Tag Archives: spiritual growth

Does the Promised Land have droughts?

When God delivered His kids from captivity, He said residency in the Promised Land was conditional.  That’s a timeless truth.  The promised land is nothing like the world, and dwelling in it requires a total change.  In the Promised Land, God is the caretaker and our trust must be totally in Him.  Look at how Moses described it to those about to enter in:

“it is a land that the LORD your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year!”  Genesis 11:12

It seems like that would be a glorious reality, but the temptation Adam fell to in the Garden of Eden is ours as well.  Living in the Promised Land requires faithful obedience.  Our human nature…which we have been delivered from… still tempts us to redeem ourselves. It is a dead-end temptation.

When Adam abdicated his responsibility as caretaker in the Garden of Eden, a curse on the ground was part of the result.  As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, God’s word revealed that He alone redeems from the consequences of sin.  Even the curse of the ground will be taken care of for those who obey God…because walking in His ways reveals our love for Him and our trust in Him.  That was God’s desire at Creation and it remains His desire.  There is no other way to a full life than following the Creator Redeemer.

Those who enter the Promised Land through faith in Christ but turn away to worship and serve lesser gods (ie pleasure, power, wealth, knowledge, performance) will find both the heavens and earth shut up.  There will be drought and barren-ness even in the Promised Land.  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you do not have to live in a sun-scorched land.  Jesus came, suffered and died so we could have abundant life!

“…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10b

Moses told the people God sets before them a choice:  blessing or cursing.  Because of Jesus, we have the same choice…and even better, Jesus is the power source for fulfilling that choice.  In our natural state, we are sold into the slavery of sin.  We are created beings designed to worship.  Either we worship what ‘seems good to us’ or we worship the Creator Redeemer.  There is a way that seems good to man–many of them.  But Proverbs says that way is the way of death.  The only choice natural man has that leads to life is Jesus Christ.  When that choice is made, all things are possible and the choices are vast!  Jesus is the way to abundant life!

But it is not the ‘easy way.’  Again, we can learn from the words of Moses.

And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Deuteronomy 12:3

When we enter into eternal life–which begins here on earth the moment we accept Christ–there is work to do.  We enter in with baggage; we enter in with altars that need to be tore down, pillars that must be smashed, and groves of places we have worshiped false gods.  All of that must be removed.  Our earthly life is to become an altar to the One True God.

The altars are the places we have sacrificed.  It is different for each of us.  Some have sacrificed to altars of comfort, some to altars of the praise of men.  We each have our stumbling blocks.  God will reveal them.  The pillars are the beautiful things we decorate our idolatry with. (‘I need this fishing boat to relax and hear God.’  ‘I need this car so I can go help others.’ ) Jesus is our only need.  Some translations use ‘asherah poles’ instead of groves.  Those relate to the ‘fruit’ we claim from our idolatry.  God alone gives increase without trouble; we never need to deviate from His ways to produce good.  (‘I have to get mad to be heard.’)  God will lead every step of the way if we keep our heart soft to His look, to His pressure.  He is cheering us on not berating us for our failures.

Those are battles that must be fought to take possession of the Promised Land.  God is the one who fights for us.  He will destroy our enemies, but we must seek His face continually.  He loves the weak and inadequate.  In fact, that is who He chooses.  There are great and precious promises we must discover in the Scriptures and make our own by living on those promises.  Jesus is the Living Word.

As we read the Word and seek to put it into action in the dusty details of our days, the very presence of God surrounds us.  The heavens and earth open up as we walk in confidence of God’s goodness.  It is not our perfect adherence to the Word we read…it is our heart desire to do what He asks that brings the Kingdom to God to the broken world.

If you are a Christian not experiencing the abundant life, here is a great passage to begin feasting upon.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[a] his own glory and excellence,[b] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,[c] and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities[d] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers,[e] be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.  (2 Peter – ESV)

You, reader, lack nothing!  He promises He will be found by those who seek Him with all their heart.  He is always faithful to His promises.  Our Father owns it all and has great plans and purposes for us.  Those plans and purposes will not always look like we envision but the truth holds fast:  His plans are good and for our benefit.  May our hearts be like Jesus, so confident in the power and goodness of the Father, we always say, “Not my will but thine be done.”

And one last thing…how will we know we are living the abundant life?  We will rejoice in worshiping God alone!  We will bow before the Cross with a heart that rejoices!

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Joy in the Journey

God is always present.  He is the Great I AM.  Sometimes we struggle to see His fingerprints on our lives.  Joy in the Journey comes as we seek to recognize the work of God in our lives–and in the lives of those around us.

Joy in the Journey is a tool box for those wanting to know more of the presence of God.  This book is useful for individual or group study.  Workshops for small group leaders or multi-week studies can be arranged for groups wishing to dig deeper into the topic.  The books are available for individual purchase at Amazon and CreateSpace.   A PDF version of the book can be ordered below:

Joy in the Journey PDF

God desires for us to ENJOY this life! He has given it to us as a gift. Joy in the Journey provides tools for unpacking the gifts He has given! Exploring the seasons of life–and God’s presence in each–deepens understanding and reveals the fingerprints of God in every detail of life. Utilizing journaling and insights from such greats as St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila’s ‘Interior Castle’, Joy in the Journey leads you toward the abundant life Jesus desires for you!

$1.99

More information on Workshops is available here.

If you cannot afford the suggested donation, please fill out the contact form below and indicate the specific resource you would like to have.

Joy in the JourneyJoy in the Journey Back

Joy in the Journey

I’ve been talking about it for weeks!  The Spiritual Journaling book–that morphed into more.  I am so excited to say:

It is almost ready for release.  The files are submitted for review.

Joy in the Journey: Tools for Spiritual Growth: Journaling & More

The promises of a life of faith are full and enticing. Yet sometimes life feels futile. Joy in the Journey offers tools and hope for those who want to see the beauty in every day. Healing for the past and hope for the future are real promises from Jesus Christ. This books helps individuals see both!

Don’t miss out on the announcement.  Sign up for Glory Glimpse today!

Unsplash Journey

Growing Up in Christ

Growing up spiritually takes a plan.  When I accepted Christ as Lord–as opposed to receiving a ticket out of hell–I had trouble finding folks who could articulate the Way.  They told me ‘read the Bible,’ ‘do this’ and ‘do that.’  They were not wrong, but I needed more.  It is always my heart to offer that ‘more’ to others who are on this glorious path!

Throughout this website and in my materials you will find resources for ‘more.’  Soul Training in the Barn is a basic study to move believers on in their faith journey.  BUT the bottom line is this:

We cannot “DO” to be…but when we “BE DISCIPLES” we will surely do the works God plans for us!

so, here are some BEs to do!

  • RELATIONAL – Discipleship demands relationship with the Holy Spirit. Become best friends with the Holy Spirit; distinguish His voice; and increase your responsiveness.
    • Be Spirit-led. Be Spirit-loved. Be Reverent.
    • Isaiah 30:21; John 14:26; Galatians 5:16
  • BIBLICALLY LITERATE – Study the Scriptures to know the King, the Kingdom and the Way.
    • Be Students of the Word. Be Faithful.
    • Psalm 119:9-11; Joshua 1:8; Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 2:15
  • TRANSFORMED – What you learn as you study, must be practiced. Live the Word you read.
    • Be the Word. Be Growing.  Be Eternal. Be Obedient.
    • Proverbs 4:20-1; John 14:15; James 1:23-25
  • TRANSPARENT – Be honest and allow the Spirit total access to your heart, mind and will.
    • Be Teachable. Be Humble.  Be Hospitable (invite people to know the real you!).
    • Proverbs 12:1; Luke 18:17; Hebrews 12:6
  • FAMILY – Produce spiritual children, care for one another.
    • Be Leaders. Be Encouragers. Be in Fellowship.  Be Peacemakers.
    • 1 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 14:13; Colossians 3:13
  • LOVE – Live the Word that others will see it and long for it.
    • Be Christ-like. Be Unselfish.  Be Eternal.
    • Proverbs 10:12; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; 1 John 4:7, 18-19

Heartsong Pets – Dog Training

Today at 3 PM, Last Straw Dog Training will provide the first in a series of dog obedience classes at our house.  Any are welcome, but there is an underlying goal to this venture.

1 Corinthians 15:46 sums it up well for me:

The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

We believe that Jesus Christ is the answer to all of life’s dilemmas, but we are often blind as to how that can be.  We believe that pets are great instructors who can reveal truths in powerful ways!

The natural life is our ground for learning about Jesus.  Pets reach hearts when people cannot.  The tangible results of pet interaction for those with hurting hearts is well documented.  Children are drawn to pets; old people as well.  From family pets to therapy dogs to service animals, the potential of well-trained pets is phenomenal.

For those willing to invest themselves in partnering with their pets (to learn and share natural/spiritual truths) there are even greater rewards.  The natural (our minds, our bodies) must meld knowledge and discipline.  That is our responsibility. The spirit work is all the Lord’s.  The natural life training will benefit anyone willing to exercise themselves to do it.  The spiritual potential will be enjoyed by any willing to receive it.

Participation in actual therapy visits is not a requirement for attending the training.  The cost is $25 per pet.  For more information on how we see animals partnering to teach us, visit Heartsong Pets.

Enjoying All God Has Given!

Did you know that billions of dollars sit in ‘unclaimed funds’ accounts across the United States? Deposits have been made to the legal, rightful owners of monies (i.e. inheritances, refunds, settlements), but they never actually ‘get’ those monies because they don’t know it’s there!   In the spiritual sense, ‘unclaimed funds’ accounts litter the ‘Church’ and impoverish the world!  As Christians, we all have more than we are using:  let’s resolve to get more of our spiritual inheritance in the coming year.

God loves to give!  In fact, II Peter 1:3 tells us we have everything we need already!  But receiving is passive; getting requires awareness and action!

Think about it:  salvation is the start of life itself.  That Gift requires belief to activate it.  Every other spiritual gift requires active faith as well.

As the gift of a New Year languishes on our doorstep, ponder this:

“What has God given to me that I am not actively enjoying?”

Obviously, having everything we need doesn’t mean life will be perfect.  Unfairness, rejection, and evil littered the life of our Lord; it will ours as well.  Like Christ, though, we can enjoy abundant life with eternal purposes!  None of the wrong, ugly things of life can separate us from the love and power of God, though.  Emotional woundings, destructive addictions and ungodly lusts are no match for the resources we possess—when we know we have—and use it!

Knowing is the key concept.  We received all things at salvation but we ‘get’ them as we gain more knowledge about God Himself.  Answering our call to glory…to eternal significance, virtue and holy right-ness demands that we know the Truth about those things…and then do our best to live them out.  We must ‘get’ it so we can pass it on to all we encounter in our journeys of life!

The very power of God delivered us from sin—and delivered all things to us for His grand purposes! This life of faith comes with the power we need to walk out His godliness in the day-to-day—blessing others as we go.   We are saved for a purpose!  Let’s not leave unclaimed resources in our spiritual banks this coming year.  We need all we have…and so does this world.