From the Archives: Dying to Self…Brilliance on Display!

Fall is my all-time favorite season!  The colors, textures, smells and crispness in the air all minister to my soul and to my senses.  My love of aesthetics is fulfilled as I drive around taking in my surroundings.  I marvel at the beautiful array of colors I see. The beautiful hues and colors of God’s majesty manifest themselves in rich jewel tones of burgundy, orange, red, emerald, magenta, goldenrod and purple.  As the trees change color they shed their leaves. The leaves fall because they are dying.  Their season is complete.

As I take in the splendor of it all, I am reminded that God has appointed the seasons.  A time to live and a time to die.  He has appointed my seasons, too.  As a Christ follower your seasons, too, are appointed by Him. To everything in life, there is a season. [see Ecclesiastes 3:1]  Seasons of life and seasons of ministry.  Seasons to begin things, seasons to end things.  Spiritually speaking, a season is ‘an appointed time to carry out an activity or to fulfill a purpose’.  In Biblical Greek, the word time (‘kairos’) is a season of strategic significance.  Kairos, then, is a season that is set forth by God to accomplish His purposes.

Every Christ follower is called to a season of strategic significance for such a time as this for His purposes. [see Esther 4:14-17We don’t know how long a season will last, so it would behoove us to embrace the season we are in.  Much unhappiness and disillusionment with life comes because we will not embrace the season we are in.  Whether we are married, single, divorced, a parent, stay-at-home mom, children, no children, waiting on children, raising children, struggling with issues, struggling with people, embracing life, empty-nester, employed, unemployed, healthy, ill, confident, doubter, etc., we are called to meet with God there.  Right in that place.

Dear Reader, this is a season of strategic significance for you and for me.  Do you believe it?  Do you recognize what season you’re in?  Are you embracing it?   Does your season bring about bitterness in your heart?  Consider this: you are poised right now to be developed, challenged and changed to take on the brilliant Glory of Christ, just like the beautiful jewel toned leaves.  Just as leaves display their most brilliant hues and colors when they are dying, we too look more and more like Christ when we ‘die to self’.  Consider what keeps you from displaying the most brilliant Glory of Christ.  As the fall changes to winter and you ‘die to self‘, what do you need to put on to look more like Him? Is it humility, trust, hope, rest, compassion, gentleness, forgiveness, peace, patience, joy?  Remember, you are a jewel.  A gem.  A ‘displayer’ of the Glory of God.  Shine!

First Look: Read Ecclesiastes Chapter 3.  Look for phrases that describe what season you may be in.  Journal about it and/or reflect on it.  What is God saying to you about it?

Through The Looking Glass:  What old way of life is God calling you ‘to die to’ today?  Surrender.

“If you have really heard His voice and learned from Him the truths concerning Himself, then throw off your old evil nature…Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better.  Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good.  Clothe yourself with this new nature.”  Ephesians 4:21-24  LAB

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Fighting for Your Kids: 5 Scriptures Every Mom Should Pray

http://arabahjoy.com/fighting-kids-5-scriptures-every-mom-pray/?utm_content=Fighting+for+Your+Kids%3A+5+Scriptures+Every+Mom+Should+Pray&utm_term=Continue+Reading&utm_medium=email&utm_source=MadMimi&utm_campaign=20160819_m133596885_Arabah+Joy+%3A%3A+A+Showcase+for+His+Glory

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Bloom where you are planted. That’s what I tell myself AND my window box flowers every year. If my flowers would just bloom where they are planted, we would not have a problem. I love gardening, but it is a lot of work. Anything worthwhile is. Using the right flowers-in the right soil-in the right conditions…My personality dictates easy to grow, low maintenance kinds of flowers for my garden. This is so me. My daughter, Kathie, has beautiful billowing flowers every year. She’s a great gardener. It’s an art, I am convinced. I also realize that for my flowers to ‘bloom where they are planted’ it will take some effort on my part. 

Consider that as Christ-followers we have our own garden of unique flowers. Those that surround us are unique souls. How awesome would it be to help others bloom where they are planted, too. Some people are fragile, tender shoots, some have weeds trying to suck the life out of them, some are dying and are not producing any blooms. Still others are thriving and surviving many harsh conditions. The Word of God encourages us to nurture them as we ourselves are nurtured. As Christ-followers, we can help provide the right growing conditions that facilitate spiritual growth by cultivating an inviting, loving, safe environment around us. We can then water them regularly (with the water of the Word), feed them the right food (Jesus, The Bread of Life), then the Master Gardener can deadhead or prune them to cause them to produce more luscious growth (prayer, confession, accountability) or place them where they get just the right amount of sunlight (focused study time each day) or transfer them to bigger containers when they need it (deeper study questions and higher level opportunities to serve), etc. Think about how this could look in your life if you help others to bloom where they are planted. Ask God, The Master Gardener Himself, to teach you what you need to know to grow and tend to your own garden of unique flowers. Go ahead and start planting!! Consider this foundation:

First, plant five rows of peas: PRAYER, PERSEVERANCE, POLITENESS, PROMPTNESS, PURITY next, plant three rows of squash: SQUASH GOSSIP, SQUASH CRITICISM, SQUASH INDIFFERENCE then five rows of lettuce: LET US BE FAITHFUL TO GOD, LET US BE UNSELFISH, LET US BE TRUTHFUL, LET US FOLLOW CHRIST, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER no garden is complete without turnips: TURN UP FOR BIBLE STUDY, TURN UP WITH A SMILE, TURN UP WITH NEW IDEAS, TURN UP WITH DETERMINATION TO MAKE EVERYTHING YOU DO COUNT FOR SOMETHING GOOD AND WORTHWHILE 

                                                     author unknown

 

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8 THINGS TO GIVE UP THIS YEAR!

  
I know, I know. Why should we focus on things we shouldn’t do in 2016? Shouldn’t we focus instead on what we want to do? I personally believe that if you commit to NOT doing these next 8 things in 2016, you’ll reap a rich reward. Here we go:

1.  Self rejection. Why do you spend so much time rejecting one who God has made in His image? Dear one, God loved you so much that He sent His One And Only Son to die for you. Find your worth in what He has done, not how you feel about yourself or who the Enemy tells you you are. John 3:16 1 John 3:19-20 NIV

2. Negative self talk. Did you know that speaking negatively about yourself causes you to live up to what you’re saying about yourself? Beloved, God does not condemn you and neither should you. Speak life to yourself. Proverbs 18:21 NIV

3. Criticizing others. Consider that criticizing others comes from an insecure place in your own heart. Criticizing others speaks more about you than you could ever say about others. It’s bullying at its finest. Romans 12:10

4. Being a people pleaser. Are you a servant of Christ? Then, ask yourself why you care so much about what others think about you? Why do they command such allegiance from you? What do you think will happen if they’re not pleased with you? Consider that God is the only One who deserves such allegiance. Strive to please Him first. Galatians 1:10

5. Fear of failure. Did you know that some of the most successful people “fail” at many things? We are not promised that we will never fail. Failure is not fatal. We are however, promised that God will NEVER fail. With that said, take some risks realizing that no experience is ever wasted. “Failure” is a part of every God story. I Corinthians 13:8 Mark 10:27 NIV

6. Procrastination. I’ve always struggled with procrastination, yet I’ve made tremendous strides to tackle my to-do list by setting mini goals to work on along the way. Consider doing that. Procrastination unloads mountains of overwhelmedness at your feet. So much so that you can’t lift your feet to walk through your tasks, right? You get anxious and paralyzed. Procrastination takes up valuable time that you could spend being in the moment. Don’t let tasks be left undone. Handle them quickly and efficiently. Colossians 3:17 NIV

7. Holding on to grudges. Why hold on to grudges? How does it serve you? When we forgive, we release God’s grace in the spiritual realm. That same grace covers you and the one with whom you’re holding the grudge. If you are a recipient of God’s grace then freely give to others that same grace. Unburden your heart. Let go and let God. 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

8. Expecting perfection. Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? Do you demand perfection from others? If so, perhaps you’ve  created a standard for yourself and others. dear one, you are not the standard. God is. If perfection exists then Jesus would not have died for our sins, right? Why would He die for perfect people? Here’s some news for you, He didn’t. So, in light of that give up the idea that you and others should be perfect. So thankful that we serve a perfect God. Romans 3:23 NIV 

This year, vow to not drag the old ways of thinking into a brand new year. 2 Corinthians 5:17 

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THIS IS MY GROWN UP CHRISTMAS LIST

I love the Christmas songs.  My Grown Up Christmas List is one of them. As a little girl my Christmas lists always included a Barbie doll, clothes and accessories. My parents struggled to buy one each for my little sister and I every year. Because of that, we cherished our dolls even more. They were precious gifts to us. Oh, what I would give to have such a simple Christmas list this year.

I  now have a new appreciation for this song. I’ve listened to it several times this season. Every time I hear it, it touches my heart in a very sensitive place. Look at the words and sing along if you’d like:

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I’m all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I’m not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here’s my lifelong wish
My grown up christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

But heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown up christmas list
This is my only life long wish
This is my grown up christmas list

This year, as I’ve watched family and friends struggle with doubt, loss, betrayal, health, brokenness, estranged relationships, pain, financial struggles, etc., I began to think about what I wished for each of them. I now had my very own grown up Christmas list. Well, I’m not asking Santa to grant my wishes but I’m asking the One who can change things to answer prayers. He is The One True God.

I’m asking God to bring healing and wholeness for those who are hurting. Peace and joy to all who feel hopeless. A living faith for those struggling with doubt. Comfort for those who are dealing with unimaginable loss or betrayal. Good health for those who suffer from pain and illness of every kind. Restoration for those dealing with brokenness and estranged relationships AND prosperity for every financial struggle.  This, dear LORD, is my prayer.

This is My Grown Up Christmas List.

 

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