Posts Tagged ‘intentionally focused’

Good Morning Girls – Week 3, Day 2…

romans 12 2

Day 2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”                                                                                                                                                                                                   –Romans 12:2

My initial observations from this verse and the one that precedes it are that we are to seek holiness and we do that by being in the Word.  What we think on is what we act on.

What do we let control our emotions and reactions?  These are the things we are thinking on.  Does that line up with the will of God?

We don’t bring bulls, goats, or flour and oil to God as a sacrifice.  We bring ourselves.   We walk in the good works he has prepared for us.  This is our sacrifice.

Which leads to the next thing the Lord showed me.  This one took a little longer but came clearly.

“that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

We live in an age where everyone has an opinion and the social media to prove it.  But even before social media, there were enough rigid ideals about what is good and acceptable and perfect to destroy the bonds of the church.

a fluid gospel

photo courtesy of Marcos Santos

Very infrequently do Christians remember that the gospel is fluid.  It’s like water in our hands.  The shape water takes in my hands is not the same shape it takes in your hands.  It’s still water no matter who is holding it.  But we may not hold the same amount or in the same way.  Even if we tried to make our hands the exact same shape, we could never make the gospel sit the same.

We are not the same.  Our lives are not the same.  Our walks are not the same.  What is good and acceptable for you may not be what is good and acceptable for me.  This isn’t relativism.  This is reality.  God did not design an history in which every person lives the same life.

Just because it’s what God has called you to doesn’t mean it’s what God has called me or anyone else to.

For example, I am not a street preacher.  I will never be a street preacher.  The Lord has not given me a passion for it, not even an inkling of desire to do it.  Frankly, I kind of dislike the whole concept.  And that’s perfectly fine and acceptable because that is not the shape of my hands, if you will.  Maybe it is the shape of your hands.  Excellent!  Now do it.  I will support you in what God has called you to it, even if I don’t see or understand how it’s relevant in our culture.  Doesn’t matter what I think.  If God sees that it is good and acceptable for a believer then hallelujah He chose someone else to do it besides me!

Just because it’s not what God has called you to doesn’t mean it’s not what God has called me or someone else to.

It’s our tendency as humans to compare and judge.  It’s a terrible tendency and one we have a very difficult time recognizing and fighting.  1 Corinthians chapter 12 addresses this issue but I don’t think we go very deep with it.  We like to sit on the surface of Scripture and agree with it, but oftentimes our thin sheet of faith is crushed by the weight of truth.

Truth is… God doesn’t give us all the same abilities or desires and that is good and acceptable.   We don’t need to be passionate about every gift and talent God has doled out.  We just need to be appreciative for every gift and talent God has doled out.  You don’t have to understand the passion God has given others.  You don’t have to like it.  You don’t have to see how God uses it to further His kingdom.  You just need to be thankful that He gave someone the abilities and passion and vision to reach all those people you can never reach.   And support them with encouragement, love, kindness, and any other way the Spirit prompts you.

Don’t be so quick to judge others and the path they are walking in faith.  Are you above your teacher?  (Luke 6:40)  If God has called them to a mission, trust that He knows more than you about what this world needs.

Listen to the Spirit.  Seek the will of God  for your life by renewing your mind with the Word and prayer.  Then do what the Lord has called you to… even if others don’t see it as good and acceptable.


*if you’d like to follow along with this study, you can find all the materials by subscribing to the Good Morning Girls blog.


Good Morning Girls – Week 3, Day 1…

Good Morning Girls wk3

Week 3

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”                       –Philippians 4:8

Day 1
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,”                                                          – Romans 8:6

I often find myself feeling the Spirit prompting me to do or say something and quickly pushing it out of my mind simply because it’s not what I want to do or because I think it might not be what others want to do, even though I know it is best for me and others.  Sometimes, I even “argue” with myself, but most often I make a quick decision to ignore and then kick myself for being so foolish after.    Clearly, this is an issue for me.

The challenge this week…

Pray specifically to be more sensitive to the Spirit’s working in my heart, to the lessons he is trying to teach me, the impressions he is making, and the sin he is convicting me of.

My biggest prayer today is for strength in obedience, asking forgiveness for my cowardice when the Lord speaks.

Lord, cause me to walk in the good works you have prepared for me.


*if you’d like to follow along with this study, you can find all the materials by subscribing to the Good Morning Girls blog.

Good Morning Girls – Week 2, Day 2…

GMG week 2 day 2

Day 2

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that hears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”                       –John 15:5

I also looked at John 6:35, 8:12, 10:11, and 14:6

  • bread – hunger and thirst
  • light – sight and energy
  • shepherd – guidance and protection
  • way, truth, life – access to God, the Father
  • vine – bear fruit

Jesus, the Word,  is our guide to God.  He provides everything we need to reach the Father.  Abide in me… live in the Word.  His life must become our life.  Our desires must reflect the heart of Jesus.  He provides for us through the written Word.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult, aren’t they?  If we desire to  abide in Jesus, we must live in the Word, the written word.  If we desire to bear the fruit of holiness – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – we must live in the Word.   This isn’t merely reading the Bible.  It is no less than that, but to be sure well more than that.

As Jesus followers, oftentimes we spend much effort trying to change our actions that reveal our heart’s desires.  Sometimes we try to change our heart’s desires, but we fail miserably at that as well.

We miss the abiding.

The only thing that changes our heart’s desires is abiding.  No regimen of the physical body or the spirit (even your blessed Bible reading plan!) can replace abiding in the Word.  Certainly these things can enhance the abiding but never are they a replacement.

Our problem:  we like formulas.  We like plans.  We like rules.  We like things we can tether our reigns to and control.  We want a nice tidy list from God of all the actions we need to perform.  Something we can check off our list and get on with what our hearts truly desire.  Oh wait… there it is.  You see that there? What our hearts truly desire.

The simple things aren’t always easy. 

Pouring yourself into the Word.  Reading it, studying it, letting it soak in.  Searching out the significance of it in your life at this very moment.  Listening for God to speak through the Spirit to your spirit.  Simple.  Simple.  Simple…  And oh so difficult at the same time.

Jesus gives us a simple plan.  He provides all the things we need for life and tells us to simply trust him.  He is saying, “I know the pain you live with.  I know the fears that paralyze you.  I know the things you wish were important to you and the things you can’t let go of even though you hate them.  I know the peace and joy you desperately want to experience and the constant chaos you wish to leave behind.  I know the sinful desires you are afraid to let go of because of the happiness they bring you.  Listen, I’m not asking you to do anything.  I’m not asking you to be anything.  I’m not asking you to change anything.  I’m simply asking you to trust me.  Trust me.  Follow me.  Abide in me and you will see your life change.  You will feel your soul change.  You will change.”

It is simple.  I pray the Lord gives us all the ability to do this simple thing.

A sermon comes to mind that I absolutely love on this topic.  You will be blessed by hearing it.  If My Words Abide in You by John Piper


*if you’d like to follow along with this study, you can find all the materials by subscribing to the Good Morning Girls blog.

Good Morning Girls – Week 2, Day 1…


Week 2

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that hears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”                       –John 15:5

Day 1
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”                                                          – Mark 1:35

Three things stick out here.

  1. alone – away from others we tend to be more vulnerable and honest
  2. away from distraction – full attention given to God
  3. first thing – a sacrifice of our first thoughts – giving over our adoration as well as our cares

Okay, this is going to be very uninteresting to you and personal to me.  After much waiting on the Lord in this verse, I feel he is telling me I need to move my quiet time.  Originally, my goal was to get up early and work in the living room.  The problem with this is two-fold.  The getting up earlier than normal and the lack of quietness in the living room.  Even when kids are “quiet”, they are a distraction.

So, I think the Lord is telling me to keep all my things beside the bed and as soon as I’m awake, get in the Word.  The husband is always still asleep. The kids are not around.  It’s earlier and quiet.  We’re going to see how this goes for a week.  Again, not very exciting or interesting for you, but there it is.

Lord, thank you for giving me specific practical instructions sometimes.  Give me the wisdom to hear and listen every time you speak. Amen.


*if you’d like to follow along with this study, you can find all the materials by subscribing to the Good Morning Girls blog.

Good Morning Girls – Week 1 – Day 2 & 3…

good morning girlsI’m doing a daily Bible study for the next 8 weeks with Good Morning Girls.  I thought it might be nice to record some thoughts here as we go through the scriptures.  I didn’t have any intention of recording anything here which is why you see day 2 & 3 in the title and not day 1.  I can’t guarantee I’ll share something from every day, but I’ll try to share a couple times a week.

Day 2
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” 
                                                                                                     – Psalm 90:12
Considering our mortality on a daily basis will lead us to either the Word and wisdom or fear and foolishness.

I am reminded of another verse, Proverbs 27:12.  “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

It’s taken my free-spirit self a lot of years to realize the goodness and beauty of a routine or schedule, but now I find myself craving a routine.   One of the things the Lord reminded me of in this study is that Pleasure is not equal to Joy.  Lots of things will bring me pleasure but they don’t bring me joy.  Pleasure is only there when I’m doing whatever the pleasurable thing is.  The instant I stop doing it, the pleasure is gone.  Joy is lasting.  It is rooted in something that goes beyond an enjoyable activity and lasts long after I’ve stopped.  Joy can be found in purpose.  I need to spend more time filling my days with Purpose and not pleasure.

Lord, help me to look ahead in my day and purpose to cultivate joy in our home.  Guide me in recognizing the ‘dangers’ when too many pleasurable activities take over and keep me from living life intentionally.  Breaks are great and I am thankful for them.  But help me to recognize my overindulgence.   Amen.

Day 3
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”                                                          – Hebrews 12:1

Just a couple thoughts here… 1.  I’m not alone.  There are many who have ‘run their race’ and are an encouragement to me in running mine.  I can look back at their courses and see the failures, the tragedies, the excitements, the long strides, the beautiful legs of a long journey.  I am encouraged that I don’t have to be the best runner that ever ran.  My path doesn’t  have to be smooth to finish the race.  They are perfect examples of imperfect men crossing the finish line.  All that is required is faith, knowing I will finish… in spite of myself.

2.  This course was built just for me.  No one else will run the same race I am running.  No one else can run it for me.  God plotted out this course with the sole  soul purpose of getting ME to the finish line.  He will use each and every step to teach me, train me, encourage me, love me, guide me.

Lord, your care for us astounds me when I think about all you hold in your hands.  Thank you for all the ways you express your love to me, from the beauty of your creations I get to witness along this journey to the encouraging examples you set before me in life and your Word.  Help me to run well and look for your goodness at every turn along the way.  Amen.