You are currently browsing the Personal category
How many times have I sung that wonderful hymn, It is Well with My Soul? Dozens? Hundreds? And to know the story behind adds even more meaning and depth to it. (Check out the story here.)
Many of those times I sang because I knew that it was true mentally but I was not “feeling” it. I was following the advice of one of my favorite motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, “You can never feel you way into acting but you can act your way into feeling.”
So, by faith I just sang it and most of the time the feelings did follow and it was well with my soul. My soul. My mind, my will, my emotions were all rightly aligned with God and there was peace and even joy.
Other times I sang and life was going great. All the ducks I wanted/owned/loved were in a row. My soul was at peace because my circumstances were right.
However, lately, through the amazing work of the Never Changing God Who is ever changing me (thank you, Jennifer K. Dean), I can sing that song with truth and clarity despite my circumstances and not in a “fake it until you make it mode.” But, deeply knowing that all is well with my soul not because of “good” circumstances or despite “bad” circumstances. It is well because God is on the throne and He calls me His own.
Are there people close to me that are not walking in the abundancy Christ died on the cross to give them? Yes, they are but it is still well with my soul.
Is my dad struggling after the loss of his wife of almost 30 years? Yes, he is but it is still well with my soul.
Is my schedule still full and sometimes overwhelming? Yes, it is but it is still well with my soul.
Is God continuing to reveal to me my deep need for a Savior? Yes, He is but it is still well with my soul.
Am I still walking in singleness? Yes, I am but it is still well with my soul.
What about you? Do your circumstances control your soul? Does bad stuff cause you to make poor choices in your thought life, your eating, your relationships, etc.? Do challenges cause you to worry and fret and not trust? How are things with your soul?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Despite my schedule which includes 40 flights the first six months of 2016, my life is pretty simply. My intentions were never to live a simple life but it just sort of happened that way. My good friend, Anthony Kober, used to shake his head at me because of how little I decorated my house. I am grateful for his skill to make into a home and feel warm and inviting and yet still be simple.
Recently I was listening to Joyce Meyer and realized her practical suggestions to live a simple life were already actions I have implemented in my life. Here are a few of her suggestions:
- Get rid of clutter. Books and newspapers have boundaries. Rooms, calendars, counter tops should have boundaries too. They give us balance.
- Be yourself and stop trying to impress others.
- Don’t be easily offended and be quick to forgive.
- When you sin, admit it, receive forgiveness and move on.
- Give people mercy instead of trying to get revenge.
- When you need help ask for it.
- Make decisions as fast as possible.
- Don’t be over committed.
Applying any of these suggestions to your life will bring additional peace. Some of it will be mentally, some of it will be physical and some of it will be emotional. For some of us, applying these suggestions will take hard work and the opportunity to learn a new trait – the ability to say, “No.”
Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (NIV) Do you have peace? Do you have trouble in your heart? Are you afraid? If so, take some time, review the suggestions above and go about making room in your life for the peace of God.
Peace be with you!
It is often said that we over estimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year. Have you found this to be true as well? My to-do list is usually longer than my day but when I think about what I want to accomplish in the next 12 months my list is not much longer.
This reality came true to me so well in the past 90 days. At the end of 2015, I started a Couch (read – potato couch) to 5K training program. It is an app on my phone that I can use while exercising that will help me go from sitting on the couch not running at all to running a 5K (3.1 miles.) Each week you have different walking/running assignments that gradually increasing to running 30 minutes straight.
For example, week 1 is made of 3 “runs” in which I walked 90 seconds than jogged 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 20 minutes per run. Week 2 the regime was 3 “runs” of 90 seconds of walking then 2 minutes of walking and repeat for a total of 20 minutes per run. Week 5 was jog for 5 minutes then walk for 3 minutes and repeat for a total of 21 minutes. Lastly, week 8 was jog of 28 minutes after a 5 minute warm up.
On December 28th, when I started, I really struggled to jog the 60 seconds. Everything hurt, I couldn’t breathe, I barely picked up my feet. It was pretty pitiful. I thought that there was no way I could ever run for 3+ miles! But I didn’t quit. I did what the app told me to do and I did it when it was cold, when it rained or when I was tired. However, before I knew it I had done it!! I had run a 5K and then I got really crazy and have started to Couch to 10K app.
The first of week of the third quarter is coming. The sun will set and the sun will rise 90 times and there is nothing we can do to stop that. However, we can be different people at this year’s 4th of July party. We can choose a goal, make a plan and then execute on that plan. You have the power to change you. Will you do it or will you be the same?
Please reach out to me if you need help with a plan or just to tell me what you plan to change in these next 90 days. See a change, make a plan and then do it!
For many years now, I have written down my goals – personal and professional. Goals that were short term (less than a year and sometimes a week) and goals that were much longer (right now I have two goals that have “my lifetime” deadline on them.) I started this practice in the early 90s when I grasp the concepts by Hyrum Smith in 10 Natural Laws of Time and Life Management. What I have found to be amazing is sometimes just the process of writing them down brings them to completion. What I mean is that I have goals that I wrote down and then never intentionally worked on them and in some cases simply forgot about and later on I would stumble across the list and realize they had been completed. I think that is why in Habakkuk, God encourages us to write it down. “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (ESV)
Last summer, my coach, Steve Knox, encouraged me to take some time during vacation to write out some more goals and add the component of accountability by telling three people that goal and when I was going to accomplish it. One of the goals I wrote down was to be the National Managing Partner for The Barnabas Group (TBG) by 2020. The reason I wanted this role is because it would fulfill three of my values:
- I love Christ and desire for Him to be glorified.
- I strive for excellence.
- I influence others.
And when I told the three people, they all encouraged me that I was on the right path.
Well, despite my time frame of 2020, God’s time frame was a bit earlier. On March 1st, Bob Shank, chairman of TBG-National, called and asked if I would be interested in considering taking over this role. As the Lord would have it, I was already schedule to be in Orange County, CA on the 2nd so we had breakfast along with Steve Esser, board member of TBG-National, and discussed what is the vision for TBG. There was an obvious alignment and I officially accepted the position on March 3rd and started immediately.
What is interesting is that of the 14 goals I wrote down in June of 2015, four of them have already been accomplished and I am on track with three others to be finished by June of 2016. Writing it down gives focus and clarity and in a strange way I think God thinks we really mean it when we do and His sovereignty is made evident as we work out these goals.
I would love to hear from you about any goals you have written down. Are you seeing them come to completion?
On Good Friday, I was blessed to sit a in a family’s media room with a small group of close friends to experience Secret Church
2014. David Platt
(author of Radical
and Radical Together
) started the first Secret Church experience at his church. It is basically a “house church” where we meet periodically for an intense time of Bible study—lasting 6+ hours—including a time of prayer for our brothers and sisters across the globe who are facing persecution and for those who have still not heard the Gospel. Platt started off his messages with this prayer and I think it is well worth an entire blog post:
As I arise today,
May the strength of God pilot me,
The power of God uphold me,
The wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
The ear of God hear me,
The word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
The way of God lie before me,
The shield of God defend me,
The host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
My prayer is that you will realize that Christ, through the indwelling Holy Spirit is ALWAYS, with you. And with Him all things are possible!
In 1965, the first lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson, was instrumental in the passing of the Beautification Act. This act called for a control of outdoor advertising as well as scenic enhancement and roadside development along the interstates of America. We experience the beauty of wildflowers along the interstates because of seeds that were planted decades ago!
This morning in my quiet time I read this verse:
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)
The Apostle Paul in this verse is specifically talking about finances but the principle applies to all that we sow. The seed sown could be time, talent, influence, etc. – anything that we possess that we can give away. In this sowing not only will those we sown into be blessed but we also have an increase in the “seed.” Personally, I have experienced this with my time as well as my skills and most recently I experienced this with my finances.
I was blessed to be able to purchase a major appliance for a friend and it was $750. Of course, she gave thanks to me but also to our God for the provision. But what is so cool in that in the next 10 days, the following happened:
- Received an unplanned for bonus check
- Signed another contract
- Invited to speak at an event
- Did NOT have to pay for a plane ticket
- Had entered my mortgage payment in twice in check register
- Unexpected reimbursement for items purchased in 9/2013
Total increase? $4,423!!!
Now I am giving thanks to God for His faithfulness! As verse 12 promises, the results will be thanksgiving to God.
What can you sow today – not to get the increase – but so that God will be glorified and thanked?
Hopeless. Helpless. Wanting to fix. Desiring change.
These feelings are swirling around me these past few weeks. In my close circle of friends there are so many crises and struggles that I sense I can do nothing about. Fixing a marriage that is not only on the rocks but is beaten by the waves is not in my power. Stopping the ravages of cancer that are destroying two of my friends is not in my skill set. Providing the money to meet significant financial needs is not in my bank account. Relieving the stress of a huge workload that appears to only grow larger by the moment is not in my ability. And then when the eight character text, pls pray, comes across my iPhone screen my heart is gripped and my stomach is in knots because I feel so helpless because prayer is all I can do.
So with reluctance and not much faith, I cry out to my God. I don’t know what to say…I can’t give Him a plan to fix it…so I pray in the Spirit. I beg for relief. I intercede and slowly God does a work on my heart. It is true I can’t fix, stop, provide or relieve but He can.
He is the Restorer of broken walls.
He is the Healer of our bodies.
He is the Provision for all our needs.
He is the Way Maker when there seems no way.
So my helplessness is really a gift to my friends and to myself. In my helplessness, I turn to the only One who can make a difference. I lean into the One who is made strong in my weaknesses. I cry out to the One whose ears are inclined to me.
And then the peace comes, the Prince of Peace, and I realize the best “fixing” I can do for my friends is praying.
What about you? Are you turning to Him? Are you leaning in to Him? Are you crying out? May we not think that prayer is the last resort but know that it is the first and only resort.
« Older Entries