Tag Archives: Discipleship

Journey to Abundant Living – Day 6

Our heavenly Father created this universe in six days.  We have arrived at the completion of one work week in the realm of your faith journey.  My prayer is that you have had new insights about the magnitude of the life Christ provides for those who put their faith in Him.  This journey to a life of peace, joy and purpose has been my experience for over twenty years…and every year it gets better.

Proverbs tells us that ‘all work bears profit,’ so I trust that as you have prayed and contemplated this week, God has nudged you to focus on specific areas.  He loves us exactly as we are…but He loves us too much to leave us where we are.  Use your notes, the ratings you prayerfully assigned to the four areas of life and the answers you gave to the questions to design a road-map for growth.

Press on in your journey and rejoice in what He works in and through you!  Remember you are a beloved Child of God!

Browse around this website.  In addition to several discipleship tools, there are numerous articles on the site focused on the beauties of our God and the privilege we have in being His children.  I would love to ‘chat’ with you personally.  Simply comment on an article or use the contact options scattered throughout the site.

Following are a few small booklets available as PDFs here on the site.  The books can be purchased in traditional format if you prefer.

Soul Training cover
Growing as His Disciple

Soul Training in the Barn is a great resource if you need to develop the disciplines that shore up a faith foundation.   

Joy in the Journey

Joy in the Journey offers an approach that helps readers recognize the presence of God–and find healing for hurts.

Fixing Our Eyes on God
Knowing God More

Perhaps my favorite book, though, Fixing Our Eyes on God.  This 26-week devotional examines Names of God; gazing on His beauty always transforms us.

Thank you for sharing this time with me.  I would love to hear how God has worked in your heart as you sought Him these last few days.
Continuing to join you in prayer for God to direct your faith future,

Billie Jo

Journey to Abundant Living – Day 5

Has your view of faith been challenged this week?  A faith walk is not meant to be isolated to Sundays–it is a 24-7 proposition.  It covers every aspect of life.  Today, we look at the final connection we need for abundant living.  Are you ready?  It is huge.

How is your relationship with all else that God has entrusted to you?

You have made it to Day Five.  Today, we will examine that last relationship that must be strengthened for us to enjoy the abundant life Jesus offers.  It is a big one for many reasons.  The last connection we will examine is our relationship with the blessings God provides.  Seeing and appreciating those blessings is key to enjoying His presence.

Before God created Adam and Eve, He created the world and all that is in it.  He prepared a place for humanity and entrusted it to us.  Work was not the result of the curse; it is part of the design for humanity.

Adam was charged with dressing and keeping the world God created.

All that God entrusts to us is for our use in His work.  We live in a culture that encourages us to enjoy the pleasures of life.  God is not against enjoyment!  In fact, one of the best summaries of what God desires for us is found in the Westminster Catechism:

Man’s chief end is to glorify God,
and to enjoy him for ever. 

 

Too often, we are ruled by the things we enjoy instead of ruling over what we have been given.

What gifts do you see that God has given to you?
Are you thankful for them?
In what areas do you struggle with over-indulgence of those gifts?
How well do you manage your time?  Your finances?
Are your priorities in an order you believe God approves of?
Do you have un-surrendered areas of your life or temptations that you cannot resist?
If you did not consider health issues on Day 2, this is a good place to allow them some space in your mind.  Health is a gift that we take for granted.  Are you caring for that gift?

Using the scale of 1-10, how would you rate your stewardship of the gifts God has given to you?


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

Billie Jo

Bringing Word to Life

The WORD is living…we don’t need to ‘bring it to life.’  We need to bring our lives to life by weaving the Truth into our days.  This is much more than reading a command or a promise and then seeking its fulfillment in your reality.  The Bible is literature as well as life.  Reading is a practical matter as well as a spiritual one.  As this new year opens up before us, I wanted to share some tips and incentives to help those who want to feast on the Word but have not yet found the right ‘recipe.’

Choose a translation

I have favorite translations but my favorite understanding about which is best is this:

The best translation is the one you will read.

We don’t commit to that which we cannot understand.  Are some translations more accurately aligned with the original?  Yes.  Are some translations more challenging to read?  Yes.  Is the Holy Spirit necessary in any reading?  Yes.  Find a translation that you literally can read and follow what is being said.  Use the multiplicity of online sites to explore the translations before you invest your money.  Bible Gateway  is one of my favorites.

Remember:  The Bible tells the story of God…a seamless story from Genesis to Revelation.   Before you read the Bible, pray.  Ask God to give you insight into Himself as you read.  It is HIS Story!  Look for Him in it.  Ask for His help.

Choose a version.

We live in a world that offers hundreds of versions of the Scriptures.  The first version I read through provided daily reading options.  It included selections from the Old & New Testaments, Proverbs and Psalms.  I read quickly, so that first trip through only required a 15-20 minute per day investment.  It worked well because there was variety in the reading–even when I was in a ‘begat’ passage in one section, I had other sections that kept me pressing on.

There are dozens of other versions though that emphasize various aspects of the Word:

  • chronological – pulls all of the verses pertaining to a time period together and presents His story in time order
  • historical – aligns  Bible history with secular events
  • study – provide topical assists and cross-references

Christian Book Distributors is a great resource to check these out.

Choose a plan

The real world is busy.  If we don’t make conscious choices about how we will spend our time, we still make choices.  The only way to decide to do something is to decide and do it.  Reading the Bible is no different.  Choose the plan (e.g. time and place) that you feel will work for you and get at it.

Don’t forget the options that electronics allow.  Use a Bible App and let the phone read it to you as you drive to work.  Or use an online Bible like E-Sword.   Remember:  the best Bible is the one you will use!

When you miss a day, pick back up the next day.  The calendar is not the driving force of reading through the Bible.  Determine to do it and do it….whether it takes you 365 days or 100 days or 30 days or 3000 days.  Just do it.  A plan is like a budget; it is a framework that you aim to live within.  Make adjustments as you need to.

Enjoy the Feast!

The Bible nourishes life.  As you sit down to read, enter into the reading.  Let yourself be part of the words on the page.  Imagine the feelings of the ones you read about.  Consider the sounds and the setting described.  Ask questions of the text.  I often write these things down as I go or I will lose them as I read.  It’s common for me to jot down things like “Really?” or “How could that be?”  God will meet you in the questions; He will answer them if you ask and listen to the answer.  The Word is timeless.  What was True–really TRUE–is True.  Truth is not situational or cultural; it is timeless.

An example from my time in the Word this morning might help clarify this vital piece.  I am back in Genesis.  I read this morning how Abel became a herder of sheep and Cain coaxed fruit from the ground.  It struck me:  one nurtured life and one focused on working the ground that was cursed.  My questions from that were:

  • What does it look like in my life when I nurture life?
  • What does it look like when I ‘work the cursed ground?’

When you ask questions of God, be sure to take time to listen.  He speaks quietly in our heart.  He speaks through circumstances and people.  He often says things that challenge us and require us to turn or press on beyond our comfort zone.  But He is worthy!

choose this day

 

Journey to Abundant Living – Day 4

Here we are at Day Four of the journey.  The journey to a life of peace, joy and purpose is found in Jesus Christ and lived out by us in the context of our days–and the midst of the people who populate our day!

There is an acrostic for J.O.Y.  that I love:  Jesus, Others & Yourself.  JOY is found by focusing on Jesus first, then others and finally ourselves. We have dug deeply into Jesus and Ourselves.  So, today, let’s look at the “O” of JOY: OTHERS.

How are your relationships with others? Faith was never meant to be isolated to Sundays or church-services.  It is not meant only for ourselves and the ones we love.  This is a criticalaspect of Christian living that unmasks many.  Human nature does not do what Jesus did…it does not look at those who torture it and say, “Forgive them.”

There is no way to love one’s enemies without the love of Christ within.  Examining your relationships with others will help you see where more of Christ is needed.

We live in a world of broken relationships.  Resentments, bitterness and unforgive-ness plague most every family.  Divorce is nearly as high in the Church as it is for secular couples. Hurt feelings run rampant in churches.  It ought not be.  It must not be if we are to fully enjoy the life Christ came to give us.   The beauty of the relationship we have with God is meant to be reflected in every one of our personal relationships…at home, at work, at church, in the store…everywhere.

We have a high and holy calling in this area of life.  Contrary to what we tend to think, conflicts (and the hurts that cause them) are one of the most beautiful gifts God entrusts to us.  They are the opportunity to share in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering in a very tangible way.  Christ came to reconcile us to the Father.  Those who hurt us present the very same opportunity to us:  we are to show what love really looks like!  The ministry of reconciliation is a tremendous privilege.

SO, do your relationships feel heavenly or hurtful?
Do you have people you ‘forgive’ for hurting you but that you avoid?
Do you live with the saying, “I’ll forgive but I’ll never forget.”
How do you handle your emotions?
What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of connecting with others?
Do you have pockets of resentments that need to be attended to?
Can people see the love God has for them in the way you treat others?
On that 1-10 scale we have been using, what rating would you place on your connection to others overall?
Until tomorrow…joining you in prayer for God to direct your faith future,

Billie Jo

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!

Growing Up in Christ

God parents each of us perfectly!  Growing in grace and knowledge as Jesus did is an individual responsibility.  But we all–whether we have children or not–have opportunities to disciple (or spiritually parent) others.  This prayer guide is a tool ifor the growing up process–for ourselves and others.

Parenting is a privilege and responsibility that allows us co-laborer closely with the Lord in the soul-building process. He has provided powerful tools to utilize in our work.
The Word of God is our primary tool; it is indeed a living and active tool. It is critical for our lives and our children’s lives. Love for God’s Word…for its necessity and tremendous value in each life…is the key to unlocking and utilizing this vital building block.

This ‘perpetual’ prayer guide has seven focus areas—one for each day of the week. Our prayers matter and keep us in tune with the Lord—for the reality is that all we pray for others must be sought for ourselves as well. May this prayer guide draw you and yours ever closer to Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith!

Prayer Focus: Love of God’s Word 

Father in heaven, we praise you for the gift of Your Word. We praise you for the Living Word, Jesus Christ. And we praise you for our privilege of using words to communicate with others. Only humanity was allowed this precious gift. Lord we ask that You help us use words well with our children. Instill in our children a love for Your Word. Help them to understand and help us to live with the scriptures as our guide and not simply a pleasant source of encouragement. Help our children understand that every aspect of life is blessed by wisdom from the Word. Help us model for our children a desire to read, study, remember and apply Your Word moment by moment. We desire your plans and purposes for our children; we long for them to live lives of blessing. May Your Word be a light unto their path for their good and for your glory. We ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture supports:

Psalm 119:9, 72, 72, 140; Jeremiah 15:16; Ephesians 6:17; 1 Peter 1:22

Prayer Focus: Growing Faith 

Father, knowing you is the most important thing our children will ever experience. We ask that you meet with them in personal and transforming ways. Grow their spirits into ever greater likeness to Christ. Give us wisdom to point them to you. Grant us a depth of faith in your love for them that we do not interfere with your work. Reveal yourself to our children and draw them to your irresistible glory. Strengthen them in their inner being with your Spirit and be glorified in the lives of our children. In Jesus name, Amen

Scripture supports:

2 Corinthians 9:10; Ephesians 4:15; Hebrews 6:1; 2 Peter 1:5,6; 3:18; 3 John 1:4

Prayer Focus: Godly Friends 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your passion for relationships. We lift our children up to you asking that you will orchestrate their lives that Godly friends will bring beauty and sweetness to their days. We ask for friends that will encourage them to walk closely with you; friends that will look at Your glory with them; friends who will stand in the gap when they are unable to seek You. We praise you for your gift of love that we can love others. Work in our children’s lives and in each of their relationships that they will know You more day by day. In Jesus precious name, Amen

Scripture supports:

Malachi 3:16; Acts 2:42; Philippians 1:3: James 2:23

Prayer Focus: Thankfulness 

Father in Heaven, we rejoice that the key to entering Your presence is PRAISE! Help us guide our children to the joy of thankfulness. Teach us, Lord, to fix our eyes on that which is praiseworthy and life-building…and fill our hearts with joy and awe. We thank you, Lord, that You created all things for us to enjoy and we only have to remember they are from You. We thank you, Lord, that even hard things can become blessings when You are sought. Help us instill that in our children that they will live every day with thanksgiving and rejoicing for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Scripture Supports:

Deuteronomy 8:10; Psalm 100:4; Colossians 1:12; 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Prayer Focus: Values 

Father, help us as parents teach your values and live Your values that our children will see Your glory and choose the same values for their lives. Grant our children a vision of the value You place on every individual and the treasure of time. May every choice made–in career, in recreation, in friendships, in money and even thoughts be founded upon Your value system. We ask this for the glory of God and the good of these precious children You have entrusted to us! In Christ’s name, Amen

Scripture supports:

Joshua 24:15; John 4:34; 17:4; Acts 20:24; Philippians 3:13

Prayer Focus: Health and Safety for Body, Mind and Soul 

Heavenly Father, lover of our children’s souls, we ask Your protection of their bodies, minds and spirit. Total well-being is a by-product of a God-ward focus so we ask you to orchestrate their lives so that a desire for Your will and Your glory will be their greatest passion. May our example as parents not derail them in any way; hold us close to You and convict us of disparities in our own walk. Strengthen the children, Lord, to exercise discipline in their physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual pursuits and to submit all to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. May our children’s lives–and our own–have a depth of integrity, an alignment with Your Word of thoughts, words and actions, which will reveal Your glory to all those we come in contact with. We praise You for the gift of the life of Christ which lives within Your children and we ask all this in His name, Amen.

Scripture supports:

Psalm 26:3; Psalm 86:11; 2 John 4; Isaiah 32:18

Prayer Focus: Passion for a Pure Heart 

Father in Heaven, we long to see You and to have our children see You. Your glory is our source of hope and confidence in a world of challenges. Lord, work in our children’s hearts and open their eyes to see You…to see Your amazing love, Your righteousness and Your open arms. Instill in the hearts of our children–and in our hearts–an ever-increasing desire to walk in Your presence and behold Your glory. Might the greatest desire of our hearts be to please You with every choice we make in thought, word and deed and might that same desire be in the hearts of our children. We praise You for who You are and how You work and for the purifying, perfect work of Jesus Christ. In His name, we ask this…Amen.

Scripture Supports:

Malachi 3:3; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 1:7

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!