3 items tagged "Growth"

  • A Prepared Heart

    “So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”James 1:21 (MSG)

    The human heart is much like a garden. If left to itself, the soil would produce only weeds. James was aware of our hearts’ tendencies to be overtaken with such valueless intruders that choke out the fruit God desires. James urges us to pull out all of the garbage (weeds) in our lives that keeps us from growing up in Him. God has good plans for all of us. Yet, these plans are intertwined with our spiritual maturity. So how can we grow when the condition of our hearts have become in disarray?

    First, let’s confess our sins and ask the Father to forgive us (1 John 1:9). Then, let’s allow “our gardener,” God, to “plow up” the soil in our hearts that has been producing weeds. This is easier said than done, but God is a master gardener and knows exactly what He is doing. Trust in Him.

    James then says, we are to have an attitude of humility when receiving God’s word. In other words, don’t try to argue with or twist it to conform to our own thinking. There are many Christians who like to argue their “points of view” on various issues, but may only be fooling themselves. We may think we’re maturing, when in reality we are only cultivating weeds.

    Let’s open our hearts every day for what the Lord has planned to cultivate in us!

  • What do great_________do?

    I came across this article (click) about leadership and have enjoyed going through the tips listed.  The writer starts by asking this question, "What do great leaders do that other leaders (average and, well, poor) don't?  The writer points out 21 different priniciples/disciplines that will strengthen your influence, I encourage you to check it out.  For this post we're going to take a different spin on a few of these principles and reask the question to focus on our personal and home lifes. It's so easy to get caught up in the grind of just doing life, bouncing from one "important" thing to another. The pressure to succeed in work and life seems relentless and before you know it the things we claim that we value are often the first to be neglected.  By being an average (fill in the blank), can we really expect to leave a legacy worth following?

    Here is our new question, "What do great fathers (mothers, husbands, wives, adults, teens, etc.) do that others don't? 

    1. Work on your character

    Be a better person in private than you are in public.  Your public "face" will eventually wear off and reveal what's really going on.  No matter how polished you think you are, character flaws will always sink the ship.  You want to win your spouse's and children's heart?  Be your best where it matters (home) the most.


    2. Refuse to make excuses

    You can make excuses, or you can make progress, but you can't make both.  If something is off in your life, address the issue and start moving forward again.  Don't point your finger, unless you're in front of a mirror. 


    3. See the opportunity, not the obstacle

    Some people only see the negative and obstacles, this is evident on how we handle our stress and "cows" (crisis of the week).  Great (fill in the blank) won't allow their circumstances to control their behaviors.  While others give up, those who are trying to be great will work through the problem until they find the opportunity. 


    4. Schedule their priorities

    What on your calendar is receiving your best energy? Before we begin rationalizing our crazy schedules, we also need to realize that everything else is receiving your "leftovers".  What is it that you really value? Does your priorities filter through these values?  If they're not, then you may be starving the very thing you need the most. 


    5. Leave people better than you found them

    Everyone leaves a wake.  The choices were making, the things we say, even our body language is leaving an impression on others.  Poor (fill in the blank) will sometimes leave a trail of disappointment and pain. But those that are striving to be great leave a legacy, because they leave people better than they were when they found them.   When was the last time you were concerned with making someone else's world better?  Even the smallest pebble leaves a wake, so does our smallest encounters with others.


    Your character is always on display.  Character is one of the most important things that you have.  How are you investing in yours?  What else would you add to this list?


    Go Deeper:

    Romans 5:3-5

    Galatians 5:22-23

    1 Timothy 4:12

    Matt. 12:35



  • What season are you in?

    In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon lists the seasons of our lives in pairings—contrasting one season with the other. Inherent in all these contrasts is an important point: Seasons end, and new seasons begin. It’s important for us to recognize the seasons that we are in and when it’s time to take the exit ramp for a new destination. Let’s take a look at a few seasons that we need to recognize and quickly take the next exit:

    1. Unforgiveness: Forgiveness has a way of unlocking the shackles that keep us bound up in bitterness, anger, disappointment, and depression. If these feeling are holding us captive, then it is time for us to move on. If someone wronged us long ago and we’re still waiting for justice, it’s time to let it go. Let’s step into the new season of forgiveness!

    2. Cynicism: It takes no courage whatsoever to tear down other people or their ideas. It is not a spiritual gift to find every weakness in someone’s character and worldview. If we find it easy to do these things rather than encourage, build up, and offer our support, then it’s time for us to move on to a new season. We must also be careful of allowing cynics to be among our close circle of friends. Cynicism is always contagious. Let’s move into the new season of encouragement!

    3. Anger at the Church: It is unfortunate that there are many people who have been wrongly treated by church members. Many have not stepped foot in a church for years, due to the wounds they experienced. However, there is an alternative route to take, rather than avoiding a community of believers. Even if we have been wounded, we can all decide to move on and explore a relationship with God, in spite of whatever happened to us. Let us never use someone else’s bad behavior as an excuse to keep us from growing in relationship with God and being a part of His Bride (the Church). With grace and forgiveness, let us move into a new spiritual season of optimism about God’s plans for us and for the church!

    Do you find yourself in an unproductive season? What steps can you take to move on?

    What new season is God opening up for you?

    To find out more, check out Bill Hybels book Simplify: ten practices to unclutter your soul

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