Motivational

The Bible Challenge

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Social media has had several “challenges” this past year – the Mannequin challenge, the Get Out Challenge, the Running Man challenge and so forth.

Then we’ve got all sorts of “challenges” in the workplace – diet and workout challenges, and weight loss competitions.

We’ve also got all kinds of “stress relief” activities available – yoga, tai-chi, meditation therapy, etc.

So many things to help us cope with the pressures of life.  So many alternatives for stress relief and relaxation.

We rush to this class and that.  We have special groups and social gatherings.  The gym rats like myself will get up as early as 5 a.m. to workout for an hour or so.  But when was the last time we challenged ourselves to consistently set aside some meditation time to read the Bible?

I’m challenging myself this month to have 30 consecutive days of “meditation” sessions with God, reading His Word.

Why?  Because apart from my hectic everyday life of work, gym, church, parenting, stress, bills, annoying people and challenging circumstances, I need a spiritual boost in the midst of it all to keep me sane lol.

In case you forgot (like I sometimes do) – there is no better stress relief than the Word of God.  Plus it has much longer lasting effects than any hour long yoga session ever could!

#theStruggle

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Why do we look down on people who struggle with things that we don’t?  Do weaknesses have levels?  Am I better if my issues are only in certain areas vs. others?

Galatians 6:1-5 (The Living Bible): 

“Dear brothers, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong.  Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command.  If anyone thinks he is too great to stoop to this, he is fooling himself.  He is really a nobody.  Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won’t need to compare himself with someone else.   Each of us must bear some faults and burdens of his own. For none of us is perfect!”

 

The Lost Art of Discipline

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One of my many pet peeves is when people say they “can’t” do something.  Not because they physically can’t or because something is truly preventing them from doing so, but because they simply won’t and refuse to try.

It bothers me even more so when Christians declare they can’t do something.

Now, most people who know me will tell you that I’m a very disciplined person and that if I set my mind to something or set a goal for myself that more often than not, I will get it done.  However, I will tell you that none of that comes easily or even naturally for me.  All my self-discipline and self-control comes from God.  And the same Spirit that lives in me, lives in every person who professes to know God as Lord and Savior – His Word tells us so.

That being said, he declares that through His Spirit, we have and can exercise self-control/discipline in any aspect of our lives.  So lets stop making excuses! Excuses for not following through on that diet, not going to the gym, not cutting back on drinking or smoking, not spending time with our kids, not saving money, not sticking to our budget, not going to church, etc.

Anything in your life that is physically within in your means to do it, that you want to work on, or get better at – lets set a goal to do so.  Lets ask God to help us exercise more self control and discipline by the power of His Spirit – trust me, you won’t be able to do it alone, even if you tried!

 

Embracing Precious Moments

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Whether it’s those first few quiet minutes of your day when you first wake up, or that 15 minute walk you take on your break at work, or your favorite latte, or listening to your song of the week on the radio, giving your child a huge hug, texting a romantic message to your significant other, watching the sunset, taking a bubble bath, or having a glass of wine before bed – find and enjoy those moments of happiness throughout your day.  Life is too short and the world is too full of chaos for us to overlook, miss out on and not enjoy the precious moments that God gives us each day!

Enjoying Life?

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I’m learning to do more of the things that bring me joy.  Not things that others enjoy or think I should enjoy, do or try, but the things that genuinely bring joy to my life.  It’s funny how people call you names or stereotype you if you don’t participate in certain things.  And then there’s the other extreme, where other Christians try to restrict you to not enjoying certain things – restrictions not even mentioned in the Bible lol.

As a Christian, we have so much to be thankful for and can appreciate life in ways that non-believers can’t.  We can truly live and enjoy life with God, as we include and embrace Him in all we do.  We can even endure trials, tribulations and difficult times with a sense of peace, hope and encouragement that ONLY comes from having a relationship with God.

Even if we don’t necessarily have the means to do everything we want or desire to do at this present time, we can still appreciate and embrace life’s simple pleasures that bring us joy every day.  That being said, I was prompted to make a list of the things in life that I enjoy and also to make it a point to start doing them more.

I enjoy……

–          a bubble bath or a long hot shower

–          a glass of red wine just before bed

–          trying a new restaurant and picking something on the menu that I’ve never had before

–          roller coasters

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New Year’s Resolutions Anyone?

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“resolution” – a firm decision to do or not to do something

Happy New Year everyone!  So its 2017 and that time of year again when many people make their “resolutions”.  The gyms fill up with people who have resolved to work out and get back in shape.  Churches fill up with people who have resolved to be more committed to going to church.  Diet microwave meals fly off the grocery store shelves as people have resolved to eat healthier.  Lists get posted to refrigerator doors, mirrors, walls, and even work cubicles as people name their top ten things that they are going to resolve to do or not do in the new year.   And then…….well then comes February when all those “resolutions” (if they make it that far) go out the window.

I was just making my so-called list of resolutions for 2017 and realized that I hadn’t accomplished 80% of my 2016 resolutions.  Not because I wasn’t focused, or that they weren’t important, or that I didn’t prioritize.  However, it was honestly because I didn’t involve God in the process.  My health, weight loss, need to get out of debt, need for a new car, desire to start saving for my son’s college expenses, plan to go on an overseas trip, etc., are all great and important goals to be focused on.  However, setting goals or “resolutions” can become very monotonous, frustrating, tiring and even pointless if we try to accomplish them on our own apart from God.

psalms-37

I have therefore, resolved this year to do one thing: to delight myself in God and commit all my goals unto Him, while trusting that He will give me the desires of my heart in 2017.  To delight oneself in the Lord means “to take great pleasure in” God.  In other words, I want to take great pleasure in spending more time in His Word, prayer, and doing things that please Him, while committing my “resolutions” into His hands, trusting that He will begin to work in those areas of my life.

This does not absolve me from doing my part. Clearly if I want to be in better shape, I still need to work out, eat healthier, and take care of my body.  What I’m realizing is that if I make God my number one priority/focus, and then commit all my other goals to Him, that He will give me the desires of my heart and will even strengthen me to work in areas where I fall short.  We work soooo hard to get things we want/desire in this life, and working hard is not wrong in and of itself.  However, sometimes we try to do all the work which makes it ten times harder for us, when all we need is to shift our focus to God.  After all, the verses are plain – “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”; “commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this.” Even if it doesn’t all happen in 2017, it sure sounds like a guarantee to me – according to the Word of God!

Does this mean we will get every little thing we desire no matter what it is?   Close but not quite lol!  Keep in mind the prerequisite of the verse – “delight yourself in the Lord”.  God did not make any mistakes in any of his promises.  Think about it: if we truly begin to “delight” or “take great pleasure” in God and what pleases him, our heart’s desires will begin to align with God’s will and what He wants for us anyway.  So yes, when one truly delights in the Lord, God will indeed give you the desires of your heart as they align with His will for your life.

So whether you’re making a list or not, as believers, lets “resolve” to delight in the Lord in 2017!

When We Fall…

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After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” – Acts 13:22 (NIV)

I love the fact that God called David of all people,  “a man after his own heart”.  In fact, God chose him and appointed him ruler over Israel, because of this.  Why is this relevant/important?  Because God, being God, knowing ALL things including what was to come – chose David and identified him as a “man after his own heart”.  If you don’t know the full story see I Samuel chapter 16 and then II Samuel chapters 11 and 12 for context.

In the story David is chosen by God to be Israel’s new king.  After many successful victories, David ‘falls’.  Long story short, he lusts after a married woman, sleeps with her and gets her pregnant, befriends her husband (one of his own soldiers) and then puts a plan in place to have him killed in battle.  David’s plan succeeds and the other man is reported dead.  Then this ‘man after God’s own heart’ lets the wife mourn briefly, then marries her to ‘cover up the affair’, she has the baby and they continue with day to day life as if nothing has happened!  See you haven’t seen a real Lifetime movie until you’ve read the Bible!

God then sends his servant Nathan to confront David regarding the situation, as well as, to pronounce the punishment that God has set forth, which is not a light one at all:

Samuel 12:7-12 (NIV)

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.  I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.  This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

After all this, there is no denial, no excuses, no lying, and no running away.  David simply responds as follows:

david

This response, is genuine, basic, straightforward and true.  In his words of confession that “he has sinned against the Lord”, David not only acknowledges his sin, but he shows agreement with God by calling what God has deemed as sin to be sin.  It is this very reason that God seeing David’s heart, and knowing exactly what sin David would commit when he appointed him as king, that God still considered him to be ‘a man after his own heart’.  David wasn’t perfect, Read the rest of this entry »