Living Life Lessons

 

IN THE LIVING LIFE LESSONS COLUMN EACH MONTH I AM SHARING LESSONS GOD HAS TAUGHT ME THESE LAST SEVERAL YEARS.  TODAY LEt’s talk about Finding purpose in life.

The lines of purpose in my life never grow slack. They are tightly tied to my future in heaven, kept taut by hope. ~ Colossians 1:5 (The Message)

 

Finding purpose for life is an issue I struggle with almost daily.

I’m married to a man who is driven with strong world-changing purpose and he walks in that with firm determination and vision for the future.

I, on the other hand, don’t.

Sure I find some purpose in supporting him, loving my friends, family, kids, grands, caring for our home, my writing and studies, etc…

 

But what does it all mean in the end?

The above verse is one that sets my feet back on solid ground. If I look to the world and my contribution to it for the validation of my purpose, I will be sadly disappointed time and again. But if I look only to God’s Word and the plans that He has for me I can find hope.

This hope is not one to disappoint. It is tied tightly to my future in heaven and that gives me reason to celebrate!

The trick is to not stop looking up!

If you can’t see the video screen below CLICK HERE for one of my favorite worship songs!

Image credit: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

Living Life Lessons :: PITFALLS


What is an emotional pit? Anything we can’t get out of with our own strength.

What is your pit made of? Self-pity; compulsive habits, depression, anxiety, worry, doubt… 

“A pit is an early grave Satan digs hoping to bury you alive.”~ Beth Moore

How did we get into this pit?

  • Pushed in innocently by someone else :: family heritage, spouse adultery, job loss.
  • Slipped in by our own unplanned doing :: started dieting ended with eating disorder.
  • Jumped in with willfully planned sin, rebellion or disobedience.

Our pit dwelling may be caused by any combination of the above, or we may have gotten into one and it lead to another. Whatever the case living in the pit is not where we want to be.

Whatever we focus on will draw us in. 


By focusing on our weaknesses or the circumstances we see in the natural, we give them power in our lives. They draw us in. We end up walking directly into the pit that we really want to avoid.

When we’re riding a bicycle and we focus on the parked car near the curb we’ll surely ride into it. The same is true with our areas of weakness. If we focus on them we will fall right into it. 

Instead, we must keep our focus on Christ, by meditating on His Word we will be less likely to fall back into our pit. I’m not saying we won’t still struggle. But I know from experience, if I keep my thoughts going in the right direction that’s more than half the battle.

Can’t we just steer clear of the pit?


As Believers we owe ourselves and those in our circle of influence the determination and commitment to do everything in our power to walk away from the pit. You might fake it till you make it. But will power won’t sustain for long. Unless and until we turn our our self-destructive desires and weaknesses over to God nothing will change. 

When will we turn our desires over to God? Must they nearly destroy us? 


Unfortunately, that’s what I did. I had to lose my job, my home, my car, my family, and then my freedom before I looked up from my pit to find God’s loving hand reaching to pull me out.

Is God in your life? Are you living victoriously? Or are you living in your pit?

I encourage you to spend some time with God. Ask Him to search your heart for the pits that you may be headed for or are living in now. Get a good study Bible, do a topical word search related to your pit struggle. Dig into God’s Word. I guarantee you will find a hand reaching to pull you out!

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. ~ Ps. 40:1-2


Click Here to watch Beth Moore’s teaching video “Get Out of That Pit”




Living Life Lessons :: UNLIMITED ACCESS!

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. ~ Romans 5:2


One day several years ago, I was missing my children who were grown but had been estranged from me for a long time. Then God gave me the above Scripture. With the verse came a vision of hope, a vision of my family fully restored, that has since come true. But before it did I had to lean on this verse for almost four years using the process below.



HOPE: forms the image according to God’s Word

We have something for which we hope… our marriage restored, a spouse’s sobriety, children’s struggles, finances… Whatever your specific needs are, if they line up according to God’s Word you can wrap them up in hope, keeping the vision of what you want to see before your eyes, not looking at things the way they are in the natural. 


FAITH: rises in our spirit, giving substance to the image in the heavenly realm.

If you are a Believer and have faith in Jesus Christ, you have access to God’s grace; which is His favor and blessings. As we tap into this faith, it rises up within our spirit. We bring out our hope package that is filled with our vision, then by way of our faith we send our hope to God.


GLORY: is the physical manifestation of God’s goodness in the natural realm.

Because we have access by faith into God’s grace we can stand in the hope of God’s glory. As we keep our hope vision in front of us, thanking God daily for His favor, mercy and goodness, we can rejoice because this hope will not disappoint.  Attached to our faith we have sent our hope vision to God. In His perfect time, God then sends our vision back manifested by His glorious goodness into our physical realm. 

Today my family is fully restored! We are walking proof of God’s glory. 

Here is the confession I stood on for four years:

I have access by faith into God’s grace where I now stand; I rejoice in the hope of God’s glory!


Take a few moments to get refilled with this song by the Robbie Seay Band http://youtu.be/Wz3vyyy01aw



Photo Courtesy of 123rf.com

The Road to Recovery :: STEP TWO

STEP TWO: 

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:13


PRINCIPLE TWO: (Celebrate Recovery)

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him and that he has the power to help me recover.


Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ~ Matthew 5:4

At this stage of our recovery journey we are beginning to find peace with God; faith is birthing within our heart and soul. Our spirit has been pricked by the Holy One, nudging us back home to a safe place ruled by Love.


When we humble ourselves by recognizing God’s power it brings us to a place where we can believe for more, we become able to receive the strength we desparately need to recover. Only through honest transparency about our weaknesses, our hurts, habits and hang-ups, can we truly find healing. We will never be totally free until we yield ourselves to God.

God knows all our dirty little secrets but he needs us to know that He knows. Not to rub our nose in them, but when we can feel ashamed for the right reason, when we have a true sense of regret for our past actions, maybe, just maybe, we can learn from them.



Principle Two is the Hope principle. Here is the acrostic from Celebrate Recovery:


H – Higher Power  

For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. ~ Romans 11:36

O – Openness to change 

Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.  ~ Ephesians 4:22-23

P – Power to change 

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. ~ Psalm 25:5

E – Expectation to change  

I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again. ~ Philippians 1:6


By admitting our powerlessness in Step One we moved from a life filled with pain and suffering to one with hope. Our hope grows when we believe that a power greater than ourselves, Jesus Christ, can and will restore us to sanity.


Are you struggling today? Is your life one of insanity and despair?

Don’t delay. Call out to Jesus. He alone has the power to change your life.


He is your Hope for a better tomorrow!

Reflect on hope in Christ as you listen to our Road to Recovery theme song by David Zasloff: http://youtu.be/yHIO_1JlBKc


Resources:
Celebrate Recovery Bible
Life Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Christians



Be a Prisoner of Hope!

Hope seems to come easier some days than others; I don’t know if it’s a function of hormones, lack of faith or both. To be completely honest, today, I’m struggling to have hope. Considering the state of our country, the government, the economy, the world, joblessness, sickness and disease… With all these and other uncertainties one can easily find themselves feeling completely hopeless!

What is hope? How can any normal person have hope? Where can we go today to find even a glimmer of hope? As I write this, I pray God will give you and me the hope we need to walk out His purpose in our lives today.

Hope… it’s a simple word, that appears to have a simple meaning. Like many things in life they look simple from a distance but are difficult to put into practice. You hear the word hope used a lot in conversations so much that it has lost some of its true meaning. Google the word hope and you get 541,000,000 results ranging from the Wikipedia definition to charity organizations, college names, celebrities, hotels, etc, ad infinitum…

According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary hope is: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment. I’ve heard others define it simply as — the happy anticipation of something good. I really like that definition because it puts some responsibility back on us ‘to be happy’ while in the process of anticipating something good.

Bible hope is closely related to faith. In fact, according to Scripture we cannot have faith unless we first have hope. Hope is the foundation that faith stands on. One of the most quoted verses on faith and hope is Hebrews 11:1. Let’s look at it in my three favorite translations…

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – New International Version

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – New Living Translation

Now Faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. – Amplified

To break it down, faith is the certainty, the proof of ownership-the title deed, of that thing for which we have hoped; even things we cannot see or feel. Just by having faith for something, we already own it! Alright, that tells us what faith is, but what about hope? Remember, we can’t have faith unless we have hope as a foundation. How can we hope for that thing we cannot see if we don’t have any hope. Where does hope come from? Where can I get some hope today?!

Let’s look again to the book of Hebrews for more answers. The author writes in Chapter 6 of God’s promise to Abraham. God was going to bless Abraham with a huge family, with so many descendants he wouldn’t be able to count them. When making that promise God swore an oath in His own name, since there was no name greater to swear by. Abraham believed God and waited patiently for many years until he finally received the promise of a son. In fact, he was 100 years old when Isaac was born. This chapter goes on to tell us that because it is impossible for God to lie, and because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross we too have access to the promises of Abraham. That is where our confidence and our hope is… in the great refuge of God’s promises. This is the hope, the strong anchor for our soul. The key now is to find the promises in God’s Word on which we can stand. God has given me clarification on this in Romans 5:1-5:

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. -NLT

In other words, if we believe Christ died for us we can stand confidently and look forward to God’s glory. Even though we go through times of trial and adversity, those times can grow us through endurance and patience which will build our character. With strong character we can stand in confidence of the hope that fills our heart with the love of the Holy Spirit.

I see it like this…

I have been made right in God’s eyes because I believe Jesus died for me on the cross. My faith gives me full access into God’s grace and His favor. Now I can come to God with something to hope for: a healthy marriage, family restoration, job stability, bills that are paid, etc…

  • Hope forms the image in my mind. I see my family restored. I have the vision according to God’s Word; it is something I know lines up with God’s promises. Once I have Hope as a foundation…
  • Faith rises up in my heart; strong, armed with the confidence that I can stand on God’s promises. Giving substance to the image; faith is the energy force that brings the Hope of my family being restored to reality in the physical realm.
  • Glory goes to God when we see the manifestation of God’s goodness in our living reality. When we thank Him for His goodness and share what He has done with others around us.

Because we have access by faith into God’s grace, we can now stand & rejoice in the Hope of God’s Glory!

STAND AND REJOICE!

STAND AND REJOICE!

STAND AND REJOICE

In the Hope of God’s Glory!

I lived most of my life as a prisoner, in bondage to low self-worth and people pleasing; to evil thoughts and fleshly desires; to guilt and condemnation; to depression and desperation; to discouragement and despondency. In the very early days of my sobriety in 2005, God began to give me scripture after scripture full of hope to keep me pressing in to Him. Now I have a collection of 3×5 index cards in a little ring binder that I carry with me wherever I go.

For the last four years as my family and I press through our own life transitions, God continues to put the message of Hope in my path and on my heart. It is God’s Word that is my only source of true hope. I’m determined to surround myself with messages of Hope and to soak on God’s Word continually. The walls around me are Hope. I am now a prisoner of Hope!

If you too, want to be a prisoner of Hope, I encourage you to get a bible concordance or go online to www.biblegateway.com and look up the word — hope. Start reading, studying, meditating and memorizing…before you know it you will be full of Hope!