Can others hear your song?

Your song – your story – matters!

You have a story to tell!

Every life reveals God in a unique way. It is our one glorious opportunity to allow the image of God – which we are created in- to shine forth from our lives.

How we live becomes our song of God. The keys to singing your song clearly are knowing God and knowing yourself! He is your designer; you are made in His image, and He has personally planned good works for you to do. To sing your song well, you must first know the heart of God – and then find your place in His heart!

Hebrews 11:2 tells us Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is working in your life right now, and He writes amazing stories. As Jesus writes your story, you are the apple of His eye. He adores you and writes the story to make you shine brightly!

Journaling your faith journey moves you along the path of knowing God and finding yourself. Growing in grace and knowledge indicates movement! The devil knows God but never moves to trusting God! Like the diamond, faith develops through the pressures of life. Writing focuses your eyes on the journey and moves you forward. The following guided questions will help you hear and sing your song more clearly!

diamond
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rogerbarker/

Consider the questions below and again let the Spirit direct your thoughts to how God has revealed Himself during the tough times.

• Has it ever felt like your prayers were unheard or that God ignored you?
• When did you doubt that the things you read in the Bible were true for you?

 (e.g. Did you not feel the love of God or His power?  Did it seem like you were the abandoned child and God only loves someone else?)

• Have you been disappointed by those you thought were godly…or at least more godly than you?

• When have you needed the peace that only God could provide?

 • Have you ever had to make a sacrifice for your faith?  Have you been ridiculed for your belief?

 Faith is very personal and must be grappled with on an individual basis.  We need each other, though, to truly see God.  And we all share some common transition points in life that we can easily relate to another’s experience.  Those crisis points are important windows for seeing God and helping others see Him.  Let the Holy Spirit remind you of the fingerprints of God in such times as these: 

frozen wave against sunlight
Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

• Loss of a loved one

• Celebrations:  graduations, promotions

• Marriage

• Birth of children

• A move

Not all growth is from hard times, though. There are disciplines of faith that move us into Christ-likeness. Investing our time in the Word of God, in prayer, in fellowship and in Worship are key components of spiritual growth. Consider:

• What has helped you grow spiritually the most?  What would you encourage every believer to try?

• How has it helped you?

 • What changes in your life have you made to honor God…in obedience to God?

 • What do you recall about your baptism?

 • Are there other sacraments that are particularly meaningful?

 • Have you ever shared the story of your salvation experience?

 • Do you share with others how your faith impacts your life?

 • Do you have a favorite hymn or passage of scripture?

 • What goals for growth do you have now…where do you see God asking you to trust Him more?

 • What transitions are likely to enter your life in the next five years?

Faith stories are inspiring, beautiful and ever-changing.

Start writing yours today or let me know how I can help you with the form below.

Heroes Giving Courage

Courage, like character, is caught through contact.  It  is learned through leadership that models, encourages and expects it from others.  Heroes matter.  We live in a world increasingly falling to fear.  As Christians, that ought not be.  Perfect love casts out all fear.  When we live in the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is nothing to fear, except as FDR once said, “fear itself.” Fearing fear is not an option for us as Christians.

Fear wreaks havoc in our lives; God created us to live with faith in Him, not fear of the future.  Fear actually creates damage in our brains…in our bodies. There are legitimate things to fear…but we are not to fear the fear!  We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us!  We are to live in victorious faith that delivers health.

Sharing the testimonies of victory in Christ is one way to glorify God and encourage one another.

What testimonies encourage you?  What is YOUR testimony that needs to be told?

Christ, of course, is the greatest hero of all time.  Even He looked up to another.  Christ never did anything outside of the will of the Father.  Following the Father’s will takes a lot of courage.  It called Christ to leave the perfect paradise of heaven to be born in a barn–and be rejected by the very people He came to rescue.  Heroes don’t do things for applause–they do them because it is who they are.

Too many of our earthly heroes perform for praise; how sad for them.  The praise of people is unstable.  Popularity waxes and wanes…and eventually death deafens the praise anyway.  Performers are not heroes who help us live better.  We need more than that.

Examples of courage abound…in and out of the realm of Christianity.  Every person is made in the image of God…and that image is glorious.   Many who never profess Christ as their hero live with character and courage.  As Christians, we owe every courageous person a debt of gratitude because their example is of great value to those of us seeking to live for Christ.  Cowards cannot do the work of the King.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing stories of the victories of faith…stories to inspire courage.  I invite you to share yours as well.  You can share in writing, or we can set up a time for an interview.  Let’s work together to give glory to God by giving the good reports that we need as we walk through this world!

 

 

 

Writing Your Story

14310069428_097f9b6e18_z

The biggest step in writing your story is the first one!  Simply getting started will set the wheels in motion.  A simple genealogy chart will help you begin to think about family.  Many free printable charts exist on the web; this is a charming one that will get your thoughts rolling.

Then let’s start with some simple questions to get the ink flowing.

  • What town(s) did you grow up in?  Were you born there?
  • Did you have one family home or many?
  • What was the atmosphere at home?  Were both parents in the home?  Was there a sweet spirit or a lot of bickering?
  • How about your siblings?  Did you get along?  Did you share a bedroom…hobbies…chores?
  • Speaking of chores, what kind of responsibilities did you have as a child?
  • Were there family gatherings, traditions or celebrations that remain strong in your mind?
  • Did your grandparents have much influence in your home?

—————————————————————————

Writing is a process that can easily bog you down.  For now, simply begin jotting stories.  Do not worry about a ‘publishable’ piece…simply put in writing the memories that are part of who you are as an adult.

WARNING:   Not every memory will be a sweet one.  There is no need to sugar-coat the past, but the past need not influence the present either.  If you find memories swamping you with negative feelings, set that aside for a time.  You may want to address those areas in another way so the negative influences of the past are ‘cut off.’  Should such a challenge come your way, the Legacy Builder:  Healing the Past article may be of help. 

 If you would like to dig further into your story, Joy in the Journey may be the book for you!

The Heart of God

One of my favorite song choruses leads us in these words:

“Just to know You and to make You known”

Being known in all of His fullness is the heart of God.  Jesus tells those who listen that knowing the Father and Himself is eternal life.  We cannot know God without the Holy Spirit.  Our natural minds are simply not able to grasp His greatness.  Humbly accepting that opens the door to the help of the Helper.  The Father, Son and Spirit always work together to give life to God’s favorite creation:  humanity!

The Word of God reveals the heart of God.  There is no way to know God without digging into it.  This morning I watched God seeking to reveal Himself to Moses, the people of Israel and Pharaoh.  All through the passages of the Exodus, God says “that you will know that I am God.”  It wasn’t that the Israelites didn’t know of God–they didn’t know Him in His fullness.  Pharaoh did not know God, but he saw God work in the lives of those God pulled into relationship with Himself.  The life of faith is about getting to know God intimately AND fully–and in so doing making Him known to others.

Abundant life is knowing God as He is revealed in the Word.  Jesus Christ ‘became the Word’ – meaning He walked the earth to reveal what God in human flesh looks like.  We can be changed into His likeness only by the work of God.  The Spirit dwells in us to teach us of God and strengthen us in our walk.  Together as believers, we reveal God to a world that does not know Him.  Just like Moses and the Israelites, that walk of faith involves doubts, deafness and amazing deliverance.  Jesus also said that believing His Words walks hand-in-hand with believing the words of the prophets (the Old Testament).

Don’t settle for a one-dimensional God…press in to know Him in His fullness.  

One way to do that is to search out the Names of God and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you more of who God is.  If you would like a list to get you started, click here.

For a beautiful look at Jesus Christ, visit the Desiring God site and enjoy their insights!

By the way, the picture you clicked to come to this page…it is a picture of a molecule within your own body.  The ‘cell adhesion molecule’ – the molecule that holds you us together.  God reveals Himself in the most amazing ways.  LOOK FOR HIM!

 

Spiritual Journaling

There are many ways to keep a ‘spiritual journal.’  Each has its own merit; recently I have had the joy of exploring a particular method with a small group of ladies.  I am overjoyed with the potential.  I have kept prayer journals, Scripture insight journals, diary journals, photo journals—and various combinations of all those.  This

Would you like to explore the tool of spiritual journaling for yourself?  

You don’t have to be a writer!  You simply have to want to hear from God!

f601f-hubpicThis style of journaling offers a powerful tool for becoming aware of the presence of God.  It doesn’t ‘bring’ God to your life—He is already there!  It opens your eyes that you can exclaim like Jacob:

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”  Genesis 28:15

The type of journaling we will explore is ‘real people telling stories of real life.’ It has several powerful potential outcomes:

  • Helps us viewing weaknesses, flaws and failures as a necessary part of growing.
  • Aids us in taking the details of life and connecting them to beautiful—but abstract—principles of faith like: love and truth, sin and salvation, atonement and holiness.
  • Exposes and eliminates the pretentious habit of using ‘laws’ as a spiritual girdle to create god-shaped lives.
  • Allows us to celebrate the powerful uniqueness of individual lives…lives that are scarred, blemished and sometimes even embarrassing. Lives that tell a story of redemption by a loving heavenly Father.

Journaling takes us beyond our perceptions to God’s view of our lives.  We know at the core of our being that we are not always correct with what we think…but we live as if we are always on target.  Journaling helps us pause so we can recognize wrong thinking, because it is vital that you:

DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK!

Journaling helps us hit the pause button and truly evaluate our perceptions.  Not everything we think is correct.  Not everything we believe is correct.

Beliefs can be TRUE or FALSE!  Much of the time, we don’t stop long enough to figure out what our actions actually reveal about our beliefs!

 BELIEFS ⇒  THOUGHTS  ⇒  EMOTIONS  ⇒  ACTIONS

The Word of God is the only source of Truth.  Journaling helps us quiet the noise of the world and ourselves and expose the lies that threaten to destroy us!

If you are interested in being a part of an upcoming group, please complete the form below.

Finding patterns to follow

Our standards for life come from Scripture.  Sometimes, though, God grants us the privilege of seeing what those standards look like when lived out well!  We are never to idolize people, but learning from others is Scriptural.  Paul encouraged believers to follow him as he followed Jesus.  This week, a masterful portrayal of Biblical living graduated to heaven.  It was a joy to research and write about her life.  Here is a taste of that story.

Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren 12/21/26 – 06/15/15

A life lived in the faith of Jesus Christ continues eternally—in the heavenlies and on earth.  Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren lived such a life.  By definition, faith is the substance of things hoped for but not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  The opportunity to see what a life of faith really looks like provides immeasurable help to those longing to leave a legacy.

A life lived in faith embraces all as coming directly from the hands of a loving God—a loving Father.

“If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things.”

A life of faith exudes integrity.  God began preparing the world for Elisabeth Howard before her birth.  Nurtured in a godly home, mentored and sharpened by others along the way, Elisabeth learned that the life lived is the message others receive.  Speaking of a godly woman who mentored her,

For the rest of the piece, visit TBL Faith News