Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘life’

Who am I

I have one eye that is used a lot but I cannot see.  What am I?

You see me where I never was…and really can never be.  What am I?

If you say my name, I disappear.  What am I?

If I drink I die, if I eat I’m fine.  What am I?

Riddles are kind of fun, aren’t they?  If you want the answers, join the Six-Days to Abundance journey and let me know about it.  I’ll send the answers on! 

But did you ever consider that each of us is a bit of riddle?  We spend much of our lives trying to answer that question, who am I?  It is a critical question because it is the foundation of our lives.

Whether we know it or not, we make our decisions based on what we believe gives us worth.  We choose our actions, our friends, even life-time pursuits based on what we feel gives us ‘value.’  In fact, who we understand ourselves to be is a life & death matter.  The heartbreaking reality is that over 44,000 people commit suicide every year…and that’s the reported suicides.  Life is difficult.  Without understanding the value of this life we have, we end up assigning value to parts of life.  Those parts will not hold up to the rigors of life.  Identity rooted in the Giver of Life grows stronger as the years progress.  It is the only foundation for life.  So, how do you define yourself…do you even know?

Write an advertisement for yourself.

What would someone need to know to know you?.

What do you come up with?

Wife.  Athlete.  Or maybe disabled.  Mom.  Divorced.  German or Italian.  Teacher.  Pet owner.  Couch potato.  High School drop-out or PhD candidate.  So & So’s child…or parent.  A Christian, a Muslim.  Jewish.  Homosexual.  Prisoner.  Addict.  Pastor. Winner.  Loser.

 All of those are important but anyone of those things can change (even ethnic heritages are sometimes not what we thought).  When things change, you will still be you.  So ‘who are you?’

We are each a riddle…until we go to the One who created us.

You (God) made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13

God is the Giver of Life.  As Paul said to the Romans, in Him we live and move and exist.  The only way to know who we are is to go to Him.  God has given us life to search out the answer to the question of identity.  He calls to us throughout life and sent Jesus to open the way for us.  The choice to go to Him is ours.  What often drives us to Him are the disappointments that comes with a faulty understanding of self.

  • If I am what I achieve, what happens when I fail?  My identity…my sense of self bottoms out.
  • Or what if I achieve great things…think of the celebrities who have ended their own lives or whose lives are stolen by addictions….and still can’t find fulfillment?  The praise of others is not life-giving.
  • If I build my life on my children…or a spouse…and their quest takes them from me, what is my foundation?
  • Or if my identity has been in my job and my company closes, how do I face the rejection that comes with job-hunting?
  • What if I made one bad choice that haunts me for decades?  Is that the sum of who I am?

No!  The stuff of life is where we live out who we are…it is not supposed to make us who we are!

We find out identity by going to the maker.  We recognize that in other realms of life.  Take a look at this picture.  What is it for?  You can click the picture to find out but thepoint is we go to the creator (or one who has experience) to find out purpose.  

With the precious gift of life, why would we not do the same!?  We want to be the masters of our fate, but the ways that seem right to us often create havoc.  Jesus came that we might have abundant life!  Listen to who the Master says you are…and then live with awe for His love and the masterpiece He has wrought in you.  Give yourself to the world and to revealing Him.  You will be blessed and so will the world!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Image result for identity in Christ verses

There are countless resources aimed to help Christians embrace the identity that comes with faith in Jesus.  This is one.

Living out this identity is a life-time challenge that requires us to stay connected to God and others.  It gives us a foundation for living.

All that we search for is found in Jesus. Let Him Love You! 

Difficulties Guaranteed. Choose Outcome: Weariness or Worship.

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.”  John 16:33

Difficulties and disappointments are guaranteed to come to every life.  The outcome of every situation is our choice.  We can follow the path of the Overcomer, or we can choose to blaze our own way.  Following Jesus will lead us to worship and the fulfilling presence of God.  Going our own way will lead to greater devastation and paralyzing weariness.

The choice seems easy; who doesn’t want victory?!  The reality is the path to victory demands stepping out in faith.  That path demands knowing the Promises and ways of God…and walking in them even when they seem impossible.  On the other hand, the weary path seems wise at first.  We trust the knowledge we’ve accumulated; we rely on our natural abilities and intellect.  It feels safer.  It is a deception.

The passages that precede Jesus’ words above lead us toward the desire of God–intimate fellowship with Himself.  Jesus explains the necessity of abiding in the vine–living in His love.  We love the concept and in quiet times, our mental agreement feels adequate.  But the power of the passage comes when we live it out in the dusty days of life.  Living in the love of God gives strength when the people around us are unreasonable and unkind.  Staying in the vine gives us nourishment when life is draining us with failures and insurmountable problems.

As Christians, we are on a mission to take the glory of God to the hurts of the world.  We can’t idolize the quiet spots; they are to be enjoyed but we have work to do!

So, what do we do with those heartaches that come into our lives?  First, we must remember that what we see is incomplete and in part, an illusion.  We are to live the G Morel flickr.comWord in the midst of the difficulties and enjoy the presence of God through intercessory prayer.

Intercession is so much more than taking God a to do list.  He knows the burdens that weigh upon us.  What He asks of us is to bring those burdens to Him and seek His view.  God has a good purpose and plan in all things; He has the power to produce what He desires.

From the earthly perspective,3241925633_310c42121a_z our problems loom large and feel impossible.  We often beg God to take them away.  In those times, we are carrying loads here that He wants us to bring into His presence.

Intercessory prayer becomes worship as we see inside the Father’s heart and feel His powerful presence reassuring us.  From the eternal perspective, problems relate to aweseom purposes we rejoice in when we seek His understanding.

The Truth of the Word is to be transformational–not tiresome.  Just as intercessory prayer is not a ‘to do list’ for God, neither is obedience to God.  Obedience is doing the will of God with a heart that trusts in His goodness in every situation.  A heart that trusts in Him enjoys His presence so much, lists of sin are unnecessary–because sin separates from Him.  Living Truth in the dust and difficulties of our days is not about getting everything right.  It is about being transformed by the Truth of Love so we can rise victorious over every circumstance.

Weariness comes when our list of ‘do and do nots’ consumes us more than His beauty.  “Love your enemy” is a burden until I see my enemy from God’s view.  “Do not covet” is impossible unless I see the generosity of God who meets my every need.  External measures of life tire us out; a heart resting in Him exceeds any ‘list’ and fills us with energizing life.

When we are growing weary, we are to take that as a reminder to WORSHIP!

How we live matters.

The chaos and horrors of the world pile up to make us feel helpless and hopeless.  It isn’t true.  Every life has impact; every life matters.  We must accept responsibility both for how we live and what we look at.  The children’s song I used to sing with the children is on my heart this morning:

Proverbs says that in the path of the righteous there is no death.  That doesn’t mean that any of us can always do righteously or that no one will die. It means that lives seeking God with passion and perseverance…lives seeking righteousness IN Christ emanate life.

Last evening we looked at these verses from Romans.

Romans 8:24-25New American Standard Bible (NASB)

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Many believe in Jesus…accept ‘fire insurance’ so to speak.  We are willing to believe in the face of what they cannot control…but then set out to control everything else.  We have a ‘confident assurance’ for eternity but doubt God’s ability to handle a car repair or a disability or …. you name whatever robs your peace.

We only believe what we live.  Peace is possible in the midst of ALL things.  I was compelled to write this this morning after reading of a recent martyrdom in the Middle East.  The article is painful to read.  It reminded me both of the reality of my faith for life…and the impact of lives focused on Jesus.  I want to be found faithful.  I want to live–and die–to the glory of God.  It takes time, focus and intentional living.  Let’s do it!

When the eight victims were forced to kneel for their beheadings, all eight prayed loudly.

“Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord’s Prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus,” the ministry director explained. “One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!'”

 

Love Life

Shortly after 9/11 there was an interview with an ISIS member who captured for me the essence of their heart.  He said something like this:

“America, you will never win because you love life and we love death.”

He may be right…our country may not win, but we don’t have to lose.  Christ is life; He already won by overcoming death.  He offers us life.

In the face of yet another murderous attack, I share a piece from Fixing our Eyes on God.  We need not be fearful or victimized.

Know Jesus.  Know Peace.  No Jesus.  No Peace.

Our look at the Lord today is a well-known title: Jesus is Life.  It (life) is a passion for God; He is the giver of Life.  God loves Life and longs for every soul to know the abundance of true Life. Jesus came that we could know the fullness of eternal life.  But Satan loves death and constantly seeks to blind all to true Life.  He directs our attention to illusions of life that are only death in masquerade:  fame, fortune and adventure.  True Life is Jesus.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, Scripture guides us to Life.

All Scripture points us to the fullness of Life—to Jesus.  The writings of the disciple John repeatedly remind that Jesus is Life.   John quotes Christ’s own words that ‘He is the way, the truth and the life.’  Jesus is the only way to God; He is the source of truth; and Jesus is Life itself.  The gospel of John opens by beautifully laying out Christ’s eternality as the Word, the Life and the Light of the world.  John’s gospel ties perfectly with the Psalmist who praised the light given by the Word.  It knits with Paul’s explanation that the presence of Jesus reveals eternal life.  The Word, Jesus, is light and life to all who receive it.  The Greek dictionary defines the light that the life of Christ brings as a light unable to be kindled or quenched by another!  Satan can deceive for a time, but he cannot produce a light that endures.  The Word who is Life and Light will never pass away.
Fixing our eyes on the source of life is the only way to navigate this treacherous world safely—and to help others do likewise.  No path on earth can resist the light produced by Christ’s life.  As we allow His life to fill the darkest parts of our lives, the pathway we should take becomes clear.  The shadows that fill the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ flee in the presence of eternal Life!  The despairs that threaten our souls—loneliness, addictions, fear—dissipate when the truth of His life penetrate.  Lives filled with His life illumine the paths of others as well.
In addition to the Light that accompanies the Life, scripture reminds us of other ways Christ is life to this world.  Jesus is the ‘living bread’ and the ‘living water.’  His Life is sustenance and refreshment in this dry, weary land.   As pilgrims, we are not to rely on any other source for life than Jesus Himself.  When the Life of Christ fills us, that which is ‘dead’ becomes alive.  In fact, Christ calls us to be ‘living stones’ in this world of death.  Our lives are to evidence what Christ told Martha:  “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25).  Our lives are to overflow with the Life of Jesus so that He spills onto those who walk nearby us.

Celebrating Heartsong’s Sir Barnabas

12011203_10206373999700891_2684319076143043947_nSir Barnabas of Chester is ONE year old!  He is an ‘abundant life’ dog for sure.  Named in honor of Barnabas in Scripture, his destiny is to become an encourager.  His first year of life has been one of expressing himself and learning to be part of a family.

And in doing that, he encourages all around him to do the same!  That’s a pretty good start in legacy building.  Join us in celebrating and may each reader BE ENCOURAGED!906112_10206577955119649_1065774115508889853_o

Barnabas came to Chester as a gift of love and appreciation.  Craig faithfully provides our family with love and care…and has done so for nearly a quarter of a century.  The kids and I wanted him to have joy in loving…in the form of a squirming, wrinkled bully.  Barnabas wiggled into that role perfectly.

0219160922Although he didn’t realize it (and sometimes still doesn’t), Barney didn’t come to rule his own kingdom.  He came into a home with two doggy siblings…and a myriad of DSC07193 (2)other critters.  He had to find his way to harmony, and it hasn’t always been easy.

Sometimes you have to surrender to be a part of the pack!  But sometimes you can just charge on with pack and have a good time, too. As Barney found his place in his new ‘kingdom’ everyone else learned a bit more about themselves too!

Sir Barnabas knows who he is created to be and he lives out the design with a strong will and determination.  Sometimes his rambunctious pursuit of what he wants aggravates others–and gets him in trouble.   That doesn’t really slow him down; he just loves with equal passion.  This first year, Barney has spent encouraging his house mates to live and love!  We celebrate that and anticipate the expansion of his legacy in year two.

flip barney

 

Happy Birthday, Heartsong’s Sir Barnabas!

 

Fighting for Freedom & Abundant Life

Everyone struggles in this life.  Jesus said it would be that way:

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.”  John 16:33

Scripture tells us that it was for freedom that Christ came (Galatians 5:1, Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18)…but freedom is not free.

  • Freedom cost the Father the pain of watching His Son suffer.
  • Freedom cost Jesus the pain of rejection by His own, physical suffering and he shame of death on the Cross.
  • Freedom costs us the discipline of surrender; it requires that we be willing to lay down our desires and do His will.  We call it dying to ourselves.  We can’t do it without the Holy Spirit–and we can’t do it alone.

Sometimes the cost feels too great; our trust is too small to get us through to surrender.  Other times the enemy of our souls, Satan, obscures and confounds the message of freedom.  Fear, blindness and hopelessness keep us from the life God desires for us.

The fight for freedom–the fight for the abundant life Christ came to give us–demands relationship with others.  We are designed for one another and grow best in the context of relationships. Pursuing discipleship with other believers is key to the health of the Body–corporately and individually.  It is not a sign of weakness or ill-health to seek help for struggles in life; it is a sign of a desire to live fully!

What things keep Christians from walking in freedom?

  • Hurts that breed resentment and unforgive-ness happen in every life.
  • Truths that get stuck in our head and can’t find their way to our heart (or our feet) are part of the human experience.
  • A lack of confident understanding about the authority of one who is in Christ and/or the skills to use that authority.

The life of faith—the life of freedom—is one of continual growth.  God created us to need one another.  Those who engage in mentoring relationships minister to those who mentor.  It is a mutually beneficial relationship.  It is a beautiful time of living faith and seeking to understand how the living Word applies to the life we are living.

Why would someone seek a mentor?

Those who are willing to face challenges and ask ‘why?’ seek to be discipled.  They are the individuals strong enough to believe that God has promised abundant life…individuals willing to seek the face of God.  Faith that demonstrates such courage inspires others.

In the Old Testament, most of God’s children told Moses—‘you talk to God and tell us what He says.’   God is not interested in second-hand conversations, but learning to hear His voice takes time.  Mentors help tune ears and fix eyes on the ways of God.  Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to approach the throne of grace with boldness to obtain mercy and receive grace.

Is a mentor just a friend?

A friend can be a mentor, but often friends do not want to ask the hard questions.  Mentors have to be willing to make you a bit uncomfortable.  We don’t grow best in our comfort zones.  Friends are important, but friends often find comfort in keeping us where we are at.  Mentors focusing on helping us grow.

How do I find a mentor or form a discipling relationship?

  • The place to begin is your church.  Ask God top reveal to you who would be a good person to help you grow spiritually.  Speak with your pastor or a member of the leadership team about your desire.  Then, simply share with that person your desire and see if a plan can be set up.  Discipling requires discipline and commitment.  If the first person you ask is unable to make the commitment, keep looking!
  •  Some churches (like my own) have ministry teams who schedule appointments for those interested in discipleship.  I would love to share information on how this began and ways to do the same in your community.
  • Use the internet.  There are many websites like this one, and many individuals like myself who offer discipleship coaching or classes for a fee as a way to continue ministering at large.
  • Begin a Bible Study with a friend and serve as accountability partners.  I have some favorites, I would be glad to recommend if you don’t know of one you’d like to do.

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  Romans 8:29

God has great plans for us!  The Holy Spirit superintends our growth.   He guides us in the desire to grow in grace and knowledge  as Jesus did.  Enjoy the journey!

 

What Power Source Do You Rely On?

The electric went out this morning…and all of us were immediately aware of its absence.  The computer screen went blank; the fish filter went silent.  We took notice.  Can you imagine if our spiritual walk was that tuned in?

As believers, the Holy Spirit is our power source.  We can do nothing without Him:

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

Yet, the honest truth is that we don’t always notice when He has withdrawn.  How can that be?

Without the computer, my writing, research and communication options were greatly curtailed, so I opted for a walk with my dog.  He doesn’t rely on electricity–he relies on me.  But more on that later.  The impact of the electric outage was evident everywhere.  Business people stood in groups chatting, obviously waiting for power to return.  The post office customers headed for their cars.  Traffic moved cautiously at the intersection.   Life went on…with slightly altered priorities and a bit more effort.

Even though everyone likely took the presence of electricity for granted in the moments before it shut off, its absence was immediately noticed.  What we rely on isn’t always recognized in the day-to-day…but when we rely on something, its lack pulls us up short.  In the spiritual realm, this is truly a matter of life and death.  We don’t want to wait until the Spirit is absent–because the Spirit IS life.  We are to take that Life into this broken world; we can’t do that if we aren’t connected!

‘Get ‘er done’ is a way of life that disguises truth…and it can be deadly.  Humanly speaking, we can accomplish some pretty impressive things.  Human beings are amazing creatures…God’s favorite creation according to His account.  The problem is that we tend to rely on ourselves and don’t even notice what we are doing.

It isn’t until we are feeling under the weather, that we recognize how much we rely on our health.  Not until we need to move a heavy object, do we notice our muscles (or the lack thereof).  Our minds have incredible power and potential as well:  electricity is one magnificent result of intellectual ability.  Medical science is another.  Truly great things come out of pure human ability.

But in the matter of life and death, we come face-to-face with our limitations–and the reality that all we have comes from God, the Giver of Life:

“…He (God) Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things…” Acts 17:25b

We have plans, programs and projects that we use to measure our success.  That is not God’s plan.

He designed us to be God-directed, Spirit-controlled.  Failing to live that way creates dis-unity, ill-health and ultimately death.  His Spirit desires to speak into our spirit.

I am to rely on that communication channel like my dog relies on me! 

Deliberately trusting in the Holy Spirit is a necessity that requires the investment of our time:  attentiveness dies on the altar of busy-ness.  The beauty of disruptions to daily life is that they cause us to notice where our trust really lies.   I rejoice that this disruption today refocused my eyes on trusting the Spirit for direction!  My prayer is that it does the same for you!

Our body, mind and emotions are simply antennae that help us hear the world.  Our decisions are not to come from those things.  Sapphire Dream PhotographyIt is our spirit tuned into His Spirit that provides direction!  In the midst of the noise of life is the quiet voice of the Lord…the Prince of Peace.

He does direct those who listen to Him…He shows which way He desires us to go.  Our challenge is to receive His wisdom with quiet confidence in His goodness.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.  James 3:17

That really shouldn’t be that big of a challenge except for this truth: we are more accustomed to trusting in ourselves than in the King of Kings.  Stated openly, the foolishness is obvious. With the truth unveiled, let’s decide to choose the Living Truth, Life Himself!

 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: