Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 8

January 2nd, 2017 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Walk by Faith No Comments

As I have asked before, do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

For the past several blogs, I have shared that living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness, wickedness, humble, receive, implant and save. Today we will look at the last concept of souls.

In my last blog, I referenced the fact that our soul is made up of three parts…mind, will and emotions. The process of transforming our soul to be more like Christ is called sanctification. As new believers in Christ – as one who has accepted the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, I believe my spirit is saved and I am going to heaven no matter what I do between that day and my death. (Side note: however, if I continue to live an ungodly life and do not change from year to year to be more like Christ and do not suffer from conviction of the Holy Spirit, I would question whether I have been truly justified in Christ.)

However, if my soul is not being sanctified, I will live a miserable life with much conviction, discontentment and no peace. I will do what I don’t want to do and not do the things that I want to do. Christine Caine talks about Christ followers having tormented minds, broken hearts (I refer to this as will) and wounded souls (I refer to this as emotions.)

Because we live in a fallen world, our minds are tormented by lies, our wills are broken because of disappointments and our emotions are a mess because of unforgiveness.  So the sanctification process works by replacing the lies with Truth, the disappointments with reliance on Christ and the unforgiveness with forgiveness. As I go through life and I respond inappropriately to a situation (i.e. get flustered while waiting in line, get angry when corrected, get depressed when plans are cancelled), I need to look deeply within me to see if that has been caused because of lies I am believing, false expectations I have set up or forgiveness that I have withheld.

A quick example is when I get flustered while waiting in line at the grocery store. This usually comes about because I am having several thoughts that are lies:

  1. My time is valuable. (Lie: I am more important than others.)
  2. That cashier is bad. (Lie: I do not ever need grace extended to me.)
  3. I am the boss. (Lie: If they did things my way, they would be faster.)

To change from being flustered to being at peace and even grace filled all I need to do is replace those lies with Truth. The Truth is that I am to think more highly of others than myself because I have needed and been given much grace. Another Truth is that I have not been called to be the manager of this store and aren’t I glad? In a moment, I am back to living the fulfilled life that I so desire.

How about you? How are you doing with lies, false expectations or unforgiveness? Please be in touch if there is any way I can help you live a more fulfilling life!

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 7

December 26th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Leadership No Comments

As I have asked before, (and will again just one more time) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

As I have said before, the ability to live this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness, wickedness, humble, receive and implant. Today we will look at the concept of save. One of my favorite hoodie sweatshirts which I purchased at Edisto Beach a few years back says, “No Lifeguard on duty, save yourself.” Even just typing that brings a smile to my face because it is impossible to save one’s self if they do not know how to swim.

And oh how does this apply to the concept of save from this verse. As human beings, we are born with a need that we cannot fulfill. The need is to satisfy a just God and His demand to live a life of perfection to enter into eternal bliss rather than wrath. We must live a life that is holy and righteous. He demands nothing less than perfection. But our problem is that no effect or hard work will allow us to do this…to save ourselves. No amount of piousness will fulfill the commandment to live a sinless life. We simply cannot do it because of the sin nature in us. As we all know, we do not need to teach a toddler to be mean or selfish…we must teach her to be kind and to share.

It is only when the Word of God that we received is rooted in us, that we can be saved. Rescued. Delivered. Kept from harm.

I believe this salvation is a process. We are created in the image of God and are therefore triune beings – spirit, soul and body. Immediately upon believing the Gospel, our spirit is made new and is saved – this is justification. Our soul (mind, will and emotions) is saved through the process of sanctification (which we will talk about more next time) and our body is saved through glorification upon the return of Jesus or when we die and meet Him face to face.

So the question for you today is, “Are you saved by God’s grace?” or are you still trying to save yourself?

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 6

December 19th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Walk by Faith No Comments

As I have asked before, (and will again for a few more times) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

For the past several blogs, I have shared that living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts: uncleanness, wickedness, humble and receive. Today we will look at the concept of implanting. As is the case of many terms in scripture, there is an agricultural concept associated with this word. To implant is to not just put a seed in the ground but for it germinate and have its roots gone deep into the ground so that it will bear fruit.

For us to live a life of peace, contentment and fulfillment, the Word of God cannot just be something that has a surface impact on our lives. We must take the Bible and have it planted deep into our hearts. We cannot let the cares of this world and the deceptions around us distract us from making sure the seed of God’s Word is not only planted in good soil but allowed to grow deep roots.

A few ways to do that are to read the Bible, out loud, daily. If just starting, read a Proverb a day each day of the month for a year. This practice will grow your knowledge and when applied, increase your wisdom. Another way to saturate the soul of your heart with the Word of God is to play it all the time in your home. A great way to do that is using the app created by Life Church that allows you to download the audio of the Bible and then play it continuously in your home. The Word of God is active, alive and transformational. Your faith will grow because faith comes by hearing.

What about you? Do you have any suggestions of how to implant the Scripture into your heart?

Next time, we will be discussing the concept, save.

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 5

December 12th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Ministry, Personal Comments Off on Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 5

As I have asked before, (and will again for a few more times) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

As I have shared, living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness, wickedness and humble. Today we will look at the concept of receive. Some of the synonyms for receive are to get, obtain, accept or to collect. With a humble spirit, we should pursue this Word of God. It is a not a passive activity but one that requires action. I have given this example in the past but I think in bears repeating as we learn what it means to “receive” the Word of God.

Suppose I told you that in your back yard about 50 – 75 feet down there was a treasure chest filled with gold and silver and rubies and pearls.  It was filled with more than you could desire or even count. It is deep down but if you can get to it, it is yours!!

However, there are a few, little caveats in this arrangement…you cannot use anything mechanical and the only time you can dig is from 4 – 8 each morning.  Now you do not have to dig the whole time but you can only dig for four hours per day.  You can use a shovel or a pick but you must do it yourself.  No one else can dig for you but, again, once you reach the treasure, it is yours and nobody can take it away from you and you can freely give it to others around you.

If this were all true, what do you think tomorrow morning would look like at your house (and it would look the same at my house if the treasure chest was in my backyard)?  At 3:59 am, you would be standing at your back door with your hand on the knob.  You would have probably slept in your clothes and I doubt you would have needed an alarm.  All the shovels and picks you purchased today at the Home Depot would be lined up just outside the door.  And when it is the top of the hour, you would start digging and would not stop until 8!

No one would complain that they are not a morning person.  Clothes would have been laid out the night before.  Breakfast would have been planned.  Emails and social media ignored. Car pools arranged and appointments deferred because nothing was going to stop you from getting your treasure.

The Bible says in Proverbs 8:10-11 and 18-19 that His wisdom – His word – is choice gold and better than precious stones.  Do we really believe this? If so, we do all we could to receive this treasure.

Next time we will look at the concept, implant.

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 4

December 5th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Leadership Comments Off on Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 4

As I have asked before, (and will again for a few more times) do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are you experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

For the past several blogs, I have shared that living this type of life can be found in this verse:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

We have already unpacked the following concepts, uncleanness and wickedness. Today we will look at the concept of humility. This opposite of humility is of course pride and pride is often reflected in two different extremes: boastful or arrogant and false humility. Most of us understand arrogance and can quickly spot it in others (and hopefully ourselves.) However, the concept of false humility is often not so easy to see.

False humility is seen when people belittle or degrade themselves. For example, I have been given the gift of preaching. Because of God’s grace and power in my life, I can communicate effectively and efficiently. When I first started speaking, people would came up to me afterwards and complimented me. I would often shrug it off by saying “Oh that wasn’t that good” or “Anyone can do this.” After a few times of doing that the Lord quickly rebuked me and said that I was belittling His gift in me by not receiving these compliments for His glory. It was false humility because I was not a right measure of myself or God. Now when someone compliments me I using say something like, “Thank you! It was good. God has blessed me with a great gift. All glory to Him.”

So how do you develop humility. The first step is having a right understanding of God – He is the sovereign, all knowing, all present, all powerful King of kings. There is none like Him nor will there ever be. The second step is having a right understanding of yourself – I am a sinner that is in desperate need of a Savior but because I do have His Spirit in me, I am a righteous child of this amazing King. Lastly, you need to find a way to practice this humility. For me, it is picking up trash. As I walk through my church or jog along the road or head into a store, if there is trash on the ground I am to pick it up and put it into a trashcan. Yes, this is disgusting at times (wash hands as soon as possible) and delays me sometimes (hate stopping in the middle of a run) but it does humble me. And it really humbles me when I have passed a piece of trash and the Lord has me turn around and pick it up.

What about you? Do you have any ways in which you practice humility?

Next time we will look at the concept, receive.

Do It Afraid!

November 28th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Food, Intentional Living Comments Off on Do It Afraid!

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. LUKE 2:9-11Angel

Isn’t it interesting that the glory of the Lord brought about fear in the shepherds? Fear in itself is not a bad thing – it is not a sin. It is a defense mechanism that heightens our awareness and places on minds and bodies on alert.

The problem with fear is when we allow those fears to stop us – to paralyze us. The fear of rejection stops us from asking someone out. The fear of hurt stops us from loving deeply. The fear of judgment stops us from confessing our greatest temptations or sins. The fear of failure stops us from pursuing our goals.

A dear friend of mine who lost over 170 pounds on the First Place 4 Health program, appeared to all outsiders to be free from the bondage of food but the truth was she was scared. She feared that if she ever deviated from her “plan” for even a meal, she would gain all of the weight back.  This did not bring great joy in her life nor allow the Savior to be all that He could be in her life. She had to face her fear – do it afraid – and have chips and salsa (just not every night.) To enjoy a dessert occasionally but not the entire pie. To trust the Power that raised her Savior from the ground and now lived in her to help her walk in freedom to food.

If you struggle with weight loss during the Christmas season, ask the Holy Spirit in you to grant you the power to make wise choices and practice self-control in every meal. Do not allow fear to stop you from going to the neighborhood Christmas party because you may eat too much or because you do not know how many calories are in each bite. Also, do not allow fear of rejection stop you from asking for prayer from others as you step out and trust Christ to be strong in your weakness. And if you make poor choices or overeat, do not allow fear of condemnation stop you from confessing that to one other trusted friend and begin again immediately.

When the glory of the Lord rises up in you and you do it afraid, His great joy will flood your soul.

 

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 3

September 16th, 2016 Filed under Intentional Living, Walk by Faith 2 Comments

gossip_1280How are things going? Are you living a John 10:10, Ephesians 3:20 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 life? Are you experiencing abundancy and a life full of peace and contentment? I am living this life and as I have shared in the past I want all to live life this way.

For me, a key verse that has helped me live this kind of life is the following: So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

In the last entry, we looked at uncleanness. Today, I want to dig a bit deeper into the word wickedness. Wickedness as defined in the Vine’s Expository Dictionary is depravity, malignity, maliciousness, naughtiness. Often when one thinks of wickedness, they go to Hitler or Stalin or some of the awful cases of child abuse and neglect that we unfortunately hear about on a daily basis. Those are all true of what wickedness entails but if I am not careful, I will think that this is not something I, personally, have to deal with and I would be so wrong.

When I think of wickedness, what first comes to mind is mean people. People that are belligerent, angry, spiteful, hateful and cause harm because it makes them feel better or builds them up. A wonderful friend once said to me, “Hurt people hurt and 95% of the time you are wonderful but there are times when you hurt.” Ouch but oh so good – the wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy.

This comment forced me to dig deeper in my motives and my actions and how often I was responding out of a wound and not out of wisdom. The kicker for me was the definition of malignity – Oxford says it is to speak about someone in a spitefully critical manner: i.e. don’t you dare malign her in my presence.

Oh my! Another ouch! There is a fine line between speaking of someone critically and being critical in a spiteful way. To be safe…to avoid wickedness…to maintain purity in what I say and do, my goal is to never speak critically of someone. And to not hang around long with those that do.

Let’s be known as people who lift up. People who see the best in others. People who not only have clean hands in all that we do but the very words out of our mouth and the motives of our hearts are pure. That we are never ashamed of nor excusing the words that we speak or the comments that we make. Is this a high calling? Oh yes!! But when we do it, peace and contentment are a normal part of our lives.

Next time, we will look at the word humble.

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 2

August 29th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Leadership Comments Off on Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 2

Last time on my blog, you were asked, “Are you living a John 10:10, Ephesians 3:20 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 life? Are you experiencing abundance and a life full of peace and contentment?” This life may seem impossible but Jesus said, “All things are possible with God.”UNCLEAN

As I shared, for me to move from impossible to possible I needed to unpack and work through the following verse: So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified)

So today, we are going to unpack this verse a bit and look at the key word: uncleanness. Over the next several blogs, we will look at wickedness humble, receive, implanted, save and souls.

Uncleanness as defined in Vine’s Expository Dictionary is dirt or filth and in this case is being used metaphorically as moral defilement. It means any sin – whether an act of omission or commission – that causes you to be separated from God. The Bible is extremely clear on many issues (see Ten Commandments) but some things are not as clear. In that case, ask the Holy Spirit. One of the reasons He has come is to bring conviction of sin. However, a good rule of thumb to follow is when in doubt, don’t.

So if you are not living the life described in the first paragraph then the first question you should ask God is if there is any sin in your life. Trust me, I know from experience, if you ask that of God, He will be faithful to answer. If a sin (or sins) are revealed to you, move as quickly as possible to repent and walk in the ways of God. If you need help in repenting and stopping, seek help from trusted Bible teachers and preachers.

Jeremiah 3:12-13 holds a great promise that was spoke to the rebellious nation of Israel but is true for us today: “…Return, faithless Israel,” declares the Lord. “I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful,” declares the Lord; “I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God.

This introspection into your own life is so key and necessary for ongoing spiritual growth. When I came to faith in 1992, the sins that God was revealing to me through the Holy Spirit were ones we as believers like to label the “big” ones. They were all the no brainer ones – “sexing, drugging and rocking and rolling.” However, as you grow in your faith, the revelation of sin is still a part of life. These sins are not “smaller” sins – maybe less destructive to those around me as well as myself – as they still require just as much Blood to receive forgiveness as the other ones. Some example of these sins are: unkindness, gossip, lying (even those little white lies,) embellishment, critical spirit, driving faster than posted speed limit…do I need to go on?

Take some time today and ask God if there is any sin in your life and if you want to be really bold, ask your spouse or best friend. Be quick to repent and watch the peace and contentment flood in.

Next blog…. wickedness – how is that different than uncleanness?

Longing for a Fulfilling Life: Part 1

August 11th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Intentional Living, Personal 4 Comments

Do you have peace and contentment in your life? Are you living a John 10:10 kind of life? Do you believe Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality for you? Are longing-for-a-fulfulling-lifeyou experiencing the transforming growth described in 2 Corinthians 3:18?

I am blessed to travel the nation and serve alongside some amazing Christ followers. Men and women who have a heart to see God’s Kingdom advanced and the world impacted by the Gospel. But I also see many Christ followers, who live lives of depression, defeat, brokenness and bitterness. Why do I spot this type of Christ followers? Because I was once one of them!! I was saved, sealed and heading to heaven at my death but the promises of John 10:10, Ephesians 3:20 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 were not a reality in my daily existence.

However, praise the Lord, they are today!!! And I long for others to walk in that life as well. If I could give you a pill or a formula or a 4 step action plan to make it happen, I would do it in a heartbeat. Yet, this abundant, contented, fulfilling life does not come without some diligence (work out your salvation) and it does not come in the same manner and process for all (only one burning bush) but it can come.

So then the key question has to be, “How does it come?” For me, the answer to this question is held in this verse from the Bible: So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21 Amplified) Over the next couple of blogs I am going to unpack this verse a bit and look at some key words: uncleanness, wickedness, humble, receive, implanted, save and souls. I pray you join me as we experience all that God wants for us and live a fulfilling life.

Be the Best You

July 7th, 2016 Filed under Bible, Food, Intentional Living, Leadership, Personal Comments Off on Be the Best You

As a coach in The Master’s Program for Women, we talk about the ceiling of complexity and when we learn and for most of us there is a significant drop off after college. According to Pew Research,  71% of all adults read less than 10 books in 2014. I want to go totally counter cultural to that stat. I want to be a lifelong learner with a curriculum for my life that will help me become the most impactful, loving and gracious self I can be.Best YOu

This learning and personal development is not so that I can live a life that is better but it is so that I can serve the world better. My desire is to leave a legacy of hope, grace, power and influence. To do this I have to continue to be better…to set higher standards and expectations for my life…to dream BIG and believe that living an abundant, contented, joyful life is possible.

There are lots of areas to consider for lifelong curriculum but the first area needs to be over the only thing you can control in life – yourself. I want to be the best I can be physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Because of this desire, I chose (most of the time) to eat well and exercise. I read books and listen to podcasts that make me smarter as a leader, as an influencer, as a follower of Christ. I spend time practicing the spiritual disciplines and investing time and resources in the relationships around me that matter the most. By definition, that also means that I have to limit my relationships. I cannot be available and present for everyone. I have to say no to wonderful people so that I can say yes to those closest to me.

What about you? Do you have a curriculum? What legacy are you leaving? What can you do today to become the best you?

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