Prophet as the Teacher in an individual body of believers. The Gifts of the Son are to the Church based on the needs of the Church.

Gifts of the Spirit

Perhaps the most well known list of spiritual gifts is found in First Corinthians. It is the preface to the ‘love chapter’ for Paul said NOTHING is of use without love. These gifts are also called manifestation gifts…because they manifest (or make visible) God!

These amazing gifts are available to every believer as needed…when the believer is walking in the spirit. Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discernment and tongues are among the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.

The gifts of the spirit are all about ministry. When you are face-to-face with a hurting soul, the Spirit longs to meet that wounded soul with a touch. Quiet your own soul and listen to the Spirit; He will provide the gift needed at just the right time!

Further Reading you may desire

Restoring life!

Vines invaded my fig tree this year.  They choked the life out of some branches and devastated the crop of fruit.  I’ve battled these vines for three years…this year they were mad.  It seems that every year they have come back stronger.  Truth be told, I was afraid of them.  Someone told they were poison oak, and I believed it.  Fearing for the life of my fig tree, I sought the help of more experienced gardeners.

A battle plans was laid out.  Wait till fall or early winter and attack!  Trace the vines to their root, cut it off and douse it with poison.  What a job!  Pulling the vines down broke out dead wood–and damaged a few good branches as well.  Finding the roots was a daunting challenge–and the size of some of those nasty, hairy roots was surprising.  My tree looks great now; spring will tell the story.

But this isn’t about fig trees or vines, of course. I like to garden but I love care-taking souls.  Those vines made me think of the parasitic nastiness that invades lives.  Our lives are full of little ‘sins’ that pop up…sins powered by evil that produce trial and sorrow.  When they begin to bother us, we attack them–only to find they get stronger and stronger.  Sometimes we freeze from fear.  Sometimes we need the help of others.  Always we have a way to win:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Jesus,  John 16:33

Like the vines in my fig tree, evil kills life and robs us of fruit.  Breaking off the vines above the root just allows the root to thicken and produce with greater energy.  Focusing on the external as a solution–changing a behavior, quoting a Scripture–without attacking the root improves the ‘look’ of our lives for a time.  The Pharisees were great at it–white-washed tombs with death inside is the description Jesus gave.  Discouragement, despair and death are the long-term results of that approach.

God did not leave us alone to fight the lusts of the flesh or the principalities and powers of the air.  We are created with a spirit designed to meet with His Spirit!  Abundant life is the plan of God for the child of God.

The LORD’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive. Proverbs 20:27

Sin and evil cannot withstand the Light of Christ.  Like the roots of the vines on my tree, the roots of sin must be destroyed.  The love and light of Christ restores life–and produces fruit.  Our lives should taste like the Spirit:

…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,

goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…

If there are vines choking your fruit, find a friend who can help you with a battle plan.  Victory is yours in Jesus Christ…claim it today!

Glory Glimpse: Misjudging Jesus, the Nazarene

James Emery

James Emery

Jesus of Nazareth, the Nazarene, is our focal point today.  Though the Old Testament does not mention the village of Nazareth, Matthew declares that Jesus dwelt in Nazareth “that the words of the prophets might be fulfilled.”  Jesus referred to Himself as ‘of Nazareth, demons used the title and the cross of our Lord bore the reference.  That Jesus was of Nazareth—was a Nazarene—has tremendous significance for us.

Nazareth was a small village in Galilee near the border of Samaria.  Passing by the village was a well-traveled trade route that would have brought the ‘world’ into view for residents.  In the eyes of those passer-bys, Nazareth was a community of backward, uncultured people.  Devout Jewish people looked down upon this village almost as much as they despised Samaritans.  In the eyes of the religious, Nazareth was a community of pagans.  Very few saw the truth of Nazareth from God’s view.  Even the people of Nazareth failed to recognize Truth—for they would reject the One who came from them.  The disciple Nathanel conveyed the sentiments of the day toward Nazareth with his question, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Indeed, we know great good came from this despised village!  As the Crusaders of the 12th century inscribed on a church erected in Nazareth, “Here the Word was made flesh.”  For centuries, the prophets proclaimed the coming Messiah.  Some prophesies revealed His Kingly nature—some His Suffering Servant role.  Our human tendency is to hear and see that which promises pleasure:  preferring power to persecution is human self-preservation.  It is comfortable for us to be blind to Truth when it does not fit our plans and pre-conceived ideas.  Our Jesus, the Nazarene, calls us to seek the Father’s perspective and His acceptance above all else.  Jesus of Nazareth reminds us that God’s ways our not our ways.

Just as man erroneously judged the village of Nazareth, so, too, man mis-judges Jesus.  As Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah, Jesus was ‘despised and rejected of men’.  The plans of man have no room for suffering.  Yet, God chose Nazareth as the hometown of the Savior because rejection of the world is the path to acceptance of God.  Embracing the Nazarene, the One the world rejects, is the only way of acceptance for each one of us.  Only in Him–the Beloved–can God accept us.  This world, though created, loved and redeemed by Him, received Him not.  The world prefers the darkness of its own plans above the Truth and Light of the Father’s plans.    Love of the world cuts us off from the love of the Father.  May our hearts rejoice that Jesus, our Savior, accepted the path of rejection that acceptance would be ours.

Would you like a free PDF of Names of God?  Fill out the form below and you will be on your way to receiving it!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: