Tag Archive | meditation

Practice and Experience Change

Butterfly“Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:9 (The Message)

I’ve been co-leading a morning women’s group with a friend and have been thinking about some of our first lessons and topics of discussion. I’ve found it can be so easy to read, talk about and consider various verses that are meant to help us understand what God really wants for us. We are to put into practice all we have learned, seen, heard and come to understand. But I wonder, do we really or rarely apply them to our lives?

Our very first discussion was on Philippians 4:8 and what we think about. We recently talked about self-control, one of the traits of the fruit of the Spirit. Self-control is the turning to God in all situations and decisions. It is the giving up of our excuses, justifications and blame games and allowing Him to lead us knowing He is in control of everything.

So when we who have the Holy Spirit living inside us say we can’t stop thinking about something that is troublesome or worrisome, ugly, evil or hateful, we choose to rely on ourselves rather than God and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us make the change.

My oldest daughter has a friend who had said some very mean and ugly things to her. She accused her and condemned her based on information from a third-party.

My daughter is relationship oriented. She loves friendships! Always has. As a toddler, nothing made her more excited than seeing a friend outside playing and knowing she was able to go out and join the fun. A friend constituted anyone her same size! Sleepovers, play dates and outings were her source of enjoyment. As a teenager, she didn’t have as many friends, but she was very loyal and mindful of all her friends.

So when this particular friend decided to act out on what she heard rather than talking to her and expressing her concern, I was quite upset and put out. I wanted to lash out at this girl…and her mother. I replayed over and over in my mind the messages my daughter had received and all the things I could say or do in response. I was consumed for a time with very angry and bitter thoughts. It carried over into conversations affecting the tone I used with others. As I realized how this was hindering my joy and relationships, I knew my thoughts needed to change.

Philippians 4:8 came to mind and I realized that nothing going through my mind was lovely, excellent or praiseworthy. It may or may not be true, but I didn’t even know the whole story at that point and was making judgments based on partial information just as this friend had done to my daughter. That wasn’t just or noble.

I began to thank God for the relationship I have with my daughter and that she chose to talk with me about the problem. I prayed the truth would be revealed and her reputation restored. I praised God who can heal any wound and reconcile any relationship. My thoughts changed and so did my heart.

While there were still problems and issues to work through, eventually this friendship was restored. There was understanding, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.

This is the ultimate goal in everything we believe about our loving Father in heaven. We come to know and understand the truth of who He is, what He did, why He did it and just how much He loves us. We acknowledge our part in the problem with a desire to turn from our old ways. We accept His forgiveness and move forward with God confident in our restored and reconciled relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

We can choose to set our minds on the things of this world or on the Creator of this world. We can concentrate on the problem or trust in the One who knows the solution. We can sit in our bitterness and resentment or we can allow God to replace it with His love and kindness. We can call out every issue we have with every person or we can be grateful that God, who is always right and just in His actions, did not hold our mistakes, or even our intentional disobedience against us.

Something to consider…

Do you have a heaviness of heart? Do you replay your troubles over and over in your mind? What thoughts do you need to replace with His truth and righteousness? He can lighten your load and change your thoughts.

Do you have deep wounds from broken relationships? Does it feel like there is just no way anything good can come of it? Jesus can change your thinking, change your perspective and give you hope that changes your heart.

Advertisements

Resolutions

Garden Path and Gate“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51 (NIV)

I’m looking forward to what this new year will bring and what new resolutions I will be making. I so often feel like I don’t accomplish my resolutions and I wondered how I had done on those I had made this past year.

As I looked back at two of my posts transitioning from 2011 to 2012, I realized I had really only made two resolutions. One was about getting rid of the old. This included old stuff as well as old attitudes. The other was to be resolved to know Christ more.

They are both hard to measure. Have I ever really reached the end of getting rid of bad attitudes? Somehow they creep back and settle on in. I continue to accumulate stuff so at some point it will all be old as well. When do I know I know Christ more? There will never be an end to what there is to know so how do I move forward in what I do know trusting even in what I don’t?

As I type this blog, my youngest daughter is cleaning out her room. For anyone who knows her, she is organized, responsible, and diligent. What they don’t see is her room: the one place she doesn’t care to care about. Her comment today about the amount of stuff in her room, on the floor and taking up space was, “If I have a bed to collapse on, I’m good!”

Unfortunately, I care about the state of her room so over the school break she is dusting, vacuuming and reorganizing which includes going through every piece of clothing and memorabilia she has. In the process of just doing it, she has found “the zone” and is ready to get rid of anything and everything taking up space without a purpose.

It’s fabulous! I’m grinning from ear to ear!

As we have drawn closer to the end of the year, I realize that there are many attitudes and behaviors I want to be rid of. It isn’t that there is no purpose in the attitude, the purpose just isn’t a good one.

Did I fall short of past my resolution? Did I not really care about this resolution? I have over this past year felt irritated, judgmental, critical, prideful, and unloving. I have said things I shouldn’t have and not said things I should. I have left things undone and done too many things I wish I wouldn’t have. I did not clean out the closets, clean up my house or put myself through an extreme makeover.

But, I did grow closer to God and have come to know Christ more. I backed off a bit on blogging but did write a new Bible study which taught me about the resolution of Jesus.

He had one mission: to reconcile the world to God. In order to accomplish this, He had to be resolved to follow every leading of His Father. Jesus was resolved.

I also realize that the only way I can truly be resolved to shed the old is to know Jesus more.

“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GW)

He is the “zone” I need to be in so that I can let go of the old. If I want my old attitude to be made new, I need to be in Christ. I won’t be perfect, but He will continue to work in me. My willingness to be resolved begins with my willingness to abide and stay close to Jesus.

That is my first resolution for this year, to abide in Christ.

Something to Consider…

Resolutions are not just wishes we hope will come true. They are decisions we make based on a firm purpose and determination. We know it matters even if we don’t always know why it matters. We choose to do, not just wish.

Be resolved to abide in Christ. What does this mean in your life? What does it look like? What can you do to draw near to God knowing He will draw near to you?

Be resolved to follow His leading in your life. Every decision results in an action; even inaction is a choice. Because you are abiding, you will be able to better recognize when God shows you an area of your life that He wants to make new. Decide to do what He says and follow His lead.

Time Well Spent

It’s been a while since I’ve written…well, since I’ve written a post. I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of writing the past two months. I am almost finished with my third Bible Study!

Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk This Way is based on the book of 1 John. I knew this book was about love, but I originally saw it as God’s love for us. After digging in and doing a bit of research and study, I realized it’s as much about our love for Him and each other. The key verse that caught my attention is “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6.

How did Jesus walk?

He spent time in fellowship with His disciples and anyone who wanted to know His truth. He spoke His truth and shined His light into every situation.

He was obedient to His Father always doing and only doing those things His Father was doing. God can be in everything you do whether it’s praying for healing or taking a nap.

He was humble, so humble. I think of all He faced while here for 33 short years: resentment, mocking, scorn, anger, hatred, temptation and of course, physical suffering and death on a cross. And these challenges didn’t only come from those you would expect to hate Him but from His own family and those who claimed to know and love God.  Our own pride is often a bigger problem than anything else that can come at us.

He knew God’s Word. Yes, He is God’s Word but still, He studied it, knew it and used it. We are to do the same. And through reading the Bible and participating in studies such as this one, we grown in wisdom and our understanding of Him.

And finally, He prayed. He drew close to His loving Father and lived a life of purpose for Him. Can anything else we do here on this earth even compare with living a life of purpose for our God?

These are the five disciplines we will be discussing during this study: Fellowship, Obedience, Humility, Meditation and Prayer.

I would love to have you join me for the study this summer. Workbooks are $10 and we meet in Ramsey, MN in both the morning and evening. You can either register or just purchase the workbook online through Northgate Church.

I’m in the process of the final edits and I am completely blessed as I read through the material one more time remembering all God has done and revealed to me this spring!