Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 7: Thy Kingdom Come

Who ascend to the hill of the Lord?
Psalm 24:3-4

Who shall dwell in the hill of the Lord?
Psalm 15:1

Thoughts to ponder
Goats are very intelligent animals. They can be trained to pull carts and walk on leads. Goats are also known to test their fences and escape.
Sheep are related to goats but they have a flocking behavior. Not only do they stick together but they also follow their leader to greener pastures.
On the day of judgement Jesus will separate the goats and the sheep. 

Read Matthew 25:31-46

Are you a goat or a sheep?
Do you test your fences and escape to greener pastures or do you follow your leader's call to the right pasture?
Is God welcome in your home and in your heart? Do you flock near Him?

Action Steps

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him." 2 Chronicles 16:9

Consider the story of Manasseh.

Read 2 Chronicles 33:1-20

The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people but they paid no attention.
Pray and ask God to reveal to you the times when you did not pay attention.

The king of Assyria captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze.
What bondage are you in? Are you aware of that bondage? Pray that God will show you your areas of bondage.

Manasseh prayed to God and God was moved. Then he knew that the Lord was God.
Do know that you know that you know that the Lord IS God? 

The voice in the wilderness is still crying "repent for the kingdom is near."


If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and savior but have felt the calling, run back to your shepherd and accept him in your heart.
 Maybe you have been a Christian for a while but have wondered away from the flock tempted by the "freedom" that others seem to enjoy. Repent and return to your shepherd. He will keep you safe and lead you in the best pastures for you.

"When you get up in the morning, there is a presence and you do not feel it. There is a light and you do not see it. You get up in the morning and there is a voice but you cannot hear it."  
Tozer, "And he dwelt among us"

Pray for His Kingdom to come, right here, right now in your heart that you may feel, see and hear.

Memorize Psalm 139:23-24


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week 6: Strength & Hope for the Journey

He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals His thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the height of the earth - the LORD God Almighty is His name. Amos 4:13

God Himself has said, 
" I will never fail you or abandon you. Therefore say with confidence, "ADONAI (the LORD) is my helper;   I will not fear; what can man do to me?"  Hebrews 13:5-6  

 - Followers of CHRIST in the 21st Century - 
... since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
Keep pursuing
shalom (PEACE) with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for
our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:1-3;12-14;28-29
Thoughts to Ponder...

Read the above passage (& others) meditating on ways to find strength & hope this day. 

What joy was set before CHRIST as He endured the cross? 

What can strengthen my journey?  Gratitude, surrendered life, wisdom in daily choices, healing, family oneness, right relationships, walking in awe/fear of God, making disciples, Peace, Joy, Truth...(continue the list)

The joy of the LORD is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Action Steps...
Read Hebrews 11 and learn from "the great cloud of witnesses" that surround us. Be encouraged by their faithfulness. They are those who "this world is not worthy of". Who are some modern day hero's of the faith that inspire you on your faith journey? 

Read Hebrews 12:1-3. What extra "weights" in your schedule or life may be holding you back from following more closely? Write them down and share with someone who can pray with you.

Family Fun! Pile up weights for a family member to carry. Examples are loaded back pack, hats, coat, gloves, boots, arm weights....) Then either race around your house/down the street OR time one person running twice (once with the load & once without). Discuss Hebrews 12:1-2 and share how we as followers of CHRIST need to "throw off" sins and even "good" activities sometimes to have strength for the plans God has for us.  Share examples of what that may be examining the family together and pray for each other.

~For God's joy to be your strength. That our hearts, minds, & eyes would be fixed on Christ & the promises of God.
~For HOPE to shine & overpower where any depression, discouragement, deception,  or destruction has taken place in our lives, in our communities, and in our world.
~For the CHURCH - the people of God-  to be strengthened and filled with HOPE to endure & Shine Victoriously.

Father, You are the One True Almighty God! There is none like you. I praise your name & thank you for the mercy, grace, & Victory you give. Though the journey is often difficult, I surrender to your will. Restore the joy of my salvation to me! Give me the wisdom & strength needed to follow your ways with an undivided heart. Open my eyes to the high calling you have on my life, empower me to walk in Your Spirit, and keep my eyes fixed on the HOPE found in You. Make me - my family & the the church - steadfast, faithful, and true. To God be all the glory in CHRIST JESUS my LORD. Amen

Habakuk 3:18-19
"yet, I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. For, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer's; He makes me tread on my high places. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Week 5: Living on Mission

7 Weeks to a Healthier Heart Week 1 - Praise/Thanksgiving. "Make a joyful noise to the LORD all the earth..." Ps100; Week 2 - Surrender "I have been crucified in Christ. It is no longer I who lives but CHRIST... Galatians 2:20;  Week 3 - Wisdom "Behold, to fear the LORD, that is wisdom..." Job 28:28 Week 4 - Family "...a cord of three stands is not easily broken." Eccl. 4:12

We are at war. We are at war and our true enemy is not a physical one. Ephesians 6 reads, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." One must be aware that there is an enemy of their soul if they are to stand. Even more so, one must know the One who gives the power to stand. "...Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Eph. 6:10-20         
Soldiers are in constant training. Why? To be ready. To be prepared for what may come their way. A good soldier is alert and ready to defend and protect. Would a soldier go into battle without his helmet, body armor, shoes, weapons, or battle buddy? 
What about you?
Do you put on your spiritual armor/weapon?
Do you have a battle buddy to sharpen & be sharpened by?
What does your daily spiritual training look like?
Are you living on mission?

“I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth "home." Before you know it, I am calling luxuries "needs" and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don't think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set.”  - John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life

"And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."  Hebrews 13:12-16 

"...Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Prayer Focus
That God would reveal areas in your life that do not match the mission HE has for you. Where do we look too much like the world? What strongholds am I giving the enemy? Where am I weak? Praying that God would continue to transform our lives in a radical way and we would be obedient to through off what hinders us! 
Put on the armor of God (Eph 6:10-21) Pray this over your spouse & children.
Pray for your home - that it would be used to bring glory to GOD.
Pray and ask God to give you favor & a holy boldness as you share CHRIST with your life - in word & deed -  in your neighborhood, workplace, and community. 
Pray for opportunities to "GO or/and GIVE" on the foreign mission fields. 

Thoughts to Ponder
You are a missionary. Your home, work place, and community is the mission field. How can you take each day and live it to the fullest with the Kingdom of God in mind?
How can you get involved with reaching people “outside the camp” or outside your circles?  To the ends of the earth? 
Are you making disciples?  We as believers and followers of Christ, are all called to teach others the gospel. Matt. 28:19-20  How can we encourage others to do this as well?

Action Steps                                                                                                           
Talk with your spouse, kids, accountability partner about how you can better "live on mission" with a kingdom focus. In what ways do you reflect the world more than you reflect CHRIST?  What small or large changes can you make in your home/life style to better reflect God's Kingdom?
If you are not already intentionally and purposefully disciplining someone, start this week. You can start simply by praying for people to disciple and begin preparing.   Simple, free, and powerful resource to help you disciple others here. 
Take a prayer walk through your neighborhood praying over the families & homes in your community. As you walk I pray that God would put someone in your path...a divine appointment! 
Get a map of the world and start praying for the nations & for missionaries by name with your family.  Click on this link for some great resources. 

Memorize: Philippians 3:13-14
 "...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week 4: Family

What makes a family?
If you are following the news and/or Hollywood you will know that family has been broaden to same sex couples and the right to have children outside of wedlock. If you value the judo-christian model of family you are qualified as an outdated and old fashioned snob. I can live with that. Can you?

Family is God's design and His first covenant with us. Family is important to God and therefore family is important to us. Strength comes from family.

So what makes a family?

Prayer focus

Remember that you are part of God's family. John  3:16
As part of God's family pray that you will always honor the name you bear. Proverbs 11:29
Be mindful and watchful over your family. Proverbs 31:15

Thoughts to ponder

"Commitment, prayer, romance, forgiveness and even Legos are all part of growing a spiritually strong family. I challenge you to become a part of a family revolution, one that reclaims our world for the glory of God—one heart, one marriage, one home at a time." Dennis Rainey

Action Steps

Share God's words with your children Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Pray for your husband Proverbs 31:30
Pray for your children
Pray for your extended family
Lift up the family of believers Hebrews 10:25
Make God the cornerstone of your home Psalm 127:1

Memory Verse Ecclesiastes 4:12

Friday, July 5, 2013

I can do all things.....

When the end of the school year comes I breathe a sigh of relief..... No more getting up super early, packing lunches, making sure all the homework is done, staying on track with projects and field trips. The list goes on and on and on......

I crave the summer days when the schedule is more relaxed and consist of getting up and seeing what the day has to offer.

On my run this morning I finished with Matthew West's song "Strong Enough". In the song he explains how he knows that he is not strong enough but that he can do all things through Christ.
At the end of the school year I know that I am not strong enough and yet I feel overwhelmed and tired. Can I really do all things through HIM?

Then it dawned on me that I can do all things that God wants me to do. He will give me the strength to day to face what He needs me to face.

I do pray over my to do list (sometimes) but I rarely ask God to prioritize things for me. What does He want me to do today.

I can do all things {insert all things that God needs me to do, that are in His will}. 

If you are feeling stressed and stretched out and running on empty, ask yourself the one thing that you are doing that is not within His will. Sometimes it is something simple like not doing ALL the laundry at once or plan a fancy meal on a soccer nights.

Slow down. Breathe. Smell the roses. 

You will soon realize that you can do ALL THINGS that matter through HIM!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Week 3: Wisdom

I have found it difficult to ponder wisdom. The topic is so wide and I am not wise. Then I remembered this quote by Dr Seuss "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."
What is wisdom?
According to the Hebrew culture, "Chokhmah (wisdom) is a response to the teaching (torah) of the personal God (YHVH), who is holy and just, and who expects those who know him to exhibit His character in the affairs of life."
Wisdom is a response to the teaching of God. 

From the NIV version there are 219 mentions of wisdom and 189 mentions of the word wise.

This seems like a good place to start.

Prayer Focus

Ask God to fill you with wisdom James 1:5

Ask God to reveal to you times when you have been wise in your own eyes Proverbs 3:7

Pray that when making decisions you will fear God more than men Psalm 11:10

Ask God to reveal to you how you react to heated situations Proverbs 29:11

Thoughts to Ponder

"knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in your fruit salad." Miles Kington.

Ray Ortlund Jr. wrote that "Wisdom is more than brains. It is more than morals. We could memorize the whole Bible, and mean it from the heart, without wisdom. Wisdom is skill, expertise, competence that understands how life really works, how to achieve successful and even beautiful results." (Click here to read the rest of this article)

What wisdom do I speak? Proverbs 10:19

Do I rely on the wisdom of men or on the power of God? Proverbs 19:21

Do I walk in wisdom? 1 John 1:7

Do I think wisely? Luke 6:45

Action Steps

Pray, pray, pray and when you are done pray some more. 

Fear God in everything you say, think or do.

Look up all the verses on wisdom and memorize the ones that speak to your heart.

Read Job 28 and meditate on it.

 Memorize Job 28:28

Watch and sing along :)

Week 3 of "7 Weeks to a Healthier Heart" series