Tag Archives: journey

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

Finding The Answer to Anxiety

Anxiety now ranks as the Number One mental health disorder in America.  Nearly 20% of the population are being treated for anxiety-related issues…many more receive no treatment or are unaware of the root cause of problems.  As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, but we can’t always figure out how to let him reign over our anxieties.  Pet-Assisted Learning sessions improve knowledge application.

“Just ask the animals, and they will teach you….”  Job 12:7a

Horse-Powered learning sessions help move things we believe from our head to our heels.  The truth is that we only believe what we actually live.  Saying that Jesus has given us peace but living with anxiety is painful, destructive and even dishonest. The abundant life is ours to enjoy.  Let the animals help you learn how!

P.A.L. Path to Peace: Answering Anxiety

Traveling on the path to peace requires awareness and action.  Participants will begin by observing the animals & surroundings, and consider their own anxiety level.  With attention directed to physical signs of anxiety and active thoughts, participants will then gather their learning partner and begin. 

Leading their partner, participants will travel a pre-made obstacle course to explore:

  • what causes anxiety for horses
  • what anxiety looks like (and creates)
  • what can be done about it

Understanding the fear nature of a horse helps participants see more deeply into their  own ‘flight responses.’  After completing the course, horses will be allowed to move freely about as participants reflect on the experience and insights gained.

Participants will then build an obstacle course that reflects their personal anxieties and how it feels to navigate through those anxieties.  They will then gather their horse partner and prepare to journey through their course together.

Before that obstacle course is navigated, participant and partner travel a path of peace to gather Scripture truths that will help them conquer the obstacles.  Armed with the knowledge gained in the previous two paths, participants will then face their personal path to peace.

Sunday, January 28 – 3:30 -5:00 PM

Chester County, SC

Limited openings.  $25 per person

P.A.L. Sessions can be scheduled as private sessions or sign up for Glory Glimpse to receive notice of community sessions.

Too Much Love to Leave Us in Our Mess!

Years ago I read a story of a little boy who defiantly responded to his punishment with,

“I’m sitting in time out but my heart is standing up!”

There is profound truth in that—and it is the reality of many adults (especially those in Church).  Obedience is not the same as being engaged in a connected relationship.  In our faith walk, God’s goal is never simple obedience.  External action without heart engagement is a sham that God will press through.

I love to watch my daughter work with her horse, Scooby.  He is a high-spirited horse…rebel-scoobyand she is a high-spirited girl.  His attitude does not intimidate her.  The dynamics of their relationship reveal the physics law of equal and opposite reaction.  In their interaction, I see a picture of how God works with His kids.  Riesa does not object to Scooby’s personality; she embraces him even when he is a ‘hot mess.’  She meets his enthusiasm (and even his rebellion) with the force needed to achieve what she asked in the beginning.

God has standards, plans and purposes for everyone—the moral standards are the same, the plans and purposes are for the good of all.  Yet, He crafted every one of us uniquely.  Our personalities, life experiences, and cultures assure unique expressions of God from our lives.  Until we surrender our personal control, the only thing we express is our self—and without God that is an expression of death.   The moment we release our ‘self’ focus, God supernaturally blesses in both the natural and spiritual realms!

When Scooby lets go of his own agenda, he and Riesa become a team.  Their personalities blend into a unique, abundant expression of life.  In the natural realm, they are just a ‘girl 13118959_1133635346699739_8904573366461875584_nand her horse.’  New skills, greater partnership and fun in the field become realities.  In the spiritual realm, growth in understanding and insights into deeper truths evolve as well—bearing seeds of eternal hope in many lives.  It has been and will continue to be a journey, just as the life of faith is a journey.  God loves us right where we are at…but He loves us too much to leave us where we are at!

Genesis 21 and Galatians 4 give us insights on this Truth.  In Genesis, we read how Abram and Sarai sought to bring about the promises of God with their own best efforts.  Their intentions were good; they were not rebelling against God.  Neither were they trusting in Him.  His promise seemed to distant; they decided 15 years was long enough…must be they needed to help Him out.  Paul goes to the heart of the matter in Galatians:  law or grace.  Law focuses on my performance; grace trusts God’s performance.  The Christian life is to be Christ’s life…not what I can drum up on my own.  But in the magnificent creativity and power of God, He empowers me to give unique expression to the life of Christ.

The Father loves each of us and wants to see how we will walk out relationship with Him.  He doesn’t want to see our best effort at ‘being good.’  Our best imitation of obedience is nothing more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  Like the little boy who sat in timeout with a heart that stood up, many appear to serve God 14076958807_fcee53117d_zand walk in obedience.  The service produces things they want:  acceptance, belonging, praise, freedom from the hassles outright sin creates.  Many of these folks sincerely believe they are serving God in the process…blind to the reality that they actually serve the god of self.  It is an empty sham that God will press into.

Here is where the glory of God shines through in a magnificent way.  In the face of what is actually rebellion, self-glorification and rejection, He looks with love.  He maintains His call to come to Him.  He uses whatever pressure is necessary to move individuals out of their dark deception and into His light!  It’s a journey worth embarking on and one surrounded by love.

Will you let His light pierce your dark places

and lead you to Himself?

Celebrate the Journey

In a recent piece, Building Relationships, I shared with you some of the lessons I am 0923161019learning from my equine instructor, Gretchen.  Like our English Bulldog, Barnabas, she inherited a life goal just by joining our family: be a tool for teaching Scriptural Truth.

In our mind, that goal meant the pets would become therapy animals for others.  It was–and is a good goal…but goals are a direction setter and the journey has some awesome scenery.  It seems that perhaps God’s purpose for them is that they simply teach us.  But maybe the things we learn will bless someone else as well.  So, our goal will be reached even if we never get there :).

With that, I share with you my lesson for the past few weeks:


A friend recently shared a video that would inspire anyone.  A man and his horse in perfect sync…playing, dancing, flying across the country-side.  Partnership and freedom–two powerful longings woven into the DNA of everyone.  Why not stop and enjoy these two before we skid back to my world!

That sort of partnership is an awesome goal…not realistic for me but direction setting, for sure!  The truth is I do not have the horsemanship skills–or the physical ability–to come anywhere near that sort of performance…and time is not on my side.  But it’s okay.  You see, the destination is not the greatest delight for the two in the video.  Each other–and the connection to each other–is the real joy.

A ‘performance’ is just the fruit of a goal that provided direction.  The delight is in enjoying every step taken together toward the goal.  The foundation of the performance is relationship.  That partnership connection developed one moment at a time.

Each of us has what it takes for  building relationship because that is the very purpose for which we were created!  You might say we inherited that purpose like our family pets inherited theirs.  The good news is relationships are God’s purpose…and His purposes find completion.

Relationships are the foundation of life: 

Love requires a relationship to engage it. 

Relationships require love to develop. 

Its a perfect set-up–the expression of God Himself.

Every relationship is unique…and each offers to reveal more of how God relates with us.  Each partner brings unique strengths and weaknesses.  When the mix is rooted in agape love and given the time to develop, incredible results bloom.

Back to the Gretchen Connection:  0924161104dWhat I bring to the table with my horse is inexperience, uncertainty–even insecurity–and a body that doesn’t always like to bend or move fluidly. What she brings to the table is largely unknown to me but broken trust and very different expectations than I have are definite. We are still getting to know each other, building trust, learning how to communicate.  I am realizing I don’t always know what I want and other times I don’t know what I am asking.

Therein is the power and potential in my equine instructor:  those same issues that bubble up with her are truths in other areas of my life.  Recognizing weaknesses is the first step in inviting the Spirit of God to transform me at a deeper level.  At that point, it isn’t about my goal with Gretchen–but God’s goal for me.  All of our life, in every aspect of our life, God is about producing His plans for us.  His plans are always good.

My goals for my horse are a direction that does more than build our relationship or prepare us for something more.  Right goals are a pathway for God to do so much more than we can0908161033a ever ask or think.  Maybe one day she and I will do a dance…but tomorrow and maybe even into next month, we’ll just breathe and listen to each other.  I’ll learn something about me–and something about horses and Gretchen in particular.

We’ll partner with the moment and thank the Creator who lives in that moment with us.  Like a parent watching their child immersed in the joy of play, God will enjoy our joy…because we are His!

We have a tendency to continually think “If this or that, then I will be happy.”  It’s a lie, a distraction to steal the present.  The moment is now!  The God we serve is the Great I AM.

He has given us everything; we choose to enjoy it–or postpone that enjoyment till some future day.

Choose this day to enjoy this moment!