Saturday, January 23, 2010

Planning for Spiritual Growth

This week was a wake-up call for me in my spiritual journey. Last Sunday, Fellowship Church handed out the personal engagement planner to encourage us and push us to engage our hearts individually to be a part the the body of Christ. Our associate pastor spoke on the the importance of planning our spiritual growth. That stood out to me and woke me up. We plan everything in our lives, hanging out with friends, eating, trips, our work schedules, date nights... and for some reason the though of planning my spiritual growth sounded like a novel idea. What is wrong with that picture?

On Monday night, my small group (some amazing women of God) discussed this principle as well. How is it that we spend so much time planning and packing for a trip, but don't prepare for your spiritual "trip"? We put so much thought and time into an insignificant trip that comes and goes so quickly, while the most important journey we just let happen as we mosey on down our spiritual paths.

As if all this thought and discussion wasn't enough, on Friday night, I was finishing up John Piper's chapter on prayer for our couple small group when the same message was repeated:
We get up day after day and realize that significant times of prayer should be apart of our life, but nothing's ever ready. We don't know where to go. Nothing has been planned. No time. No place. No procedure. And we all know that the opposite of planning is not a wonderful flow of deep, spontaneous experiences in prayer. The opposite of planning is the rut. If you don't plan a vacation, you will probably stay home and watch TV. The natural , unplanned flow of spiritual life sinks to the lowest ebb of vitality. There is a race to be run and a fight to be fought. If you want renewal in your life of prayer, you must plan to see it.

I am so thankful that God is teaching me the importance of planning and diligence. My desire is to constantly grow in my knowledge and love for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. My desires are weak. Not only must I desire to grow but I must plan to grow. The amazing thing is that my spiritual journey beginning, middle and end belongs to Christ and is because of his grace and mercy.
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:30

I have been predestined, called, justified and glorified. My glorification is as good as done because of Christ's blood and his death on the cross. And so it is for every child of God. What a blessing it is to be able to spend time in the Word of God and prayer.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Discipline

This past weekend my sister, Gina, had the idea to start a canvas painting business called Paint Me Pretty. She would throw parties (kinda like Tupperware parties) and charge a set fee for each lady and she would provide all the supplies. It would be a great way for women to hang out and have something creative to do together. I think it is a great idea! I know I would really enjoy doing that with my friends. Well it got me thinking, what am I excited about? In my sister's excitement and inspiration I could see myself. In the past it seems like I would have an idea, start something new, or have a spurt of inspiration that would motivate me and make me feel like I had a passion and purpose.

At this time in my life I don't know what my inspiration is. I don't have a goal or and idea that have me all tingly with excitement. Life right now is great, but what is it that I am suppose to have ownership of? That's really the main point, I desire to have ownership of something. Well, after thinking about that for a while, and spending some time dreaming. I decided that what I needed right now in my life, more than a role to fill, or a job to create, or something to dream about, is discipline.

That is really what life boils down to, at least for me. Discipline to stay in the Word, discipline to eat right, discipline to work out, discipline not to watch a lot of TV, discipline to be disciplined. I'm saddened to say that so many areas of my life lack discipline. I refuse to go through this life that God has for me lackadaisical.

So that is the purpose of this blog...discipline. I want to push myself to think deeply about topics and express myself clearly, not just write when I have a sudden idea for a topic. I know that this is going to be hard for me. For goodness gracious twitter is the hardest thing for me!


My prayer is that this practice of discipline would prepare me for the next adventure that God has planned for me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Arrows of Victory

Ever since going to Africa back in the summer of 2008 prayer has never been the same for me. The purpose of that trip was to "beat as many arrows in the ground" as we could. This was based from the story in II Kings 13 :14-19 where Elisha has King Joash strike the arrows to the ground. King Joash only struck the ground three times and Elisha was angry because the number of strikes symbolize the victories he would have over Syria. The purpose of our trip was prayer, prayer, prayer. We were praying without knowing the affects of it. We were only in Zimbabwe three weeks but we beat those prayers to the ground for that country and those people. I may never know how many victories there will be in that beautiful country because of prayer.


I was reminded of the importance of prayer this morning when I was reading Desiring God by John Piper.
Jesus says to the woman (Samaritan woman at the well), "If you just knew the gift of God and who I am you would ask Me--you would pray to Me!" There is a direct correlation between not knowing Jesus well and not asking much from Him. A failure in our prayer life is generally a failure to know Jesus. "If you knew who was talking to you, you would ask Me!" A prayerless Christian is like a bus driver trying alone to push his bus out of a rut because he doesn't know Clark Kent is on board. "If you know, you would ask." A prayerless Christian is like having your room wallpapered with Saks Fifth Avenue gift certificates but always shopping at Goodwill because you can't read. "If you know the gift of God and who it is that speaks to you, you would ask--You would ask!"

I am so thankful for this reminder to be devoted to prayer. And the renewal of my prayer for Zimbabwe. The LORD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN.
"Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:24















Monday, January 18, 2010

Joined a Gym

So we broke down and did it. We joined a gym (ft. Sanders; I'm violently opposed to The Rush). I'll tell you something, I was never the person who got that "runner's high" I only felt pain and misery...but I do want to be healthier, so here we go (my husband is included in the "we"). When we went to sign up, the lady told us it was a little busy because it was January. After people forgot about their resolutions it would slow down. We became a statistic joining January I sure don't plan on becoming one again and quitting by mid-February. I plan to stick this out a whole five months. How long does something take to become a habit?