What is it that first drew you to your Savior? What draws you today to your Savior? Theses are questions that I found myself reflecting on as Easter approached. Our answers to these questions may very or they may be the same. Either way each of us are most likely drawn for a reason that falls somewhere in the realm of His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, His bountiful fruit (kindness, goodness, gentleness, peace, patience, joy, faithfulness, and self-control), or promise of eternity with Him.
Personally, I find that my reasons change with the seasons of my life. I was first drawn by His kindness to forgive. As I grow in relationship with the Lord I find myself drawn to Him for ever changing reasons that are determined by my life circumstances.
As we travel the mountains and the valleys of life our needs in our relationship with God change. It is on this journey that we experience the multi facets of our steadfast faithful creator God. In this season of my life I am drawn closer to Him by His gentleness as He teaches me how to navigate some very tenacious terrain. While navigating these uncomfortable unknowns I came across Proverbs 27:21; “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise.” It challenged me to choose to praise the Lord even through the unknown terrain of life. Psalms is full of examples of David and others who were facing difficulties and chose to praise the Lord no matter their circumstances. All throughout the New Testament we are called to rejoice, be thankful, be joyful, and be full of praise in all circumstances.
Why is praise so important? I think it is because when we live a life of praise we raise the curiosity level of those around us. It also magnifies our example of living as Christ which in turn increases their draw to our Savior. It all comes together when “we know and rely on the love God has for us”(1John4:16) to strengthen and teach us to navigate our experiences of life.
The final reflection question for us is~
Do we live our life in a way that causes others to be curious about what draws us to live our lives in Christ? Does our life draw others to Jesus?
Where has this reflection taken you? I would love to hear your experience and thoughts.
Each New Year calls us to keep moving forward. The old saying “time waits for no man” continues to ring true as the New Year rings in. Are you ready for it? Ready or not it’s time to embrace it and get in step with 2018!
Everyday counts, so step out today don’t wait for tomorrow. Each new year brings with it a newly determined aspiration to be “better” at the end of this year than we see ourselves today. How do you see yourself? What will it take to achieve “better” defined by you? Maybe, for some of us, this “better” is the same picture we had last year. Either way, we have to keep moving forward with the purpose of being better today than we were yesterday. Taking one step at a time.
How can we do this? Through my experience it starts with changing my mindset: become committed to being intentional. As a Military Spouse this comes with it’s own challenge of moving beyond the unknowns’ and what ifs’ that linger with each New Year. Once I have navigated that minefield, then, I’m ready to write down my personal growth plan. Next step, I add some form of accountability to my initiative. Final step, I start, intentionally moving forward day by day. What happens when I flub up? I get up. I evaluate why I flubbed and keep growing. A great quote that keeps me going is “Action is a better regret than inaction”. Do you agree? Would you rather regret flubbing up over never getting “better”?
Perseverance feels better than regret, so let’s get moving. We can persevere to “better” together this year. I would like to share “My Intentional Year “ planner (available at my website) so we can get in step together. Each month I will be focusing on a different area of my life to build intentionality into each day. The plan will gradually strengthen each desired focus area I am aspiring to become “better” in. Our plans will look different because we are unique, yet each will succeed because we are intentional.
What does it mean to be intentional? Webster Dictionary defines it with the following phrases: done by intention or be design; deliberate; purposeful; willful; intended; and knowing. Intentional is born from an intention; a form of directing ones mind and the action of proceeding on a planned course. Have you planned your course? Have you deliberately started out with intentional purpose? Have you flubbed up? What is your next step?
Maybe some of you can relate to wanting to focus more on your spiritual fitness. That is always part of my plan for each year. For example, a few ago years I had to tackle the want to become “better” at reading the Bible daily. In the past, I had many plans but they never seemed to work. Why? Because I had a plan in my mind: not written and no one knew my intention. I realized that I needed to do more than just want to do it. I had to write it down and let others know how I was being intentional about reading my Bible daily.
I did it! I was successful once I wrote out my plan and let my family and a few friends know my intentions. It started out small, with a verse a day and has since grown into two chapters a day and journaling. This year my first intentional focus area will be eating healthy. I’m excited to see where this step towards better health takes me. Where will your next step take you? I’d love to hear about your next step today.
Everyday counts, start today and join me on the intentional journey to “better”!
Weekly, I have the privilege of preparing scripture cards for my family and a mini post for those who are joining me on the “Wisdom Wellspring” journey to put the treasure of God’s word in our hearts each week. My preparation includes: writing out the verse of the week on six index cards for each of my family members scripture rings and my wellspring ring. As I re-write the current weeks verse I prayerfully seek to hear from the Lord what He wants me to focus on this week with this verse. By the sixth card I pretty much have the verse memorized and have a basic sense of where the Lord is leading. Today was a little different.
Romans 6:23 is a fairly familiar Bible verse to me and possibly to many others. So I wasn’t expecting any earth shattering revelation in my heart. It’s the basics of salvation— sin equals death without God’s free gift of eternal life, which is opened through believing and receiving Christ as our Savior and Lord. A simple, but life changing truth that I expected to present with simplicity. The reality of the ability of God’s Word to touch our heart afresh(Hebrews 4:12) no matter how many times we have read or heard the passage strikes again! I think it was when I was making index card number three when I was writing the word “IN” that I began to get the greater depth of this verse. On the surface, the message of Romans 6:23 speaks of the difference between obtaining death and eternal life– God’s gift. Reflecting on the simple word “IN” placed within this verse makes it so much more for our finite minds to explore. The “IN” calls us deeper– What does it mean that our “eternal life” is “”IN” Christ”? What does it mean to be “”IN” Christ”? The Apostle Paul has much to say about this in Ephesians 1:3-14. I hope you will take time this week to read through who you are “in Christ” and live with eternity as your focus. I plan to discuss this in more detail as a future “Tuesday Tidbit” which will give a glimpse into my study Royal Reflectionsthat explores what our position “in Christ” means in our daily lives and eternity.
Are you living for earthly wages or eternal treasures?
If you aren’t sure leave me a private message(leave a comment with “private” as first word) or email me at email@example.com. I would love to answer any of your questions or just connect with you.
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
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 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Days run by like water flowing to the ocean- sometimes just a trickle and other times swiftly. Either way, they have an
effect on the lives and landscape they run by and through. God’s natural design for the waters is to pursue the vast oceans as their ultimate destination. Likewise, His natural design for mankind is to pursue Him as our eternal destination. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Would you describe your pursuit as a trickle or a swiftly running stream? The easy answer is “not quite swiftly but much more than a trickle.” But what does that look like? As I consider the question. My mind floods with even more questions— Am I pursuing Him at the rate He has designed for my life? Am I taking the path He has set out before me? Am I allowing His design to have the effect on me He intends? Am I allowing His design to have the effect on those He places in my life? Is it better to
move at a swift pace or trickle? My heart struggled to discover a truthful response- one absent of rationalization. I desired a cloudless view of any part of my pursuit that wasn’t authentically centered on Christ. Not excusing areas of my life that I refuse to sacrifice in my pursuit of God’s call to “be Holy as He is Holy.”(1Peter 1:14 – 16)
Our pursuit of God is not measured by pace but rather our heart as we pursue a life that “finds out what pleases the Lord!” (Ephesians 5:10) When we study the paths of water to the ocean, we discover it travels at many different speeds
and has subtle and drastic effects based on the path on which it has been set. Each journey looks different. Consider the contrast of a flowing mountain stream, a river valley, and a mighty river. In each season they have their purpose and shape the landscape as designed by the Creator.
Living our life in pursuit will look different for each of us. The key is to keep moving with God whether it is at a painfully slow or exhilaratingly fast pace. Continue the journey with an open heart to what pleases the Lord and be prepared for the effects.
As our lives are lived according to His eternal design it leaves us changed for His glory and those in our life’s path effected too. Take time to read the rest of Ephesians 5. Paul gives a few examples of “what pleases the Lord”. (Ephesians 5:10) I will leave you with this challenge.
Ephesians 5: 19b- 20 “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I’d love to hear what song the Lord puts in your heart!
Welcome to the final post in the ADORE Series: Eternal Peace—
Happy New Year!!! Did you know we are just days away from the Day of Epiphany? Friday January 6th marks the day to celebrate the day that The Wise Men or Maggi arrived and worshiped Jesus the newborn king—“And he will be their peace.” (Micah 5:5) Some traditions celebrate the combination of both the worship and gifts given by the Maggi and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist where the “Spirit descended on him like a dove.”(Mark 1:10-11). These events are both centered on the celebration of the peaceful kingship of our Savior. If you have never celebrated this holiday you can find more information at this link —https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/epiphany.
As we take time this week to reflect on the gift of “Eternal Peace”. I think it is important to consider the gifts presented to the Son of God by the Maggi. These men had, in some cases, spent their lifetime searching for the foretold star to appear as prophesied hundreds of years before by the prophet Balaam (Numbers 24:17-19). The star was declared as the sign of the rise of an Israelite King. After the “Bethlehem Star” (click for a short video) appeared in the heavens the Maggi began their journey to the Jewish capital city of Jerusalem. Each one anticipating their opportunity to honor and worship this long awaited king with gifts suited for royalty— gold, frankincense, and myrrh. All of these gifts spoke of Jesus’ position, purpose, and perpetual fulfillment of the prophecies that brought hope for “Eternal Peace” on earth.Let’s reflect on the gifts:
The First Gift~ Gold– A gift of great value given to royalty and those who have treasure. This gift speaks to the future position of Christ as Eternal King—the King of peace.
Micah 5:2-5 “”But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come from me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.”
The Second Gift~ Frankincense– An expensive form of incense known for it’s sweet fragrance, healing properties, and being used often in sacrificial offering ceremonies. This gift speaks to his purpose to live a life that would reconcile the world to its’ creator.
Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The seal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
The Third Gift~ Myrrh– A balm that had a sweet aroma yet bitter flavor most used for it’s healing, preservation, and protective qualities. It was commonly used for Jewish burial preparation. This gift resembles the suffering and sacrifice that speaks to the perpetual fulfillment of the prophecies for “Eternal Peace”.
Revelation 1:4b-8 “ Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father— to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, “says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.””
Let’s carry these gifts in our lives this year to share with our world around us!
Share the gift of gold by sharing the Gospel of peace and doing our best to remain at peace with all. (Ephesians 6:15; Mark 9:50; Romans 12:18)
Share the gift of frankincense by spreading the fragrance of Christ’s love daily. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Share the gift of myrrh by living selflessly and dying to our self-daily so Christ will live through us. (Philippians 1:21; Galatians 2:20)
Prayer of Adoration: Oh Eternal King of Peace you are mighty and worthy of all praise. Your kingdom is never ending and your love endures forever. We seek to follow after you and be instruments of your peace, love, joy, hope, and grace this whole year through. Lord as we draw closer to you we ask that you would fill us with more of you so our lives will be a fragrant offering to you. Teach us to be imitators of you so where we walk we walk in your love and peace. Help us to live selflessly by faith. Empower us to choose to be salt and light encouraging peace among our brothers and sisters. We ask all of this as we long for your triumphal return to reign as The King of Kings. In Jesus Holy name, Amen
Here is a great song to listen to as you ponder the gift of Christ by Lauren Daigle “Noel(live)”.
Can you relate to my “Sol experience”? It’s all about the art of dog walking. My preference is with my sweet Border Collie Kate. It is a tranquil time of reflecting through the wooded trail behind our home. Now it has become a “Sol experience”. What is a Sol experience you ask? Well it’s walking the family rescue dog ,Sol–a “Jack-a-be”, or Jack-Russell and Beagle combo. The first time my husband and I walked her we were mortified. We had just become “those dog owners”.
You know them. You’ve seen them, and when you see them, you wonder, “Who is walking whom?” “Those dog owners” have no control over their dog. You consider turning around to avoid them altogether. It’s comical and scary at the same to time as they approach. Their dog is lunging forward with every step at the end of the leash no matter how long or short it is, huffing and puffing, straining to get to the next thing, zigzagging across the path, whimpering excessively, and barking. If you have experienced it then you can relate to my “Sol experience”.
Sol does it all, but everything becomes excessively exaggerated when we walk near another dog, she spots a squirrel, or notices a bird. The looks I get– and oh, the advice I get– when I’m trying to train her. All the time, Sol is barking and usually getting more aggressive looking by the moment. It is comical at times, because the advice is so important to share they willing my agony of this incessant dog barking performance for what feels like an eternity. I nod my head and repeat, “She is a rescue in training.” I smile as much as I can through my complete embarrassment, all the time wondering to myself, “What does this person think of me?”
Growing up the same question seemed to always be on the grown-ups minds too. I would get questioned all the time. Should you being doing that? Should you say that? Why didn’t you________? With the follow on question/statement “because what do you think they think about you after_________?” I know the questions all came with the best intentions but they developed a habit I’m still struggling to break.
I wonder if you can relate? I became hyper sensitive to what I think people might think about my choices and behavior big and small. It led to constantly evaluating and wondering if I was good enough in other people’s eyes. I became entangled in the web of real and perceived expectations in my mind. In our Christian walk it is important what others think of us to an extent. But I can get wrapped up in seeking to please others rather than the Lord. Especially when I worry about what they “might” think.
So let’s take a moment to be honest with our selves. How often do your thoughts wander to “What do they think, or will they think about me?” When you are deciding what to wear, what to post on social media, where to go, what to buy, etc., how often has that determined what you would do or not do? If you are like me your answer is much more than I would like to admit. It is amazing the power other peoples’ opinions, perceived or true, that I will give others over my life–even a stranger’s opinion. At times I may even find my self fearfully making choices in hopes to not offend and disappoint people. This fear robs me of full enjoyment to experience life in freedom. Proverbs 29:25 “ Fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.” Since I discovered this truth I have been growing in my ability to recognize my fearful thought patterns. It’s a work in progress but day-by-day I am getting more skilled at “taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ”(2 Corinthians 10: 5).
It is a transforming process. I’m thankful I don’t have to do in my own strength and knowledge. It is the Holy Spirits job to transform me from the inside out making me desire to be obedient to this foreign way of living (2 Thessalonians 2:13). And just as I think I’m taking ground on this “fear of human opinion” disability I realize I have a long way to go. I need of a make over of my self-centered thoughts. The Lord wants to completely remove this fear from my wardrobe. He wants to refit me with a style that is more flattering for His warrior-princess.
What woman would ever say “no” to a wardrobe makeover? Not me! The new designer label is “Fear of the Lord”! Just the name sounds fit for a warrior-princess. My first peak at the collection left me breathless. I would be stepping into a whole new way of thinking. He no longer wanted me to measure my choices and behavior by what others would think of me. He is asking me to be more concerned for what my choices would make others think of Him. Making this change would reflect righteousness from the inside out. I would be putting on my spiritual garments of praise, robe of righteousness, and crown of salvation to send the message of love and hope found in Christ. My Christ- focused choices will spread His fragrance, thereby providing the opportunity to lead others in the direction to hope in my King. The new decision questions I will be asking myself are: What message am I about to send? Does it give others a glimpse of God’s love? Will it point others to Him? Can it send the fragrance of life in Jesus? How will it speak to those who need a loving God?
The way I live every part of my life sends a message. Will I live each part out in such a way that I send a message, giving off a fragrance that points others in the direction of their Creator to discover His love for them? Even in my “Sol experience” I need to turn my thoughts to the Lord. In what area of your life is he offering you a wardrobe makeover? Will you accept the invitation and receive the gift?
I’d love to hear about your “Sol experience”. Please pray for Sol and I in our obedience school!
Here are some other scriptures the Lord is using in my make-over process:
Philippians 4:8- “….think on such things…”
Romans 13:14- “…clothe self with the Lord Jesus Christ..”
Colossians 3:12-14- “…clothe self with compassion…over all of these virtues put on love…”
I remember that Sunday morning well. The summer sun peaked through the bedroom blinds before my eyes were ready to greet the day. Sounds of a squirmy infant and toddler encouraged one more attempt at squeeze just 5 more minutes of sleep before I faced the activities of the day. Then it happened– the whimpers of a hungry little guy. Before I knew I was awake I found myself settled in the rocker with a nursing bundle in my arm and my snuggly brown eyed girl in my lap. After the morning snuggle we were off to the races to get everyone, Dad, Mom, and three kiddos under 4, ready and in the van for church.
At some point, I called out “Where is Erika?” Our brown eyed, 19month old was not under foot and too quiet for my comfort. After an unsuccessful, thorough search of the three story home, panic set in Brian’s and I’s heart. Then came the knock at the door. Brian opened the door to find little Erika standing there, hand in hand, with a woman he did not recognize. She proceeded to ask in a sweet voice “Is this your little girl? I found her wandering along the road.” He immediately lifted Erika into his arms and held her tightly while answering “Yes, thank you so much!” When he turned to follow-up with the kind woman, she was nowhere to be found. It was like she had vanished. He and Erika looked down the street and around the corner, but it was like she was gone without a trace. Brian was puzzled and smiled as Erika announced, “Bye-bye, all gone, bye-bye” in her sweet little voice.
He rounded the corner of the stairs to share the mystery of Erika’s morning adventure outside. After hearing the story of the disappearing lady, Sara, our 4 year old, declared, “She’s an angel! She brought her back!” Brian responded “Your right Sara. She must be an angel, because I’ve never seen her before and she disappeared so quickly.” We took a moment to say a prayer, thanking the Lord for protecting Erika and a blessing be given to the angel that returned Erika safely. Then off to church we went with full hearts.
Has your desire ever taken you on a dangerous adventure like Erika that summer morning? She had a strong desire to go outside that morning, and she was inspired by the sunshine to go explore. All she needed for her adventure to begin was the courage to open the door and take that step out. In my previous post, The Journey, I talked about having the “courage to take the first step”, following through on the desires and inspirations the Lord places in your heart. Today I want to follow up with having the courage to challenge your hearts desire. Proverbs 4:23 instructs: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Have you ever let your guard down? Have you ever regretted doing or saying something? My answer is a resounding “Yes!” I have reduced the regularity of such regrets and moments of a lax guard over my heart and mind with the practice of self-reflection and others to help keep me accountable in my walk with Christ. It takes courage to be honest with yourself and listen with an open heart when you ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal any wickedness or pride that lingers. It takes courage to align your thought life to Philippians 4:8. Are my thoughts focused on whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? When I’m on a short time line and my family is on their own time line, my thoughts are not very lovely. Or when I’m driving and the drivers around me seem to have forgotten what it means to merge, yield, or go at a green light; I struggle to turn my thoughts to admirable truth. The natural human tendency is to pridefully elevate my needs above the needs of others. It takes courage to be selfless and keep my selfish desires in check.
I struggled with my desire to elevate myself above my husband in the situation of Erika escaping on her adventure that summer morning. After all “He was responsible for her…she never would have got out if it was my responsiblity.” I’m thankful I had the courage to catch myself in the unloving thought pattern and to change it to one of praiseworthy thoughts before my thoughts became my words.
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Have the courage to guard your heart and reflect on the purity of your desire.
What are you doing with the heartbeats you have been given? Where is your life journey taking you? Some of us are enjoying the ride and maintaining a steady heartbeat. While others are holding on wondering what is around the next corner, with hearts beating out of their chest. Wherever you’re at along this journey of life I know we have a common beginning- our first heartbeat in our mothers womb. It was there life began, our first heartbeat, undetected by our mothers but heard with anticipation by our Creator, God. Experiencing life, as we now know it began later, with an audience, as we were ushered into this amazing world and naturally inhaled our first breath. Take a moment to soak in the miracle of life. As I emerged myself in the miracle of my life I became captivated by the realization of the intentionalness of God in my life! He alone heard my first heartbeat, he gave me my first breath, and he heard my first cry. The very thought left me breathless. I was struck with wonder to reflect on his intimate connection with each of us. We are his first and destined to be his for eternity. He alone was there for my firsts and I know He will also be there to usher my soul into eternity after my final dun-dunt and exhale. His love brings me to my knees. Each of us is between our first and last so the question is “what are we doing with the heartbeats in-between?”
The “heartbeats in-betwee”n is our journey lived out in this world that is not our home but preparation for our eternal home. It says in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that the Lord has placed eternity in our
hearts. What does that mean? Some would say it is the “God shaped hole” in our hearts and others it is the underlying “knowing” in our soul that there is more beyond this life.
The purpose of having eternity placed in our hearts is to spark the desireto seek after the Lord, ignite the inspiration to live in connection with Him, and the courage to take each step on our journey. Eternity in our hearts leads us to relationship with our Heavenly Father. Relationship with him changes our identity and redefines our purpose as we live out our “heartbeats in-between”.
When your identity changes from how the “world” defines you to who God has made you in His Son, Jesus Christ, your purpose is refocused on eternal relationships. Discovering your identity in Christ opens your heart to the desire to follow after him. It inspires you to choose him over this world and awakens the courage to follow in his footsteps.
Hebrews 12:1-3 says it best. It instructs us to be strong on our journey that is “marked out for us” by throwing off all that hinders and entangles us. Encouraging us to remain eternally focused with our eyes fixed on Jesus following his example. He traveled his life journey, his “heartbeats in-between”, with the “joy set before him”, the redemption of the world and his glorification at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus’ life provided a road map dotted with crossroads where he chose to live for eternal reward rather than worldly recognition. He lived a sinless life of love, was not entangled by the opposition from sinners, endured the cross, and perfected our faith pioneering the path marked out for us to follow.
Why is it so hard to follow Christ’s example? Apostle Paul answers that well in Romans 7:14-25. He shares the struggle to do what he desires in his heart, to delight the Lord, but he doesn’t always win the battle. He describes a war waging between his body (a prisoner to sin nature) and his mind (delighting in law of God), which he loses more than he would like. Can you relate to Paul’s struggle? I can! Too often I find myself daily wanting to do what is right but then find myself doing the very thing I did not want to do. The influence of our sin nature doesn’t stop just because we have a new identity in Christ. The battle rages and we must fight and purpose to keep our focus on Jesus the perfect source of our desire, inspiration, and courage to take each righteous step toward eternity.
It is so easy to get off course and follow after wrong desires, of the sin nature. I find I must have courage to honestly assess the source of my desire and inspiration to make wise daily choices of the direction I will move. Can you relate to any of these choices?
To buy or not to buy..
To say or not to say…
To do or not to do…
To stay or to go…
To look or look away….
Now, later, or not at all…
Depending on the day and situation some choices are easier to make and stay on course. I have found that the more grounded I am in my identity in Christ the clearer the right choice. When I am seeking in stillness with the Lord I have greater desire, inspiration, and courage to follow through with the God honoring opportunities set before me.
I encourage you to take time this week to be still with the Lord, breath in His goodness, and be infused with his strength for each moment. He hears your heartbeat and will guide your steps as you listen to His heart.
What are you doing with your “heartbeats in-between”?
Everywhere we turn from social media, TV, to magazines, and ads we find headlines aimed at self-improvement: “try the latest…”, “how to…”, “you just need ….”. I’m sure you can add more to the list. We live in a world that bombards us with messages that speak to our desire for more. Do you think we would be constantly exposed to all these suggestions if there weren’t the need to satisfy a craving? Are you familiar with it- The unexplainable desire to search for “the answer” that fills the void within your soul?
The answers the world gives are appealing. They soothe the desperate heart cry for meaningful life.
Felt in response to this need and the underlying message sent that we just aren’t good enough yet. One experiences oneself being drawn to each new captivating solution in search of their own “answer” for them. I have caught myself entranced in the endless search for fulfillment. How about you? When will this longing and quest be satisfied? What would happen if women were awakened from the trance of the world’s enchantment and recognize that the “answer” lies in our identity in Christ?
Yes I’m guilty. I’ve been known to get caught up in the trance. But thankfully I was awakened to who I am meant to be in Christ- His Warrior-Princess. Not just His daughter or princess but His Warrior-Princess because I’m in a daily battle to walk in the power and truth of whose I am (God’s) and who he has made me to be (His Warrior-Princess). Maybe, like me, you wrestle with questions about God and His plan for you. Some of you might even be asking: “How do I measure up in this world? Or “ Does God really want me?” Or even “Would He ever use me?” Whatever your questions might be let me just say that it is okay to question because that is the beginning of naming “the need” and finding “the answer” to fill the void within.
One such question unexpectedly emerged during a heart to heart. I was listening intently when it came gushing out through sobs that were ushered from the depths of her precious heart- “God doesn’t want me, He doesn’t, He can’t. How could I be good enough for Him?” My precious daughter struggled to speak in the early morning hours. Her words bursting through her apprehension of the reception they might receive from her teary eyed momma. But she was unable to hold her questioning back any longer. She released the hurt that was tearing at her soul. She collapsed into a tender embrace, reassured that it is okay to question-even question God. She rediscovered his love and peace in her honest questions. I encourage you like I did her, to have the courage to believe that nothing can separate us from him or remove his love for us (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing. It takes courage, Warrior-Princess to win each daily battle (Ephesians 6:12). So take courage because you are never alone!
I invite you to join me in my Warrior-Princess journey. A journey I hope will be one of discovery, inspiration, and empowerment. Together we will find strength to live the life we were created to live. I say “together” because my prayer is that we will journey along side one another connecting through our stories. I believe we were created for relationship and need each other for encouragement, growth, and confidence along the way. We might not all be at the same intersection of our journey, or facing the same temptations or trials, but we are able to encourage each other with where we are and where we have been. Together that is what will enrich our life journey. Let’s journey together!
Life has a way for surprising me so to find myself launching a ministry website and on the edge of publishing a Bible study is uncharted territory for me and incredibly unexpected. I am truly humbled with this opportunity just as I was over 15 years ago when I began to serve in women’s ministry leadership roles. These service opportunities have directed my path to this unique threshold. The courage to take the first step into this uncharted territory comes through experiencing the Lord’s direction in my life. He has orchestrated sweet relationships with people who are strong in my areas of weakness and need for growth. It has been a true faith building experience. I’m very thankful for each person’s encouragement and sharing of their gifts and talents to further the Lord’s purposes in my life.
I posed the question in the beginning:“What would happen if women are awakened from the trance of the world’s enchantment and recognize the answer is our identity in Christ?” I believe the answer is -we will live in a brighter world because we will become a brilliant
reflection of God’s love in this dim world. In my ministry and military experience I have witnessed first-hand how women strongly influence the spiritual and relational connections within community. “That is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”(Ephesians 5:14) As the Apostle Paul said we must wake up and live for Christ. When he shines on us he radiates into the world and awakens his people. Arise from your slumber warrior-princess and shine his light! Our world is desperately searching and in need of “the answer”- Jesus!
Are you ready to live out your identity in Christ: Warrior-Princess?
I’d love to get to know more about you! Will you quickly share a meaningful verse with me?
Psalm 25:4-5 has guided me to this place in my life. “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
When is the last time you took a moment to be quiet and listen for the sound of your heartbeat….dun dunt – dun dunt? Or experienced yourself breathe…the still air drawn in as it lifts your chest and extends your abdomen before the release…awe. I think it takes courage to be still with yourself. I believe we don’t take enough time for stillness in our overstimulated lives,though that is just what we need. Stillness before the Lord. Have you ever considered that our very life began with a heartbeat, followed by a breath of life that awakened the anticipation of our first step in life’s journey. I have learned the importance of being brave and taking the first step to be still with the Lord. Because it is there that I find the courage for the next step of each journey even when the path is difficult or unclear.
Much like a child learning to walk, we are driven by the desire and inspiration that power our courage to take each step and keep get up when we fall. I’m sure we each have an image in mind of a precious child taking their first steps. For me, it’s the twinkle in her eye that reveals a desire within to just get to her daddy’s hands. Because she’s inspired to be swept up into his safe and loving arms to celebrate her accomplishment or pick her up when she falls, she is courageous. She trusts her daddy.
How trusting are you of your Abba Father? I know the level of trust that I have of my Abba Father is reflected in the courage with which I live my life. Maybe you can relate? It’s not a natural thing to be still before the Lord. But as I shared earlier I have learned to “just do it”, like the Nike motto inspires us. I remember a time when
I had to do just that- choose to be courageous. The choice became evident one day when I was wrestling with the feeling that I was missing out on life. Part of me argued that missing out didn’t make sense because I was involved in so many “good” things for the kingdom. That argument won the first round. I let the feeling linger just setting it aside as I trusted that it would pass while I kept doing “good” things.” Then, unexpectedly, came round two as I was reading in my devo time. There it was! A message from Christ himself about how abundant life with him is intended to be something we experience now. (John 10:10). I was missing out! I was not experiencing much joy in my life, no matter what I did.
To my knees I went. I chose to be brave, to pray, and seek the Lord about why I was missing out on the abundant life he has for me. The feeling I had was a nudge to reflect and be still with the Lord. When I did, it become clear I had been letting the thief rob me without putting up a fight. I needed to be still with the Lord and delight in Him so He could refocus my desire, he could inspire me for His Kingdom, and cultivate my courage to step out with confidence as he shows me his ways. A verse that I turn to often is Psalm 25:4-5. One day it literally kept me from a complete breakdown…but that faith adventure is for another time.
What is your desire? Listen for it. Where is your inspiration found? Experience it as you breathe. Are you living with courage? What steps are you taking to live out the desires and inspirations the Lord has placed in you? No matter what your answers are, know that you can find courage in the Lord.
We can be courageous and take the next step! We need to just come to the Lord with childlike faith (Luke 18:17) even the size of a mustard seed (Mathew 17:20) and trust our Father in Heaven. In Psalm 37:4-6 we are reminded that when we delight ourselves in the Lord he gives us the desires of our heart. How will you delight in the Lord today? This week?
Are you looking for renewed desire, inspiration, and more courage for your journey?
Can you relate to needing to be still with the Lord and just breathe? He is waiting!
Please share how you spend time delighting in the Lord.
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
John Maxwell Team Certified inspirational speaker and author