Today as I was thinking about life and such, God brought this picture to my mind.
Bowling has gutters and if we aren’t careful or skilled, the ball will end up in the gutter. However, someone came up with this wise idea to put up bumpers in order to guide the ball to where it needs to go (for those of us less skilled at bowling).
Often in life, we can foolishly end up in the gutter and miss the mark completely. However, God put wisdom in place to guide us to where we need to go. James tells us that we don’t have to do anything special to receive that wisdom except ASK!
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
We only need to ask God for wisdom and he will generously give it to us without finding fault!
We have the opportunity to live with wisdom to get us going in God’s direction, and help us make that mark. We cannot do it on our own, we just need to ASK GOD!
Will you ask Him today?
I have made my decision. I am not going to live defeated. October felt like a race I was not prepared to run, many times I was left panting and exhausted. This November, I am going to win, but not at the cost of others. We are going to win together. I am tired of one sided winning, competition that puts others down and discourages them. This month, I am #winningNovember!
I heard it said in a class (so don’t credit me), and ever since have grown more and more to love the idea that I don’t have to have that attitude of defeat. I can choose—in advance—to win November. So who’s with me? With all the No—‘s of November, no shave, no pants, no sweets (wait what?!), what are the yeses?! I say yes to winning this November.
John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Even though I know it will be a crazy month, with many things to do, holidays, and thankfulness, November will be won and won together. Not because of ourselves, but because Jesus has already overcome the world and everything it has to throw at us!
I am choosing to win November by not wearing pants—a challenge I have been doing for about 4 years now—speaking about Abide and their mission of #nomoreinnercity, staying disciplined with my health and homework, and investing in relationships–both with God and with the people he has place in my life!
So who’s with me?
Who is #winningNovember?!
Comment below with how you plan to win November!
Last year, around this time, I was in my last semester of undergrad and thus still had to attend weekly chapels. I remember going to a worship chapel where we sang the song Oceans. As one of the top Christian songs in the past few years, this song was a favorite in chapel, on the radio and on everyone’s playlists. After a while though, the words lost their meaning. On that particular day, however, I realized afresh what the words meant.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”
I knew what I was singing, but thought for a second at the weight of my words. Did I really just sing that I wanted God to take me to deeper waters? What would that look like? And was that even something I really wanted to be asking God?
This past year, God has brought me to and through some of those deeper waters. My 22nd year has been one of the hardest yet. The trials of a broken relationship and a wounded friendship took me deeper than my feet could ever wander. At times I didn’t know if I could emotionally, spiritually, and mentally survive. However, because I ran to His presence, the deeper communion I have experienced with God and this sense of unity with His Spirit makes it more than worth it. Through it all, the joy that I have is unexplainable. Even though I may still sometimes hurt, that hurt reminds me of how deep God has taken me. How he has allowed me to walk on the water, making me stronger, and let me experience the fullness of his presence.
While my heart may have been unsure when I uttered the prayer of that song, God heard the words of my lips and knew what it would take to make my faith stronger.
This summer, when I thought I had experienced the deepest of the depths, I had no idea that more was in store. While I am writing this now, I don’t know if I have seen the last of the depths. In fact, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that there are still deeper waters ahead.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble…”
I can be confident that there are deeper waters to come. BUT Jesus is not finished when he says that. He ends the statement with:
“…But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Our faith can be made stronger in those deeper waters. We know that we can endure because we already know Jesus has overcome!
The trust and experience of deepened faith developed through trials is both painful and beautiful.
May we continue to be led by the Spirit, and our faith be made stronger.
Today at our staff meeting, someone was talking about the love of God and how we try to “wrap it around our minds” –I am sure he meant to say we try to wrap our minds around it– but it came out the other way around. This got me thinking and I got this picture in my mind that will NOT go away!
Lately I have been praying through Ephesians 3:14-19 as a prayer not only for me, but for the people that I care deeply about.
It is for this reason that I bow my knees before the Father, 15 after whom all families in heaven above and on earth below receive their names, and pray:
16 Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit 17 so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together 18-19 with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings. (The Voice)
The verse talks about knowing, understanding how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (NIV).
This picture that I have is of how infinite his love is that it wraps around our minds, instead of the other way around. We can’t wrap our minds around God’s love for us, but he can wrap it around our minds. (Tweet it by clicking on the link)
It is as if we cannot ever FULLY grasp and comprehend or wrap our head around this concept of how GREAT his love is for us.
Thankfully, we don’t have to. Praise God that his love is so great that it can wrap around our mind, our head, our heart, our life! We don’t have to understand it, because we can fully experience its power!
Though it may have been a human misspoken saying, God used it to create this picture to show me that his love cannot be wrapped around by our finite minds, instead, his infinite love wraps around us and each and every person.
Decided to try something new as a result of a challenger in my life.
Summer is a time where many of us have that little bit of extra time in our schedule to do with as we please. For me, that means I finally get around to all of the things I have been wanting to do, but simply did not have enough time for during the rest of the year. AKA Goals, aspirations, book lists, exercise habits, eating habits, money budgeting, the list is endless. It seems like every day I find another thing to add to my summer goal list. The hard part, however, is actually creating the time and space to accomplish those things and do what you want to do. Life happens, you get tired and want to veg on the couch or sleep in that extra five minutes, and before you know it, the summer is over and it is back to a packed schedule and shorter days.
This summer, I am stepping up and not letting the long days pass me by. But, I did not realize how hard it is to form new habits. Sleep seems so much more vital in the morning than when I set my alarm the night before, and it seems so much easier to watch a quick show on Netflix (or maybe two, or three) than to read a couple chapters of that book, or my Bible.
Thankfully, quite a long time ago, I wrote this verse on a notecard and placed it on my wall. Normally I walk right past it, but today I paused and read it over again and thanked God for his sovereign timing and wisdom.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
I would encourage you to read Hebrews 11 and 12 in their entirety to fully understand the context and direction of the entire passage. Chapter 11 speaks of all the great people throughout the history of the Bible and chapter 12 goes on to encourage those in the present day to not give up. Now the content of this particular passage in chapter 12 discusses discipline as discipline in the form of hardship or similar to that of a father disciplining his child. Discipline is a part of training a child in the way he or she should go, meaning it is not always an act when the child misbehaves or makes a mistake, but a constant presence guiding and directing the path of that child to help him or her learn and grow to one day become a mature adult.
Sometimes God can give us the direction or desire and it is up to us to obey and take those steps of forming the habits that will set us up for success in what he wants to do in us and through us.
How are we able to do this?
Verses 2 and 3 tell us to look at the life of Jesus for our example of someone who did not give up and lived a life devoted and disciplined, because his eyes were focused on the joy set before him.
What is the result?
Like verse 11 above says, discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.
Maybe the discipline you are experiencing is in the form of a trial, or maybe it is in the form of creating new habits to take you to the next level in your relationship with God or his call on your life. Whatever it may be, I encourage you to keep pressing on and take a look at the two verses following verse 11:
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Hebrews 12:12-13 (NIV)
The discipline, that leveling of the paths for your feet, is worth it, the harvest of righteousness and peace is coming!
…to be continued…
This blog post is one of a two-part series about discipline and creating new habits.