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Posts Tagged ‘heart issues’

lord-i-hunger-and-thirst-for-more-of-you

This is week one of an Online Bible Study through Proverbs 31 Ministries, “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God.” The OBS is based on the book by Lysa TerKeurst. I have been challenged this week to reflect on how we have become “so familiar with God yet so unaware.”

In this day and age, with pastors, ministry leaders, missionaries, etc. needing a seminary education, this world has become full of people who know the Bible inside and out. Biblical knowledge does not mean we have that heart level, intimate relationship with God. Even atheists, Satan worshipers, and cult leaders know the Bible backwards and forwards. Head knowledge does not mean heart felt.

Each of us longs for that intimate relationship with God. We each long to reach that heart level, to be infused with the Holy Spirit. I made a commitment at the beginning of the year to live this year more intentionally for Jesus. I have longed to go deeper in this relationship and to truly know what abiding in the vine (John 15:4) means. I have felt God calling me into a full-time ministry to women and I determined that this would be the year that I step out of my comfort zone, intentionally giving each day to God. There are some basic steps that I take that have allowed me to take my relationship with my heavenly Father to a deeper level:

1. Dig into God’s Word: We need to know what God’s Word says. Remember that even those who oppose God know the Bible. That makes it even more important for us, as Christians, to know what God says. I do not claim to be a Biblical expert. I can not rattle off scripture at, the drop of a hat, to someone in need. Each month I pick a book of the Bible that I want to dig into. I read the book, research commentaries, on-line resources, record in my journal the verses that “speak” to me, and pray over each verse. I want to get everything out of my study that I can. I have tried the read through the Bible in a year programs. They have left me empty. I have felt that I don’t have the time to really get into the material the way that I want to. Of course, there are books (Psalms, Genesis, Isaiah) that will take more than one month to study. Give yourself as much time as you need. The goal is not to see who can win the “how many times I’ve read the Bible” race, the goal is to have an understanding of the Word, so that it impacts your everyday life.

2. Pray without ceasing: I know that there are those people who can spend hours at a time in prayer. I am not this person! Being a single mom of 5, a new grandma, having a semi full-time job, starting a ministry, and trying to get items checked off my daily to-do list does not leave me hours to sit in prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray continually. I apply this verse to my life by being in prayer as I go through my life, whether at work or running errands. I pray for those I come across that are impatient, seem upset, the moms who are shopping while trying to corral children. I pray if I come across an accident or pass an emergency vehicle going somewhere. I praise when God blesses my day in some way and I pray when I’m upset about something. I sometimes find myself so engrossed in my conversation with God that I have tuned out other things.  I spend a few minutes in the morning surrendering the day to God and a few minutes at night thanking God for the blessings of the day. I spend time praying over my kids and family. I pray when I am studying God’s Word. I, also listen to what He has to tell me. This isn’t a one sided conversation.

3. Gathering together: It is important to gather together with other Christians. Most of us get that through regular church attendance. With my work schedule I sometimes get to church every other week, but sometimes not even then. I have been blessed with a job in a local convent, so I am around Christian women on a regular basis. I have also decided that I will start attending a local Christian Women’s Club (StoneCroft Ministries) this month, so I can fellowship with other Christian women. I know that I have to be creative in finding ways to gather together with other believers.

4. Stepping out of my comfort zone: I know that God wants me to partner with Him in a ministry to women. I have let fear and lack of self-confidence keep me from walking this out. I started this blog as a first step. Starting this blog was easy though, because I have always loved to write! God has blessed my obedience. I have had my first article accepted for publication by an online christian magazine. YAY! I am not sure what my next steps are, but I am ready to say Yes! regardless of what God asks me to do.

5. Cultivate my heart: I am always aware of the condition of my heart. I am not perfect and many, many times God has to deal with the issues of my heart. I have to spend time weeding the garden of my heart. When God convicts me of something I have to immediately deal with that, so that weed does not take root and choke out the good seed of my heart.

Jesus is always on my heart and mind. I admit, there are times when others may not see Jesus in me, but He is there. We have to make the decision to live our lives more intentionally for God. We need to put God first in our lives. If you are having a difficult time finding time for Jesus, I am here to help. Contact me and together we can walk this out. You are in my heart, sister friend! I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

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girl-dancing-rain1

2 Corinthians 6:10

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

2 Corinthians 8:2

In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

According to Merriam-Webster.com: to rejoice means to feel joy or great delight. I want to be this person that rejoices in times of sorrow, blesses others even while living in poverty, and knows that I possess everything because I have Jesus, even though I may have nothing of value on this earth. I want to be this person! And not just sometimes, ALL THE TIME!!!

Being content means more than serving where we are, changing our materialistic attitudes, and being content with our paychecks. Being content, also means that we can rejoice when the car breaks down, when the kids are screaming at each other, and when you lose the job you’ve been at for 19 years. How can we rejoice when things get tough?

1. Get into God’s Word! This is so important! The Bible is full of encouraging verses to help us through the difficult times. Start digging and see what you find.

2. Start a gratitude journal (or use a journal you are already using). At the end of every night list 5 things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. Even on the worst days, God sneaks the blessings in; make a habit of looking for the blessings as you go through your day.

3. Get your praise on! Even if your day is the pits, make a habit of praising God anyway. Praise God simply because He is in control and can deal with any situation.

4. Step out in service to others. When you step out in service and take the focus off your own situation, it is easier to put things in perspective. You may find that there are other people in the world with tougher situations than yours.

5. Pray. Pray. Pray. Whatever the situation, give it to God. Our Father in heaven can handle our problems better than we can. On our own we are powerless to solve any of our problems, but with God as our life partner, we can accomplish all things, we can solve all problems.

Always remember that God is for us and not against us. It may be tough to rejoice today, but rejoice anyway! God is on His throne, aware of everything that happens in this world. He knows that you may be hurting today and wants to guide you to the place where you can be truly joy-filled. Our loving Jesus wants us to be able to dance in the rain.

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Uncle Sam stop whining

Philippians 2:14,15

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”

As a mom of 5 kids, I hear whining, complaining and grumbling on a daily basis. Admittedly, it isn’t always from the kids! Too often, I hear myself complaining because the kids haven’t cleaned their rooms or done something I had asked them to do, complaining because my work day isn’t going as smoothly as I would like, or whining because I’ve been inconvenienced in some way. I don’t like to hear it from my kids and I really don’t like to hear it from myself.

Paul tells us that in order to become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation” we must do EVERYTHING without grumbling or arguing. I know it seems like an impossible task, but remember that Paul was writing these words from prison and Paul was a man that practiced what he preached. If Paul had the ability to rejoice even while in prison, without complaining and whining about his circumstances, then we can be assured that when we abide in God, we have that same ability to rejoice in our circumstances, without complaining that our car broke down, our phone died, or our significant other has left us with a baby to take care of. I’m not saying that these aren’t things to complain about, but honestly, is complaining going to change the situation? No, it isn’t. Complaining only hardens our hearts against the love of God and others who may want to help us. God loves us and wants to help us in the tough times, but we have to guard our hearts against the sin of grumbling and arguing and be willing to give our circumstances to God and let Him deal with the situation.

Life is full of things to complain and argue about. I am challenging you to take the following steps the next time you feel a whine coming on:

1. Mentally, draw a circle around yourself and imagine that you have entered the No Whine Zone or the No Argument Zone (this does not mean that you have to let people walk all over you or verbally attack you, you are just making the decision not to engage in the argument. To deflate the situation, you may say something like, “I feel we are both to angry to discuss this right now, why don’t we take some time to think about this and then we can get together and see if we can come up with a solution that we can both live with,” and if necessary, just walk away.)

2. Immediately, give the situation to God. Say a prayer of surrender and allow God to take control of the situation.

3. Replace any complaints with praise for the good things in our lives. (Even in our darkest hour, we can find the blessings of God.)

4. If our complaint involves a person, pray for that person. Get to know that person and see whats going on in their lives that may cause them to be the way they are. Cultivate a heart of compassion toward that person and show them the love they deserve as a child of God.

5. Always be on the lookout for a whiny spirit. Nip it as soon as it rears it’s destructive head.

Remember that before Paul became an apostle of God, he murdered Christians. If Paul was able to completely turn his life around to the point of rejoicing in prison, we can too. God wants us to be pure before Him and He is here to show us the way. Be content in ALL things without whining about our circumstances. If Paul did it, so can you!

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ladder_to_success

Luke 3:14

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.”

This was John’s reply when a group of soldiers came to be baptized and asked John what they needed to do. Wise words that are just as applicable today as they were then. We live in a time when the daily mantra seems to be, “more money, more money, more money.” This is not how Jesus lived and this is not how Jesus instructed his disciples to live:

Luke 9:3

He told them: ” Take nothing for the journey- no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.”

WOW! This is such a departure from how we live in today’s society! Most people today are to busy climbing the corporate ladder, trying to gain more prestige, earn more money. It always seems to come down to earning more money. It’s always about the money. We have past the point of just working for enough to pay for our basic expenses. We now work ourselves sick trying to pay for things that we really don’t need. This was not God’s plan for us.

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

If we are in Him, God will ALWAYS provide what we NEED. According to Matthew 6:25, what all we really need is food, drink, and clothing. I know, I know, things are different today and we need more than they did in Bible times. We need cars, shelter, utilities, phones, etc. I agree that these are needs in today’s society and God is completely aware that times have changed.

If we become content to live with what we NEED, instead of everything that we want, we will be able to stop the stress filled cycle of working for everything that we want, only to find out that we never have the time to enjoy those things, because we are working ourselves sick to keep up with this lifestyle.

I want you to ask yourselves the following questions:

1. Am I working myself sick to pay for a lifestyle I never get to enjoy?

2. If I am completely honest with myself, what are my basic NEEDS?

3. How is God leading me to simplify my life (either in my career or at home)?

4. Write down 3 action steps you can take to simplify your life.

5. Give yourself a deadline for completing those action steps.

God wants us to live joy filled lives! Embrace the life that God wants for you! You can do it! God is always willing to walk the path with us!

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bloom where your planted

 

 

Philippians 4:11-13

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Paul knew what hardship was. He wrote four of his letters while he was imprisoned. Paul’s letter to the Philippians was written while he was in prison. Paul suffered severely for his beliefs. He was imprisoned, he was flogged, and he was exposed to death more than once, but Paul had faith in God and he never quit giving the message of the Gospel.

Every day circumstances can cause discontentment in our lives. I have worked in the food service department of a local convent for 2 1/2 years now and although I love the sisters and my work environment, I often get frustrated because I want to be doing more for God. I know that God has called me to a full-time women’s ministry and that is where my heart is. I have been guilty of arguing with God and have been a bit whiny. I have complained that “all these other women are serving in full-time ministries, why shouldn’t I be able to?” I admit, I have sounded like a petulant child. No wonder my heavenly Father has left me where I am! I have finally realized that until I can be content in my present circumstances and allow God to use me where I am, I will not be able to move forward in a full-time ministry. Why does it take us so long to learn these lessons?

Paul says in this passage that he has learned the secret to being content in any and every situation. What is Paul’s secret?

1. Love (1:9)

2. Confidence in the Lord (1:14)

3. Union With Christ ( 1:21, 4:13)

4. The Privilege Of Suffering (1:29)

5. Humility (2:3)

6. Unselfishness (2:20)

7. Losing What The World Prizes (3:8)

8. A Heavenly Goal (3:20)

9. Helpfulness (4:3)

10. Being Worry-Free (4:6)

11. Godly Thinking (4:8)

12. A Grateful Heart (4:14-16)

Paul desired to do God’s will, even if it meant suffering and death. Paul also trusted God to bring something good out of his suffering. Paul truly had a servant’s heart. His only desire was to serve God and to serve those God sent him to. If we allow ourselves to become servants and allow God to use us right where we are today, then we open the door to future assignments. We have to be willing to find contentment wherever life has us today. Become that willing servant to whomever God puts in your life and watch as God works in our own lives and the lives of those around us.

I am challenging you to look outside of your own situation and find someone else that you can help or encourage, even if in a small way. Cultivate that servant’s heart within yourself and find contentment no matter what your circumstances may be.

*1-12 of Paul’s secret was taken from John Mark Ministries http://www.jmm.org.au/articles/15401.htm

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