Soul Faceoff  2

(Faceoff – to be in or come into opposition or competition;

fighting to gain control or possession)

 

My nephew, Scotty Brown, (pictured) junior at Palm Beach Atlantic U is a faceoff specialist and the reigning SELC Specialty Player of the Year for his exemplary faceoff work, earning 1st Team All-American and 1st Team All-SELC honors.

 

I remember visiting when he was heading into high school and learning how to faceoff. He’d be in the back yard figuring out positioning, maneuvering, speed and skill. He took lessons, he worked out, he sought coaching. He went after it. And he is good. He’d be the first one to tell you it takes hard work. Now, given, he has extraordinary genes, muscular physique and good looks, 🙂 but none of that alone would have gotten him where he is. He had to want it, work at it and pursue it.

 

Is it taking it too far to say we have faceoffs in our souls? Where our old ways, our old self wants to dictate and rule, where sin and the enemy taunt us into deceitful allure and how often we’re caught unguarded, without a helmet, with no stick?

 

Could part of soul facing off be:

  • Getting in position (standing in the fact that we are saved & can be freed from earthy pulls though they may be strong)
  • Being ready with strength and a stick (“strengthened with all power”, “the sword of the Word”, “the fullness of the Spirit”, “the shield of faith”)
  • Speedy to recognize the opponent’s moves and bluffs (symptoms of fear, anger, frustration or anxiety can be great indicators we need to turn from our old self, renew our minds and put on our new self. Ephe. 4:22-24)

 

Opposition is a given…it’s granted to us…expected…yet we are surprised when it hits us; surprised at the fiery ordeal among us, within and without. How can we be more ready?

 

How’s your soul training going? Are you ready for your next soul faceoff?

“For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

Col. 1:29

Soul Expectations  0

 

Isn’t it interesting that the church started as a small-beleaguered group of counter-cultural people that were opposed by their authorities, then moved over the centuries into the enjoyment of a Western culture that embraced many of its views?

 

Having lived as a foreigner many years in a culture that silenced any opinion not of the party line, I truly celebrate a culture that allows people to stand and speak. I also respect a person’s right to their own opinions, even if they don’t agree with mine – and hope for the same consideration from them. That seems to me like a self-evident right. But maybe that’s only in recent history…

 

The expectation of first century believers was that their society at large would not agree with them nor let them speak on important matters and would likely scorn them. Millennia later, believers in the Western world came to assume that the biblical worldview was a given. Today that is clearly no longer the case. Many in Western societies ascribe to other world views or philosophies (i.e. God doesn’t care how we live, there’s no God, no absolute truth, I can do what I want…). I’m afraid Western culture has regressed in the name of “progressive ideology”.

 

Pre-Christian ethics in ancient Rome with its accepted paganism had very few sexual boundaries.  What believers in Christ espoused about keeping sex inside marriage, between a man and a woman, was met with disdain.

 

Quotes from Sexual Morality in a Christless World

Matthew W. Rueger

 

“Such a bold confession put Christians at odds with anyone who kept to the older cultural ways. In particular, it earned Christians the deep abiding hatred of the Roman government. Sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, intercourse between adults and adolescents, prostitution and rape were not only legal, they were part and parcel of the cultural norm. What many ‘progressives’ today fail to understand is that the attitudes about sexuality they champion (a.k.a. open hedonism) are in reality the practices and cultural norms of societies like Rome that predate Christ’s birth. Ironically, they, and not Christians, are looking to return to ancient traditional standards.” Kindle location 146

 

“Christian sexual ethics that limited intercourse to the marriage of a man and a woman were not merely different from Roman ethics; they were utterly against Roman ideas of virtue and love. Roman perceptions of Christian sexual ideals would have been marked by hostility. Yet, Christians confessed what they believed to be true. As Christians today engage the world around them, they should not let hostility toward the biblical witness dissuade them. The first Christians were men and women of great courage. Confessing Christian morality always requires that spirit of bravery.” Kindle location 353

 

“Once more, the evidence supports the position that the model of one man and one woman living in a stable monogamous union is the best model for society. No other family structure has proven to be as beneficial to the overall stability of the community. In fact, other models can be shown to create an increased burden on society.” Kindle location 3281

 

“The Church is Christ’s answer to every individual’s struggle. It is the place where those who are guilty can find support from fellow guilty ‘strugglers.’ Within the Church, no one is better than anyone else; no one is less guilty of sin. All are in need of the forgiving love of Christ to reconcile them with God the Father. The Church is the perfect place for conflicted individuals to find peace with God and with other people who likewise need forgiveness.” Kindle location 1988

 

May it be so!

How can I react in a godly way while remaining true to my convictions?

 

“…you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith… But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam…, so that they might … practice sexual immorality.”

Revelation 2: 13, 14

Tell Your Soul!  0

 

logo

 

“Go tell it…!” Just as the Christmas hymn borrows these words from the ancient prophets, so are we to go tell of the victory of our King!

 

Though the enemy tries to convince us otherwise, he is powerless and defeated!

 

The great ancient city of Ninevah in Assyria, held all those around it in utter fear and dread. Then, when

definitively overthrown it was said,

kings

 

“Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?”

Nahum 3:19

 

This city that the prophet Nahum predicted would fall, fell in 612 BC and within a few centuries was covered with a windblown sand! (NIV note)

 

 

With great joy this news is received from messengers coming over the mountains: God’s enemies are overthrown! They no longer occupy their country. Judah was now able to resume her feasts and go to the Temple of God without fear, just as we today can live in the Spirit and don’t have to live according to the flesh, the pull of the world or the enemy of our souls anymore! We are given grace to choose otherwise, and freely escorted into His presence without hindrance because of our conquering King! (Hebrews 4:16)

 

Has your desire to live in the presence of your God been interrupted by enemy schemes, where he tries to convince you he still has power over you? Go tell it to your soul that Jesus the great King, the Overcomer and Conqueror has defeated the one who tries to keep you in old patterns, attitudes and mindsets!

 

We celebrate the coming of this great King.

 

The world had no idea what was coming…

  

“Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!”

Nahum 1:15

 

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

Go tell it on the mountains that Jesus Christ is born!

 

 

It was the defeat of their looming enemy that was being told of on the mountains, just as the defeat of our looming enemy by Jesus is being told today.

 

Where in your soul is this news needed?

 

Let’s get that news into our souls and out to places in our world it hasn’t gone yet!

pak-mts-douglas

Going and telling in the mountains of Central Asia!

Soul Realigning  1

logo

So how do you realign to your design?

Here’s a video and pdf to get you started.

2017reflect

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer –This blog is read of your own free will and could lead to some great positive change. Copyright in process. Content is for informational purposes for use at your own risk. Owner reserves the right to change focus or shut it down. None of your information will be sold or misused.

Soul Sacrifice  0

logo

 

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me…”  Ps. 50:23

img_3423

 

Dan & I spent some time in mouth-dropping gaze at the wonders of the largest cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia – it’s intricate design and mind-boggling construction encompassing decades of sacrifice, sweat, lives and seeming inordinate amounts of marble; enormous columns of smooth, colorful, majestic marble.

 

And I have to wonder. Was…is it pleasing to the Most High? It certainly inspires awe, deepens mystery, pointing to the holy transcendence of God.

 

 

 

img_3420

 

Whether it pleases him, I cannot know. But this I know, there are other sacrifices he asks of us today. In studying the Israelite king Hezekiah’s life, I noticed that his first order of business upon ascending to the throne was to clean out the mess that the temple had become with his father’s rule. With no tone of bitterness or exasperation of dealing with someone else’s bad decisions, it’s as though he says,

 

 

Come on guys, let’s clean this up. (2 Chron. 29:5)

 

 

After a lot of work and convincing others of the need, he says (my paraphrase),

 

Now that we’ve cleaned the mess of the temple and ourselves, let’s bring God sacrifices and thank offerings. (2 Chron. 29:31)

 

Well, what was so important about that? Why would a king who has enemies prowling on his borders ready to pounce, make his first order to re-instate worship that had been long lost? Shouldn’t he focus on the imminent danger to the very existence of his nation? Shouldn’t we focus on our circumstances, the threats that are ever before us to take away our way of life, our identity or the things we love?

 

Well…

Not without putting things in order! I think King Hez had the right order. Preparing the temple (i.e. myself, His temple today – where He dwells! 1 Cor. 6:19) SO THAT I can bring sacrifices of thanksgiving and then have a right perspective on the other things.

 

This is a good week to do that for us Americans. Thanksgiving! It’s a holy privilege that we take too lightly. How’s your temple? Have things made their way in that pull your allegiance, take away from undivided worship or clutter the altars?

 

How can you prepare your temple to bring thank offerings?

 

This may give a few hints into your soul:

 

  • What clutters your time and dulls your motivation to know God?
  • What has your heart’s allegiance above all else? (safety, comfort, significance, approval?)
  • What do you work hard to avoid?

 

 

What do I give up when I offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving?

(I.e., Thanking him for things that I’m not naturally thankful for)

 

  • Perceived control (Ex., if I thank God for a health situation I’d rather have him change, it could feel like I’m giving up.)

 

  • Entitlement. I’ve worked hard to get here and be this…so I should have _______________. (God owes me.)

 

  • Putting hope in a changed situation rather than in Him.

 

  • My dream. (Which often leads to better more lasting dreams.)

 

  • Other?

 

 

What do I gain with a sacrifice of thanksgiving?

 

  • Freedom to walk in joy into my messy reality without demanding that it be different.

 

  • Anticipation of his surprising work in me, in the situation, and maybe in others.

 

  • Ability to let him set the agenda and let go of mine.

 

  • Humility – the realization, acceptance of who he’s made me and how I can pour that out for others.

 

  • New dreams, holy curiosity and hunger for more.

 

  • Freedom to bring my complaints to him and wrestle, but to leave with joy.

 

  • Other?

 

 

Come on guys, let’s clean up so we can make some sacrifices!!

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise…” Heb. 13:15

Soul Emptying  2

 

logo

“God has shot his arrow and made my heart his mark…”

Lam 3:12

 

Another phase of soul emptying came when we landed in a seemingly forsaken post-Soviet land. Prior to this assignment my husband and I had lived in Bolivia, South America for seven years where we learned the language and culture, had four kids, worked with a team of movers and shakers and had our share of adjustments. So starting again in yet another unknown culture, and one of lesser appeal, I had nothing left to give. Though I wanted to be there, my heart was not yet. I wanted to want to learn the language, and I hoped to do something of help to the people of this land where God had supposedly been dead for quite awhile.

This place seemed to be paused in century-old ways with leftover Soviet concrete rubble and dilapidated pipes on display, with crumbling infrastructure alongside breathtaking scenery that no one seemed to notice…snow capped mountains, blue mesmerising lakes, jutting rock faces. A dusty, gold plastic amulet with Arabic writing swinging from the rear view mirror of the taxi exhibited the mishmash cimg9932of cultures. Things were used and overused; overlooked and worn out, little shanty-like towns passed us; miles of stout concrete gingerbread-looking cottages lined up, smoking in the cold, fatigued haze. It was a long, frigid ride to our new home.

 

We arrived in the capital on a very dreary day in early September 1994. There was nothing of beauty to be found. Looking out of the third floor apartment window I saw the rusty, arthritic playground equipment, broken glass and old crusty men in the courtyard. That’s where my kids were supposed to play?

I had, in the back of my mind, decided the language was too hard and I would thus stay at home and just take care of the kids, the house and my husband. That’s about all I could muster up at the time. So my first week there I went out to meet another expatriate woman with five kids, thinking I’d get some sympathy. When she opened the door, she was in the middle of her language lesson, her kids were working on their schooling and she mentioned something about going to help at a clinic…

I had some talking to do with the Lord about comparison, about copping out, about relying on myself, about his plan and not mine. It’s been a long discussion.

 

Disillusionment has to combine with emptying ourselves of what we thought would or should be, if we hope to grow. Often facing disillusionment is just the beginning of real faith, otherwise it can lead to a reactionary betrayal of faith, throwing out the baby with the bath water. I had a long way to go in what seemed to be a tunnel of questions about God, church and how to live out truth. I clung to what I knew was true though I didn’t have many answers. It is amazing the power of our misconceptions and what it takes to break through them.

 

God goes to great lengths to show us what we wrongfully believe about him and ourselves. I had ideas about God that needed reworking and ideas about myself that were a result of living in a fallen world.

 

Free us Lord to really want the truth; whether it fits into our boxes or not.

The truth is what sets us free!

We are fractions of ourselves and He’s in the business of putting us back together. Difficulties in our lives that we endure are often more for Him to show us ourselves and who He really is. This emptying isn’t the Buddhist kind where you try to rid yourself of all desire (which strips us of our humanity) it is rather the kind that rids us of our boxes of limited thinking. And God is always blowing out my boxes!

 

Have a soul conversation:

  • Acknowledge and listen for your self-talk (the underlying messages playing in your head. Like “I’m on my own” or “I’m not worth anyone’s love…”). Bring it into the open.
  • Where have you been disillusioned? Or felt mislead by God?
  • How might He want to redeem that?

 

“If your life is broken, it may be that the pieces will

feed the world. The loaf will feed only a little boy.”

Elizabeth Elliot

80 year-old Soul  0

logo

 

Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise.”

Prov 22:17

 

 

Some things 80 year-olds said when asked what would they do differently in their lives:

 

  • Don’t expect life to be fair.

 

  • figure-2-old-woman-old-man-dancing-shadowsKeep it simple.

 

  • Risk more; do more things that will live on after you’re dead.

 

  • Reflect more on the journey while you’re on it.

 

  • Take charge of your attitude.

 

  • Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.

 

  • Become someone’s hero.

 

I find it fascinating how much we can influence one another by our lives and choices.

 

“The I develops inside the we,” says Judith Glaser, Organizational Anthropologist.

“We are hardwired with the learnable ability to connect and grow…to write new things on each other’s brains.” There is a genetic ability to affect one another. Brain science is proving this.

 

“Stimulate one another to love and good deeds…” Heb. 10:24

 

My choice today to reach out to someone, deal with my emotions (see previous post) or change my attitude with God’s help, could be the microscopic adjustment that leads to major influence on others down the road.

 

So which of these wise sayings do you need to take to heart today?

What choice is God holding before you?

Your life is passing by.

Growing Soul  0

logo

“Coaching focuses on growing intentionally with purpose and passion …”

Keith Webb

I’ve come across a great resource for soul growth: Taking Out Your Emotional Trash, by Georgia Shaffer

 

Her website also offers some free resources like the “Dump Your Junk Self Assessment” – you might want to take a look.  www.GeorgiaShaffer.com

 

Taking Out Your Emotional Trash

georgias

 

Feeling Tired? Overwhelmed? Unhappy?
Do you want more energy, more peace, more happiness? Christian psychologist Georgia Shaffer offers a proven “toss and recycle” program to help you evaluate your emotions, keep the life-affirming ones, and discard the ones that hinder healthy relationships. Step-by-step you’ll discover how to

  • reduce destructive anxiety, fear, guilt, and shame eliminate persistent, toxic emotions
  • experience greater intimacy in relationships
  • handle life’s ups and downs more easily
  • introduce more hope and joy into your life

Through real-life stories, insightful questions, and wisdom from God’s Word, you’ll discover transforming truths that will help you be free to be who you are—loved, talented, valued, and forgiven.

 

Georgia Shaffer is a PA licensed psychologist, life coach, and the author of Taking Out Your Emotional Trash: Face Your Feelings and Build Healthy Relationships. She writes and speaks frequently on the subjects of relationships, growing emotionally and spiritually, dating, grief, and rebuilding after loss. Her book for singles is entitled How Not to Date a Loser: A Guide to Making Smart Choices. Georgia has 19 years experience helping people identify: “What needs to grow? What needs to go?” For more information, visit: www.GeorgiaShaffer.com

Offended Soul  0

logo

“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”

Prov. 19:11

I had an interesting moment when I happened to come across a friend’s note to me where she said.

“…resting in God, you will be able to get hurt and still care more about the other person than your own untitledpain.”  I read that while fuming about an offense I was holding onto. It took me right back to one of the messages of Moses and turned my heart. 

 

From Moses’ life we learn that

 

  • after failure in trying to help others on his own
  • after running for his life
  • after surrendering to God when he felt entirely inadequate for what God was asking
  • after leaving his comfortable, peaceful life on the side of the mountain

 

Moses was accused, offended, fed up, wounded by God’s people and felt his stinging weakness.

That’s when God brought others around him and Moses persevered in the dry, barren wilderness where all depended on God. (Numbers 11) But not without some soul searching.

 

I found an offense lingering in my soul taking up space, keeping me from rest and freedom to relate with joy and care toward others. I don’t want to live like that! I remembered (as Michael Hyatt says):

 

Offenses are inevitable, often unintentional, they can be good for us (to look at ourselves) and holding onto them is a choice.

 

I chose, after some wrestling, to let it go into God’s hands and see what I can learn from it. I’m already seeing how self-focused the reaction was and feeling the freedom of a whole new perspective. Will you stop long enough to consider:

 

Is there anything lingering in your soul taking up space?

Some questions to help with that: What am I anxious about?  What makes me feel discontent?  What could be some reasons for lack of joy and freedom in me?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Changed Soul  0

logo

 

Some people get tattoos, some lose a ton of weight, some change careers and others (on their way to figuring out their lives or marking a new path for their souls) change their names!

img_1884

 

I met her at a course on spiritual formation.  She was vibrant and full of fun energy.  When I heard she had an ileostomy I thought, “What? Where?” She told me she almost died when she had a one-year old.  At one point, she was in the hospital for 42 days. She miraculously made it through and now lives and thrives with her ileostomy.  She even became a partner with a friend who started an underwear company for people like herself!  ☺

 

Cricket’s Story

 

“I was at a play in 2006 and there was this goofy little cricket character.  The name resonated within me so much so that when we left the play I announced to everyone from that point on I wanted to be called Cricket. They were like, “Okay… whatever.” But I was serious and I didn’t know why. The following Sunday I told all my youth group kids I didn’t want to be called Cheri anymore, I wanted to be called Cricket. They were cool and many started calling me that. 

 

This went on for about 4 months when finally one of my friends said to me, “I can’t call you Cricket because I HATE crickets and I really like you!” Her husband said, “It must mean something other than the bug…let’s go online and see.” So we looked up the definitions to find that the word had multiple meanings: the insect, the game cricket, and from the game, the state of “being cricket” which meant “fair play or honorable conduct”! We all looked at each other and my friend’s husband said, “See, that’s why it’s important to you!” And it hit me; I wanted to be CRICKET!! Not just some silly name. In my marriage I had not been honorable or fair to my husband and God was doing a work in me, to change me, because of the new creation I was in Christ. I saw this new name as a severance of who I was and what I did to my husband as Cheri. So it was deep within me to walk out in fairness and honesty.

 

In 2007, I legally changed my name from Cheri to Cricket, after really living with it for a year. And it has been cool how there have been times I’ve thought of doing something dishonorable and the Lord reminded me in my spirit that the action would not be Cricket!!”

 

 

It helps to put stakes in the ground along the way as we journey with God

to remind us of the decisions we’ve made and of what he has done for us.

Soul training: How do you remember what He has done for you?

“Only take care and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget…”

Deut. 4:8