Wednesday, November 27, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 342

Self-control over what comes out of your mouth is SUPER challenging for me. It is most especially difficult when in a stressful situation. The other day I actually prepared myself for the frustrations that would occur at work by focused praying and yet I found myself later that day in a surprise I need this now situation. So, I scrambled to get together a couple of spreadsheets that could be used for a test import meeting that was starting as I spoke. Really?! You couldn’t have thought of this in the morning so I could have some time to prepare them. So, off I went rushing to get these spreadsheets done and sent when in comes what we like to call the “pit bull” co-manager because she is on top of things to get them done. My frustration was coming out of my mouth but I explained that I just got the call that this was needed which she didn’t realize so she leaves me be for about another minute and comes back. I tell her I am working it and have almost got it ready and then in SO my temperament way I said, “I can’t magically pull these out of my butt”. Well, she thought it was funny, which is what I intended for it to be to get her to back off. Unfortunately, she goes into the other manager’s office where the meeting is going to take place and tells those that are in there. They all were laughing about it but the co-worker on speaker phone in our Texas office was offended by it. So, I got a talking to about my language. Ugh. I felt so wounded and defeated and honestly was feeling like God didn’t help me. So, I was cranky and depressed for the rest of the day. The good news is I got over it and had to realize that with my forgiveness from God I had to forgive myself. I ended up reading from The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell and was just awed by how God works. He gave me some wisdom on this whole self-control over my mouth thing and gave me what to do. Here is an expert on the Law of Consistency chapter:

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. That means developing great habits. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments, and that bridge must be crossed every day. Over time that daily crossing becomes a habit. And ultimately, people do not decide their future; they decide their habits and their habits decide their future. As author and speaker Brian Tracy says, “From the time you get up in the morning to the time you go to sleep at night, your habits largely control the words you say, the things you do, and the ways you react and respond.”

So, I thought to myself how can I make my responses to people become loving, gentle and kind even in the midst of impatience, frustration and stress? I already had memorized this scripture but realized it was something I had to use constantly for every action, words I say and responses and reactions I make. Scripture is the sword of the spirit. It can overcome my weakness in my self-control over my mouth but it will take patience and persistence. Growth doesn’t happen instantaneously which is where my down on God attitude came from the other day. God is patiently persisting in working on and refining me. So, I thank him for this wisdom and will work on using his word as my daily defense against the weakness within me to turn it into a strength that glorifies God.

Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 341

I found this analogy of the trinity a while back. What a great reminder as the sun out there every day. You could go further with the analogy in saying that the clouds are our sins blocking our view of God. That's probably why I love it when I see rays of sunshine shining through a break in the clouds. Jesus brings us hope like those rays of sunshine bring us hope that the clouds will pass and we will be warmed by the sun again.

One way Bible students have tried to explain the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is to compare the Triune God to the sun in the sky. They say that God the Father is like the sun, Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, is like the light streaming from the sun because he made the Father known to us. And then they say that the Holy Spirit is like the unseen heat generated by the sun and its light. It’s not a perfect illustration for it may give the impression that the Son and Holy Spirit are not as great as the Father (and they are), but it does a good job of emphasizing that the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit yet they are all somehow connected, in fact are one God, not three gods.

Monday, November 25, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits-Day ??? Maybe 340?

Definition of Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset; the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune or pain, without complaint, loss of temper or irritation or the like.

As I sat praying this morning in the quiet of my basement, I gave thanks and praise to God, prayed for specific things for my husband and children and ended by praying for myself and being patient, kind, gentle and loving within the circumstances I find myself today. I small light bulb lite up in my head and I thought I can’t be these things without the Lord so I adjusted my prayer to ask for help to put on the filter of Jesus that would guide my responses to any challenging situations. I have always had a reactionary response especially to things that frustrate or make me angry but with the Lord’s help I can choose to take the filter of Jesus and use Him and his perfection to guide my responses. Stop, pray and breathe before responding. Stop, pray and breathe. Stop, pray and breathe. Stop, pray and breathe.

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-I have lost count of the day!

I went to my church website and listened to the sermon from last Sunday again. We had a guest pastor preaching and there were some things said that were spoken too quickly or in such a way that I didn’t understand. But those things I did understand were so enriching that I had to listen to it again to see if I could hear the other parts. He mentioned that the bible said many are the afflictions of the righteous and the Lord delivers him from them all. The book I am reading on Expository Listening explained that discerning what we are listening to is a part of growth. If we hear someone preaching on something that he says is in the bible, we should be verifying it to be truth. So, I did my research and found the verse the pastor was referring to: Psalm 34:19. In looking over this verse and highlighting it in my bible, I underlined the words “the Lord delivers him”. I can’t think of how many health/medical issues have come up over the past decade of my life. The Lord has delivered me from them all. I wasn’t instantly healed but rather God was refining me in the process of the healing with having more patience, gaining peace in the circumstance, being kind, gentle and loving despite the hurts and pain and so many other aspects. The whole point of the sermon was the truth of our hope in Christ and how we need to focus on the blessing of Heaven awaiting us.

Psalm 34:19 A righteous man may have troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

Friday, November 22, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 338

I wrote the prayer below on Day 8 last year. I said this was something we needed to pray for every day. So, I prayed it once the day I wrote it and proceeded to forget about it. I know there are other prayers I wrote that have been saved on my computer but left to collect cyber dust. I decided to make a prayer wall down in my basement where I can sit on the floor and pray and have some visuals to use to spur my prayer on. It is a creative venture so it won’t happen overnight but I am looking forward to adding to this wall as often as I get a chance. Like a song says, “whatever your will, Lord,  whatever your will, help me find it”.
 Father God, you are the ultimate authority figure for us.  Forgive me for not listening to your command, for not discerning what you want for me to do, for not loving you and others as I should. I do not have it within me to do it so I ask the Holy Spirit to open my heart today to see you and hear you, to know what your will for me is and to love you and others like there’s no tomorrow. With you all things are possible. Amen.  


Thursday, November 21, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 337

I am starting a review of the last year's blog entries to remind myself of what I said and find out how well I am doing with it. It is important to go back over your experiences in the past year and review the insights you were given. Most importantly, it is a chance to gage how well you are taking those insights and applying them to your life. This is an excerpt from day 3 when I wrote about love. I have my scrapbook page created called "like a seed" in my slideshow that is a great visual reminder of this concept of being a unique creation of God and how we need to see each of us as unique not just in terms of how we look, what we say or do but how we feel or don't feel. Think of yourself as a plant. Come on!! Use your imagination. I would like to think of myself as my favorite flower, the gardenia. I started as a gardenia seed planted in my mother's womb by God. Do I look like a gardenia bush today? How has the environment affected me? Am I full of flowers creating a beautiful scent for those around me? What can I do to trim the gardenia bush so I can flower more? See how it goes.... Give it a try.... I would love to get some responses on this one telling me what plant you have chosen and what questions you come up with about your plant.

Our uniqueness creates a lot of the complexity in regards to love but if we can start to really see each person as a unique creation of God, we may be able to understand and forgive when we are not feeling the love.

Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for you are my God. Your Spirit is good: lead me in the land of uprightness.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 336

I have been pondering the word rely since Monday when I got through my day without calling on God for help. I resorted to doing it my way and I was frustrated, angry and even said something that offended someone. To make matters worse, I knew I was not being a very good example of Christian love and the fruits of the Spirit had turned sour. I was a mess and instead of taking my stress to God and dealing with it in godly ways I went home had a glass and a half of wine (that is a lot for me these days) and then proceeded to let go of self-control and ate too many chocolate almonds. I woke up the next morning feeling very sorry for my pathetic display and asked God for forgiveness and help on being better prepared to handle my day at work that is extremely challenging right now. That word “rely” popped in my head so I tried looking it up in the concordance of my bible but it wasn’t there so I did a search on line for scripture about relying on God and was led to what I needed. I gave me a good visual and for me a visual works so well. God led me to another visual too of a father walking with his daughter holding her hand and as they go down the path they encounter a big pile of sticks in the way so the daughter looks up to her father and asks what they should do. My pile of sticks is my current workplace and the challenge of dealing with another culture and a communication barrier in the middle of 5 butt-loads of work that keeps piling up. Prayerful preparation with my Daddy and the visual tools helped me get through my day with patience and gentleness and my self-control was focused on what would glorify God.  The visual brought me instant peace and a smile to my face every time. If you have encountered a pile of sticks in your path, look to our Daddy and let him help you decide the course you should take.

Jeremiah 17:5-9 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 335

Please forgive me for being missing in action. I got a flu bug and then put all my focus on completing a project for a scholarship opportunity. I am excited about the possibility of getting this scholarship. The key component to it is submitting a creative piece. I was praising God when I read about it thinking this is so right up my alley. I had already been scrapbooking my study on temperament theory which helped me learn and soak in the knowledge I was reading but little did I know that it would become a tool to use in my future counseling practice but also a means to sharing about Temperament Theory and Jesus and God willing to win the $1000 scholarship. Please take a look at the slide show on the Faithbooking Gallery page on the blog and let me know what you think. At some point all the creative pieces submitted by everyone for this scholarship will be posted on some public media where the public will be able to vote. I will let you know when and where and hope you will share this with all you know and ask them to vote for my creative piece. As always I am forever grateful to God for leading me on this journey and giving me the means to share it with you.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 18, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 334

I have been seeing a lot more “yield” signs lately thanks to our new round-abouts in our area. It is a good message to let you know it is not about “you”. You can’t just drive into a round-about without some thought. That “yield” sign is a reminder to slow down and allow any cars already in the round-about the right of way. Our life with God is much the same way. Every day God is putting “yield” signs in our path trying to remind us to slow down and allow God to lead the way. In the week ahead, let us be looking out for those “yield” signs from God. I would love to hear from you on what kinds of “yield” signs God puts in your path in the week ahead.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, November 14, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 333

Do you ever think of God as your Father? Apparently, when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray this first part in calling God “Abba” was revolutionary. An intimate relationship with God as our Father was unheard of. Think of the most intimate relationship you have? Now, imagine that same kind of relationship with God. I can picture a father and son sitting on a pier together fishing or a girl holding her daddy’s hand as he leads her to her school. And what about a young lady who has just had her heart broken by her boyfriend and her dad just holds her in his arms as she cries. Our Father in Heaven is this kind of father. He is the one we can talk to about anything and everything. He is the one who will guide us as we move forward through life and he is the one who will wrap us in his loving arms when we are hurt and in despair. It brings tears to my eyes as I think of my wedding reception and the dance with my father. He was crying throughout the entire dance he was so filled with the emotion of love for me and how I was all grown up. Our Father in Heaven cries when we cry, laughs when we laugh, is sad when we are sad. There is nothing that compares to the love God has for us but the relationship with our earthly father or mother is a glimpse of what our relationship to God can be.

The beginning of effective prayer is the recognition that God possesses a father’s heart, a father’s love, a father’s strength and a father’s concern for the best interest of his children.

Luke 11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 332

I always consider “ceasing” mean not stopping but always doing. But the language the bible was actually written in and the translation can be not always what you think. Stretching ourselves beyond our selves is the key. It is about releasing the emotions and words in your heart to God in such a way that there is no matter to who hears or sees, only what is between you and God. I can’t tell you how bad I have been about the distraction of what others think when I pray or the hurriedness I often feel from my family as we do our bedtime praying. Lord, help me to let those distractions and things that are holding me back from fully expressing my heart to you go. My heart is yours and let that show in my prayers. Amen.

We are told that that “prayer was made without ceasing...” The word “ceasing” means “to stretch forth”. It is a medical term that refers to a stretched ligament or a pulled muscle. It has the idea of “going beyond the boundaries”. When applied to prayer, it is a picture of fervency. It is the picture of people pouring out their hearts in prayer before the Lord as they seek His face for their needs.

That’s the kind of praying we need to undertake. The promise of God is that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous men availeth much,James 5:16. The words “effectual fervent” refer to “energetic passionate” prayer. It is not prayer that is sluggish, lifeless, unconcerned, casual, halfhearted, blasé and apathetic; it is prayer that pours forth from a burdened heart. That kind of prayer reaches heaven and moves the hand of God.

James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 331

I have started some study on prayer and found a website with sermons by Charles Sturgeon. I love the idea of prayer being two-sided just as is any conversation. We often pray and may find ourselves wondering if God has heard us. The truth is He is always responding but are we truly open, ready and listening.

Prayer is a telephone by which God speaks in man. His Heaven is far away but His voice sounds in our soul! Prayer is a phonograph—God speaks into our soul and then our soul speaks out, again, what the Lord has spoken! Conversation must always be two-sided. God speaks to us in this Book—we must reply to Him in prayer and praise.

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Monday, November 11, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 330

The scripture the sermon was on was Matthew 21: 28-30. It is a short parable Jesus tells about a father and two sons. The father asks the first son to go work in the vineyard today and the boys first response is defiant but later he ends up going and working in the vineyard. The second son is asked the same thing and his initial response is obedient willingness but he ends up not going to the vineyard. What did I learn from the sermon and this parable? My initial thoughts on these verses were that it was about obedience but the preacher of the day, Dr Earl Palmer was given some insight from God that he shared. He didn’t focus on the obedience but rather on what motivates obedience. Our relationship with God should be one of love, respect and total trust but as Dr Palmer pointed out Jesus is very well aware of our humanness. Both of the sons had flaws that motivated their thoughts and actions. We aren’t capable of responding as I considered as the “third” son who says he will go to the vineyard and does. I can’t do it alone. Dr Palmer brought up the idea of “lag” time. This is the time in between God’s call and our response. Instead of jumping the gun and saying I will or I can’t or I won’t, I need to give my heart and soul time in prayer and meditation. Let the Holy Spirit work on my heart and give me what I need to say “I will” and mean it. How can I make prayer a consistent part of my life? I am thinking my two big goals for the coming year will be prepare and prayer so I will be praying and taking notes on how to prepare for my growth in preparing and praying.

Isaiah 30:15 This is what the Sovereign Lord , the Holy One of Israel says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 329

Sadly, since I misplaced my little pocket notebook that I took notes in on the sermon each Sunday, I seemed to have gotten to a place where it doesn’t sink in. I have found myself one too many Sundays drifting off into a little worship time nap. What is going on? My heart is not prepared to receive the message that God is giving through the sermon each Sunday. In Expository Listening, I have been reading about this very thing. Being prepared. Oh, there is that word again. Prepared. I have lived most of my life by flying by the seat of my pants so being prepared and doing it consistently is foreign territory. But preparedness is key in so many things in our lives. Not just for our bodies and minds but for our spirit.  I never thought to find out what the sermon is going to be on and read the scripture beforehand. So, I went to my church website and found the worship tab and got the scripture the sermon was going to be based around. Our church goes even further and gives you a study guide for the sermon. Ahhh. Yes! So, I spent yesterday reading the verse and looking over the study questions contemplating… I am excited to hear the sermon and what God will convey to me through the words the pastor speaks. My heart is prepared. Yeah! Of course, the other big factor will be following up and asking myself the 4 questions. See the four questions on the right side on my blog for future reference. These questions will take you through what you have learned and will glue it into your heart.

"I am eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

 In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other." Romans 1:12 [NLT]

Friday, November 8, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 328

Last night was my second beginner’s class at Crossfit. I have been sore since my first class on Tuesday so I wasn’t totally looking forward to it but I know now that it is a must. I am too tight everywhere, have no strength but thankfully I have a lot of determination. As I sat in the spa last night after my class, hoping my muscles would relax I thought of the old saying “no pain, no gain”. It reminded me that we will go through trials and tribulations throughout our lives but it is in those challenging times when we are most acutely aware of our need for God. Growth comes through our difficulties in life. While I think we can grow during those non-challenging-life is good times, I believe that real growth comes in those times of pain. It is a good reminder to know that although the trials and tribulations of our lives are tough, we have a God who will walk right beside us and hold us in his arms when we are hurting. We will get through the difficulties with God and know Him better, understanding Him more and grow by leaps and bounds in our relationship with Him.

2Corinthians 4:8-10 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 327

I have read some books about listening but the one I am reading now is about listening to the Word of God. The book is called Expository Listening by Ken Ramey. In the first chapter, he discusses how we are by nature not good listeners. It is because of the Fall and Sin that we don’t have the ability to hear God and obey him. Thankfully, we who believe in Jesus have the power of the Holy Spirit within us who will illuminate the Word of God for us and give us understanding and the power to obey God’s Word. This all makes perfect sense because of my study on temperament and how our soul is connected to our spirit but there is a wall up called sin that needs to be broken down with the inviting of Jesus into your heart. He will take a sledge hammer and break the wall down. But those bricks of sin will keep coming back and piling up so we have to call on the Holy Spirit to clean away those bricks of sin to allow our soul to truly connect with our spirit which is the way to connect to the Spirit of God.

Here is a section from the book:

We are all born without this key component (listening) that allows us to hear God’s Word. It’s as if we have been wired with an AM receiver, but God is broadcasting on FM. Without the indwelling and illuminating presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, all we are able to pick up is static.
Lord, help us to dial into your FM channel today and all our days to come. With you all things are possible. Amen.

Psalm 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 326

I began my journey with Crossfit last evening. Squats are my new best friend. Despite my lack of flexibility, I was able to consistently maintain the correct mechanics of the 3 different kinds of squats we were taught. In the end, it is not about what we have in terms of flexibility or strength but that we put are all into it and don’t give up. Our spiritual journey is much the same way; we don’t have all we need or change instantly when we accept Jesus into our hearts. But we can choose to not give up, study, keep praying, praising and worshiping and we will find blessing not only in the end result but in the journey itself.

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 325

I started reading the next chapter in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell; it is about the law of consistency. I so remember hearing that word a lot in those early days of motherhood. How consistency in discipline and setting up routines for your children are the key to building a good foundation based on order and obedience. Consistency really is the grounding factor. The attitude of the heart, the good works, the thoughtful prayers, the time taken to worship and praise the Lord can be done every day. We have the power within us by the Holy Spirit to consistently work at being more and more like Jesus. Maybe just maybe by the end of our lives, our grandchildren will say she was always there for me, always loving and always generous of heart. “Always” is what we strive for when we work on consistency.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Monday, November 4, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 324

Reflecting is such a powerful tool to use for growth. I have been doing it more lately and love the insight I gain from the experiences I have. Yesterday, I realized that I am not a giving person towards my husband in the ways that he needs but in the ways that I want to do. My selfishness is getting in the way of truly meeting my husbands need for recognition. I can’t tell you how many times he has done something for me and my response is either a pathetic thank you or non-existent. He gives and gives to me and my return rate is way too minimal. Reflecting gave me a chance to really look at what I did and how he responded to see the truth of my sin. Sin is like that. It masks itself to the point you don’t recognize it as a sin but reflecting allows you to put a magnifying glass over it and see it for what it really is. Take a magnifying glass and look over your experiences today and reflect on what those experiences show you.

Okay, and to make the point stick even more the sermon at church on Sunday was about saying “Thank you”. Talk about God putting an exclamation point on the insight he brought me.

2 Timothy 1:3

 ... I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

365 Days of Spirit-Filled Fruits Challenge-Day 323

I am sure that other mothers in the world have said this same thing that my mother always said, “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.” It is a struggle when you are in a negative non-respecting environment as I am at my job. I have to literally bite my tongue often to keep myself from jumping on the bandwagon. I am not always successful at keeping my big mouth shut but as all things it is a process of growth. I am learning to step out of the room and go to the bathroom or put my headphones on and turn on the music and of course, stop and ask God to help me. Goodness starts with getting your mouth to speak only what is good. No negativity, no gossip, no backstabbing, no criticism, no evil words. I am on a mission focus this month to let only good come out of my mouth. I will pray when my day begins: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, My Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 And when my day ends I will confess for all those words that should not have come out of my mouth and praise God for all the good words that were spoken.  I will evaluate my words every day and put a happy face for good days, a straight face for good with a slip here or there and a sad face for those bad days when nothing good is coming out. My goal will be to consistently work on getting a happy face on my calendar every day. Join me in the mission this month to let only good words flow from our lips.

Matthew 12:25-37 “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. “