Monday, June 28, 2010

A bird in the tree

There's a tall, spindly Live Oak tree in my backyard. It’s only about two years old and you can practically see right through the thing. We live on the rolling countryside so the tree is usually bent over from the steady wind. Greg has staked it down a few times, but the top limbs would still bend and bow. I was beginning to lose hope that the tree would flourish until I saw a bird sitting on one of the limbs. While the top limbs danced and swayed in the wind, the bottom limbs were still and offered a perfect resting place for a weary traveler. The tree was so well rooted that although the top limbs blew around in every direction, the thicker bottom limbs are steadfast and peaceful.

Our faith life can be just like that tree. Problems of the world can throw us off our axis, ruffle our feathers and cause our limbs to bend and bow. But deeper in us lies a faith that everything will turn out for the good. There's a peace that's found only by being rooted in Christ. His Holy Spirit provides the resting place in our soul, the calm in the storm. Are you focusing so much on how the tree bends that you don’t notice that there are birds perched in the limbs? Are you only seeing the problem at hand without noticing the blessings that are there as well? In the midst of your struggle, God is showing up and blessing you in very unexpected ways. Are you watching for the birds?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Therefore we do not lose heart…for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

Monday, June 21, 2010

To the point of failure

Ever pushed yourself to the brink of your ability? Have you ever gone as far as your can and then expected yourself to go just one step more? My husband and I have started a new workout program. We workout to a video each night that focuses on a different area of your body. But, to begin the program you first have to go through a series of exercises that you do 'to the point of failure'. I'd never really heard of doing that before, I'm not really up on exercise lingo. But basically it means that you do that particular exercise until your body simply can't do it anymore. Then you write down how many you did and at the end of the complete workout series, you go and do the same exercises 'to the point of failure' again to see the improvement.

Don't you and I have a tendency to live 'to the point of failure'? Don't we attempt to do things in our own strength and only reach out to God when it becomes more than we can handle? I know that I can easily get in the habit of trying to handle my daily life on my own while turning to God for the big stuff.

If we're only exercising our faith muscle when we've reached our 'point of failure', we're missing the point! God isn't a 5 hour energy drink, He's the Living Water. He doesn't step in at our 'point of failure', He's there from start to finish equipping us to keep moving forward. Are you allowing God to strengthen your faith muscle or are you using Him as a spotter, just on stand by in case you need Him? What we can accomplish in Christ is far greater than what we can accomplish on our own...ready to workout your faith??

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

Monday, June 14, 2010

Defying Gravity

Are you a dreamer? Do you allow yourself to have secret (or not so secret) aspirations of what you hope to become in your life? Do you believe it can really happen or is it just the thought that your mind wanders to when you feel overwhelmed? Have you talked with God about your aspirations?

In today's world, dreams seem to fall by the wayside. They get trampled on by busy schedules, a lack of resources and not enough time. When I was a younger woman starting my own way in the world, it didn't take long before the world was having it's own way with me and my dreams began to quickly fade away. But that's not how it's supposed to be! God put hopes and dreams in our hearts that were seemingly impossible for us to attain, but entirely possible for Him! There's just one question... does your dream ultimately glorify God?

God grows and equips us in a unique way so that our dreams can become reality! He allows us to defy gravity of this world to experience His supernatural strength and power! What I mean is, God removes the worldy weight, the barriers and obstacles that keep us held down so that we can soar. When we are able to rise up to accomplish our dream, God is glorified! He's the one who gave us the dream to begin with, we just have to trust Him and persevere!

What's keeping you from defying gravity? Lack of time? Pray and ask God to extend the hours of your day. Lack of energy? God's waiting to infuse you with His strength. Lack of ability? God equips each for the purpose of our calling. Afraid? God has won the victory over evil, if He is for you who can stand against you?! He has you and you can do this! Are you ready....?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spiritual yard work

I love a nice yard! When each blade of grass is thick and green like a stretched out blanket that calls for you to come lay down on your back and watch the clouds roll by. My front yard is finally(I'm happy to say) just such a yard. But it didn't just happen overnight, it took a lot of work! Our first spring in the house we spent 'family time' sitting out in the yard pulling weeds. Every night after Greg got home from work we'd head out to the front yard with a plastic grocery bag and each person had to pull enough weeds to fill their bag. We knew that if we let the weeds stay in the grass, they would spread and eventually choke out the good grass. Our weed pulling expedition soon transitioned into a grub hunt. We'd gather and kill the nasty grubs living in the grass. If we didn't get rid of the grubs, they would eat the roots of the grass and kill it. All in addition to the countless hours that Greg spent giving the grass the right mix of water and nutrients...it's been a labor of love!

Having a well kept yard is just like having a well kept spirit. Being able to say 'it is well with my soul' comes with some effort on our part. The enemy comes to destroy what we have but we don't have to let him! With a little spiritual yard work we can have the peace that God intends for us. Start by taking time to pull out the weeds of anger, unforgiveness and doubt. By not choosing to pull them out we will allow them to spread and impact all areas of our life. Next make sure to kill the 'grubs' that eat at you and steal your joy. Things like being judgmental of others and yourself. Then be sure to give your spiritual yard what it needs...living water and nutrients from God's word. Before you know it, you'll have the best spiritual yard on the block!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10