Think of reading the Bible as something “you want to do, as a gift”, not something “you have to do.” Get excited about it. It holds a treasure trove of promises for life. The reframing of our mindset from “I have to” to “I want to” dig into the Word of God, puts our heart and mind in union and into motion for mining the treasures, unique to each of us. Yes, we have the choice as in all things, yet let us remember this is a request of our Lord Jesus. You can be creative to keep it from becoming a ritual. But do whatever you have to do to dig in, we are apt to lose our way and can become parched. This time can set the entire tone of our heart for what is ahead of us in our day. Let us trust God to enlighten our hearts through this time with Him. In fact, let us pray like Paul,
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints . . .” Ephesians 1:16-19a (NIV)
God designed us with an internal yearning and thirst to know Him for LIFE.
I define LIFE the following way:
L – Living
I – In
F – Freedom
E – Everyday
Now tell me, who does not want that? It’s a promise from Jesus.
“I am the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6 (NIV)
Since Jesus is the Word, reading the Word creates a relationship with Him. Isn’t that amazing?! He becomes alive within us! It is Jesus who comes alive in us through our spending time with Him in the Word. It really is that simple! Trust Him when He says,
“To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of LIFE (my emphasis).” Revelation 21:6 (NIV)
“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear itand take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 (NIV)
“Like a radiation treatment on a cancerous cell, His Word is actively renovating us even when it seems like nothing unusual is taking place.”
Anytime a soldier goes into battle, you can bet he is going to have his war clothes on. Wouldn’t you? If you are anything like me, you have found yourself going into battle without even knowing what personal war clothes were. If you were to ask me, “Hey Allie, have you got your war clothes on?” I might have looked at you like you were crazy! But today, I know what war clothes are and I learned when you step foot out of your bed, it’s best to have them on. We don’t want to be caught in a battle without them. So what am I saying? Let me tell you a story.
Several years ago I was in the middle of a huge legal battle. A girlfriend of mine wrote some words down on a card for me about a week before I had to be in court and said, “Allie, bury these words in your heart. If you do, you will be prepared for battle.” That sounded perfect to me. I read the words on the card and held them against my heart claiming, “These are my truth today.” I don’t know about you, but I was intimidated by the court room and lawyers. My exposure with lawyers was extensive, yet I still felt a great fear in their presence. In my past experience I felt belittled, condemned and invalidated.
So on this day, I gathered my files, my portfolio and my index cards with the words that sustained me, my war clothes! I drove to the lawyers office and was seated in a room alone with my attorney and another hired professional. They left the room for a brief period and I stood from my chair, turned around and gazed out the window of the twenty story building into the vast blue sky. I lifted my right hand holding tight to my war clothes and began reading them softly but loud enough that I could hear my voice. “Arm yourself each day with the Helmet of understanding, you have received the gift of salvation and nothing can take that away from you. Make sure you guard your heart with the breastplate of righteousness. When you think, say and do the right things, there is no way anyone can make you second guess your intentions, words or actions. Make sure you add the belt of truth. This goes back to always doing the right thing, and also stating the truth in a way that is usually contrary to the way it may look. This is where we can use the shield of faith. Never doubt that the truth is always the best way. Truth may hurt, but it can also bring freedom. Your only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit. This is your most powerful, most protective weapon in your arsenal. Use it wisely and it will be good to you. Remember to put on the shoes of peace. Always be ready to share the good news. When we walk in peace with others, we are demonstrating that they too are worthy, they too are loved by the same God who loves us.
My day was chaotic and I might have been chaotic on the inside too. I wan’t though because I knew those words I held in my hand were words that were buried in my heart and I believed them. Take it from a person who knows, remember to armor up daily!
~ Boundaries Workshop - Cloud & Townsend - Establish healthy boundaries and how to say “No.” Learning the difference between what God calls you to do and what you are taking upon yourself unnecessarily out of guilt, shame, obligation and false beliefs. The date of the workshop is August 10 – August 11, 2012. The Boundaries Workshop will be held in the Buckhead neighborhood. For further information and details, please complete the information below. See you there!
Send Me Information for Boundaries Workshop!
I love my daughters. I feel confident that you love your children too. That’s why I believe you will understand my heart when I share a story with you.
With one daughter already married and on her own, it is sometimes difficult for me to think about my second daughter moving out. After graduating from college last December and accepting her dream job, she is beginning to make plans to move out and set up her own nest and independence. I have wanted this for her since she was born. Throughout her life I loved her and provided for her needs to the best of my ability. My dream was for her to develop into a healthy and whole woman, become independent and able to make wise decisions for her life. She is healthy, whole and a remembers that with each choice, direction determines destination. Now, the time is fast approaching for her to fly and though it is difficult, I want it for her.
After tagging along while she toured three different apartment complexes, I began to feel tension about her leaving home. I saw much of what I know can lead one down the wrong path and I imagine as a young adult it all looks very inviting. I cringe when I think how it could pull her away from all that is waiting to unfold. I begin to think about the lessons she has learned, the love she was given and about the good people around her in her life as she grew up. I know of her strong love for and knowledge of God and I turn to my faith. I know the principles she lives by and am confident she is well prepared, protected and ready to fly.
More than two months have passed since we looked at apartments. I have observed my daughter’s decision-making during this time more closely. I know without a doubt, she will do well on her own. Today, I cleaned out a closet of all her belongings from when she came home from college less than a year ago. I wondered if this would be the last time I would get that opportunity. I sat in the closet floor and tears filled my eyes as my heart took a slow and memorable journey through her scrapbooks and photo albums from youth. As I placed them in the box, I thought about how much her plans to fly the coop have caused significant growth in me. This season of life has shown me that without a conscious awareness, I readied for the next season of my life as she set out to leave home. She is following her life dream , the one since she could walk and talk; I am following my life dream, discovered only a few years ago. Together, step by step, we are walking into our destinies. I am not certain what it will all look like, but this one thing I do know— we are each moving on up!
One of the most empowering things I have learned to do is “Let Go” of the control in my life. I have learned to live my life realizing that the best way I can make a difference is to begin with where I need to improve, asking God to help me.
I have also learned there are some people that have not yet learned this lesson. They spend way too much time looking at others and pointing fingers trying to tear their lives down, rather than using words to build one up. These people are unable to look in the mirror and see the error of their ways. Many times it can be because those closest to them do not model a better way. There is a loving way to communicate to a loved one that what they are saying or doing is hurtful, thoughtless and arrogant. On the flip side, be very wise about where you point your finger. Many a person will turn to be your enemy if you point at them. Only those ready to receive constructive criticism accept it and use it to improve. It has also been said that those who point their finger are telling a lot about them selves. Kind of like looking in a mirror. Taking the log our of our own eyes before we try to tell someone about a tiny speck of dirt in theirs is crucial in creating change from love.
The bottom line is that we all have done things we are not proud of and we know it. There is forgiveness readily available. We can self examine, ask God for the strength to help us change and work toward that end. That is where we will begin to see change happen around us. Using the Serenity Prayer can be helpful to us in these times. Thinking on things that are uplifting, look for the good in others and realizing that we have a great influence on others through what we say and how we live our own lives can be an amazing way to effect change without interfering and creating enemies.
“God, Grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.”
GOOD MORNING my beautiful child! I have so many wonderful plans for your life. I planned them long ago, when you were knit together in your mother’s womb. Every day of your life is for preparation of the great and wonderful plans I have for you. I created you—yes you, for a unique and magnificent purpose. Remember this my beloved, my plans are to prosper you with hope and a future, not to harm you. I came to comfort your broken heart to free you, to remove the life of disparity and give you a crown of beauty. Haven’t you heard? I am the One who brings you from ashes to beauty, provides great joy and will change your heart from despair to living a life of praise. Listen my child, always be on guard, there is one that who wants to kill, steal and destroy all I have for you. He wants you to believe he is greater than me, but I have overcome. Believe Me.
As you rise this morning, set your eyes on Me alone. Let nothing—no books, no television, no sound, distract you from looking to me. Open your eyes and throw your feet over the side of your bed. I know it is hard for you, but just as I dried the river for the Israelites when they dipped their toes in the most torrential part of the river, I will go before you and clear the way. I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I am with you. Trust Me. Depend on me alone. I am excited you invited me to LIVE within your heart. As you open your heart and invite me in, I will lead you each step of the Way to freedom, to healing, to true relationship, to the depths of my heart, to a peace that is indescribable. Your loneliness will fade. Your emptiness will be filled. Your fear will be replaced with courage.
Sit with me now in quiet, close your eyes, let my light shine into your soul and listen to my words, I love you. Express your love to me aloud through your words; call out to me by name, for I AM the Most High God. Invite me to show you who I AM. I will teach you, I will lead you. There is no reason to fear my darling, I am God, I am with you, and I will not fail you.