Growth Spurts

Kids and growth spurts! It seems like overnight they can add six inches to their height! It’s all a part of who they are becoming. How do you measure your growth?

Have you had any spiritual growth spurts lately? A time that might not yet seem outwardly productive but inside God has been molding and pressing and shaping you to become who He wants you to be? He undoubtedly wants us to be His ~ heart, soul, and mind. And while He works with our unique personality, Christians do have many similar characteristics. In Galatians 5, God mentions the Fruits of the Spirit:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

God wants to grow some fruits in our lives and allows us many experiences in order to produce a bumper crop! Anyone who grows plants knows there are some Godly truths found in the process and procedure of tending to greenery. May God give you eyes to see the growth in others as well as the perspective to view your life experiences in terms of growth for His purposes!

1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3


 

Spirograph® 2

I have been pondering Spirographs® lately. You can too, and come up with your own connections.

If my faith-life was represented with a Spirograph® flower, it would have a large overall diameter representing both the times I have walked closely with God and the times that I have strayed away.

How about you?  Are there times in your life you have been more connected to God’s Word than others? Have there been times when you have traveled down some difficult roads because you have decided to ‘blaze your own trail’? Are you hesitant to confess and seek His forgiveness because you think your sin is unforgivable?

God can and does use all of our experiences to shape us into vessels He can use to share the Good News about His love, sacrifice, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Allow Him to cleanse, redeem, forgive and renew you!!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

My prayer is that you know the love of our Heavenly Father and center your path around His Word. May the Holy Spirit guard and empower you!

 

Spirograph® Designs and Faith

At some point you have probably messed around with or at least seen a Spirograph® set. They can make some pretty cool designs. But recently I wondered how a Spirograph® can be a springboard for a conversation about faith.

We often crab about restrictions on our lives. Really, who likes rules and regulations? I am one who has often stepped out of line. I resented restrictions. But honestly, the times I walked over the line were the ones that brought heartache into my life.

Think about the large ring on the Spirograph®. It creates a boundary where the smaller wheels or gears can move and create incredibly beautiful patterns within the ring. Think of God’s laws or commandments as the large ring: fixed and dependable, providing structure and stability for the gear to move freely within the boundaries.

There are many ways to create beautiful patterns with a Spirograph®. Working within God’s boundaries can be freeing and refreshing. There is safety within His boundaries.

Are your fighting the boundaries that God has in place for your protection?

Muzzles

Scripture is so real!

I love how I can relate to it–even when the imagery makes me laugh. And His Spirit convicts me.

1 I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
as long as the wicked are in my presence.” Psalm 39

Oh the many days I should have done that.

I also think it is amazing when I am in the midst of the conviction process and things that don’t actually point to my sin point me to my sin. It is almost as if I am being boxed in until I really come to see it and confess and turn away from it. God may use Scripture but He is not limited to getting our attention that way. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and God’s care for me.

Lord, there are so many times that I sin with my words without even thinking beyond the moment. Help me to consider my words before they are spoken. Give me Your wisdom in conversation and Your insight into my various relationships. Help all I say and do reflect You and Your glory. In Your Son’s Name, Amen.

Margins

Pick up a book, magazine, or newspaper and you are sure to see margins on the edge. If there weren’t margins, you would likely be overwhelmed when reading.

So what about your life? Does it have margins or are you running from event to event? It is easy to get caught up in all there is to do. There are so many options and possibilities and they may even all be good things to do. Maybe you can afford them all. Maybe everyone has fun doing them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are things you should be doing. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

One trick I have learned is to check in with my sweet husband first before I commit to too much because there are times he knows I am getting overwhelmed before I do. And he tends to remember what else we have coming up whereas I am a ‘in the moment’ kind of gal. If you are finding yourself over committed and lacking energy and enthusiasm, take a look at your schedule and your priorities. Sometimes it’s ok to Just Say No!

Consider why you are here, how God has gifted you, and what you were created for and this might help you prioritize a little.

1 I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.  2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. Psalm 89: 1-2

If you are so inclined, Richard A. Swenson, MD wrote a great book “The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits” (previously titled Margins).

May God bless you and your endeavors as you re-evaluate your schedule!

In a fog?

Ever been in a mental fog due to illness or medicine or lack of sleep or busy mind and found yourself doing something out of habit? Maybe you don’t recall how you got from Point A to Point B, but there you are.

The other day I was heading home from a certain side of town and I intended to stop by the post office. I must have been distracted somewhere because I was within one short block of home before I realized I didn’t stop at the U.S.P.S.!

Rats.

Kids arguing in the back seat can distract us. Pressing needs, grief, and sin can all distract us. I think it is fair to say that we have all been distracted from a Godly path at least once in our lives. Sometimes it is a quick detour. Other times the detour may be several years long. With God’s help and a willing spirit, you can get back on His Path.

Seek God’s heart by reading His Word. If you are in a vulnerable place, pray for Godly friends who can encourage you on His path. Be involved in a healthy congregation. Be aware that your choice of reading material, music, and ‘screen’ choices can influence your Christian Walk for good or bad. Pray for God’s strength to get on the right track and stay the course.

One of my favorites: Psalm 34

 

Expectations

Many a human relationship has been challenged due to unstated or unrealistic expectations. You have them. I have them. Sometimes we have expectations and we don’t even recognize it. Unmet expectations usually result in a little (or a lot of) relational stress.

What about when God doesn’t meet our expectations? If we are honest with ourselves and God, we would admit that things happen in life that were certainly not what we were expecting. What will today really bring? We don’t actually know but we can lay our requests before Him and leave them there for Him to address.

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my sighing.  Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:1-3

Lord, give us the grace to accept Your will in our lives. Continually open our eyes to Your perspective and to Your plan but, above all, increase our faith and trust in You. Amen.