Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘Discipleship’

Beautiful Body

Eyes that see beauty are a gift from God!  We live in an image-crazed world longing to see beauty, to find substance.  The selfie craze cries out of hearts trying to find something.

But real beauty is a buried treasure one must dig deep to see and enjoy.   The Prophet Isaiah spoke of this Truth as he described the coming Messiah.

My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.  Isaiah 53:2

Jesus’ body suffered tremendously as He walked the ‘way of suffering’ to open the way for us to enter into eternal life and union with the Father.  Neither His beaten body nor the path He trod appeals to us in our natural mind.  It has no beauty on the surface.

Likewise, the Church, the Body of Christ on earth today often fails to draw gasps of awe as one looks at it.  We are often bruised by the ungodly attitudes we allow to mar our image but in the eyes of God, He sees something different.

The lyrics below will give you a glimpse of His view…if you click the link, the song will play as you read on.

How beautiful the radiant Bride
who waits for her Groom
with His light in her eyes.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
the fruit of pure lives
so that others may live.
How beautiful
how beautiful
how beautiful is the body of Christ.

How beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news
and the love of the King.
How beautiful the hands that serve
the wine and the bread
and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful
how beautiful
how beautiful is the body of Christ.

Read more: Twila Paris – How Beautiful Lyrics | MetroLyrics

water aerobicsChrist’s love for the Bride compels me to look for beauty everywhere.  He sees beauty when I cannot.  My frequent prayer is to more consistently see with His eyes.  That is a prayer He loves to answer.

God is creative in His answers and chose to let me look with Him at my aqua-cize class. Working in water with a noodle offers some unique challenges–and a fair amount of laughter.  Standing on a floating device tends to create some chaos.  Noodles pop off from under people and whack others in the side of the head.  People tip over and legs can get stuck up in the air as a noodle gives buoyancy muscles can’t counter.

Each person in the class brings a different set of strengths and weaknesses to the pool.  The uniting goal is improved health but the individual realities impact the outcome.  Physical injuries, limited muscle strength, lack of coordination, past experience with water, self-consciousness, feelings of inferiority…they all play into the experience.

The beauty is that progress is made simply by staying the course.  Falling off the noodle and getting back on gives as much benefit to the weaker participant as completing the exercise gives the stronger participant.  In the aqua-cize class, encouragement to one another is frequent.  The success of one is hope for another.

Do you see the parallels for the Church?  We share a common purpose:  that the world may know our great and glorious God.  We share the very gift of God dwelling within us and the power of the Holy Spirit compelling us.  Like the individuals in the class, though, we have weaknesses and self-absorption that sometimes hinders us.  We tip over; sometimes we ‘slap’ others (figuratively only one hopes); and at times, we feel like failures.  But as we press on for the joy set before us, God accomplishes His purpose…in us and in the world!

We can only begin where we are…whether in an aqua-cize class or as a disciple of Christ.  Fixing our eyes on the goal brings forth beauty otherwise hidden.  Hebrews 12:2 tells us that for the joy set before Him, Christ endured the Cross.  As Jesus prayed for you and I before He went to the Cross, His plea was for the unity of believers.  That unity does not come by fixing our eyes on differences, pointing out failures and critically assessing one another (or even ourselves).  Beautiful unity comes as we fix our eyes on Christ and determine to know only Him.

Do you need a word of encouragement?  Be humble, let someone know!

Do you see someone struggling?  Look for the beauty of effort and speak life!

Philippians3_14

Life Change Lessons from a Play Station

A new calendar always inspires thoughts of change.  The desire for good, for fulfilling lives beats in every heart.  It feels like life gets in the way blocking our progress.  The wisdom book of Proverbs explains why:

There is a way that seems right to man…but it is the way of death.  (14:12 and 16:25)

Our new video game offers a light-hearted look at this reality.  It’s been decades since I played video games…think Atari Ping Pong.  Madden 15 on a Playstation is another world!

Our earthly lives are in a vastly different world than God’s Truths…but His ways work in this world and are a necessity for full, abundant living!  Here’s some things I’ve learned from our PS3:

  • I can be totally oblivious to the obvious.  The signals the kids readily see and feel (like a vibrating remote) give them information on what to do next.  I often don’t see it…and if I do, I don’t what it means.  I’m lost in the PS3 world.
  • Not knowing stuff is a hindrance and a frustration.  Success depends on knowing what things mean and what you are supposed to do about it.
  • Thinking I know what I’m doing doesn’t mean I am doing it right.  The game isn’t broke or rigged against me just because I’m not winning.
  • Instructions that don’t understand what I don’t know don’t help me…they just confuse (or irritate) me!
  • Failing repeatedly is discouraging and makes me want to quit.
  • Practice helps.  Perseverance pays!

Those little glimpses offer great truth for real life.  The plan of God provides answers for each of those problems.  The Word and the Spirit give direction for a winning life!  Many great resources exist to find Bible answers but faithful, consistent, determined digging on your own can never be beat. My life forever changed the year I made the decision to read the Bible all the way through for the first time…sporadic reading was useful but disciplined reading was transformational.

Whatever goals you set for the New Year…and goals are good…aim for integrity.  Blend the natural and the spiritual–don’t try to separate what God designed to be in union.  Jesus came to this earth for purpose–and He lived with intention.  God has plans and purposes for each of us.  We must seek to know His will and live with intention.  As you plan your steps for the coming days, give thought to why Jesus came.  Let God reveal the specific steps you need to take.  Then commit those steps to God, and He will produce in a greater way than you can even think!

Understand that walking out those steps will take discipline and sacrifice.  We cannot ‘go with God’ and continue on our own path.  There must be integrity between our words and our actions.  That does not mean we aim to be perfect; it means we seek to know what God would have us to do…and then we walk toward His goals rejoicing in His mercy, patience and love!

We cannot enjoy the glories of God on Sunday and lock Him away Monday through Saturday.  His glory must flow in the workplace, in our recreation and even in our private activities.  He is worthy of our honor 24-7.  His presence in every moment of our days is both our privilege and our responsibility.  Oswald Chambers states a hard truth with great clarity:

“God is not actively involved with our natural life as long as we continue to pamper and gratify it.”

In the center of the Bible, the Psalmist offers this powerful plea:

Keep my steps steady by your word; don’t let any sin rule me. Psalm 119:133

When sin rules in our lives, our lives become a commodity…an object to trade.  It devalues us and robs us of the inheritance Christ delivers to all who will believe!  The natural world is what God gave to Adam & Eve.  He intended us to enjoy it all by walking according to His Word.  As long as Adam & Eve did that, they had the beauty of the natural and the spiritual.  They enjoyed the very presence of God.  One choice to walk in their own wisdom, separated them from the source of life.  Jesus restores the choice of life, of God connection.  Unity between the natural and spiritual is the essence of abundant living, and an awesome life is possible in Christ!  Choose HIM!

What choices will you make for your the new year?

There are foundational disciplines of faith that must be in place to walk in His ways.  Join me for Fit Faith to build strength in your faith walk!

Fit Faith: Soul Training for His Glory

Eternal life is the free gift of God.  The walk of faith is demanding! The life of faith requires a solid foundation.  Fit Faith looks at the components of a healthy faith life and provides tools for disciples to utilize.  The Four Sessions of Fit Faith include the life basics of Prayer, Bible Study, Service/ministry and Fasting.

Prayer as Worshipful Conversation:  Developing a prayer life that is exciting and rich.

Bible Time as friendship w/the Living Word:  Establishing roots in His Word that bear fruit.

Serving and Fellowship:  Finding the reality of being HIS hands and feet.

Living in Wonder & Awe:  Fasting as a discipline for fulfillment.

 The workshop will be offered for the first time online in a Zoom Room!  Details are below and you can join as you are able–but registration would be a blessing for me.

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Topic: Soul Training – Spiritual Disciplines for Growth
Every week on Wed, 4 occurrences

Jan 4, 2017 6:30 PM
Jan 11, 2017 6:30 PM
Jan 18, 2017 6:30 PM
Jan 25, 2017 6:30 PM

Weekly: https://zoom.us/meeting/442863135/ics
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/442863135

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +16465588656,442863135# or +14086380968,442863135#

Or Telephone:
Dial: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll)

Meeting ID: 442 863 135

Going Along To Get Along Kills

Relationships continue to weigh on my heart.  The longing of God for each of us to connect to Him (and one another) with depth and honesty beats loudly in my mind.  The tendency of humanity is to settle for much less than God desires in our relationship with Him and with others.  Truly connected relationships are what our own hearts long for as well.  Contrary to the secular refrain, no one wants to be ‘tolerated.’  We want to be understood, valued and enjoyed.  So does God.

“Tolerance” is the cry of the world; “Treasured” is the cry written by God. 

Connected relationships are better described as partnerships chosen by those involved.  If there is no choice, their is no real relationship.  It is the explanation of that oft-asked question, “Why did God give free will if He knew sin would be the result?”  Without choice, we could not be in a real, connected relationship with God.   If our human relationships aren’t sweetened by choice–if we are dictators to others–we isolate ourselves.  If we simply go along to get what we want (or avoid conflict), everyone loses.  Choosing connected relationships brings richness to life!

Yet, all around us we see chaos and disconnection.  Homes are destroyed by divorce, churches split and our political system spews nastiness continually.  No one wants the reality we see, so how have we deteriorated to such a mess? I can answer with my own confession, and I think it speaks for the majority:

I often trade CONNECTION for whatever is easier.  You, see I like comfort; the easy road is typically my go-to choice.

Sometimes the easy road actually is a good choice, but  “Good is the enemy of best.” We fall to the temptation to ‘go along to get along.’ We sacrifice what we know is right because that is the expedient thing to do.  That is how Jesus was consigned to the Cross in 30 A.D.  We do the same when we trade God’s desires for the easy road.

Going through the motions may get the job done…but settling is always a travesty.

The work of relationships takes us out of our comfort zones and easy chairs.  Understanding the cast of characters that compel us to choose the easy route sheds light that helps us embrace the challenge.

  • Sometimes we are not clear on what is actually being asked by a relationship partner.  We must be willing to do the hard work to figure out what is needed.  Relationships are not about what we get out of them–or what we do for others.  However, when we love, we value others and are valued which means we do things for each other!
  • Other times we simply cannot do what is being asked and don’t clearly communicate our reluctance–or our needs.  Here we have two parallel paths to walk.  We need to work on our communication AND build up our strength.  If the ‘ask’ is reasonable and beneficial for both but we haven’t developed the skills–it is time to work on those skills!
  • Sometimes we simply are not willing to do what is needed.  This is particularly common as we age and grow weary.  A modicum of maturity restrains our reactions so our relationships appear okay–and sometimes we believe the lie ourselves. Dis-connected hearts, though, are a sham that will eventually implode!   Simply going through the motions (or doing what we’ve always done) does not satisfy our hearts or God’s.  Settling is the beginning of a dying relationship. Recognizing the danger and valuing what God values will blast this darkness away.

Healthy relationships matter!  Make a commitment to do the work of building unity.  Ephesians 4:1-3 offers great wisdom:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

We have an incredible calling.  We have an amazing God who shows us how to relate to others.  Christ who left the glories and comforts of heaven to redeem those who would reject Him is our Savior–and our example.  Living surrendered to Him will sweeten every relationship.  In fact, until we are solid in our connection with God, we will try to make other relationships do what only He can do.  He is our source.  Plug in and invite others to join!

For more practical tips, visit:  ABCs of Relationships.

 

 

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

How can we look like Christ?

The plan for believers in Christ is that we be transformed into the image of our Savior.  More than two decades after surrendering to God, I realize more and more how much work God still has to do in me!  The only way to know what God is doing in my transformation is to know more about the One whom I am to become like.

We are to be a source for the world to see God…I want people to see Him more than me.  God is worthy of our total dedication to know Him more and to reveal Him more.  As we learn more of His traits and practice them in the details of our lives, His purposes are accomplished.

Below is an incomplete list of Character Traits of Christ that I want to see more of in my life.  It makes a great Perpetual Prayer guide to go through each month.  Years ago, I began using it as a guide for praying for my children but quickly realized I–and every other child of God–needs the same prayers.  May it bless you as your pray through it.

1. Humility—willingness to submit.   James 4:10

2. Reverence—fear of the Lord.   Proverbs 9:10

3. Purity—desire to be clean.   Matthew 5:8

4. Purpose—wisdom to set goals.   Proverbs 4:25

5. Simplicity—an uncluttered life.   Romans 12:8

6. Commitment—dedication.   Joshua 24:15

7. Diligence—willing to work hard.   II Peter 1:5

8. Servanthood—desire to help others.   Galatians 6:9,10

9. Consistency—be faithful, reliable.   James 1:8

10. Restoration—ministry of healing.   Isaiah 61:1,2

11. Assurance—deep faith in God.   Hebrews 10:22

12. Availability—willing to go.   Isaiah 6:8

13. Loyalty—zeal for fidelity.   Ruth 1:16

14. Sensitivity—open heart.   Luke 10:30-37

15. Compassion—love in action.   Mark 8:1,2

16. Tenderness—willing to weep.   II Kings 22:19

17. Maturity—capable of growing.   Hebrews 5:12-14

18. Holiness—Christ-like actions. I Peter 1:16

19. Reliability—dependable.   I Corinthians 4:2

20. Authority—capable of commanding.    Matthew 16:19

21. Revelation—learn to listen.   Ephesians 1:15,18

22. Self-denial—willing to sacrifice.   Luke 9:23

23. Confidence—strength of the Lord.   Philippians 4:13

24. Integrity—truthful.   Romans 12:17

25. Repentance—willing to change.   Luke 3:8

26. Trust—fearless reliance. Psalm 125:1

27. Submission—choose to yield. Ephesians 5:21

28. Teachability—humble enough to learn. Titus 3:2

29. Prayerful—longing to wait.   Isaiah 40:31

30. Unity—respect for others.   1 Corinthians 1:10

31. Generosity—desire to give.   Matthew 10:8

Another great tool that aids in transformation is knowing God by Name.  My devotional book, Fixing our Eyes on God is one such tool.  The glory of God transforms!  Seek Him.

What is Cross-Life Coaching?

Growing up spiritually does not just ‘happen.’  The Apostle Paul said we must ‘work out what God has put in us.’  When I accepted Christ as Lord–as opposed to a ticket out of hell–I had trouble finding folks who could articulate the Way to do that.  They told me ‘read the Bible,’ ‘do this’ and ‘do that.’  They were not wrong, but I needed more. Living the ‘Cross-Life’ involves changing habits and attitudes.

I would have loved a Cross-Life Coach to move me forward in my journey in those early days.  And that is why I now offer Cross-Life Coaching to those who feel the same way.

I believe with all my heart that JESUS is the answer to every problem we face in life.  I also know that many good Christians struggle to figure out HOW He is the answer.

We get stuck on our own; we need more than words and insights.  We need another person to come along side us. Church fellowships, friends who share our faith beliefs and pastors are valuable resources.  Sometimes, though, those resources do not extend to the depth desired.

It is my personal joy to walk alongside many in the capacity of sister-in-Christ.  Coaching is more deliberate and intensive.  It establishes goals and digs deeply into the heart to enlarge the capacity for Christ-likeness.   Coaching involves ‘homework’ and ‘heartwork.’ It is a labor intensive prospect.

WHY would I use Cross-life Coaching?

Cross-life Coaching is all about achieving potential…about being all that God created you to be.    It is for the person who wants more from life!  It is for the person who sees what they do with life as their thank-you gift to God!

Cross-Life Coaching is designed for all who:

  • feel ‘stuck’ in a certain behavior pattern or situation.
  • believe there is more to living the Christian life than they currently enjoy.
  • want to identify and remove barriers to abundant living.
  • seek clarity on expectations, goals and life purpose.
  • long to live with their eyes focused on eternal impact.

WHAT kind of things will come up?

Cross-Life Coaching is personal.  The life of faith is lived out individually but abundant living involves some common areas:

  • Knowing God More
  • Developing as His Disciple
  • Healing from Hurts
  • Giving God Glory by Sharing Your Hope
Give me a hope, M.G. Kafkas

Give me a hope, M.G. Kafkas

How can I learn more?

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