Accepting Wise Counsel

accepting wise counsel

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20 NIV

I have found that doubt and unbelief contribute to me being slow to act in obedience to God’s Word. It keeps me from moving forward. The more often doubt and unbelief weigh into my decisions, the more delays keep me from receiving my heart’s desires. It can be a vicious circle.  The more delays, the more doubt and unbelief. It may start as a little thing.  It can continue to grow and rob me of more and more of what God has for me. Sometimes others see it before I do.  Their wisdom and counsel are a breath of fresh air. They give me new perspective to take back to the Lord in prayer.

Father, I repent. Help me be sure-footed and know that You are always with me.  I am never alone! Keep me firmly rooted in Your Word as a discipline to my heart.  Give me faith to move forward and believe for the best! Keep my heart humble and accepting of wise counsel.

Proverbs 2:1-9, 8:34-35

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Repetition

Repetition

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

Moses told the children of Israel to be strong and courageous.  Then he told Joshua to be strong and courageous.  Then God Himself told Joshua many times to be strong and courageous throughout the battles that had to be fought as he led the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

Repetition is good.  It helps move things from our mind into our heart.  It develops neural networks that help us internalize principles and information.  It transforms fact into habit.  It builds faith.  It builds strength. It builds courage.

When I was in college, I worked on a neuropsychology research project on a phenomenon known as “kindling.” The principle was that our neural pathways learn.  As they process the same stimuli on multiple occasions, the neural pathways process the stimulus faster and more powerfully each time.  Reaction times decrease and the reaction intensity increases.  So think about it.  Becoming stronger and more courageous each time you hear these words!  That is powerful.

God, kindle me!

Psalm 52:8-9, Ephesians 4:30-32

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Laugh At Days To Come

laugh at days to come

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 NIV

As I read this, it conjures up a picture of a super hero.  But no! It’s a Proverbs 31 woman. This woman is a dynamo.  She’s up early. She is a savvy business woman and manages the best of care for her family.  I aspire to be like the Proverbs 31 woman.

This is an aspect of her that I have not thought much about.  In strength and dignity, she can LAUGH at the days to come.  Ha! Ha! Ha!

In order to laugh, there are a few things that she cannot be burdened with: worry, fear, doubt, confusion, anxiety, stress, uncertainty, gossip, comparison, insecurity.  And I’m sure there are more.

This lighter burden and purified heart unleash this confident strength and dignity. It is confidence in a power much greater than herself. With that, she can laugh at days to come…

Lord, deposit laughter and joy deep into my heart!

Proverbs 17:22, Matthew 11:28-30, Matthew 12:13-14, 2 Corinthians 13:5

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

We Want What We Do Not Have

we want what we do not have

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:2-3 NIV

Wow.  This is not a very pretty picture.  Wanting what I do not have so I take it. Asking for what I want and not receiving because my motives are wrong. Motives for my own pleasure.

God loves us more wildly than we can imagine. But when we are afraid we have a hard time trusting that there is no trickery in God.  Because our hearts are injured we become greedy and try to grab what we think should be ours.

To get out of my own brokenness, it helps to stay focused on the present. When I look too far out I start to flounder.  It is when I stay engaged in the present that I am in a better position to rejoice!  Savor God’s blessings. Savor His provision. Savor the abundance. It keeps me in a frame of mind to count my blessings and celebrate the moment.

Father, thank you for coming alongside me, my ever-present Help in trouble! My ever-present Guide and Counselor!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Psalm 62:5, Luke 11:13

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

What A Workout!

what a workout

“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV

Have you ever been tested or gone through a trial? Did you consider it pure joy? As I reflect on times like these, I can recall quite a range of behaviors that it brought out in me!  Did I count it pure joy? Not always!

There are so many scriptures that compare our spiritual needs to our physical needs.  God’s word is the bread of life and the everlasting water.  Jesus was the Word of God made flesh so He was the greatest life source of all.

So, if I equate tests and trials to a physical work out, it could look like this:

I start the discipline of working out.  Maybe I make a New Year’s resolution to get fit or maybe I want to get fit for bathing suit season and vacation. I go a few weeks and other priorities start to creep in.  I just get too busy…Weeks, months and years go by.  My body gets flabby and weak.  I pack on a few pounds.  I start to curb activity even more because it’s uncomfortable.  Then, one day I have to exert myself and I can’t or I get injured in the process!  Maybe it’s a snow storm that I have to dig my way out of.  Maybe I have to chase after a child running for the street.  Maybe my vehicle breaks down and I have a long trip on foot to find help.

I don’t have the conditioning or endurance to accomplish the tasks when called upon.  These are small things but hopefully they make a point.

Our faith is a spiritual muscle that gets exercised when we go through tests and trials.  I really want to practice saying “God thank you for that work out!  Thank you for stretching my faith so I can be flexible!  Thank you for stimulating my faith so my heart is strong!  Thank you for showing me all that heavy lifting You do so I can have confidence that You will move mountains for me in the face of adversity!”

Father, I pray that I will be a healthy part of Your body – well conditioned, working in concert with the Head, executing in all circumstances – believing and stretching; overcoming and growing – in You, for You and for Your eternal kingdom purpose. I love you, Father!

Isaiah 26:3, Exodus 20:3-6, Psalm 37:4-6

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Rejoice!

rejoice

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. Romans 12:12-14 The Voice

Rejoice: to be glad; take delight.

So when I reread this as “do not forget to be glad…through the hard times…” it is an excellent reminder.  Sometimes circumstances can challenge me and pull me into a not so glad place.  Giving thanks helps get me back to that glad place.  Prayer helps get me back to that glad place. Believing in the Word of God sustains my hope and makes me glad. It helps me take delight in not only the tangible things around me but also the spiritual. It reminds me to stay tucked into God and trust His promises. Trust in the unseen.  I am in a place like that right now.  I don’t want to go back to old patterns. I want to trust God alone as my source and resource. I have to leave everything in His hands and not pick it back up in order to do that.  Waiting. Trying to wait patiently and gracefully…Being glad and taking delight in the journey. Trusting that He cares for me and has ordered every step. Trusting that His best is worth waiting for and not creating a counterfeit to relieve the current discomfort. I want His best and nothing less!

Father, give me the portion of faith I need in order to rejoice in any circumstances or challenges I face. I pray I keep my eyes on You.

Philippians 4:4, Romans 5:1-5, Luke 15:3-10, Luke 15:11-24

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Motives

Motives

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10 NASB

James 4 is packed with so much relational wisdom.  It really sums up what causes conflict and quarrels:

  • We want what we don’t have
  • We don’t have because we don’t ask God for it
  • We don’t receive because our heart’s motives are not right

God placed His Holy Spirit in us because He longs to be in relationship with us.  We literally have everything we need right inside us.  When we submit to the Holy Spirit we are submitting to God. Allowing our lives to be directed by the Holy Spirit is what faith is all about.  The Holy Spirit is our constant guide. So much so that if we know the right thing to do and choose not to do it, it is sin.

Father, please teach me how to submit fully to the Holy Spirit that you have placed inside of me. Thank You for sending Your Son to make a way for me.

James 4, Proverbs 3:34

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

James 4, Proverbs 3:34