Self-control has seemed like such a burdensome "fruit of the spirit". Coming along with a full set of heavy baggage - do this and don't do that. Don't do this and you must do that. I should read my Bible. I shouldn't eat 2 desserts in one day. I should talk to my neighbor about receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I shouldn't be so impatient with my child!
The enemy would have see the fruit of the spirit through the lens of the tree of good and evil. We all pretty well know what is good and evil, but it never brings us life, with that lens alone, it only brings death (just go check out Adam and Eve's story).
Let's change our perspective today. Let's look at self-control through the lens of life and life more abundantly.
So where is there life? There is life in the presence of God. Ha! That's the secret. Really it is the secret of all things. In God's presence, we come alive, we release his life, and we reveal his glory,.
So to participate in self-control (a fruit of the spirit), let us lean our hearts right now into the presence of God. Meditating on that God the Father adores us. Look, can you see the eyes of the Father, who has a twinkle in his eyes, bubbling with laughter and joy and songs over being with you. He's so so very excited that you are here with him. Dive in and drink deeply - his love is so wide, and so deep, and so long, and so high for you that you won't be able to find its end.
Now think of the circumstances that you are in right now or list for the day that you have before you. Is it the dishes, the lunch meeting, the business deal, the sick child, the unresolved issue? Whatever it is, show your to-do list to God and listen to what He has to say about it all. Take a minute. Take 2. Take 15. Take all day. I give you permission to be in His presence with your list for the whole day.
He may not saying anything about it. But He's probabaly going to say something. And that is when you take the next step to activate self-control.
The Holy Spirit is bouncing off the walls of your innermost being wanting to be a part of the Father's will. Wanting to empower you to life, and life more abundantly. Wanting to enable you to do that which you just heard the Father say is His will to do. So will let Him? Take a moment and invite the Holy Spirit to be the force walking you through the will of the Father.
You see any fruit of the spirit has NOTHING to do with self-reliance. The fruits of the spirit, including self-control, only grows by being the branch attached to the vine. Self-control grows through total reliance on God the Father and the Holy Spirit, through your position in Jesus Christ.
I woke up weary today with the prospect of getting ready for work and helping our son get ready for school. But then I paused: “Is weariness what God has for me today?” The answer is no. He has planned for me to advance today. Advance what, you may be asking? Advance the kingdom.
Hold on. Don’t check out yet, hear what advancing the kingdom is.
Advancing the kingdom means moving forward with whatever you already have. If your thoughts immediately go to: “I don’t have any anything”, how many people did the boy’s five small barley loaves and two small fish feed? A lot. (I’m not going to tell you. :) Go look it up. (John 6:1-12))
Any small portion of anything that you have can be multiplied, if you have eyes see and a heart to partner with God.
Creativity is the portion that God has been highlighting in my life right now. My creativity spans many areas including creating ebooks for our web development business, writing blog content, designing downloadable art and writing prophetic poetry. I can now say that my creativity is valuable. It is necessary. The world needs it. God loves it and He wants to multiply it.
And so today, I say I will ADVANCE with the portion God has given to me. My next step is publish my Whispers of God CD.
What is your portion that God is highlighting now?
What is your next step?
We had just spent 5 beautifully exhausting joyful days at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Our luggage was packed with all of our remembrances of the sweet time spent as a family, and we had taken the Magical Disney Express bus to the airport. After going through security, we were sitting in an open rotunda area with Starbucks in our hands when melancholy began to creep in.
We were heading back to reality - the place where issues are unresolved and plans are unfinished. The reality where the purpose of my life seems so small, undetermined, and insignificant. And through the course of the day of travel and returning home to responsibilities, I became despondent, distant, and I started consuming any type of food and quantity of food that I thought would give me some measure of joy.
Before the trip God planted me firmly in the book of Romans. I had begun handwriting scriptures within the chapters that spoke to be about grace. So being overcome at the end of the day by the choices I had made, I starting writing the scriptures out again - seeking to find peace. Fighting through the chaos that was my mind and soul, His word began to work out the wrong thinking.
A few days later, God gave me a shield against this enemy of my soul - the enemy that comes in my thoughts. Although beneficial for all, I believe that this truth, this shield, is especially necessary for those that suffer with or have suffered with any form of depression.
Let’s start off with Romans 6:11(because this is where the Holy Spirit started with me, and as Graham Cooke would say – “Holy Spirit’s a genius”, so it’s a good place to start.):
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Dead to sin – I must consider myself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Then Holy Spirit reminded me of Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Whatever is true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - these are Jesus’ thoughts, so anything outside of these thoughts I must consider myself dead to. The thoughts I was had waiting in the airport rotunda, I should have considered myself dead to them.
Romans 14:7 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The feelings of melancholy I had on the way back from Orlando, I should have considered myself dead to them, for Jesus’s feelings are peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
I put this revelation into action day 5 of being back at home. Having woken up late in the morning and feeling exhausted, my soul was saying this sucks. As soon as I started to think it, I said within myself, no I consider myself dead to sin. And I refused to allow myself to meditate on the thoughts that I had no energy, my body hurt, and I certainly didn’t want to help my son or be the wife that I am. I chose to ask God to help me with additional energy. The effort I put into these steps wasn’t massive, but they caused a significant shift in my day. By using my will against the spin that the enemy wanted to put on the circumstances around me, I received a day that was full and that I was completely present in.
This gives me courage to continue to say that I am dead to everything that isn’t what and who God says that I am or isn’t what and who God says that He is. For by saying no to the life draining thoughts of the enemy, I can say yes to life, and life more abundantly
To encourage our son's natural inclination for climbing, we decided to build a treehouse from scratch in our backyard. So with our imaginations wandering wonderfully and our bodies willing to put our back into it, we went to work. We knew that we couldn't do it all at once, so we gave ourselves time to consider each step of construction. What materials do we need? Do we have all of the tools? When will the weather cooperate? What will we do in the time we've got? And very important - will we have enough time to recover from all of the manual labor that we are unaccustomed to!!!
As we went along, I was really proud of us. We were on an adventure - learning new skills, working together as husband and wife in a new project, and investing in our son's passion and joy in life. Until, my emotional need to be right, to be correct, to have it all together came bubbling up. It caused havoc with my sleep. I was waking up worrying about every detail. What would my earthly father think of us when we chose the wrong materials? What would people think if they knew that we had to redo steps? Especially for those that know that I'm an engineer. What is God thinking about me, now that I'm seeing the reality that I didn't actually "count the cost" of building a treehouse? Am I a disappointment? Am I a disappointment to everyone? Will they love me, or look down on me for my missteps? Will God still love me in the midst of all of these failings? Am I still valuable?
What a quick and devastating spiral. And honestly - some what uprising to me that I'd go there. I've been on a journey spanning over 15 years that has been focused on inner healing. Specifically dealing with ungodly beliefs that contradict the word of God and that separate me from intimacy with God. So why now? Why this deep? Why so overwhelming?
I woke up this morning not knowing how to proceed. How am I to be violent towards this ungodly belief running rampant in my heart, while I'm weak and crumpled inside? So I told Him - " God I don't know how to overcome." And then I proceeded in the way that He has trained me. Reading resources that have ministered to my unbelieving heart before, allowing them to speak the words that I couldn't say; pointing out the thinking that was getting in the way. And then the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance this worship song - I Am No Victim Written by Kristene DiMarco, Seth Mosley, and Tony Brown.
Here are the lyrics that spoke to me:
I am no victim
I live with a vision
I’m covered by the force of love
Covered in my Savior’s blood
I am no orphan
I’m not a poor man
The Kingdom’s now become my own
And with the King I’ve found a home
I am who He says I am
He is who He says He is
I’m defined by all His promises
Shaped by every word He says
My heart sang for joy as my spirit joined with the Holy Spirit. I am who He says I am, He is who He says He is....and He says that I am loved. I am loved. And I need to be expanded to "comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge" (paraphrased Eph 3:17-18). So my shout today is expand me!
Drown me in your love Father
Consume me with your passion
Wash/scrub/disinfect/dissolve the fear of rejection
When we sow financial seeds into a ministry, we partner with a message that we didn't develop. Our financial seeds allow us to walk with leaders who may walk in more spiritual authority than we do - or at the very least, they have a circle of influence that we do not. And when we sow financial seeds we open up the possibilities for revelation and breakthrough to be brought to us in areas that we haven't been able to reach before.
Sowing financial seeds is not linear - it's exponential - it's kingdom. God doesn't operate in a one dimensional line. And He doesn't even operate in 3 dimensions. There are infinte amount of ways that God blesses, brings provision, provides wisdom and revelation when we sow financial seeds into kingdom messages that break the hell off of people.
If you doubt it, then see if you can account for every single revelation that you've received from pulpit, from a CD, or from some Godly wisdom you've received. It's all come from a seed - and most of them couldn't have got to you without someone sowing seeds of finances.
The thought keeps running through my head: "I've improved in those things that I've consistently spent time on." So what about those things that I'm "wishing" about? The reality is that I have spent little to no time on those things. Why not? Here are some of my internal reasonings:
They seem too big to accomplish.
I have to learn something new.
They require an investment of time to learn and to do them.
I have to spend some money on learning or materials.
Ha! As I write this, I realize that these were the very same hurdles that I faced when I started writing my book Whispers of God.
They seem too big to accomplish.
Whispers of God was always going to have poems, paintings, and commentaries. So here's the list of everything that had to be done:
Who was going to paint the paintings? How would we collaborate on them?
What were the content of the commentaries going to be?
Where and How do I get my book published?
I had to learn something new.
I had to learn to explain the things that I see/felt represented my poems and the heart intention behind them. I had to keep my heart open to what the artist was doing to see if it aligned with the poetry.
I had to learn how to write a story so that my commentaries spoke to people. Writing the poems was simple compared to this. Especially after having an editor give me feedback!
I had to learn to lay out a book in Microsoft Word. This one took alot of patience! Formatting had never been my strong suite, but if I didn't set it up right, then there wouldn't be consistency across the pages.
They require and investment of time to learn and to do them.
Whether it was spending time rewriting commentaries or learning how to layout the book, there was a serious amount of investment of time.
I have to spend some money on learning or materials.
I spent significant amount of money to have the paintings made and to print my first sets of books.
I still have the same amount of time I had when I developed my book, so how do I find the same passion within the other areas that I'm "wishing" about to actually start making something happen? I Googled "Changing your wishing into doing". Here are some of the resources I may look into:
I wrote this poem in two stages. The first four paragraphs were written around the concept of the consequences of being me. I was going to title the poem initially "The Consequences" but changed it because the prize is Being Me and the consequences are truly a sideline issue and should not be our focus point.
The rest of the poem was written at a women's retreat where the goal was to rekindle the fire of dreaming. We spent Friday night and all day Saturday being encouraged to open our hearts to dreams that had been suffocated. Sunday morning in the courtyard of the hotel, I was able to have some quiet time and wrote the remaining portion of the poem.
"What person or people did you cling to looking to inspire
Stroking/breathing/fueling their desire"
Was inspired by Paula Baker. She shared a story that weekend about how she always had a heart for those with mental disabilities as a young adult. And she has since come to be in a position to minister to them http://www.ntxsnap.org/.
"The weariness in the marrow of your bones" was a description of how I was feeling at that time, and the longing of being free like a child seemed as impossible as going down a rabbit hole. The part of "revealing your heart, scars scales, and victories is an image of how I view myself - transparent. Even though it may take some time to become a friend that you would invite over to watch a movie, I am always open and free with the depth of the journey that God has taken me on and the struggles that still avail me.
The story behind Being Me is all about my pursuit to be a part of "The Group"..the cool ones...the ones with all the friends...the ones that make you laugh and that you want to be around, but I never fit in with that crowd. I was socially awkward throughout my school years, very bookish and unable to relax and enjoy myself.
I spent most of my years up until my 30s trying to be like everyone else, acquiring the capability of transforming like a chameleon – becoming whatever group I was around. But it was sucking the life out of me. By pursuing what everyone else was like, I was rejecting myself in my own heart. This changed when I was challenged by my mentor, Kay Newberry (http://www.destinynetworkalliance.com/ ), to find my own heart and value it like a treasure.
It has taken a lot of soul searching, purification, and forgiveness to bring me to the point where I can see my value. And I still have dark places in my heart about it, but God has brought me to the point where I can be transparent with my struggle portrayed in my poems and still know that I am valuable. Please watch the Being Me Video clip.