Let’s Talk LOVE

LOVE.  It’s the first Fruit of the Spirit mentioned in scripture.

I’m not gonna get into what love is as that is a whole ‘nother Bible Study in itself.  And I’m not going to get into the different types of love.  What we will focus on here is the LOVE that is displayed when we let the Holy Spirit dwell in our hearts.

When we allow God to lead our lives, the first fruit we begin to bear is love.  Now I’m pretty sure this must come first as all the other fruit is created when love is at the center.  It’s like a tree, where all the new growth is budding.  Those buds represent love.  As love sprouts forth, all the other Fruit of the Spirit will burst from the fresh blooms of love.

So how do we let love pour from ourselves?  Willingness.

Personally, I created a morning habit.  I wake up and say, “Lord, who do I get to love on today?” 

Let us not miss opportunities to love on others because we are so caught up in our own lives. 

Love is beyond feelings and emotions; it is an act of giving of oneself.  Even on tough days and rough moments, carry on, and love anyways!

Is there a screaming kid out in public?  Give the mom an reassuring nod.
Is there an elderly person unloading groceries in their car?  Offer to help.
Do you know of someone facing a new medical diagnosis?  Be there to listen.
Is your spouse cranky today?  Offer grace.  (do it-it’s worth it!)
Has someone just had a baby?  Volunteer to do laundry or clean a bathroom.
Know anyone moving?  Get over there and help pack or help move big items.
Is your child melting down or having bursts of fits?  Hug them, then listen.
Has someone lost a loved one?  Just be there.  No expectations.  Your presence is enough.

The possibilities of sharing love is endless!  What are some ways you are going to live-out-loud love today?!


Fasting Requires Focus

PRAY *** PONDER *** PREPARE *** PRAISE

PRAY for direction: What will you fast for?   Health? Peace? Obedience? Joy? Humility?

PONDER your motives: What do you want desperately different? 
Self? Marriage? Career? Anxiety? Fear? Anger issues?

PREPARE to worship:  This is a time to get serious with the Lord as He begins a new work in you; through mind, body, & spirit.  Your heart WILL change.

PRAISE the Lord: What is your purpose to embrace this journey?  Fasting is a form of worship so may I dare add the important emphasis of an open heart as a must to our intentional focus?  Fasting creates a spiritual discipline for the right reasons.

So what are the true benefits of fasting? It provides physical as well as mental and spiritual well being.  Ultimately though, it should go beyond us.  It’s not about what fasting can do for us but how we can serve beyond our own individual growth;  acts of kindness, generosity, sympathy, grace, unconditional love. 

The (W)Holy 40
BREAKING STRONGHOLDS; BUILDING CHARACTER


The 1 Thing to Know Before You Fast

Fasting can be a great thing for your health. However, Biblical fasting is even better. When we couple fasting with our prayers, truly wonderful and amazing things happen. Relationships you’ve been praying about for years suddenly begin to change; physical pains you’ve struggled against suddenly begin to fade; sin you have fought and failed in suddenly don’t seem so big. Biblically I am still trying to wrap my mind around this. I like to know the why in situations; explanations are a big deal for me. But what I do know is this: it’s all God. And for the moment, that will suffice for me. As I dig into this idea of prayer and fasting, I look forward to sharing what I find with you.

I want to share with you today what you need to know before you fast. My prayer is that this will help you figure out what it is you need to fast, for how long, and in what capacity. For every fast you do, it will be different. Because your relationship with God is never going to be like it was. Therefore, what worked yesterday or last year may not work today or tomorrow, and simply because God has had you fast one thing in this particular way doesn’t mean it’s applicable to your walk now. We are constantly changing, growing, stumbling, struggling and succeeding. But how beautiful to know that God never changes?

Before you begin your fast, consider this:

John330 image

What are you putting before God?

Exodus 20:3-6 “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall no make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

Are you choosing sin and death over life and righteousness, are you choosing to please your self rather than please God, are you choosing to satisfy the desires of your flesh rather than feeding the Spirit? We can even put good things before the Lord: family, serving others, work. Your priorities are God, family, work. Are you so busy, exhausted and overwhelmed that the joy of serving has vanished? Have you put God into a box? Are you limiting God’s power by believing lies, or accepting that the way things are now are as good as they’re going to get?

Ultimately, what is it separating you from God? This is the one thing you must know before beginning your fast.

What is stealing your joy, peace, and love?

Joy, peace and love are not feelings. Rather they are a state of being, and a choice. If you are not experiencing joy, peace and love in the Lord then something you are doing is blocking it. The enemy has a grip on you somewhere, and he is attempting to deplete your life of these attributes. If you prayerfully examine your life and your heart the Lord will reveal to you what is that you must rid your life of.

Is there an unequally yoked relationship in your life (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)?
Are you participating in activities that would not please the Lord (Galatians 6:7-10, Romans 8:12-13)?
Where are your feet planted (Ephesians 6:10)? Firmly in the Lord or on the sinking sands of the world?

Sowing to the Flesh or Sowing to the Spirit

Read Galatians 5:16-25 and Colossians 3:1-17. As you read through these lists, does anything jump off the page at you?

Flesh: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, enmity, strife, jealousy, envy, fits of anger, malice, lies.
Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, compassion, kindness, humility, thankfulness, worship of God, encouraging others, self-control

What has God been telling you?

Sometimes God has been speaking to us and we refuse to listen.

For years and years and years God has repeatedly shown me the idol I have made of tv. Allowing it to master me. Choosing tv over time with my family, choosing tv over my responsibilities as a wife, mom and home dweller, choosing tv over time with God.

Here’s another example from my life: when I was about 20, shortly before my 21st birthday, I was sitting in bed, spending time with my God. I came across Proverbs 23:29-35. Particularly it was verses 31 and 32 that caught my attention, “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.” I had a sense that God was telling me I was not to drink. But I convinced myself this was impossible because I wasn’t even of age yet, I had never legally drank, so how could God possibly know? Of course you can see how I was putting God in a box. Turns out God knew what He was talking about, go figure! I quickly became an alcoholic and struggled for years; yo-yo-ing between sobriety and drunkenness.

If you can’t imagine your life without it, it masters you. As followers of Jesus, our only master is the One True Master.

God knows what’s best for us, and He is consistently and constantly allowing us access to information that brings us closer to Him. If God has asked something of you then you must listen and obey. Maybe it’s time to begin a time of prayer and fasting in order to rid your life of ______________ [enter in your idol].

Can I confess something to you? I’m totally convicted right now. I have been choosing to eat food that is not nourishing to my body; in fact it’s food that destroys the balance in my body. Sugar. It’s time for prayer and fasting for me.

Repetitive Appearance

Another way to know if God is asking you to do something specific is if it continually is showing up in your life. What has been a repetitive appearance in your life lately? It’s what I have come to learn as God’s confirmation. God makes it undeniably clear to us His will, we just have to be paying attention.

Has the Lord repeatedly brought up a verse or Biblical idea?

Is there a trait you notice in people that irritates you? (Luke 6:41-42)

Have you been exposed to some new health truth?

Benediction

I pray that this has been helpful in searching your heart and life for what God is asking of you. The most important aspect to remember in all of this is to seek God; for when you ask in the name of Christ, He is faithful to give it (John 14:13-14). May the Lord who knows all reveal His will to you, that you may live a full abundant life in Him.

If you are struggling to know God’s will for your life, take courage and have hope, seek Him, continue to ask Him. He will answer you. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and strength. Reach out to someone at your local church, a godly mentor to help you seek His will. Message us; we would love to help you along in your journey. Join our (W)holy 40 starting on February 14, 2018.


(W)holy 40! What is it?

HOLY 40. 

A 40 day fast.

A period of abstinence.

To give up something for a purpose… for 40 days. 
To gain purpose, motivation, determination, and direction for your life, for God’s glory!

WHAT IT IS NOT:

It is NOT – a weight loss program
~although it may be a beneficial side effect.

It is NOT- about what you can’t have,
but more about what will be gained in the process.

It is NOT- a temporary fad,
but more about a long term lifestyle.

It is NOT- about being perfect,
but accepting that we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

It is NOT- about fixing flaws,
but accepting who God has called you to be.

It is NOT- easy;
yet the results are priceless.

A FORTY DAY FAST…
to regain balance and freedom
for our body, mind, and spirit.