Tag Archives: growth

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

 

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It’s Always Too Soon to Quit!

Character. It is a critical aspect of each individual. Character is the substance of an individual.  We live in a world which encourages us to indulge ourselves and never give a thought to our inner character. It is a tempting encouragement.  Pleasing ‘self’ seems like a good idea.  Unfortunately, though, character is never grown in a soil of pleasure. Character is not found in a church pew or a book.  Character is built through sacrifice and hard choices. It has been said that life is God’s gift to man; what man does with that life is his gift to God.
God’s Word tells us that character is developed through perseverance. As we trace the source of perseverance, our hearts will tremble—for the source of perseverance is suffering. For the Christian, suffering can be a source of joy BECAUSE the hope of God is a certainty that sustains. The hope of God produces eternal blessing that outweighs and outlasts every heart ache. A character rooted in God’s grace and built on faith in Christ will produce blessing all around!

“It’s always too soon to quit.”  Daniel Baker

Perseverance–pressing on, not quitting–is a trait we must develop!  Our perseverance is not solely fixed on our purposes, though.   In fact, focusing our perseverance on our goals (purposes) can discourage us.  Things don’t always turn out the way we plan; Scripture is full of such stories.
But God’s purposes are never in jeopardy.  The purposes and goals we set are a tool God uses as we travel through this life.   BUT glory to God, His purposes are woven into the journey itself…and His purposes are grander than ours!
God is busy with things we can not even imagine.  Success is trusting Him in the midst of life; the goal is enjoying His presence. Our goals are far too small.  Let’s take and apply the words of William Carey, “Expect great things–attempt great things.”  
We are to set goals that are good and in line with the purposes of God–and then leave the results in the hands of God.  The only way to do that is continually pressing in to see His face, feel His love and being filled with confidence in His plans.
Struggles teach perseverance, perseverance is entwined with character and hope–certainty of God–springs forth.  That is the only worthwhile success.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:18

Persistently seeking the Lord will transform us into His image.  I love the old saying of “Praise God I am not what I was and I am not what I will become!”  Just as God’s changeless nature is a rock-solid foundation, so our transformation is a glorious promise.

Skip the Resolutions & Set Some Goals

More than half of Americans (60%) refuse to make New Year’s resolutions…which isn’t a bad thing since 80% of those who do make resolutions won’t keep them.  In fact, Jesus said, ‘simply let yes be yes and no be no.’

ct studd only one lifeOn the other hand, setting a goal is a slightly different venture.  Life is the gift God gives to us; what we do with our life is the gift we return to Him.  Instead of setting a resolution, consider goals as the gift you prepare for the King of Kings.

Check out these verses if you need some convincing that plans and purposes are  supported by Scripture.

As the New Year zooms in, perhaps this little acrostic can help you outline some plans to ‘be your best for God’s glory’ in the coming days!  The goals we set must be S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & with tangible value.  As you consider your goals, keep in mind we are triune beings:  body, soul (mind), and spirit.  Why not prayerfully seek a SMART goal for each area?

S.M.A.R.T.

SPECIFIC

Goals must be Spirit-led and specific.  Nice ideas are difficult to press toward.   Specific plans happen–vague, ‘let’s get together’ plans do not.  It is the same for goals.

“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”  Romans 13:11

MEASURABLE

Specific goals lend themselves to measurements.  Celebrating incremental progress helps you stay the course to the destination.

“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”  Proverbs 14:23busy yoke

ACHIEVABLE

Success inspires success.  Goals that are beyond reach bring discouragement quickly.  Evaluate your plans and don’t press to the limits of possibilities.  

“When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.  Deuteronomy 24:19

REALISTIC

Goals need to be more than wishes;  you must truly want to invest time and effort–as well as make sacrifices–to achieve goals.  

  “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”   Luke 14:28  

TANGIBLE VALUE

Goals that do not add to your life will not hold your commitment.  Consider how the goal you have set adds value to your life…how it contributes to the priorities God has placed in your heart.  

Let’s spur one another on to good works.  What will you aim for in the coming year?

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