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

Do I matter? Does anyone care?

It is the question we hate feeling:  Do I matter?  Does anyone care?  We spend much of our lives seeking activities and relationships that give us an affirmative answer.  There is only One who can answer that to our complete satisfaction.  The only One who can answer it is the One who created us.

Animals are amazingly helpful in leading us to the Answer.  You don’t need to come to an A.A.R.T. session to experience the power.  Use your own pets…even observe on in the wild and ask yourself some questions.  Come on an AART discovery with me!

ABCS of Safety, Security & Significance

In the Garden of Eden, the choice to reject God’s one command cut humanity off from the Need Meeter. When we seek to meet the needs that God built into us…instead of seeking Him…we sin & become captive to that sin. Restoring connection to the Father begins the process of healing…and fulfillment…and loving ourselves. From childhood to senior citizen, we must find how Christ is the answer we seek and understand how to apply that answer to diverse situations.  It isn’t a ‘one and done’ process.  Life gives us new challenges DAILY.  Living fully means knowing IN THE MOMENT, every moment, who we are in the eyes of God.

Acceptance by God restores IDENTITY for individuals.  It provides strength for life in a changing world. When roles or actions give a person identity, they never learn the unique design God gave them. “Who am I” is a necessary question because the answer gives stability.

Animal-assisted Insight

  • How & when did you become a ‘pet parent?’
  • Are they conscious aware of your  care & provision?
  • Does their awareness of your effort change your care for them?

God-sightings:

  • What does God do for you that you may not have noticed?
  • How does awareness of His provision change your view of your worth?

Scriptures:                  Psalm 139:13-14

Belonging to God restores boundaries that provide safety and security. In the natural world, safety is an increasing concern from childhood to old age. Involvement with animals requires learning to be observant of body language and danger zones. It is easy to appreciate the value of fences, leashes and lead ropes. Let’s extend those truths to things we face daily:  the internet, to strangers with candy or puppies and to individual choices.

Animal-assisted Insight:

  • What ways to do you protect your pet?
  • What happens when they break through those boundaries?

God-sightings:

  • What ways does God ‘limit’ His children?  Where do you feel limited TODAY?
  • How does He make us aware when we break through those boundaries?

Scriptures:                  Psalm 46:1

Calling of God restores purpose to lives. The Word tells us God has created us for good works…and for connection to Him. He treasures His children and cares for them. Using the natural needs of animals (nutrition, coat & hoof care, exercise), coaches draw parallels to caring for the body as the temple of God and caring for others.

Animal-assisted Insight:

  • What needs do you meet for your pets that you tend to neglect for yourself?
  • What do you expect from them?
  • Are your animals meeting a need for you that they are not designed to meet?

God-sightings:

  • Christ died so we could take our needs to God:  What needs do you take to God?
  • Are there things you know God desires for you that you do not press toward?
  • What need are you facing today that you are trying to meet on your own–or even with your animals?

Scriptures:               Ephesians 2:10