Living Life Lessons

ETERNAL GLORY


IN THE LIVING LIFE LESSONS COLUMN EACH MONTH I’M SHARING VARIOUS LESSONS GOD HAS TAUGHT ME. This story tells how i learned that god uses all my life experience for my good and for the good of others…

 

 

It was late in March 2006 — Houston, Texas. I had been in addiction recovery a little over a year and was soaking up God’s Word every chance I could. I listened to Joyce Meyer daily and had recently purchased an Amplified Bible to read along with her lessons.


On this particular day, I needed to take my mother, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, for a routine doctor appointment to update her prescriptions. 

I remember momma sitting on the exam table with her feet swinging, waiting for the doctor like a little kid. The diseases had her in a child like state, this was no longer my mother but a young girl in an old woman’s body. 

The elderly doctor made his way into the exam room. Having performed a brief examination of momma, he began making notes in her file. 
During these early recovery days I never left home without a Bible. So while I was waiting with mother, I opened up my new Amplified Bible to 2 Corinthians chapter 4. I was so taken by these verses, which I had never read before, that I had to read them aloud to momma. The doctor also paused and listened intently. 

(Please read the verses below aloud, slowly before you proceed.)

For all [these] things are [taking place] for your sake, so that the more grace (divine favor and spiritual blessing) extends to more and more people and multiplies through the many, the more thanksgiving may increase [and redound] to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:15-18 (Amplified Bible)

Now think about where I was…

I had just come through what was probably the most difficult time of my life. I was in the early stages of recovery from multiple addictions, my family was scattered and dismembered, I had recently experienced jail time, and was pressing desperately into God for healing. You can read my life story here.  

Here with me this day were two elderly people, my mother and the doctor, who, no doubt, had each been through various turmoils in their long lives. 

After I finished reading the verses aloud, both momma and the doctor smiled and chuckled with a sense of satisfaction. It was a moment I will never forget.

This section of Scripture quickly became my Life Verse. Time and again I have drawn on it for strength. I am there yet again. God is taking me to a deeper level of holiness, but not without pain. Struggling through new areas of sobriety, He is peeling off more layers of the flesh that must be removed so I can live unencumbered by worldly desires and bondages. 

Paul’s words give me hope that these momentary trials are fleeting in the big scheme of eternity. If I will keep my eyes focused where they should be…

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:15-18 (NIV) 

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:: What are your momentary troubles today?

 
If you can’t see a screen below CLICK HERE for a beautiful Hillsong worship video.


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07.17.13

Living Life Lessons

YOU WANT ME TO BE HOLY???

IN THE LIVING LIFE LESSONS COLUMN I AM SHARING LESSONS GOD HAS TAUGHT ME THESE LAST SEVERAL YEARS.  TODAY LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF LIVING A HOLY LIFE.


So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” ~ 1 Peter 1:14-16 

It wasn’t too long after I turned my life back over to God in 2004 when I ran across the above Scripture. After living a wayward lifestyle for several years I was faced with the pressure that I was now expected to be holy. 

How in the world can I possibly be holy?

The problem was with my own thinking and interpretation, not with the verse. I thought this verse said it was my responsibility to become holy. When in fact that is not the case. 

Holiness isn’t anything that I have the ability to do or be in my own power. It isn’t about following a bunch of rules or regulations like many churches would have us believe. Instead holiness is about a relationship with God.


Because the Holy Spirit can only dwell in holy places, when I received Christ as my Savior and the Holy Spirit came to live in me,my spirit became a holy place. 


Now that doesn’t mean my body and mind automatically became holy, because they didn’t. Certainly I still struggle in those areas. But God doesn’t ask us to do anything He doesn’t equip us to do. So by the power of the Holy Spirit and my efforts of studying God’s Word my mind and behavior are improving. 


The most important thing to remember is that God wants us to strive for holiness. He doesn’t expect perfection. He only asks that we make efforts toward perfection. Arrival at holiness isn’t expected by God. He only asks that we pursue it.


For me a red flag that I’m not walking in holiness is when past desires or behaviors flair up. This is a sure sign that I haven’t been spending enough time with God.

When God brings this to my awareness I get back to work doing what I know He wants me to do… Strive toward holiness… one step at a time.

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11.20.13

The Art of Suffering

Finding an easier way to get through the pain.

We all endure suffering and handle it differently. Suffering has many levels and can be expressed in various emotions and behaviors. It can be very painful, even destructive to relationships. What can we possibly do to get through this difficult time in a healthier way?

17636134 - young lonely woman

What is suffering for you may not be suffering for me. What is suffering for me today may not be suffering for me tomorrow.

To the degree that we surrender to our suffering is the degree that we will grow stronger spiritually.

The idea seems simple but it’s difficult and even painful to walk out.

As a recovering addict, I am usually trying to avoid pain at all cost. But I’m finally learning the more I fight the pain and suffering, the more I try to run from it, to avoid it, to remove it… the worse it gets and the longer it may last.

If we can find our way to accept the moment and its lesson for us, trusting that there is something better on the other side of the suffering, we are closer to the Peace of God that passes all understanding.

When I surrender to what this moment brings I am accepting God’s providence. By trusting Him, I am loving Him.

 

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Living Life Lessons

Hope Brings Purpose

 

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!

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Living Life Lessons :: God’s Mighty Power In Me

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 the Power of God that is available to us…



One of the many mysteries of God is that when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. Not only that, the power that raised Christ from the grave is available to us as well, actually working within us. 

That is a mind boggling concept!


According to Scripture God is able to carry out His purpose and do supernatural things in our lives as a because His power is working in us. 

Good things come as a consequence of God’s power working… in me.  In you. 


So maybe the good things aren’t coming because I’m preventing God from working in me? 

How can we stop God’s power from working?


The Bible tells us that we make the Holy Spirit sad by our behavior, when we carry bitterness and anger, use harsh words or hurt others. 


If we want God’s power to be working in and through our lives we must be intentional about our words and actions; being careful to build others up, speaking words that are beneficial not polluting.

God is able to do much more than we ask or think through His power working in us. May we see His shining-greatness in the church. May all people in all time honor Christ Jesus. Let it be so. Ephesians 3:20-21 (New Life Version)

If you can’t see the video screen below click here to praise God for His Resurrection Power working in you today!

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Living Life Lessons :: AFFIRMATIONS

IN THE LIVING LIFE LESSONS COLUMN EACH MONTH I AM SHARING VARIOUS LESSONS GOD HAS TAUGHT ME. TODAY WE LEARN HOW TO TALK TO OURSELVES AND TO OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

Year by year God continues to teach me about my words. It isn’t enough to stop saying the wrongs words, I must begin to speak out health and healing. I know from personal experience that by confessing the negative things I see each day, by rehearsing them over and over verbally, I am giving them power in my life. If I want to see something different I must be committed to speak what I want to see.

It’s important that we guard our tongue. Whatever we speak we give power over our life. If we constantly talk about our problems we will continue to see them. If our body is in pain and we talk about the pain symptoms to our friends, we will continue to have the pain. On the contrary, if while in pain, we choose to speak health and healing over our body, in spite of what we actually see or feel, we will begin to walk in health and healing. 

Genesis tells us that God created the earth and all that is in it with His Words, and that God gave man authority over all the earth. Scripture also tells us the power of life and death are in our tongue.

This is difficult concept for many to grasp. Some Christians are uncomfortable with it and see it as New Age mysticism or positive mental attitude stuff. It’s true you can find this concept in some New Age teachings, but it is totally Biblical.

At 100 years old God told Abraham that he would be the father of a nation, that his children would number as great as the stars. Abraham believed and God counted him as righteous because of his faith!

Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. ~ Romans 4:17

I first learned this principle listening and watching Joyce Meyer in 2005. I was inspired by her teaching and books and wanted to have what she had.  So I began following her example by rewriting various Scripture verses in first person and speaking them out loud over my life.

I am a new creature in Christ: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Then I began to recognize negative things happening in my family, situations that I knew God wanted to be different. Based on what the Bible tells us God wants for our lives, I began calling those things that were not as though there were. When I began making these affirmations over my family and marriage they were not true. Today they are!

For my family:  My family is fully restored and my children have forgiven me. 

For my marriage:  My marriage is completely restored. My husband and I have a healthy relationship that glorifies God.

Take this lesson to heart for yourself and your family. God has given us the ability to create goodness in our own lives by the power of our words. If it can happen for me it can happen for you!

If you can’t see the video screen below CLICK HERE for a song to help us dedicate our words to God.



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Living Life Lessons :: IDENTIFY ENEMY TACTICS

IN THE LIVING LIFE LESSONS COLUMN EACH MONTH I AM SHARING VARIOUS LESSONS GOD HAS TAUGHT ME. TODAY WE PREPARE FOR BATTLE!

In the Garden of Eden Satan knew exactly how to trick Adam and Eve. He was very cunning, knew their weaknesses and right where to attack. I sometimes think Adam and Eve were a bit unprepared. They lived in paradise, daily walking in the Garden with God which definitely equipped them to defeat the enemy. But did they know they were equipped?

Just like Adam and Eve we are blessed beyond measure with God’s goodness in our every day lives. But along with those blessings also come attacks from our enemy who wants more than anything to trip us up.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are equipped with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to defeat any enemy attack. But unless we are aware of the attacks how can we fight back?

Below are specific areas listed in my Life Application Study Bible that speak to this battle. I liken them to land mines on our life pathway.

Satan’s Plan of Attack:

  • DOUBT ~ Makes you question God’s Word and His goodness.
  • DISCOURAGEMENT ~ Makes you look at your problems rather than God.
  • DIVERSION ~ Makes wrong things seem attractive.
  • DEFEAT ~ Makes you feel like a failure so you won’t even try.
  • DELAY ~ Makes you put off doing what you should do.

Rather than allowing these attacks to stay hidden as land mines buried on our life path; let’s put red flags on them so that when they appear we will recognize them for what they are. Then can we face the battle with The Weapon we’ve been given: God’s Word!

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 *MSG


Father God, help me to recognize enemy attacks when they come upon me. Help me to turn to You for strength and to use Your Word to fight against these evil attacks. I ask this in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ. Amen
 If you cannot see the video screen below CLICK HERE for our battle song by Tye Tribbett.
RESOURCES

Life Application Study Bible
*The Message Bible

Living Life Lessons :: EFFECTIVE LIVING

In the Living Life Lessons column each month I’m sharing various lessons God has taught me over these last eight years. Today I want to talk about living effective lives.

Whether we recognize it or not our lives effect others. If we want to have a healthy effect on our circle of influence we need to take care how we live.

Our strategy for effective living begins with SEEKING WISDOM. Some of us were fortunate to have parents that taught us right from wrong, others maybe not. So where can we find wisdom? The Bible says that wisdom comes from fearing God. This isn’t the trembling-in-your-boots kind of fear, but rather a reverential fear–appreciating God for who He is.

The second requirement in our strategy for effective living is MORAL APPLICATION. Once we have reverential fear we begin trusting in God. By allowing His Word to speak to us personally we come to place of obedience. Our heart lines up with what Scripture says, our spirit is convicted by the Holy Spirit and that makes us ready for changed actions.

The third requirement for effective living is PRACTICAL APPLICATION.  Our hearts have been softened by God’s Word, we’ve sought His wisdom and have begun to obey in our actions. These are often challenges to our daily lives. For me the only answer is to keep God’s Word close to my heart and mind throughout the day. That may mean carrying a 3×5 Scripture card with me everywhere I go.

Results of practicing the above three steps is a healthy, positive and EFFECTIVE LIFE. How do we know? We will begin to actually experience what God does as He honors our obedience. It may not happen right away but we must trust, have faith and expect to see God’s blessing pour out. Just like earthly parents, God loves when His children are obedient and He promises to give us a reward!

Over the last few years I’ve been able to put these steps into practice. There have been times when it was easy and other times, like now, were more difficult.  Today God has me under His refining fire again, taking me to a higher level, which always means change and a deeper surrender to His will for my life.  But as I’m working this process again, I’m going back to what I know works… pulling out my 3×5 cards and relearning some lessons.

My child, listen to me and do as I say and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run. Carry out my instructions; don’t forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life. ~ Proverbs 4: 10-12

Do you have a system in place that helps you make needed changes in your life?

If you can’t see the video screen below CLICK HERE for one of my new favorite Hillsong videos!

RESOURCES:
Life Application Study Bible
Life Recovery Bible


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Living Life Lessons :: LOVE YOURSELF!

Some people think it’s wrong to love yourself. Aren’t we supposed to put others first? Are we being selfish when we love ourselves? Let’s talk about true love.

In the Living Life Lessons column I’m sharing various lessons God has taught me.


A couple of years ago I was introduced to a little book that has changed my life and continues to change the lives of those in my circle of influence. 

This wonderfully powerful book is Loving Yourself for God’s Sake by Adolfo Quezada

Don’t let its size (only 83 pages) or its simple message fool you; it is chocked full with nugget after nugget of wisdom. Reading it now for the third time, I can barely get through a paragraph before I must stop and meditate on another healing truth.

When under the influence of my addiction, I spent many years hurting myself and others around me, especially those I was supposed to love the most! I’m ashamed to think about the horrible things I did to my family and friends. But does that mean I didn’t really love them?

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments: Do not commit adultery;do not murder;do not steal; do not covet; and whatever other commandment—all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself. ~ Romans 13:8-10

When we look at the scripture above we often focus on the commandments or the laws of God, seeing them as hard and fast rules that mustn’t be broken, possibly difficult habits to break. 

Perhaps if we will change our perspective and put our focus on the results rather than the rules it will be easier to swallow.

The summary statement at the end: Love your neighbor as yourself sounds like it’s just telling us only to love someone else. We are supposed to love our neighbor but that’s only one part. The critical, and often overlooked piece, is the very end: as yourself. 

God knows that we will love others AS we love ourselves–whether we do it right or wrong-that’s how love works. But before we can love ourselves we must first love God.

HOW we love God = How we love ourselves = HOW we love others! 

Does your life reflect your love of God or the lack there of?

How are your treating yourself? What about those you love?

“Pray that God will fire your soul with a love so real and encompassing that your life becomes a bright and steady reflection of God’s unconditional love for you.” ~ Adolfo Quezada

Click here for an awesome song by Israel Houghton. Turn up your speakers!!

RESOURCES:

Loving Yourself for God’s Sake by Adolfo Quezada
Life Recovery Devotional

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Living Life Lessons: 5 STEPS THROUGH TROUBLED TIMES

Where do you run when trouble comes?


Food? Alcohol? Drugs? Shopping? 

These have been my trouble escapes in the past. Let’s look for a better way to press through our troubled times.

In the Living Life Lessons column each month I am highlighting specific lessons God has taught me since I turned my life back over to Him in 2004. Over the last eight years I’ve watched, read and listened to countless messages by Joyce Meyer. Without a doubt her ministry has been one of the most important influences on my life and has shaped who I am today.

One of the best lessons I learned was from Joyce’s sermon titled “Double for Your Trouble.” When I watched this video the first time in 2006 our life was in turmoil. I was in the early stages of addiction recovery, my husband and I were trying to repair our marriage, two of our three grown children were estranged from us, and my husband was between jobs. We were having trouble most every day. 

Here are the 5 steps I’ve learned to apply when trouble comes:

  1. Stay Emotionally Stable ~ Our first reaction when trouble comes is usually an emotional one. If you’re like me screaming and crying were at the top of the list. On top of that after all the screaming and crying was over I’d have a neck-ache, a backache, a headache and worst of all nothing had changed! Getting emotional in times of trouble only makes things worse. The best thing we can do, for ourselves and those around us, is to remain calm.
  2. Trust God ~ One of the reasons we freak out when trouble comes is we’ve lost our sense of control. This sense of control is just an illusion because there is little in life that we really can control. It’s amazing how much better life is when we let go of that obsession and give all the control to God.
  3. Pray Immediately to Avoid Fear ~ Closely linked to our lack of control is fear. We must remember that fear activates the enemy’s power. So it’s critical that we pray right away for God to give us the faith we need to walk through the trouble we face.
  4. Keep Doing Good ~ When times get rough it’s easy to bail out of everything and just hibernate in our pity party. Whatever we were doing before the trouble began, we must keep doing it. We need to stay on a schedule and faithful to our commitments if possible.
  5. Expect a Reward ~ God often allows trouble in our lives to stretch and grow our faith. But in the midst of the trials we must be on the look out for His goodness. It’s all around us but we will miss it if we stay consumed with emotionally driven fear and worry.
My husband and I have lived according to these principles for the last eight years. We’ve been through several job changes with moves back and forth across America and worked through family fallout and the consequences of my addictions. Life hasn’t always been easy, but by staying faithful to the steps above God has blessed us with many good things!

Every good thing comes from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. ~James 1:17  

Click here for this week’s awesome music video from @TheAfters upcoming album!