Tag Archives: focused

Week #34 Joshua 1:7

Joshua 1:7Joshua 1:7
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7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you: don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

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“Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”

I wonder, am I the only one who has said this “well that didn’t work out like I planned it.”  How often has that been the case in life for you?   Personally, it’s true more often than I like to admit.  The best failures are the ones that I was honest with myself and chose to learn from.  Maybe you can relate.

Usually my disappointing outcomes have one of these common factors: a lack of focus, not being diligent along the way, or not continuing in strength and courage.  Joshua 1:7Joshua 1:7
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7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you: don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

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shares the Lord’s advice to Joshua for success as he started his leadership journey of the Israelites.

~Be Strong

~Be Courageous

~Be Careful to Obey

~Do Not Turn to the Right or the Left

What will happen if we follow the advise of the Lord today?  I think like Joshua we too will experience greater success through a strong and courageous relationship with the Lord.  Then He will daily help us to be careful as we follow His commands(Love the Lord above all and love others as yourself.  Matthew 32:36-40Matthew 32:36-40
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja!

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)  Then we will be prepared in strength and courage we will remain focused in challenges and not turn to the left or right.

Let’s choose today to apply the Lord’s advice:

Be Strong~  Be Courageous ~ Be Careful ~ Be Focused

In the Lord ~ For the Lord ~ Through the Lord

 

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
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23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 19 James 1: 2-3

James 1: 2-3James 1: 2-3
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2 Count it all joy, my brothers The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”, when you fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

Life + Trials = Pure Joy

How does that add up?  According to the world we live in it doesn’t.  Why would the writer of James even think to suggest pure joy as our response to facing trials that test our faith?  If you have time to read James 1:1-27James 1:1-27
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The Letter from James 1 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”, when you fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. 7 For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position; 10 and the rich, in that he is made humble, because like the flower in the grass, he will pass away. 11 For the sun arises with the scorching wind, and withers the grass, and the flower in it falls, and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. 19 So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man doesn’t produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls or, preserve your life.. 22 But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone among you thinks himself to be religious while he doesn’t bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

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you will discover that James recognizes the benefit of the different trials in our life as a way of producing God focused perseverance that will achieve three things; mature us in our faith, make us complete in Christ, and  receivers of the crown of life prepared for those who love the Lord.  Our challenges in life have kingdom purpose even when we can’t see clearly while in the  testing of our faith.  Let’s not miss out on the benefits found in persevering through faith in Christ.

Would you agree that life is full of many kinds of trials?  You might be in the middle of one right now and thinking to yourself this concept is crazy.  I’m supposed to be joyful in this!  You don’t know what is going on in my life…..God can’t really expect me to be joyful!   Your right I don’t know what you are experiencing and I pray that you will find peace and joy in the Lord as we continue to explore this counter-culture call to seek after pure joy even in our storms.

What does it look like to either face a storm that is brewing or walk through a storm with pure joy?  I have a dear friend who I have had the privilege of watching and at times walking with her through a hurricane of life’s trials with her children.  I compare it to a hurricane because the intensity would change based on the winds and how close or far away she was from the eye of the storm.  When I first met her I was drawn to her warm smile and fun and relaxed attitude toward life.  There wasn’t any immediate outward appearance of distress.  She was joyful.  When I became aware of the intensity of her trials with her children I was taken off guard.  It was evident that the Lord was her strength and peace as she weathered the hurricane that was trying to destroy her family.  This storm hit land fall when one of her children began making a few bad choices in friends then it led down a path of disappearances, destruction of property, detention centers, and the waves and storm surge created from those events crashed down on the relationships within the family.   Just as she was able to get up to assess the damages from one wave the next child started  down their own destructive path.  As the storm howled and beat on her family she fought to subdue the storm of emotions within her own heart.  Why God? What did I do?  How did I fail?  Why won’t they stop?  Where are you God?  I should have……  Why didn’t I…….  How can I go on…..  Her only peace was found in her quiet time with the Lord and it was there that she found her pure joy in him that strengthens her as her storm rages on.  Her joyful verse is Nehemiah 8:10Nehemiah 8:10
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10 Then he said to them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Don't be grieved; for the joy of Yahweh is your strength.

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b “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

My dear friend has been an inspiration to me to choose the pure joy of Christ to strengthen me and sustain me through my own trials in life.  She continues to preserver through what feels like a never-ending storm.  Her faith and trust in the Lord keep her anchored.  Her joy encourages others to trust and builds their faith and their love for the Lord.  She has defiantly kept her lamp lit and shinning brightly through her storm.  I’m so thankful for her light shining into my life and leading me to the strength of the Lord.

Many times the trials of life leave us feeling alone and in the dark.  When that happens we can turn the light on and strengthen our faith by remembering to turn to the truth of God’s word for encouragement.  Psalm 119: 105Psalm 119: 105
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NUN 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light for my path.

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reminds us that the word of the Lord is a lamp that shines on our path as we walk with the Lord through life.  So if we choose to keep our eyes on how big and faithful the Lord is then our circumstances will return to their proper perspective, small in the hands of God.  We are then able to consider life and it’s challenges through the lens of pure joy.  Don’t let your light burn out stay connected to the light of the world and our faith builder, Christ, and preserver as you shine brightly for him.  Does this mean we will be beaming with a smile all the time as we weather our storms?  No, it means that we can remain steady in the storm, anchored in our hope, able to trust we are secure in our heavenly Father’s care and able to be real with those who genuinely seek to come along side us.  When we are steady in our relationship with Christ it shines through when we find it hard to smile.

Even in the storms of life a rainbow can emerge if  His light is shining through the rain or the tears.  Keep a look out for His rainbows in your life!

Life + Trials = Pure Joy~ Make it true in your life!

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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BREATHE!

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“Oxygen is essential to life”

How is your spiritual breathing? Have you been holding your breath too long? Take a deep breath. Hold it…..keep holding it….okay BREATHE. Did just the thought of holding your breath make you anxious? I don’t like the feeling I get after holding my breath for too long.  My heart starts to race and I begin to feel light headed. Why do you think that is? Because breathing oxygen is essential to life and our breath rate is usually in rhythm with our heart rate. They are dependent on each other to do their job- provide O2 to the body.

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“Maintains strength in our spiritual life”

Like physical breathing is essential to our physical life, taking time to spiritually BREATHE is essential to our spiritual life. Living out my identity in Christ should be as automatic as each breath I take, right? But why isn’t it? Oxygen taken in with each new breath is essential to maintain the strength of life in our body– from all the tiny cells to, each major organ.  Likewise, the way we live out our identity in Christ maintains the strength of our spiritual life. I am challenged by the harsh reality that I am not as immediatly aware or alarmed when my spiritual breathing has been interrupted as I am when I am forced to hold my breath for more than 30 seconds.  I can begin to feel the panic rise up inside, as I desire to release the old air and receive the new to avoid loss of consciousness or ultimately loss of life.

So what do I mean by spiritual breathing? Well recently I’ve been challenged with principles to help maintain spiritual balance in my life or taking time to BREATHE. I tend to put principles into acrostics making them easier to remember and put into practice. Here is my BREATHE acrostic:

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“BREATHE”

Believe God is able ~Remember you are redeemed and release ~Everyday eternally focused ~Available and aware ~Trust with thanksgiving ~Humbly resist ~Exhale ~

When I keep each of these “BREATHE” principles active in my life I am strengthening my spiritual life through responsible relationship with the Lord by living my identity in Him. I notice that I become spiritually oxygen deprived when any of the principles are out of balance or rhythm. Let’s take a brief look at these principles.

Believe God is able. This principle challenges us to keep who God is in alignment with who we believe He is. Sometimes this looks like remembering that He is the great I AM who holds all that is dear to me in his all-powerful, majestic hands. This principle asks us- “What do you really believe about God’s ability to provide and care for you and all that you hold close?” This of course cramps the style of any of us control freaks, right? ~Psalm 46:10Psalm 46:10
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10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”

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“Be still and know that I am God…” ~ Deuteronomy 7:9Deuteronomy 7:9
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9 Know therefore that Yahweh your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations,

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“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God…”

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“He is faithful!”

Remember you are redeemed and release. Knowing who God is and remembering he has redeemed us as his daughters is the foundation of one’s identity in Christ. When I reflect on the power and sacrifice that were exercised for my redemption it calls me to a place of surrender and release. I surrender to his never-ending love where I am able to experience his gentle kindness. In this sweet relationship I release my hold on the shame of my sinfulness and allow him to wash me in his forgiveness. Remembering this also releases me from the snare and trap of the enemy leaving me free in Christ. ~1 Peter 1: 17-211 Peter 1: 17-21
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17 If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as strangers here in reverent fear: 18 knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ; 20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.

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“…live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear…. it was not with perishable things …you were redeemed from the empty way of life…but with the precious blood of Christ…He was chosen before the creation of the world… through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” ~ Ephesians 1:7-8Ephesians 1:7-8
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7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

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“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.” ~ 1John1: 9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us…”

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“A new day dawns with eternity at heart!”

Everyday is eternally focused. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Mathew 6:21) These words of Jesus ring true don’t they? Keeping our heart and head focused on where our real eternal treasure is difficult and takes determination. I struggle to fix my eyes on what is unseen because of the lure of the seen is so tangible and tempting even though it is temporary. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-182 Corinthians 4:16-18
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16 Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; 18 while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

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“ Therefore do not lose heart…outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…what is unseen is eternal.”

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“Here I am Lord!”

Available and aware. This principle reminds us “it’s not all about me”. Though I will make plans for my days and weeks it is the desire of my heart that the Lord will direct my feet. Some days it is evident that the Lord has better plans for the day than I do. My response to his redirection reveals my heart attitude toward being available for the Lord’s purposes and determined to press on in difficult circumstances. It also is evidence of my sensitivity to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I must remain available to do the good works the Lord has prepared for me in advance.  I also need to be aware of his leading and the needs of others in my life. ~Philippians 3: 13-14Philippians 3: 13-14
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13 Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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“…Forgetting what is behind and straining…I press on toward the goal…for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” John 14:26John 14:26
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26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.

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“…the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send… will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Trust with thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6-7Philippians 4:6-7
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6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

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sums this up. We are not to be anxious or worry about anything. Rather we are to trust God wholeheartedly with everything. To not be anxious means trusting God through petitioning in prayer and believing he is able with a thankful attitude. This is not easy but I do breathe more easily when I practice this principle.

Humbly resist. Resist what? The temptation of pride to take control and live like I don’t believe God is able. Pride is the root of all sin and it is the hardest for us to detect in ourself. A heart of humility helps us live selflessly and resistslide1 the tendency to control and capitalize for personal benefit. Proverbs 16:18Proverbs 16:18
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18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

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“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 3:7Proverbs 3:7
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7 Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Fear Yahweh, and depart from evil.

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“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” 1John 2: 16-17John 2: 16-17
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16 To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will eat me up.”

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“For everything in the world- lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Exhale. Exhale everything into His hands and exclaim His excellence. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6Proverbs 3:5-6
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5 Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, And don’t lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, And he will direct your paths.

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) When we take time to exhale, we are able to maintain an attitude of worship and experience the peace of the Lord in relationship with him. I am able to see him at work in the big and little things of life. Then I am moved to worship him with my life.

Take the time to review the principle verses that speak to where you are in your relationship with the Lord.

Armor Up, pride down, Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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