What Are You Modeling?

By Guest Blog3 Comments

by Denise Loock | February 15, 2017


 

The man who wanted him dead slept within a sword’s length of the innocent fugitive.

“Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands,” the fugitive’s companion whispered. “Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear” (1 Samuel 26:8).

The opportunity to end his years as a fugitive, scurrying from cave to cave, never knowing where or when he’d be attacked lay before David like a sparkling jewel on black velvet. Had God indeed orchestrated this encounter, as David’s nephew Abishai suggested?

David saw the gleam of triumph in the younger man’s eye. Abishai lifted his spear.

David grabbed it. “Don’t destroy him!”

Abishai’s eyes widened in surprise, then clouded with confusion.

“Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?” David asked, his voice quiet, but his tone sharp. “The Lord himself will strike him. … But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on [King Saul]” (vv. 9-10).

Whether or not Abishai agreed with David’s position, he obeyed his uncle that night. He didn’t slay Saul then or on any other occasion that may have presented itself.

We don’t usually view David as a mentor, but throughout his life—both before he was king and during his reign—he mentored those under his authority. On the night he and Abishai crept into King Saul’s camp, David displayed attitudes that every Christian should model.

First, he advised Abishai to act according to God’s known will.

God had placed Saul on Israel’s throne. It was God’s job to remove Saul from that place of authority—not David’s, not Abishai’s. Murdering someone was against God’s law, and killing a man—even an enemy—while he slept was cowardice, not bravery.

Second, David showed Abishai that opportunity doesn’t always signify advisability.

Abishai assumed that opportunity granted permission for action, but David recognized that opportunities were sometimes tests of obedience. Because he knew murder was contrary to God’s law, he resisted an action that seemed logical and advantageous.

Third, David relied on God’s absolute sovereignty and inherent goodness.

He understood that God would take care of Saul in His own time: “either [Saul’s] time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish”—which is exactly what happened. David chose to wait, knowing God would bring about His will eventually. David also counted on the truth of God’s promise to make him Saul’s successor.

 

 

Whether one nephew or ten thousand citizens are watching us, these three principles will help us become the people God designed us to be.

In what way can you exemplify these principles today?

  • Act in accordance with God’s known will.
  • Recognize that opportunity doesn’t always signify advisability.
  • Rely on God’s absolute sovereignty and inherent goodness.

Take the Next Step:

Read 1 Samuel 26. Ask God to show you specific ways to model David’s behavior in your relationships.

For more information and blogs by Denise visit http://www.digdeeperdevotions.com/about-denise/

Three Biblical Relationships Every Millennial Needs

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By Aaress Lawless  |  February 13, 2017


The millennials in your life are craving relationships. It’s not just success they are longing for—it is a desire to feel connected, to make an impact, and to know that their lives will count as part of the greater good.

The linchpin element in their lives, the glue that holds life together for them, is the concept of relationship.

 

Our world has so distorted our understanding of relationships. Even we Christians sometimes measure the strength of our relationships by the number of our Instagram followers and Facebook likes. This is a manmade statistic, a fake measure of the depth of our friendships.

But that’s not the way relationships work as God intended. Fortunately, in the Bible God gives us clear examples of meaningful relationships. Let’s look together at three Biblical types of relationships that belong in the life of every millennial.

 

A “Luke” Relationship

The book of Acts reads like an eyewitness report—-and indeed it was. Partially through the book you’ll notice a shift in personal pronouns. Luke starts to use “we” because he is now part of the story. Luke is side-by-side with the Apostle Paul, doing life with him, even if that is in a jail cell. His friendship helped sustain Paul during the hard times, as Paul poignantly noted in 2 Timothy 4:11 that “only Luke is with me.”

Who has God brought in your life as a “Luke”?

God uses “Luke” relationships in our lives to encourage us, strengthen us, and help give us the courage to follow Christ, no matter where He leads.

 

A “Paul” Relationship

[easy-tweet tweet=”Who is your mentor? Who is being used of God to nudge you closer to Him?” user=”@JaymeHull” hashtags=”#relationships”]

The “Pauls” in our lives are gifts from God. Your “Paul” may be a co-worker, a church leader, or a Godly older individual in your life.

It’s someone who has traveled longer or further down the Christian walk, and who is encouraging you by their example as they follow Christ.

 

A “Timothy” Relationship

Even while you yourself are a “Timothy” being mentored by your “Paul”, God may have also called YOU to have a “Timothy” or two in your life. Look around you….who has God brought into your life?

Who needs a loving hand, an encouraging word, and a mentor?

 

The millennials today in your community and your church are longing to be “Timothys”, but there is a shocking lack of available “Pauls”. What’s holding you back?

Go to God with these fears and concerns and ask Him for the courage and strength to overcome them.

Luke, Paul and Timothy… these three types of relationships are exactly what millennials need in their lives.

God may be calling you to be one of these three people in the life of someone today. Go to God for the wisdom and the courage to make that first step, to send that first coffee invitation, or to place that first phone call. You may never know how lasting of an eternal impact it will make.

 

For more articles like this Visit Aaress’ website http://aaresslawless.com 

How To Compete Without Comparing

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By Emily P. Meyer  |  February 11, 2017


The internet is swamped with how-to’s for making yourself stand apart. We all want to shine, often, with a desire to shine brighter than the person next to us.

It’s not bad to want to improve and be at the top of your game. Competition isn’t wrong in and of itself because it’s a sharpening mechanism.

However, discouragement and jealousy can be ruthless thieves when it comes to hustling. Comparison and coveting go hand in hand when a goal oriented person shifts their eyes from the goal to another goal setter.

Here’s something we all need to let sink in: the drive inside of you is just as important as the drive inside of her.

If you find you’re struggling with celebrating another person’s God-appointed victories, ask yourself not just what is driving you, but who is driving your ambitions.

Is it you?

Is it someone else?

Or is it God?

Whatever you’re hustling for, don’t forget that God’s best for your life is to live abundantly. Abundance means more, not less. Abundance means room.

 

 

There’s room for more victories and more contributions. You may be waiting for victory or for your contribution to be accepted. Meanwhile, as you celebrate the successes of others, your story will ripen a little more as your character ( YOU… the character God has written in His story of your unique persona!) develops into a deeper, less shallow fulfillment seeker.

Seasons

This season of striving toward is just as important as reaching. Coming into the fullness of God’s timing entails coming through diverse seasons. As much as you’d like, you can’t fast forward through God’s seasons.

Do you realize that 42 generations had to exist before God saw that history had been fully seasoned to receive the Messiah? (See Matthew 1:17)

Each season built upon the last. Each generation had to live in its sovereignly timed season to bear the fruit it was meant to produce. Each season led to the story of the Savior.

Your seasons of waiting, building, fumbling, and/or accomplishing is important.

If you haven’t heard the bells of victory yet for whatever it is God has called you to do, keep listening, obeying, showing up, praying, and putting in both the sweat and time equity required to be faithful until God completes this season. And when someone else reaches the goal you’re moving toward first, celebrate for them rather than burning with negative emotions. Their season is right on target with God’s sovereign timeline. So is yours.

 

We need more writers, teachers, and creatives. We need more awesome moms, more fabulous wives, more kids to be fostered and adopted, and more confident singles. We need more leaders, more servers, and more managers. We need more doctors, more housekeepers, and more entrepreneurs. We need more. There’s room for you. And there’s room for her. Celebrate what God is teaching you in this season.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to celebrate when it seems that you’re surrounded by overachievers and naturals. But you may not know or understand the backstories and stories to come for those seeming to threaten your own success. Shine brightly and cheer for the lights that are popping up around you. There’s enough room.

 

Maybe the internet needs less how-to’s on standing apart and more on standing together. When you shine brightly, that’s a gift from the Light of the World, as is that light burning a little brighter than yours this season. More light equals less darkness. That’s what we’re striving for, isn’t it? More light, and less darkness, friends: that’s what the internet and our hearts need.

Visit Emily’s website http://www.emilypmeyer.com

Fences

By Guest Blog2 Comments

By Kolleen Lucariello  | February 10, 2017


When our friends invited my hubby and me to the movies for New Year’s Eve, we weren’t sure we were up for the adventure. After a beautiful Christmas season, we felt tired. Regardless of our weariness, we agreed to go. They reserved tickets to the movie, Fences, which I had vaguely heard of. I knew Denzel Washington starred in it, but nothing more.

To be honest, I struggled with this movie. I struggled with the harsh language and I was conflicted by the depiction of Denzel’s character, Troy. Now I battle getting the movie out of my mind. I can’t stop thinking about the fence. Troy’s wife, Rose, wanted a fence built around their little property and throughout the movie, work is done to build it. But my “aha moment” came when Troy’s friend, Bono, said,

“Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.”

It’s amazing how one statement can grab my attention. It seems Rose wanted the fence in an effort to protect her family, while Troy has built a strong fence around his heart to keep them out. Denzel plays a very bitter man.

Why can’t I shake the thoughts of a fence?

Because somehow, as only the Lord can, He has used this movie to challenge me to inventory my own need for a fence.

Have I built a fence to keep people in, or keep them out?

I suppose I’ve done both. I’ve tried hard to build a fence around my family and friends in an effort to keep them close. Secure. Protected. When threatened, I waste no time trying to lock a loved one behind the fence.

Even David asked God to protect him by hiding him in the

“[protective] shadow of His wings” (Psalm 17:8, AMP)

As a wife, I’ve spent 30+ years building a fence around my marriage to protect what Pat and I have. Yes, I can relate to Rose and her desire for a fence to keep her family protected. Yet, although our desire is to protect, we must allow others to travel beyond the fence.

I didn’t want to relate to Troy and his fence—but I did. As more of Troy’s life was revealed, I gained more understanding of the reason for his fence. Refusing to move on from the pain of the past, Troy built a fence around his heart to keep others out; this ultimately made it impossible for him to see beyond himself to the needs of his family. I wanted to shake him and say, “You are so consumed with yourself, you can’t hear, or see anyone else!” Life became a game of blame. Am I guilty of the same?

My fence has been built from boards of rejection, criticism, betrayal and deep disappointments. Fences built from boards of insecurity are great at keeping others out—the problem is—God never intended for me to live behind a fence of fear. Unfortunately, many of us do.

 

 

It’s easy to use blame to justify our need for the fence we put up as we try to protect our hearts from the possibility of another infliction of pain. However, we miss so much when we live behind a fence of fear, and there’s very little life or joy behind the fence of control and bitterness.

Changing our identity–one letter at a time–happens when we become aware that,

“…whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (Philippians 3:7, NIV)

What’s the purpose of your fence?

Be You. L-Lose yourself for Christ!

Visit Kolleen’s website  http://www.speakkolleen.com/

 

eyeglasses

Looking Through Clear Eyes

By Guest Blog9 Comments

by Joanna Murray  February 9, 2017


Are things getting a little fuzzy? When was the last time you had your eyes checked?

Did you know your brain has the ability to ignore the visual signals coming into an eye? Your brain can discern blurred vs clear vision per eye and decide to reject or bypass the “junk” (or blurred) vision. If poor vision continues to enter an eye over a time-span of years, the visual channel capabilities become reduced and eventually ineffective.

Junk in, junk out. Right?

Remarkable how this principal of feeding a visual channel, or shall we say mental state, with defective vision (or sinful nature) can render the channel useless. The reduced vision, after a certain amount of time, could end up not being recovered.

While learning this concept throughout optometry school, it hit me how applicable this is to my walk with Christ and current mental state. If I continue to feed negativity, sinful acts, worldly concepts, and poor discernment into my mind and walk with Christ, eventually I will fade to a reduced state of apathy and complacency. It starts with a small act and continues to grow until you are numb to any form of discernment or godly stance on self-worth and confidence.

As women, it is so important we keep a mindset of godly self-confidence to accomplish the great things He has called us to do. I encourage you to not be numbed or rendered ineffective by the world’s influence but to fight it whole-heartedly. Choose to reject or bypass the negative nature of social media trying to degrade your beauty and uniqueness and replace it with joy and love towards one another. Pour into Christ and He will light your path.

 

Correct the “blurred vision” areas of your life by filling it with uplifting friends, moral discernment, biblical scripture, and godly music. Keep your “channel” alive and well with Christ-like influences and your spiritual “vision” will flourish.

 

 

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear,

your whole body will be full of light.”
~Matthew 6:22

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened,

so that you will know what is the hope of His calling,

what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”
~Ephesians 1:18

Interested in reading more about vision click here http://bit.ly/2kwa0m8