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How Choosing Godly Wisdom Creates Gratitude

Earthly wisdom is doing what comes naturally. Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do. -Charles Stanley

I, like you, have tasted both the natural and the Spirit-led. After having tasted the latter, we can’t help but refuse to settle for anything less.

But sometimes it’s not easy telling them apart at first. This is what happened when, over the summer, I began nurturing grandiose ideas for my blog. Nothing was inherently wrong with them, but as I worked through the ideas, I felt unsettled, never at peace. Nevertheless, I pushed on for weeks, believing it was simply part of the hard work required in making things happen.

A particular writing friend of mine loved me enough to call me to task on my ambitions. Were these my ideas or God’s? As I prayed about it, God revealed in a number of creative ways that the ideas I’d been working so hard on were not part of His plan for our blog right now. When He confirmed this in my spirit, peace settled over my soul like soft snow rests on gnarly branches.

No matter how hard we work if we’re not in step with the Spirit, all is in vain.

I’m grateful that the One who indwells us is not an “It” but a “Him”. The Holy Spirit is personal and active in our lives. When in step with Him, life takes on an abundant edge that it misses otherwise.

How are you grateful for the Spirit’s work in your life today? Please share in the comment section!

 

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25
{I decided not to share the specifics of my former grandiose ideas because the Lord is calling others to do exactly those things—PTL—but not me, at least for now, and for this I am thankful.}

Why I’m Taking the 31 Day Challenge

http://www.thenester.com/2014/09/31-days-2014.html

by Cathy Baker

Here’s why I’ve decided to participate in Myquillyn Smith’s (The Nester) 31 DAYS writing challenge to blog every day during the month of October:

  • I love to blog. It’s that simple. Putting my thoughts out there for all to see is a bit scary but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • The challenge offers a unique opportunity to meet other bloggers. Who doesn’t enjoy meeting others willing to undertake similar challenges?

  • Structure is my friend. Having said that, I’ve decided to blog every day in October except Sundays.

  • Because it’s where I am right now. The theme for my October blogging is “Join In The Dance…Staying in Step with the Spirit.”

Later this week I’ll be sharing the “why” behind the topic. In the meantime, if you enjoy blogging, it’s not too late to join in the fun

When God Shows Up in a Hot Air Balloon

“We have to chase them, Grammy! We have to chase them!” 

Despite trying to convince Piper that she could enjoy the hot air balloons without having to chase them, she never wavered. Although she delighted in the sight of crayola-like bubbles floating overhead, pursuing them remained at the forefront of her mind.

As the words We don’t have to chase them, we can simply enjoy them! spilled from my lips I somehow sensed they were not meant for Piper alone.

Like on those days when I get caught up in the chase “doing” part of my life and ignore the “being.” Jesus beckons me to slow down, to rest in His accomplishments, and delight in His presence. He doesn’t call me to chase after Him, but instead, to stay in step with Him.
 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 
Galatians 5:25

Or, for instance, when I felt pressure from within during last week’s conference to chase “make things happen.” Lynn Blackburn’s words to Edie Melson awhile back echo in my spirit today, Jesus is your agent and He’s doing a pretty good job of it! 

I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 
Job 42:2

  
Now, am I saying we shouldn’t seek God? Absolutely not! No one explains this quest better than John Piper via his post What Does It Mean to Seek the Lord? I am saying, however, motivation played a key role in the above pursuits. I’m learning that when I sense a bit of frenzy churning within, chances are I’m chasing the wind instead of resting in what Jesus has already accomplished on my behalf. 

Needless to say, I will never look at those crayola-like bubbles floating overhead quite the same as I did before. Thank you, Piper.

Father, thank you for using the innocent desire of a child to draw me closer to You, revealing misguided desires on my part. Help me to rest in You as I seek Your face in all I say and do. Amen.

3 Habits That Breathe Life Into Your Spiritual Journey

Wrap the habits of your soul in the sweet lavender of your Lord’s character. -Meyer
Habits. We brush our teeth, pour the coffee, buy new notebooks before filling the last one (or is that just me?). But what about the habits of our soul—those choices that breathe life into our spiritual journey? While there are many, I chose three I’m currently highlighting in my own walk.

Chew, don’t swallow. These days, there’s much to do about eating clean (unprocessed) foods to ramp up energy and kick start our metabolism. Why would we feed anything less to our souls? God’s Word is pure, active and alive (Hebrews 4:12). Try choosing one or two verses to focus on throughout the week. Don’t swallow it whole. Chew on it—ask God questions, search out His answers, and watch with anticipation to see how He makes Himself known. 

Embrace solitude. If Jesus made it a priority, why wouldn’t I? He knew what many of us are still learning: Solitude energizes the soul. Jesus intentionally withdrew from people in order to commune with the Father, listen without interruption, and rest. With so much noise clamoring for our attention today, it’s imperative that we too become intentional, even if only for a few moments each day. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Be Your Story. Yes, we need to tell our stories but sometimes we’re only seen, not necessarily heard. We pass people in our cars, ride their bumpers, stand a few buggies behind them in the store, interact with our spouses and children in public, etc. What do others learn about us when seeing us from a distance? I can talk all day about how I’m supposed to be kind, patient, slow to anger, etc. but is that what my actions, even my expressions, are revealing to those I may never have the opportunity to talk to? I fail often, but I want the sweet waft of Christ to be evident to all who see me, as well as hear me. 

Do you have a habit of the soul to add? I’d love to learn more!

“Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)

Awaken the Wonder of God Within

Experiencing the wonder of God isn’t about landing a crazy story 
to tell our friends or experiencing pimply goose bumps. 
The wonder awakens us to dive even deeper 
in our relationship with God.
– Margaret Feinberg, Wonderstruck, Awaken to the Nearness of God
In preparing to facilitate Wonderstruck next week, I consider Revelation 2:4 ESV:
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Remember how it felt when you first began falling for your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend? The relationship had a sense of awe about it. We clung to their every word, spiffed up our wardrobe, flossed a little longer, and smelled, well…quite nice. 
But over time elasticized sweats, increased volume via headphones, and a lack o’ floss can tarnish even the brightest of beginnings. 
Likewise, when I’m not in step with the Spirit, the wonder and awe of God I first realized and celebrated as a Christ follower can gradually fade against the backdrop of a cluttered life. 

Keeping the wonder of God awakened within us requires intentionality and a willingness to refuse the seduction of surface living. 

++++++++++++

An invitation to dive deeper: Jot down three moments today in which you encounter the wonder of God and His handiwork. 

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 
Galatians 5:25 NIV

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