House of Living Stones

House of living stones

“you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2: 5 NIV

We are being built into a spiritual house.  Jesus was the first living stone and the cornerstone of the house we are building. So what are the spiritual sacrifices that we are to offer? Our bodies, souls, affections, prayers, praises, tithes and offerings and service. All with a joyful heart!

God is not asking anything of us that His Son was not willing to give Himself.  It humbles me to think of the heart of Jesus.  Such a beautiful and perfect example for us to follow.

There are times that I get all wound up in a frenzy of busyness.  When I begin to rush and push and force things, it’s a good indicator that I need to pause.  I need to check in with the Holy Spirit to see if I’m on track or not.  Most often there is a more efficient and elegant solution than my own.

The beautiful thing about being a living stone is that we have a constant spiritual guide present, the Holy Spirit.  He can get me back in alignment.  Get me back in the headset of listening for direction and offering every moment up in surrender to a better way.  Surrender.  Obedience. Sacrifice.

Lord, thank you for Your perpetual living water that washes over me and flows through me. Thank you for Your constant love.

1 Peter 2:1-10

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Vision For The Future

vision for the future

39” And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB

All these: Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, walls of Jericho, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets.  All these had a testimony of faith and did not see God’s promise fulfilled in their lifetime. They saw the promise was for the future and embraced that. They recognized a heavenly, kingdom minded purpose that God had ordained for them. So I have to ask myself, am I willing?

Am I willing to look at what God needs for His kingdom and not look at any immediate manifestation in my lifetime?  Do I have that kind of faith? Are there others that will come after me that need to be served by my heart for God’s purposes? Am I willing to even ask that question of God?

That’s a tough question.  But the tougher question is: What if I’m not willing? As I look at the young men and women in my Sunday School class, the classrooms of students in guest teaching opportunities, connections through work, online communities and blogs, speaking engagements, etc. What happens if I am selfish? What about God’s purpose?  How does it affect thousands of others I don’t know and may never know?

Lord, I pray that Your purpose will always come first in my life.  I pray that I keep my eyes set on a heavenly horizon. Thank you for always giving me Your best.  Thank you for Your grace and mercy and love.  Thank you for Your faithfulness to every need, both today and generations to come.

Hebrews 11

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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

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I Wanna Be Like You

I wanna be like you

“1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100 NIV

This is what I know:

  • God’s love endures forever
  • God’s love is perfect
  • Perfect love drives out fear
  • God’s love never fails
  • The greatest of all gifts is love

Father, help me to love like You do.

1 John 4:18, 1 Corinthians 13:8, 13

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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

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A Better Place

A Better Place

“Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.” Hebrews 11:1 The Voice

I recently began a strengths coaching certification class with 11 other individuals.  We are meeting each other for the first time with the intent of learning how to apply not only our personal strengths but others.  One of the core concepts is “confident vulnerability.” As I examine this concept it resonates with my faith walk on so many different levels that it makes my head feel like it’s going to explode.  It’s one of those concepts that may roll around in the back of my mind for the rest of my life as I look for opportunities to exercise and apply it.

In the context of strengths coaching, confident vulnerability is defined as courageously celebrating and embracing strengths, weaknesses and needs of both self and others without judgment. Think about that and prepare to be amazed.  Immediately I think of Jesus.  Who better models this incredible combination? Quiet, humble confidence full of the most incredible love that this world has ever seen.  A love worth dying for…and He did for each and every one of us. It was so fragrant and attractive that it was irresistible to folks from every walk of life.  People were curious and wanted to know more about His teachings and way of life.

As I was reading this morning, I ran across this statement1: “The only reason a shepherd would guide his sheep into a dangerous valley would be to lead them through it to a better place.” It was reassuring to know that my Shepherd knows that better place for me.  As I follow Him through what appear to be dangerous valleys, I can be confident that He is taking me there.  Confidently vulnerable and trusting with absolute conviction that He can see the realities that I have never seen.

Lord, I praise you for guiding me into Your realities that are so much more than what I can see with my natural eyes. Mold me and make me suitable to serve others when called upon to shepherd them to that better place.  Give me strength and wisdom and discernment to follow Your footsteps through the dangerous valleys encountered in this life.

Romans 8:28, 12:3-5, 12; Psalm 31:7, 69:32

1  “I Shall Not Want,” April 26, 2014, Discovering God’s Design

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Hard Questions

hard questions

12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NASB

When hard things happen sometimes they produce hard questions. Questions that we have of others. Questions that we have of ourselves.  And questions that we have of God. Hard questions have to be asked. They have to be asked in order to grow.  We have to summon the courage to face the things we don’t understand or even just don’t like.  Sometimes we go through seasons of change that are painful.  Sometimes they are longer than we would like.  They test our faith.  They test our courage and our endurance. They test our patience. Our love.

We may throw in the towel.  We may fall down.  Sometimes we have to start all over again.  And that is the beauty of it.  We can.  The price has already been paid by Jesus. He gave us the do over.  As many times as we need, He still stands there with open arms.

Through it all we have the opportunity to learn and grow.  We have the opportunity to ask for what we need and trust that it will be given.  Sometimes not in the way we think but in a new and different way.

Father, thank you for always being there with as many do overs as it takes. I pray I always get up and come running back to You.

1 Kings 10:1; James 1:5; 1 Kings 3:9-10; Proverbs 2:3-6, 27:17; Ecclesiastes 7:10, 10:10

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