Tag: spiritual disciplines

It’s Time to Stand Up In Your Boat | Stop Swimming and Rest

You’ve heard that famous line Dory sang in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

Is that how you’re feeling? Like you just need to push through the exhaustion, fight through that burned-out feeling, or just tuck your feelings away and go through the motions one more second?

You ‘just keep swimming’ no matter how hard it is because you know when you finally stop, you’ll have to deal with all the thoughts in your mind and the emotions in your heart, and one day you won’t be able to just shove the problems under the rug because the rug is running out of space.

During these times, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Does that sound a little cliché or too simplistic, or much easier-said-than-done? The translation from The Message really brings this instruction to life:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Notice in the beginning, “Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.” To actually stop and rest in the presence of God is life-giving. If you want to understand God’s plans for you more clearly, and understand how He’s working in your life, you have to slow your life down to take notice.

Make space in your day to notice what God is doing, to receive His love, to allow Him to point you in the direction of healing. God wants to “show you how to take a real rest.”

It’s time to stand up in your boat of circumstances, stop swimming away, and recognize God is trying to speak to you. It’s time to move forward by resting.

Reach out if you would like to learn more about the step forward process, spiritual disciplines, or the benefits of personal coaching. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

It’s Time To Stand Up In Your Boat

I see you struggling to take that first step toward making an improvement, reaching a goal, or trying something new, completely unsure if you are making the right move or walking in the right direction.

I see you doubting that God could possibly be speaking to you and questioning why He would even want to. You know deep inside that you could make changes, but that familiar boat of your circumstances seems to be stuck or holding you back in some way.

Maybe you’re holding yourself back?

Let me share with you Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Not only does God care about you and want to speak to you, He created you for a purpose. Even on the days you feel uncertain, uninspired, or “less than” in any way, there is an invisible road in front of you mapped out with goals that only you can achieve, people that you are supposed to meet, lessons that you are supposed to learn, and a life adventure that only you can live.

One way to get clearer on God’s plan for you is to recognize that He speaks through His word. I love how Psalm 119:30 points this out: “the unfolding of Your words give light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

And who or what is ‘the simple’? The simple is you and me.

The translation of this verse found in The Message Bible puts it another way: “Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning.”

That’s you, that me, that’s us: the simple…the ordinary…the worn-out questioners in need of a well-lit path.

Romans 15:4 states, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

By spending time with God and digging into His Word for you, you can make improvements, you can reach goals, you can experience beauty out of ashes, and receive strength to get through dark moments.

You can stand up in your boat.

God is speaking to YOU!

Reach out if you would like to learn more about the step forward process, spiritual disciplines, or the benefits of personal coaching. It’s a joy to be part of your faith journey!

Seeing The Beauty In Your Storm

We often associate storms with destruction, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, a rainstorm passes through and leaves behind lush green grass, well-watered plants, and fresher air. Often, the darkness clears to reveal a beautiful rainbow…a sign of hope and a reminder of God’s covenant with us (Genesis 9:16).

Let’s look at John 15:2, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Just as the gardener prunes his fruit tree, God will prune us through various circumstances and storms. This changing, molding, shaping and refining of ourselves can be painful and life-changing, but if we trust in God’s work, then we will grow more deeply in our faith and relationship with Him, and increase our capacity to bear more fruit.

Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Notice where the scripture reads, “…I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

In the middle of our dark moments, we are often so focused on our struggle that we can miss the beauty of the ‘new thing’ — the new work — God is bringing about or calling us toward. Like a new sprout that unfolds in the garden after the rain passes, God is constantly at work creating beauty out of what appears to be ashes, making a way where there appears to be no way.

What storm are you experiencing right now?

Can you see God doing a new work in your life?

Please reach out if you would like to learn more about the step forward process, spiritual disciplines, or the benefits of personal coaching. Thank you for sharing your faith journey with us!

Walking Through Your Storm

Sometimes it rains a little, and sometimes a ferocious storm is unleashed that wields unspeakable damage and changes us forever. In the past three months, collectively, we’ve experienced the storms of quarantine and the pandemic, along with physical weather storms, individual medical storms, financial storms, and the longer-brewing storm of systemic racism.

Every storm that comes our way takes on a different shape, lasts a different amount of time, produces a different outcome, and requires a different set of actions on our part. Every storm is different, but God remains the same.

Let me say that again: Every storm is different, but God remains the same.

God doesn’t always remove the storm, but He walks with us through it. He faithfully never leaves us; He guides us and directs us.

Psalm 56:3-4 says, “When I am afraid, I will trust in God…In God I trust, I shall not be afraid.”

Part of getting through the fear of the storm is to trust God for the outcome. If we truly believe in His plans for us, and we understand how much He loves us, then we are willing to walk through the storm being led by Him, able to fully rely on Him — and rest in Him — through the dark moments of our lives.

What storms are you facing in your life today?

Are harsh words being spoken over you? Have you lost a job or been physically displaced in some way? Is there a big change coming for you? Are you trying to make steps forward, but you’re afraid or don’t know how?

Whatever storm you’re in the middle of, God is right in it with you and He loves you.

Please reach out if you would like to learn more about the step forward process, spiritual disciplines, or the benefits of personal coaching. It’s a joy to walk with you on your journey.

Step Out: Be Who and What God Called You To Be

We are working our way through stepping out of our comfort zone and becoming a disciple. This week we are focused on being who and what God called each of us to be. Our Scripture this week comes from Matthew 5:14-16:

“You are the light of the world!
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Let your light shine before others.

In the first part of verse 14, we read “you are the light” – and “you” is each one of us. We are the “light” (Greek phṓs), which is literally “the manifestation of God’s self-existent life”. (Strong’s Greek Lexicon).

As Christ followers, our very existence points to God who created us. Just like a city on top of a hill cannot be hidden, our very existence — the words we say, the actions we take, our lives as a whole — shine brightly, illuminating God’s work in the world.

What does this mean for you?

To step out of your comfort zone is literally to step fully into the person God has created you to be, doing the work that He has prepared for you to do.

  • Who are you in Christ?
  • What is God asking you to do?
  • How can you shine brightly where God plants you?

Comment below or message us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Step Out: Explore and Serve

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day when Jesus gathered with his Disciples for the last time, and the day that was just the beginning of events that would lead to his eventual death and resurrection. The term “Maundy” (Latin: Mondatum, Commandment) represents the ceremonial Washing of Feet – a religious rite of washing the feet of the poor.

After the last supper, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34) Preceding this command, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, exemplifying His love for them and offering us a beautiful demonstration of serving one another.

As you step out of your boat and explore what God is calling you to do, how can you serve the people God has placed in your path?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Step Into Your Power Source

On this Good Friday, at noon, a few centuries ago, “there was darkness over all the land” as Jesus died on the cross. (Matt. 27:45) At the moment of His last breath, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, and the earth shook, and the rocks were split. (Matt. 27:51)

At the moment of this cataclysmic event, it appeared the power had ceased and the light of a son…teacher…master…healer…had gone out of the world. The disciples would soon learn that the Power of Jesus was just getting started.

A couple days ago, storms and a tornado ripped through our area, resulting in a power outage for around 18 hours. There was much rejoicing among our children when the power – and all electronics – were restored. I posted to my facebook status, “Electricity is back on!!” with some happy party emojis. Some of our friends were still waiting for restoration in other areas of our city and county, so it was a huge surprise that our neighborhood “beat the deadline.”

I chose my status update word carefully: Electricity. In fact, I never posted that our power had gone out, except in private text messages, or comments on various friend’s discussion threads.

Why?

It’s because I never felt that I had lost power. The loss of electricity was an inconvenience. It also caused concern and efforts were made to preserve the food in our refrigerator. The loss of electricity was also irritating and a point of contention for our kids who were trying to navigate quarantine with a sudden loss of a day’s online school and the all-important leisure-time video games and TV.

I felt I never lost power because I never lost Jesus. I know some of you might be rolling your eyes at this point, thinking that sounds a little cliché, but stay with me on this idea. This week, we’ve been exploring the concept of praying about everything. Jesus is the source of power and strength (Isaiah 40:29). I tap into that source of power anytime just by praying – and I wrote yesterday about how prayer is just a little conversation with God.

So, no matter what I’m facing, whether I understand it or not, whether I’m hunkering down in a basement with a violent storm overhead, whether I lose a job, whether I’m sick, whether I… [fill in your own blank], I know without any doubt that God will work all things out according to His plans and purposes. I know this because of the work He’s already done in my life, and because of His promises to me in His Word which are forever true and unchanging (Isaiah 40:8).

There’s a common phrase often uttered in times of distress, fear, or hopelessness, “all we can do is pray.” Instead of waiting for an emergency, I invite you to begin each day and tackle every moment by tapping into your power source through prayer.

What would your day look like if you began with prayer?

Who is the source of your power?

Comment below or message us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Step Out: Pray About Everything

As we embark on this Holy Week journey of expectation of Christ’s death and resurrection, it’s a joy to explore prayer with you! Our scripture comes from Jeremiah 33:3, “‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ (The Message)

One way that we call out to God is through prayer. Prayer can take on many forms, and there are quite a few spiritual practices that can also assist us. However, prayer in its most basic form is just a conversation with God.

The concept of “Conversation” implies two-way communication. While one person speaks, the other person listens. If we spend all our time talking at God instead of resting in His Presence and listening to Him, we miss out — we miss getting to know Him, being comforted by Him, being directed.

As God pointed out in Jeremiah 33:3, He wants us to call on Him, talk to Him and seek Him so that He can direct us toward ‘things we could never figure out on our own’ —but if we don’t make the space available to listen for His answer, we miss the mark of going deeper with our faith and receiving that revelatory information that can fulfill us, restore us, heal us, and possibly set our lives on an incredible course.

Does your prayer life need a boost?

What can you do to make space for God?

Comment below or message us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

 

Stand Up: Seek Wise, Biblical Counsel

Dear sisters, during this month of March, we are covering the first step of the step forward process: Stand Up and recognize that God is speaking to you. One way to more clearly understand how God is speaking to you is to seek wise, Biblical counsel.

We look to Jesus as our example.

Jesus always sought to do the will of His Father: “For I have come down from Heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38). When he had a big decision to make like selecting his twelve disciples, “…he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.” (Luke 6:12-16)

It’s easy for us to discuss our plans and opinions with everyone we know, but that’s not the life Jesus modeled for us. There are no accounts of Him receiving directions from His Father and discussing them with the disciples or anyone else. Instead, He showed us the power in retreating to silence, prayer, and boldly following where the Father led.

So, what does this mean for you?

Once you realize what God is saying to you, and you have a sense of direction from Him, ask God to show you someone who will provide you with wise, Biblical counsel such as a Pastor, or a church elder, or a Godly friend with a deep faith walk. You might also consider meeting with a Spiritual Director – someone who will walk alongside you, who can help you tune into the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, and can help you discern God’s work in your life.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your biblical community?
  • Who in your life can you seek wise, biblical counsel from?

If you don’t have that person, how can you go about finding that person in your life?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Stand Up: Rest in God’s Presence

Hey Friends! Our theme for March is the first step of the step forward process: Stand Up. One way to stand up in your boat and recognize that God is speaking to you is through prayer and quiet reflection. It’s really easy to talk at God, but the main idea here is to spend time resting in His presence.

Resting is no easy task. How many times have you tried an official quiet time and were completely distracted? Or maybe you fell asleep? Some of you remember the old Energizer Bunny commercials – the idea that the battery is so good the bunny just keeps going and going and going and going…

Does that sound like you?

It’s easy to keep going, propelled forward by circumstances, goals, or one expectation after the other. In the quiet moments when you finally stop, you have to deal with all of your thoughts and emotions…the cracks and gaps you try to avoid…everything about your daily life that you shove under the rug or cover up with other things.

By resting in God’s presence, you gain clarity about how you see God in your life – and it’s in those quiet moments that you really have an opportunity to let God work and direct you. When you rest in God’s presence, He can clear your thoughts and open your heart and mind to receive His message and prepare you for the work He has for you.

Will you try to rest in God’s presence this week for as little as 5-10 minutes a day?

A great practical tool for spending time with God is journaling. You can journal your questions, things you’ve been wrestling with, your thoughts, what you’re thankful for, prayers, etc., and then look back and see how God provided an answer, opened a door, made a way, and what He taught you through the process.

What methods have you tried to draw closer to God?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.