I find that life has seasons of serenity and contrasting times of turbulence. The danger of serene seasons is that we can become stagnant or let our values get highjacked by comfort and convenience. In relation to turbulent times, here are a few ideas that you, or a friend, might find helpful:
take a walk – I find that walking and talking with God helps me unload anxiety and gain some helpful perspective
pay attention to your choices – it’s not uncommon for us to seek comfort in turbulent times & sometimes what “comforts” us can actually be detrimental
get some help – this can be a variety of things such as exercise, making a praise & worship playlist, having lunch with a friend, reading a good book, etc
anchor in the Bible – it always helps me to find a few key Bible verses to keep in the forefront of my thoughts. Here are some helpful suggestions:
Ps 55:22, “Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.”
James 1:2-3, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Matt 6:33, “Seek first God’s kingdom & everything will be added to you.”
Luke 1:37, “With God, nothing is impossible”
Philippians 4:11, “. . . , for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”
When I think about getting in shape, it crosses my mind that pears and grapes are viable options in contrast to the idealized hour-glass shape. I also think that I can get in shape for swimming, but be out of shape for running. This holds true for snowboarding, weightlifting & a plethora of other physical exercises.
Indeed, let’s go beyond the physical and cardiovascular concepts and think about our mental and spiritual shape! Keeping fit in our minds and emotions requires exercise and usage since the old adage, “Use it or lose it!” holds true.
And let’s be certain that we don’t neglect our spiritual shape when we consider what it means to be healthy. I’ve met plenty of people who are physically and mentally healthy, but whose spiritual lives are anemic on a good day. And I’m learning that if I’ll keep my spiritual health as a top priority, it’s often easier to be physically and mentally healthy. To stay spiritually healthy, here are a few helpful suggestions:
Read your Bible daily
Purpose to have prayerful conversations with God throughout the day
Connect with spiritual communities (church, small groups, Bible study, etc)
With Thanksgiving tomorrow, there’s a good chance that you & I will be eating some tasty food, along with second’s & possibly third’s. It’s also likely that you’ll skip some food that’s not in your favorite list. For me, I’ll take a pass on the cranberry relish but maybe double up on my mom’s chorizo stuffing 🙂
With the quantity of food that’s available tomorrow, let’s consider that our flesh appetites, left unchecked, can be highly destructive. As we are being thankful in this season, let’s also remember to cultivate or appetite for spiritual food, like daily Bible & prayer time!
I have a pretty consistent morning routine that generally helps to frame each day with sturdy Bible applications & a prayerful mindset, usually. But this morning didn’t pan out that way. I didn’t get to have my normal quiet prayer & Bible time before my family stirs. So I ran out the door to start my day, not having the rich fellowship with God that often sustains me throughout the day. I don’t like it when that happens & I’m grateful that this is a rare occurrence.
And here’s the really magnificent thing today: I’m sensing the Holy Spirit very clearly throughout this day, despite not having my morning tuning & calibrating fellowship. Of course my absence of quiet & solitary fellowship with the Holy Spirit this morning won’t become a daily habit. Nevertheless, sensing the rich presence of the Holy Spirit throughout this day encourages me that the Holy Spirit enjoys my company & interaction, not withholding that intimacy when I fall short on my end.
Be very certain in your heart that you’re deeply valued, highly treasured & greatly celebrated by the Holy Spirit!
This question is massively significant for us everyday. I say that because it was the starter question the serpent asked Eve in the Garden of Eden & it was the beginning of original sin.
So do we know what God’s Word says? Eve kind of knew, but she’s wasn’t totally clear & confident with her reply to this question & I think that’s when the enemy gets a toehold with us.
Sometimes we kind of know God’s Word, but if we’re super honest, it would be very helpful to know God’s Word better 🙂
Here are some questions to consider:
Do you ever struggle to know what God says?
Do you ever struggle to believe what God says?
Do you ever struggle to do what God says?
I think it’s really important to ask ourselves this question, “Did God say . . . ?” and apply it to our thoughts, emotions, actions, conversations. When we make God’s Word an essential priority, this will help us stay away from the enemy’s deceptions, whispers & questions!
Things that are exhilarating to me include: snowboarding REALLY fast, exploring new countries, reading adventure books & endorphins after a good workout. On the flip side, I don’t get excited about repetitious dishwashing, being a taxi mom or the mundane working out that precedes an endorphin rush.
Sometimes our walk w God can mirror these contrasting experiences. There are definitely experiences with God that are far beyond exhilarating & spine chilling. However, let’s never minimize the day to day essentials that cultivate that deep, fulfilling & abiding intimacy with Jesus. Thrills & chills are fun, but nothing can sustain us like our walk with Jesus through daily time in the Bible & prayer!
This is a picture my friend took last week when I was showing her how to do a Turkish get-up in the local coffee shop. The purposes of this exercise is to improve ability, strengthen the shoulder & probably make a person look super silly. I say this because whenever I do them, I feel not just a little goofy.
Sometimes, our spiritual development can feel to our flesh like a Turkish get-up. Growing spiritually doesn’t always make our flesh feel comfortable & svelte. But growing spiritually helps us to go through life’s ups & downs with more agility & this also helps to strengthen our core self, grounding us in prayer & the Bible.
Don’t minimize the importance of doing the daily disciplines of prayer & Bible time that foster spiritual growth!
I appreciate that this is a weird question & kind of a backwards idea to knowing the Bible. Nonetheless, I think it’s a really significant thought & definitely worth your consideration. I say this because I grew up with heaps & heaps of Bible content: my mom started memorizing Proverbs when I was around 8years old, I went to Sunday School every week, took Bible classes in high school, etc. I would say that I have a relatively firm grasp on the Bible.
But I don’t think that having a sturdy grasp on the Bible is as important as the Bible having a firm grasp on us. I say this because we can far too easily quote the Bible instead of live it, or let the Bible live through us.
I think about this in terms of Paul’s words in Colossians 3:16, about the Word of God living richly in us. If I’m going to let the Bible know me, then I need to give the Bible access to my thoughts, emotions, secrets, dark corners, painful memories, relationships, character, priorities, etc. When the Bible lives richly in me, when the Bible knows me, then I find that I grow & mature in being Jesus’ follower. Let’s not only know the Bible, but let’s allow the Bible to fully know us!
Most of us have profiles we’ve created like with facebook or various accounts that we use & these profiles help communicate our personality & interests. Take a quick minute to read the link here to my friends thoughts about your profile 🙂
My mom started memorizing Bible books when I was about 8 or 9. She was so excited about the memorizing thing that she made a house rule for us that for every 30min of TV watching, we had to memorize 2 verses in Proverbs. My brother memorized like 7 chapters & I quit watching tv because I didn’t think it was worth it.
Now that I’m more mature, I’m into the Bible memorizing thing, albeit slower than molasses in winter. Here are some advantages of doing the Bible memorizing thing:
Hiding God’s Word in our heart helps us with the not sinning thing
I find that various Bible verses pop into my mind at really strategic times, often giving clear direction or helpful strength
Reviewing my verses is a better decision at 2am than getting stressed out about various stuff that’s out of my control
Bible memorizing is good brain work
There are heaps & heaps of great advantages to keeping our minds in Bible memorizing mode 🙂
A few years ago, one of my kids had food poisoning from some black beans they ate causing them to puke at 1:30a on our white carpet. Clearly, this was a rude awakening & I’d prefer to keep these kinds of events at a minimum – smile. To this end, we’ve avoided eating black beans at a certain unnamed restaurant.
What we eat has an impact on our digestive system & what we allow into our thoughts has an impact on our mental health. Garbage in = garbage out. Let’s make sure we pay attention to what we think about, making sure that the Bible takes preeminence with our thoughts. To be healthy in our thoughts, let’s keep the Bible as our central hub 🙂
How’s that for a stupid question!?!! I don’t start anything with the intent to fail & I most certainly do not like to fail, full stop. But some of my thinking about success has been changing & I’m becoming more aware that many of my ideas about success have been more influenced by my American culture rather than the Bible. My culture says that success is all about being bigger, better, more, power, stronger, wealthy, popular, image driven, new, hip, trendy & all things glitz & glam. In the American culture, success isn’t about being broken, serving, homely, unpopular or tarnished, some of the things that Jesus personified & taught. The more I think about success from a cultural versus a biblical perspective, I have to conclude that my culture and the Bible don’t always agree. The important part of the disagreement is the side on which I chose to live. If I have to chose between being successful based on the Bible or on my culture, I’m going to side with the biblical definition of success 🙂
I had a very cool opportunity to talk about the Holy Spirit today w some friends! These are some reasons why I love getting to study the Bible in a small group:
*I get to hear what God is saying to other people
*my understanding of God broadens when I get to hear the perspectives of other people
*God challenges me in ways that I don’t always hear by myself
*I love the mutual support for each other that a small group can provide
*I love the “a-ha” moments when the light goes on for me when I sense the Holy Spirit’s presence, truth & revelation; I love getting to see this happen as well in others
Growing as a person often happens through our relationships & interactions w others 🙂
The longer I do the Christian adventure, Im becoming increasingly convinced that God is after our hearts & fellowship w us more than anything else. As I consider His goals for my life, I find myself wanting to cooperate & give myself to His desires. I think there are 3 simple ways that I can easily present myself to Him, everyday:
*prayer: whether it’s the quick “HELP!” or giving Him our requests & thanksgivings or going through a prayer pattern, like the Lords Prayer, I find that prayer has become a spiritual adventure for me, unduplicated in any other activity of my life
*Bible: the Bible gives my soul substance to feed on rather than the froth & cotton candy that’s so readily available in pop culture. I’ve found the Bible sustains, chalenges, comforts, corrects, guides, . . . . . me. If you don’t have some Bible in your daily living, try reading a Proverb or a Psalm a day as a starting point 🙂
*community – working out my Christianity into a daily context especially in my relationships makes my experience w Christ deeper, richer & more 3 dimensional than just attemtpting the solo act.
Get a lil prayer, get a little Bible, get a little community in this day & see God where He couldve have been invisible in the past 🙂
He’s deeply in love w you!! Hosea 11:4
Happiness isn’t as elusive as it sounds. For all the philosophers & philogists who are now figuring out if they want discuss etymological differences between joy & happiness, philosophical conundrums in epistemology as it relates to the existential state of happiness in a post-modern context, based on emerging paradigms and other complicated things – this blog may be too simple for your taste.
For the rest of us, here’s something interesting I read in last week’s paper about some simple things we can do to increase our happiness.
give thanks – always find things to be thankful for (when you look, you automatically find your focus will improve)
Do good – carry someone’s groceries to the car, take some soup to someone who’s sick, call a friend & tell them that you appreciate them, tell your boss that you appreciate having a job, donate blood. Kind acts always leaving you feeling good
Get involved – hibernating in your apartment or house can lead to some deep depression. Volunteering at church can be a nice antidote because it helps get us out of the axis of self-centeredness. Participate with life by engaging with others
Chose or lose – a scientific study showed that “only 10% of our well-being is determined by circumstances & 40% is a matter of intentional activity.”
These suggestions are from a secular perspective, but they sure sound alot like Biblical principles. Gee, makes me think that there might be something worthwhile in that there Bible. 😉