Filled or Overflowing?

As many of you know, I have 2 precious boys that I talk about a lot because that is the season of life that I am in!

Being a wife along with being a mother to these boys keeps me on my toes…literally…as I try and keep up with their schoolwork, projects, and extracurricular activities.

On occasion when the boys have ½ day at school, I will scoop them up and have a lunch date with them. We have a special Mexican restaurant we always go to…just Mommy and the boys.

And the reason the boys love our Mommy lunch dates is…because of ME! Well OK that’s not totally true…It’s really because we don’t drink any sodas at home and I usually allow them to get one here because it comes with their Kid’s Meal.

The boys love having this opportunity to get a sprite or root beer. They always beg for a coke but no chance I am giving them sugar AND caffeine. God has given me some wisdom throughout the years!

So once they get their empty cups, the boys will sprint to the fountain drink dispensers to fill their cups with some ice and their choice of soda.

And it just never seems to fail that every single time we come to this restaurant, they will try to fill their cups to the very brim!

The problem is they just can’t seem to stop the dispensers in time before their cups begin to overflow!

Now…I think my boys have pretty good reflexes and hand eye coordination…I mean if you have seen them play sports you would think so too…so I actually do believe they allow the soda to overflow on purpose.

They always begin giggling when this happens and if you saw my face…I am so far from giggling. I try to sneak in that courtesy smile for the line of people who are patiently waiting behind the boys to get their drinks…just to let them know it’s all good…I got this thing under control.

And so for the boys…having their cup filled was not enough…they want it to overflow.

As I pondered this I couldn’t help but realize that…That’s exactly what God wants for each of us!

Being filled is not enough…God wants us overflowing!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13NIV

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. NLT

God doesn’t want to fill us so we can just be fulfilled…He wants to fill us so we can be overflowing.

Fill or Fulfill is defined as “to make full, to satisfy, to bring to an end.”

The word “fill” comes from the Greek word pleroo which means “to be filled to capacity”

Overflow is defined as “to fill or become filled beyond capacity; to fill a space up beyond its limits.”

The word “overflow” comes from the Greek word perisseuo which means “to be over and above, to abound, to exceed the ordinary”

Wow! I found it SO interesting that fulfill has “an end” …while overflow goes “beyond its limits”!

No wonder God doesn’t want us just filled…but He wants us to overflow!

Often times we are looking and desiring to be filled and fulfilled. And there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with that desire…depending on who and/or what is fulfilling us.

Who or what are you looking for to fill or fulfill you today? Is it fulfilling you…completely?

Because…even as Christians…we can so easily find ourselves looking for the people and things in this world to fill and fulfill us.

Maybe we’re looking for a spouse, a child, a relationship to fulfill us.

Maybe we’re looking for a certain job or occupation, recognition, an achievement or accomplishment…or even some material possession to fulfill us.

But these things will only satisfy us temporarily and leave us longing for more…They will never be enough.

Complete fulfillment…complete satisfaction…comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Complete fulfillment…complete satisfaction…only comes from God…the God of Hope!

Look at Romans 15:13 again…

God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.   Romans 15:13

For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things. Psalm 107:9 ESV

And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry.
Isaiah 25:11 GNT

Ok so before we get too far ahead here…I want you to see something really important.

If we look closer at Romans 15:13…we can see a very important prerequisite for God to fill us…TRUST.

It says in both translations… He will fill you “as you trust Him” … He will fill you “because you trust Him.”

And he wishes to drive home to us this, that the attitude of trust is the necessary prerequisite condition of God’s being able to fill a man’s soul, and that God’s being able to fill a man’s soul is the necessary consequence of a man’s trust. McClaren’s Expositions

Filling begins with trust! Trust unlocks and opens our hearts for God to fill us.

Have you ever tried to fill a vessel or container that is closed? You can try and try but you can’t! Right?!

God can only fill a heart that is opened with trust.

Are you trusting Him today? Are you trusting Him with every aspect of your life?

Because maybe there is an aspect of your life…an empty part of your heart…that God wants to fill but your lack of trust is preventing Him for doing so.

How about this…

Have you ever tried to fill a vessel or container that is already full? Not going to happen…Right?!

Just as God can’t fill a heart that is closed…He also can’t fill a heart that is already full…a heart that is already full of “other” things…

“Other” things can be negative feelings or emotions like anxiety, worry, fear, bitterness, resentment.

“Other” things can be wrong attitudes or sinful desires like unforgiveness, pride, lust, greed, envy, jealousy.

“Other” things are…well really…it’s “any” thing that is not “God’s” thing.

Are you so filled with “other” things that you haven’t allowed God the room to fill you with HIS things? What is keeping you from being filled…completely…by God?

For instance, if you’re so filled with anxiousness and worry in your life…how can He fill you with peace?

But your trust in Him will put your focus on Him which will push out the anxiousness and worry allowing Him the room to fill you with peace!

Filling begins with trust!

Because He can only fill you…

First, if you trust Him and second, if you give Him the room to fill you.

And so what exactly will God fill us with?

Staying focused on Romans 15:13, I found it so interesting…

1st because Paul mentions that God wants to fill us specifically with joy and peace…and 2nd because Paul doesn’t just say God wants to fill us but he qualifies that the GOD OF HOPE wants to fill us.

I included the following commentary to give us a better perspective…

Hope, joy, and peace, form a triad which represents the attitude of the Christian in looking towards the future, and so far as that future is reflected on the present. Hope may be taken as including the other two, as it is upon the certainty of the Messianic promises that they all depend, just as it is through the constant energising power of the Holy Ghost that they are kept alive. Ellicott’s Commentary

God wants to fill us with joy and peace not just to fill us…but for a reason.

He wants to fill you “so that you may overflow”

He wants to fill you so “then you will overflow”

That’s why what we fill ourselves with is so important because what we allow to fill us directly affects our overflow.

But being filled on the inside doesn’t mean there is evidence on the outside.

Are you filled to be fulfilled OR are you filled to overflow?

As Christians, we can become satisfied with being filled to be fulfilled…

But filling is about US…Overflow is about HIM!

God is concerned with overflow…Because He is the God of overflow!

He is the God of abundance…He is the God of more…He is the God of no limits…He is the God of beyond…He is the God that abounds…He is the God of over and above…He is the God of exceeding the ordinary…He is the God of the extraordinary!

We are filled because of HIS overflow!

And therefore…the God of Hope… fills us completely with joy and peace so that WE may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you overflowing today? Are you overflowing with hope…joy…and peace?

You can’t overflow with what you haven’t been filled with! You can’t give out what you don’t have!

My desire is that whatever areas of our lives we are not fully satisfied…we would first trust Him and allow him the room to fill us…so that we may overflow hope to others.

And the greatest encouragement we have from Romans 15:13 is that…

We can overflow with hope…by the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to depend on our own strength but the power of the Holy Spirit!

Remember the definition of overflow is…to fill or become filled beyond capacity; to fill a space up beyond its limits.

Going beyond our limits is sometimes uncomfortable…Going beyond stretches us…Going beyond is out of our comfort zone…Going beyond takes time and effort…Going beyond is sometimes hard…

But nowhere in the Bible does it say that we…as Christians…are supposed to be comfortable?

But it does say we can overflow…by the power of the Holy Spirit…through the power of the Holy Spirit!

How can you go beyond today? How can you overflow today?

We are about to celebrate Easter…which I believe is the most important holiday we can celebrate!

It’s because of Christ’s death …burial…and resurrection…that we have eternal Life…that we have Hope…that we have Joy…and that we have Peace! Right?

My heart and prayer this Easter is that we would be so filled…so filled…ourselves that we would overflow this hope to others.

Someone’s eternal life…someone’s hope…may just depend on us “going beyond our limits” …on us overflowing. 

Let’s live a life that is always overflowing! Because it really is about Him…our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Happy Easter!

Reflection Points:

  1. Who or what are you looking for to fill or fulfill you today? Is it fulfilling you…completely?
  2. Are you trusting Him today? Are you trusting Him with every aspect of your life?
  3. Are you so filled with “other” things that you haven’t allowed God the room to fill you with HIS things? What is keeping you from being filled…completely…by God?
  4. Are you filled to be fulfilled OR are you filled to overflow?
  5. Are you overflowing today? Are you overflowing with hope…joy…and peace?
  6. How can you go beyond today? How can you overflow today?

Actions Points:

  1. Complete fulfillment…complete satisfaction…comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Complete fulfillment…complete satisfaction…only comes from God…the God of Hope!
  2. Filling begins with trust! Trust unlocks and opens our hearts for God to fill us. God can only fill a heart that is opened with trust.
  3. Just as God can’t fill a heart that is closed…He also can’t fill a heart that is already full…a heart that is already full of “other” things like negative feelings or emotions or wrong attitudes and sinful desires.
  4. God wants to fill us with joy and peace not just to fill us so that we will overflow. As Christians, we can become satisfied with being filled to be fulfilled but filling is about US…overflow is about HIM!
  5. Going beyond our limits is sometimes uncomfortable…Going beyond stretches us…Going beyond is out of our comfort zone…Going beyond takes time and effort…Going beyond is sometimes hard…But nowhere in the Bible does it say that we…as Christians…are supposed to be comfortable. But it does say we can overflow…by the power of the Holy Spirit…through the power of the Holy Spirit!

 

 

 

 

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Broken Cisterns

About 6 years ago when my son Connor was about 3 years old, we visited Southern California and spent some time vacationing at the beach.

The moment we arrived at the beach, Connor was very excited to build a sand castle with the toy buckets and shovels we had brought for him to play with in the sand.

He was so ready and fully equipped to begin building!

Connor began this endeavor by walking to the water’s edge to collect some water in his bucket and then he proceeded by walking back to a spot he had chosen to build his sand castle.

He would dump the water to moisten the sand…mold the sand with his little hands…and then return back to the water’s edge to collect some more water.

After some time had passed…I noticed that he was collecting a full bucket of water but by the time he got to the sand castle, the bucket was practically empty!

So I observed him more closely and noticed that the water was leaking out as he walked. The bucket had developed a huge crack in the bottom. No wonder!

Connor was working so hard to build this sand castle and he had no clue how much time and effort he was wasting trying to fill a broken bucket with water!

Filling this broken bucket with water was utterly useless and was never going to satisfy his need for collecting enough water to finish his sand castle.

Oh how this simple story reminds me of a very profound declaration from God in Jeremiah 2:13…

“Indeed, my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and they have dug cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” ISV

God used this illustration of broken cisterns in the message that He communicated to His people through His prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah was a major prophet in the Bible who has also been referred to as the “weeping prophet” because he was so deeply sorrowful for the fallen condition of God’s people in Judah.

In order to better understand the depth of this illustration of broken cisterns and its relevance for us today…an understanding of what a cistern actually is is necessary.

What exactly is a cistern?

In the earliest times of the Bible, cisterns were used to store water. They were usually pear shaped and about 15 to 20 feet deep. The actual opening was only 2 to 3 feet wide and there was usually a stone cover. Cisterns were either large or small…large enough to store water for the community…or small and privately owned.

In ancient Israel, the summer months were extremely dry and so during this time people dug and carved out for themselves cisterns out of the solid rock. These cisterns were like man-made reservoirs attempting to contain large amounts of water from the rain falls.

Ancient workers developed sticky lime plaster which they would use to cover the surface of the bed rock to keep the water from seeping out.

But oftentimes…unfortunately…a cistern would develop a crack and all the water would seep out. Cracked rock could hold only a small quantity of dirty water…or no water at all.

And so just as Connor’s broken bucket was useless in holding water…we can see…so too was a broken cistern!

SIDE NOTE: Empty cisterns were sometimes used as prisons and places of confinement. If you remember the story of Joseph being cast into a “pit,” it was actually an empty cistern ( Genesis 37:22) as it was when Jeremiah was lowered into an empty cistern (Jeremiah 38:6).

So…what do broken cisterns symbolize and what relevance does this illustration have for us today?

Well we can see from our key verse in Jeremiah 2:13 that God’s people had turned away from God… “the fountain of living water” …and they had “dug cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that cannot hold water”.

They were no longer devoted to the Lord or depended on Him to meet their spiritual needs. They had dug their own cisterns of idolatry in the hopes that the fleshly pleasures of those idols would satisfy their needs.

You might be thinking… “Well I am a Christian. I don’t worship any idols!”

Even though we don’t necessarily bow down to physical images of false gods like God’s people in Judah…

Idolatry is worship of anything other than God. Idolatry is anything that takes the place of God in our lives.

Whatever you love most, serve most, seek out most, give to the most, worship the most, and care about the most is your god. Your “god” can be your career, your bank account, the way you look, a particular position or degree, influence, power, or physical pleasure. It can even be something that is considered intrinsically good, yet you allow it to dominate your life more than God. Your “god” is whatever you allow to control you, to be the ultimate guide to decision making, the place of your supreme loyalty, and the source of your self-worth. James Emory White (pastor/author)

…the source of your self-worth? Wow…That’s a good one.

So what exactly can be an idol…or considered idolatry…in our lives?

An idol can be such things as pride…money…popularity…body image…even hobbies.

An idol can be our home…our vehicle…our job…material possessions…a relationship…even our family.

An idol can be our iPhones…what we look at on our iPads…even social media.

An idol can be power…influence…tradition… religion… status…position… control…even success.

An idol can be our own goals…own ideas…own purposes…own accomplishments …even self.

An idol can be alcohol…drugs…sex…or any sin.

An idol can even be all the work you do for the Lord that consumes all your time and energy.

Some of these things may in themselves not be bad. We need money in order to live (Matthew 6:31-33) …caring for our bodies is appropriate (1Corinthians 6:19-20) …God is a giver of good gifts and so we can take delight in the hobbies He has given us (James 1:17; Psalm 37:4).

However, …when we begin to value something above God… … when we turn to other people and things over God…when we expect that person or thing to fulfill us and provide us with ultimate satisfaction instead of God…we have begun making it into an idol…we have dug for ourselves cisterns.

But the people of Judah found that the cisterns they were digging up for themselves were broken cisterns! They were broken cisterns that could hold no refreshing water–not even a little bit!

Ok don’t miss this point!!!

Cisterns did not become broken after some time of holding water. They were actually broken from the day they were built! They never held any water!

This is also true of cisterns of our own making. Self-made attempts designed to find spiritual fulfillment in people and things apart from the Lord will inevitably result in failure and disappointment.

NOTHING will ever fully satisfy us…NOTHING will ever fulfill us…NOTHING will ever completely meet our needs…NOTHING will ever quench our spiritual thirst…But only God Himself …the Fountain of Living Water! (Isaiah 55:1-2, John 4:10-14, John 6:35, John 7:37-38)

God alone is sufficient for ALL our needs! (Philippians 4:19)

So how about you? Are you digging for yourself any broken cisterns?

Have you been turning to people or things…instead of God…to satisfy you?

A broken bucket…a broken cistern…will never hold the water necessary to meet our needs or fully satisfy us.

Let’s not waste our time and efforts digging for ourselves broken cisterns like God’s people in Judah…broken cisterns that were never meant to satisfy our thirst…that were never meant to hold water.

Let’s turn to the only true source of water…the only God…the fountain of living water!

Reflection Points:

  1. What exactly is a cistern and what do broken cisterns symbolize? What did God mean when He said that His people had forsaken him and were digging up broken cisterns for themselves?
  2. What relevance does this illustration of broken cisterns have for us today?
  3. What is idolatry?
  4. Have you been digging for yourself any broken cisterns?

Action Points:

  1. If you feel that you have been digging for yourself any broken cisterns, ask God to forgive you and turn to Him to fill any voids or emptiness you feel inside. People and things will only satisfy you temporarily…God will satisfy you fully and always! He will never leave you or forsake you!
  2. Pray that God’s living water will quench your thirst and give you the strength to resist the temptation of turning to people and things to satisfy your needs. God will meet your every need! Trust Him!

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Running?

As Christmas quickly approaches us, there are many people who are running around…running all over the place… running here…running there…running to make last minute preparations… and running to pick up last minute Christmas gifts for their spouses, children, families, and friends!

We as a society have become quite good at “running” …not only during this holiday season but also in our daily lives. Our “busyness” has taken over our days…really our lives! Oh and I can certainly attest to this as I reflect on my own life!

We tend to run from one meeting to the next…from one child’s soccer practice to another child’s ballet class…from one appointment to the next appointment…from one thing to the next thing!

And as I too have been “running” around this Christmas season, I have had to remind myself of the true “Reason for this Season” …So I began to read once again the story of Christmas and the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ in Luke 2.

And what was really exciting to me was that I couldn’t help but note something quite significant in this story…

In verse 11, Luke records that the shepherds were living out in the fields when the angel of the Lord appeared to them…and when the glory of the Lord shone around them, the shepherds were terrified. (As I would be too if an angel of the Lord appeared before me!)

But the shepherd’s fear quickly turned to joy as the angels announced the birth of Jesus…the birth of our Messiah…the birth of our Savior! So what did the shepherd’s do? Check this out! So awesome!

“Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us”. They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. Luke 16:17 Message

The shepherds “as fast as [they] can” …“left running”…Did you notice that!

I mean these shepherds were so excited…so full of joy…so full of anticipation…so looking forward to seeing their newborn king Jesus! …So much so that they didn’t waste any time and as fast as they could…left running! …Running to see their Messiah!

As I dug deeper into this record in Luke of the shepherds running, I came across a few commentaries that further highlighted this idea.

The shepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

And they came with haste…. In the night, leaving their flocks, to see their incarnate Lord, as Zacchaeus hastened down from the tree to receive the Saviour. The wonderfulness of the vision, the importance of the thing related, the eagerness of their spirits to see the thing that was told them, put them on making quick dispatch, and hastening to the city with all speed: Gill’s Exposition

Let us go across the country at the nearest, that we may lose no time, that we may speedily see this glorious reconciler of God and man. All delays are dangerous: but he who delays to seek Jesus, when the angels, the messengers of God, bring him glad tidings of salvation, risks his present safety and his eternal happiness. Clark’s Commentary

These shepherds “leaving their flock”…and many of us know that shepherds NEVER ever leave their flock unless one sheep is lost or has gone astray! Then a good shepherd will leave his flock under the guardianship of another and go off hunting for that one sheep that has wandered.

But these shepherds “leaving their flock”… “lost no time”…. “came with haste”…to “speedily see”…“to see their incarnate Lord’… “with eagerness in their spirits!”

Wow!

So how about you?

Are you running to see Jesus today…like the shepherds….with excitement, joy, and anticipation?

Are you running to Him first when you are facing challenges in your life?

Are you running to Him with eagerness looking forward to meeting Him in prayer and in His Word on a daily basis?

I know from my own experience that it’s sometimes easier to run to my spouse or my friend first when I am facing a challenge… Or sometimes it’s easier sleeping in a little longer…or running to check my emails… instead of running to spend time with Him each morning.

Not that it’s bad, of course, to run to your family and close friends…but where does Jesus fall on your list of people that you go to?…And not that every single morning… 365 days out of the year… you wake up so enthusiastic and eager to spend time with the Lord…but how often do you spend time with Jesus?

Are you running to Jesus like the shepherds were running to see Him? Do you run to Him first?

As we celebrate this Christmas and as many of us are running around, let’s run as the shepherds did that night…with eagerness…with enthusiasm…with excitement…with anticipation…

Let’s run to the One who is the very reason for the season…our Lord…our Messiah, our Redeemer…our Savior…Jesus Christ!

Merry Christmas everyone and thank you for blessing me and supporting Sweeter than Honey Blog! I look forward to sharing with you in the New Year!

Reflection Points:

1)      Are you running around with busyness this Christmas season? As much as you are running for yourself or others…are you running to Jesus like the shepherds did that night they heard of Jesus’ birth?

2)      Do you run to Jesus first when face challenges in your life? Or is it just easer to turn to your spouse or a friend?

3)      With all the time you spend running around in the busyness of your daily life, are you finding time to run to Jesus and spend time with Him?

Action Points:

1)      If you are finding that your focus has been on running around and getting things done and your have lost sight of the significance of this season…stop and remind yourself of the real reason for this Christmas season…the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (Read Luke 2)

2)      When you face challenges in life, before you run to others for guidance or advice, submit your challenges to God first. Pray to Him and ask Him to comfort you, direct you, and encourage you in your challenge.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1Peter 5:7

3)      Are your days so busy that you blink and the hours have gone by without spending any time with Jesus? Make it a priority to run to Jesus each day and spend time with Him. Pray to Him and read His Word. He wants to spend time with you. And what is so amazing is that when you make time for Him you will see that the things you need to get done that day…get done!

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

How Sharp Are You?

This past weekend I actually had a few moments to plop myself down and tune into the Food Network while the hubby and boys did some yard work outside. I used to watch the Food Network all the time because I really love cooking and enjoy making new meals for my family!

But these days life is so busy balancing schedules from working my ministry job to doing housework…from helping my boys with school projects to getting them to football practices…from barely having an uninterrupted adult conversation with my husband (not easy with 2 young boys needing our attention) to getting a much-needed Date Night!

And…therefore…I look for quick, easy, and healthy meals to cook in the busyness of life.

The other night I began cooking a family favorite…Quinoa Jumbalaya… (FYI…Not as hard as you think and so yummy!)

The recipe required a chopped tomato. As I began cutting the tomato, I realized how much effort I was using. I was using my favorite knife but it didn’t seem to be cutting as clean and smooth as usual. I was actually concerned that the blade would slip and cut my finger.

My favorite knife had become dull so I grabbed my iron knife sharpener and scraped the blade across it a few times. I tried chopping the tomato again and…Wow! What a difference!

I wasn’t using as much effort this time and I chopped away more quickly! Plus, I felt so much more secure about not slipping and cutting myself!

I know some of you may not really care much about cooking…but stick with me here!

Most cooks know that a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp one. Although it seems contradictory…a dull-edged blade can actually do more damage to the cook… than the food! That’s because when a blade is dull…it’s harder to use like I just experienced.

Not only does it take more force to actually cut something…but it’s also harder to control. That’s why a dull blade can slice a finger quicker than a tomato…and why chefs spend hundreds of dollars on a great knife.

Every knife becomes dull with use. The sharp edge wears out and little chips develop. Cutting will render a blade ineffective…and on its own…it will never become sharp again. A knife cannot sharpen itself. Nor can something weaker than iron, sharpen iron.

Just as a knife can become dull…we too…as Christians…can also find ourselves “dull” and in need of some sharpening in our lives and in our relationship with Jesus.

How sharp are you? Are you as sharp as you ought to be?

I am reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes 10:10….

Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. NLT

If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed. ESV

Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle. MSG

There is such great truth for us in this verse!

Just as a dull knife cannot become sharp on its own…We too cannot become sharp on our own. And it is through wisdom and not our own strength that we will succeed.

Being sharp in our walk with Jesus is certainly very beneficial. I love the way this commentary puts it!

…then must he put to more strength; he must give a greater blow, strike the harder, and use more force; and yet it may not be sufficient, or; it may be to no purpose, and he himself may be in the greatest danger of being hurt; as such are who push things with all their might and main, without judgment and discretion; but wisdom is profitable to direct; this is the “excellency” of wisdom, that it puts a man in the right way of doing things, and of doing them right; it directs him to take the best methods, and pursue the best ways and means of doing things, both for his own good and the good of others; and so it is better than strengthGills Exposition

So how can we as Christians become sharpened?

The analogy of sharpening a dull knife paints 2 points for us to consider in becoming sharpened as Christians.

An iron knife cannot be sharpened by something weaker than iron. We too cannot be sharpened by something or someone weaker than us!

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV

The 1st way we can be sharpened is by other Christians who are stronger than we are.

God never intended for us to live out our Christian life alone…and in our own strength. He is a relational God and is big on relationships. He oftentimes repeats in the Bible the importance of Christians having fellowship with one another…encouraging one another…discipling one another…supporting one another…praying with one another…and building one another up.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. Acts 2:42 NLT

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another… Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11NLT

Another great benefit is that in the sharpening of iron with iron…both pieces change…the sharpener and the one being sharpened.

In the same manner our faith is strengthened when we test and encourage another person. We will be strengthened in helping each other to remain strong in the faith, strong in defending the faith, and strong against the direct attacks of the enemy.

Just as the Bereans searched the scriptures daily to confirm the Word (Acts 17:11) …we can sharpen one another by searching the scriptures together to understand God’s Word.

Who in your life sharpens you? Are you rubbing up against…in close relationship…with other Christians who are stronger than you?

The 2nd way we can be sharpened is by the Word of God.

I love this! The Word of God is actually referenced as a two-edged sword…Talk about sharper and more powerful than your little ol’ kitchen knife!

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

You can’t get any sharper than that!

Are you being sharpened by the Word of God? Are you spending time studying and learning the Word of God?

If we want to be sharpened, we must turn to God’s Word…not just for strength but for wisdom.

Remember Ecclesiastes 10:10 reminds us that being sharpened is using wisdom. And wisdom comes from the Word of God. (FYI…knowledge is knowing the facts…wisdom is applying knowledge)

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 NIV

This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:25 NLT

When we think of sharpening a blade…or sharpening ourselves… it’s always done for a purpose.

A chef doesn’t sharpen his or her knife so it looks better lying on the kitchen counter. Sharpening is done to make it more effective and efficient. If we sharpen a knife for years and never put it into use…it will eventually be sharpened down to nothing…with nothing to show for all that honing.

So too it is with us being sharpened by the Word of God. God has a purpose in sharpening us…not just for us…but for others as well.

Iron sharpens iron. We cannot be sharpened by something or someone weaker than us. We need relationships with stronger Christians and the Word of God to bring us the Godly wisdom to succeed as we walk out our Christian lives.

My challenge to you today is not only…How sharp are you? …BUT…Who are you sharpening?

 

Reflection Points:

  1. How sharp are you? Are you as sharp as you ought to be?
  2. So how can we as Christians become sharpened?
  3. Who in your life sharpens you? Are you rubbing up against…in close relationship…with other Christians who are stronger than you?
  4. Are you being sharpened by the Word of God? Are you spending time studying and learning the Word of God?
  5. Who around you are you sharpening?

Action Points:

  1. Just as a dull knife cannot become sharp on its own…We too cannot become sharp on our own. And it is through wisdom and not our own strength that we will succeed. Being sharp in our walk with Jesus is certainly very beneficial.
  2. As Christians, we can become sharp by rubbing up and having relationship with other Christians who are stronger than we are and by receiving wisdom from the Word of God.
  3. It is so important that we are connecting and building relationships with other Christians and the best way to do this is through getting involved at your church. Serving and attending bible studies/small groups is the best way to begin rubbing up against Christians who are stronger than us who can sharpen us.
  4. Spending time in God’s Word will no doubt sharpen us. This is how we will gain and receive wisdom from the Lord. And it is this wisdom that we direct us…guide us…strengthen us…and help us succeed in walking out our Christian life.

 

 

 

 

Lean In

Summer is here! And I am very motivated this summer to keep my highly energetic boys busy! (Where they find their level of energy, I cannot begin to comprehend!)

So I recently took them out in our front yard to trim our plants, bushes, and trees. Fun, right?

Well, the boys actually had a blast as I trimmed and they raked and gathered the branches…placed them in the wheelbarrow…and dumped them curbside for our bulk trash pick-up that week.

As I trimmed plant after plant…bush after bush…tree after tree…I began to notice the branches had a tendency to lean in one particular direction. They were all actually leaning towards the sunlight.

I am sure that many of us are not surprised by this as we may have witnessed this with indoor plants that tend to lean in towards the light in the window.

Why do plants, bushes, and trees lean in towards sunlight?

This interesting phenomenon known as phototropism was explained by English naturalist Charles Darwin in the late 1800’s. He demonstrated that the growing shoot of a grass seedling always bends…leans in… towards light. Why?

Because green plants, bushes and trees make their food in the presence of sunlight by the process of photosynthesis. Feel like you’re getting taken back to grade school science class right now?!

Long story short…phototropism is a survival mechanism adopted by plants so that they can get as much light as possible. When plants lean in to sunlight…more photosynthesis can take place…allowing for more energy to be generated.

By leaning in toward the sunlight, plants draw closer to their source of power and energy so that they can receive the necessary nutrients to make food and grow. Without sunlight, they cannot survive.

Just as plants, bushes, and trees must lean in to sunlight for their power source to survive, we too as Christians, must lean in to Jesus as our power source…not just to survive…but to thrive in this world.

The word “survive” is defined as “to remain or continue to live; to endure or live through” while the word “thrive” is defined as “to grow or develop vigorously; flourish; prosper, advance, succeed.”

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to just survive…I want to thrive!

And so in order to not only survive, but also thrive as Christians, we must…not just believe and accept Jesus Christ in our lives…but also lean in to Jesus.

What does it actually mean to lean in to Jesus?

A great Biblical example of an individual who leaned in to Jesus is Mary…the “Mary” of the familiar Mary and Martha story in Luke 10:38-42.

38-40As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

So to simply break this down… Jesus comes to visit these sisters…Mary and Martha…at their house. Martha welcomes Jesus inside, but then she is pulled away and becomes busy getting things in order. And out of frustration, Martha interrupts Jesus and complains that her sister Mary has abandoned her and that He needs to basically tell Mary to help her out. And Jesus’ response?

“Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

Hmm…Jesus sides with Mary in her choosing the one only essential thing…the main course.

In other words…Mary chose the most important thing…Mary chose what was best…Mary chose what was necessary.

While Martha was pulled away by busyness and preparations, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet drawing closer to Him… Mary was listening to Jesus…Mary was hanging on His every word… Mary was leaning in to Jesus.

She chose the main course! Jesus’ words were nutrients and food to her soul…His words were power and sustenance to her well-being…His words were vital to not only her survival, but also her ability to thrive.

Plants can only receive the necessary power that they need to survive by being in the presence of light…by leaning in to the sun.

And we too…as Christians…can only receive the necessary power that we need to survive by being in the presence of the Light…by leaning in to the Son…Jesus.

Mary experienced the presence of Jesus by leaning in to Him!

Are you leaning in to Jesus today?

Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?

What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?

Busyness…poor time management…a lack of prioritizing… a lack of discipline…maybe even a lack of desire can keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Unbelief…lack of faith…even disobedience can also keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Leaning in is really a choice.

Mary could have chosen to help Martha…but instead she chose what was essential…according to Jesus. She chose to lean in.

We too must choose whether we allow ourselves to be distracted or pulled away by people or the things in this world…or choose to draw closer to Jesus.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 NLT

Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Psalm 34:8 MSG

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8 AMP

When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see the blessings and benefits of leaning in.

His Power

We will see and experience His power when we lean in. We don’t need to keep trying to do things on our own or in our own strength. He will give us the power to say “no” to the things in this world that keep us from Him and the power to survive, thrive, prosper and fulfill our purpose and destiny as Christians in this world.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2Peter1:3

His Provision

We will see and experience His provision when we lean in. He sees and knows everything we need and when we lean in and trust in Him…He will provide.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

His Protection

We will see and experience His protection when we lean in. When we feel weak, afraid or overwhelmed, He will protect us when we lean in.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4NLT

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2Thessalonians 3:3 NASB

His Passion

We will see and experience His passion when we lean in. We will understand the very heart of Jesus and what He is passionate about and what He truly desires when we lean in.

37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2Peter 3:9 NIV

If we can all see the importance of leaning in to Jesus on a daily basis…if we can all see the blessings of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all see the benefits of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all just see how our very life…our survival and growth…depends on Jesus and His Word…we would intentionally choose to spend time with Him!

We cannot live our lives as Christians if we do not lean in to Jesus. Just as a plant must lean in to the light of the sun for survival, so too we must lean in to the Light of the Son to survive and thrive as Christians.

Lean in today…what’s holding you back?

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you leaning in to Jesus today?
  2. Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?
  3. What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?
  4. What are the blessings and benefits of leaning in to Jesus?

 

Action Points:

  1. Examine your daily life and see what may be keeping you from leaning in to Jesus and experiencing His presence. Pray and ask God to show you what changes you can make to allow you to lean in more. Many of us have a desire to lean in to Jesus, but we lack the discipline to do it. Ask God to strengthen you to make the necessary changes.
  2. Leaning in to Jesus is essential for our survival as Christians. It isn’t enough for us to lean in just when are facing a challenge in our lives. Jesus wants us to draw close to Him in our lives…all day everyday…and in every detail of our life, not just when we go through tough times.
  3. Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.
  4. When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see His power…His provision…His protection…and His passion.

Lean In

Summer is here! And I am very motivated this summer to keep my highly energetic boys busy! (Where they find their level of energy, I cannot begin to comprehend!)

So I recently took them out in our front yard to trim our plants, bushes, and trees. Fun, right?

Well, the boys actually had a blast as I trimmed and they raked and gathered the branches…placed them in the wheelbarrow…and dumped them curbside for our bulk trash pick-up that week.

As I trimmed plant after plant…bush after bush…tree after tree…I began to notice the branches had a tendency to lean in one particular direction. They were all actually leaning towards the sunlight.

I am sure that many of us are not surprised by this as we may have witnessed this with indoor plants that tend to lean in towards the light in the window.

Why do plants, bushes, and trees lean in towards sunlight?

This interesting phenomenon known as phototropism was explained by English naturalist Charles Darwin in the late 1800’s. He demonstrated that the growing shoot of a grass seedling always bends…leans in… towards light. Why?

Because green plants, bushes and trees make their food in the presence of sunlight by the process of photosynthesis. Feel like you’re getting taken back to grade school science class right now?!

Long story short…phototropism is a survival mechanism adopted by plants so that they can get as much light as possible. When plants lean in to sunlight…more photosynthesis can take place…allowing for more energy to be generated.

By leaning in toward the sunlight, plants draw closer to their source of power and energy so that they can receive the necessary nutrients to make food and grow. Without sunlight, they cannot survive.

Just as plants, bushes, and trees must lean in to sunlight for their power source to survive, we too as Christians, must lean in to Jesus as our power source…not just to survive…but to thrive in this world.

The word “survive” is defined as “to remain or continue to live; to endure or live through” while the word “thrive” is defined as “to grow or develop vigorously; flourish; prosper, advance, succeed.”

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to just survive…I want to thrive!

And so in order to not only survive, but also thrive as Christians, we must…not just believe and accept Jesus Christ in our lives…but also lean in to Jesus.

What does it actually mean to lean in to Jesus?

A great Biblical example of an individual who leaned in to Jesus is Mary…the “Mary” of the familiar Mary and Martha story in Luke 10:38-42.

38-40As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

So to simply break this down… Jesus comes to visit these sisters…Mary and Martha…at their house. Martha welcomes Jesus inside, but then she is pulled away and becomes busy getting things in order. And out of frustration, Martha interrupts Jesus and complains that her sister Mary has abandoned her and that He needs to basically tell Mary to help her out. And Jesus’ response?

“Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

Hmm…Jesus sides with Mary in her choosing the one only essential thing…the main course.

In other words…Mary chose the most important thing…Mary chose what was best…Mary chose what was necessary.

While Martha was pulled away by busyness and preparations, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet drawing closer to Him… Mary was listening to Jesus…Mary was hanging on His every word… Mary was leaning in to Jesus.

She chose the main course! Jesus’ words were nutrients and food to her soul…His words were power and sustenance to her well-being…His words were vital to not only her survival, but also her ability to thrive.

Plants can only receive the necessary power that they need to survive by being in the presence of light…by leaning in to the sun.

And we too…as Christians…can only receive the necessary power that we need to survive by being in the presence of the Light…by leaning in to the Son…Jesus.

Mary experienced the presence of Jesus by leaning in to Him!

Are you leaning in to Jesus today?

Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?

What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?

Busyness…poor time management…a lack of prioritizing… a lack of discipline…maybe even a lack of desire can keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Unbelief…lack of faith…even disobedience can also keep us from leaning in to Jesus.

Leaning in is really a choice.

Mary could have chosen to help Martha…but instead she chose what was essential…according to Jesus. She chose to lean in.

We too must choose whether we allow ourselves to be distracted or pulled away by people or the things in this world…or choose to draw closer to Jesus.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 NLT

Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Psalm 34:8 MSG

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8 AMP

When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see the blessings and benefits of leaning in.

His Power

We will see and experience His power when we lean in. We don’t need to keep trying to do things on our own or in our own strength. He will give us the power to say “no” to the things in this world that keep us from Him and the power to survive, thrive, prosper and fulfill our purpose and destiny as Christians in this world.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2Peter1:3

His Provision

We will see and experience His provision when we lean in. He sees and knows everything we need and when we lean in and trust in Him…He will provide.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

His Protection

We will see and experience His protection when we lean in. When we feel weak, afraid or overwhelmed, He will protect us when we lean in.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4NLT

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2Thessalonians 3:3 NASB

His Passion

We will see and experience His passion when we lean in. We will understand the very heart of Jesus and what He is passionate about and what He truly desires when we lean in.

37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2Peter 3:9 NIV

If we can all see the importance of leaning in to Jesus on a daily basis…if we can all see the blessings of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all see the benefits of leaning in to Jesus…if we can all just see how our very life…our survival and growth…depends on Jesus and His Word…we would intentionally choose to spend time with Him!

We cannot live our lives as Christians if we do not lean in to Jesus. Just as a plant must lean in to the light of the sun for survival, so too we must lean in to the Light of the Son to survive and thrive as Christians.

Lean in today…what’s holding you back?

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you leaning in to Jesus today?
  2. Do you lean in to Jesus on a daily basis…or only when you are facing a challenge in your life?
  3. What keeps you from leaning in and experiencing His presence?
  4. What are the blessings and benefits of leaning in to Jesus?

 

Action Points:

  1. Examine your daily life and see what may be keeping you from leaning in to Jesus and experiencing His presence. Pray and ask God to show you what changes you can make to allow you to lean in more. Many of us have a desire to lean in to Jesus, but we lack the discipline to do it. Ask God to strengthen you to make the necessary changes.
  2. Leaning in to Jesus is essential for our survival as Christians. It isn’t enough for us to lean in just when are facing a challenge in our lives. Jesus wants us to draw close to Him in our lives…all day everyday…and in every detail of our life, not just when we go through tough times.
  3. Leaning in to Jesus and His Word is nutrients and food for our souls…His Word is power and sustenance to our well-being…His Word is vital to not only our survival, but also our ability to thrive.
  4. When we lean in to Jesus and His light…When we draw close to Jesus and His Word…We experience His presence and it is through His presence that we will see His power…His provision…His protection…and His passion.

Are You Anchored?

My family and I recently ventured out on a boat at a nearby lake that was nestled in between the rocky desert mountains of Arizona. It was absolutely beautiful!

As I watched various speedboats, motorboats, and jet skiers whiz by us creating many rough and choppy waves…my eye caught a single anchored boat nearby.

The rough and choppy waves splashed up against this little boat causing it to shake and bounce, yet it didn’t move from its place. It remained steady and stable in the midst of all the activity around it because it was anchored.

As my eyes remained fixed on this boat, I began to ponder the ability of this anchor to keep the boat stable and steadfast.

An anchor is a metal device attached to a ship or boat by a cable or rope and cast overboard to hold it firmly in a particular place by means of hook-like arms that dig into the bottom of a lake or sea.

The purpose of an anchor is to stabilize a boat from drifting away …especially in heavy stormy weather.

The idea of this anchor prompted me to consider how we too need an anchor in our lives. We too need an anchor to keep us stable and steadfast…not only in the heavy storms of life…but also in the day to day of our lives.

Are you anchored? What anchors you each day?

In the Bible, the book of Hebrews talks about an anchor…an anchor that will keep us firm and secure…an anchor for our souls.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 NIV

FYI…the “soul” can be described as the inner life of a person that represents a person’s thoughts, will, and emotions.

 

In order for an anchor to firmly grip the bottom of the waterbed, it must have good anchorage. In other words…the anchor needs to be embedded among rocks in order to hold fast to the bottom without slipping or dragging.

Just as a boat’s anchor needs to be embedded among the rocks…so too must our anchor be embedded among the rocks…really just one rock…the only rock…the rock of Jesus Christ.

And this anchor for our souls? It is hope…hope in Jesus Christ.

Is your soul anchored in the hope of Jesus Christ today? Are your thoughts…will…and emotions anchored in Christ on a daily basis?

As Christians, we can so easily allow our focus to drift away…We can so easily allow our thoughts…desires…and emotions to drift away from our anchor of hope…away from Jesus Christ.

Our Thoughts

Oh how easy it is for our minds to drift away!

I am sure we have all experienced days where our thoughts begin drifting away…drifting away from what is sound and reasonable…drifting away from what we know is true…drifting away from Jesus and His Word…And drifting to negative, unproductive thoughts…drifting to worry, fear, insecurity, discouragement…drifting to even sin.

I know you know what I am talking about!

It’s like your child comes home with an unusual skin rash…and you begin to google its description (by the way…never usually recommended) and after reading all the signs and symptoms from comments that other moms have posted (again not recommended) you have concluded that your child has an incurable disease!

Or you just lost your job and even before you have begun actually looking for another job you have concluded that you won’t be able to find a new job quick enough and your thoughts drift away to the inability to pay your bills and rent and you have concluded that you will be evicted!

This list of unrealistic…and sometimes ridiculous…scenarios is endless…isn’t it?!

Our thoughts must be anchored in Christ.

You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Isaiah 26:3AMP

Our Will

“Will” is defined as “a strong desire or determination to do something; a person’s choice or desire in a particular situation.”

Oftentimes we have hopes and desires to do something in our lives, but our will is just that…Our will!

We pursue our hopes and desires without praying about them and aligning them with Christ and His desires…without knowing if it’s even God’s will for us or our lives.

Our human nature is to do what we want to do…even if it’s a good thing…and we don’t even think about consulting our Creator.

God created each of us with a plan and a purpose in this life…So how can we not consult our Creator?

We may not want God’s will because we want our will more…and consequently we can find ourselves drifting away from God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

Our will…our desires…must be anchored in Christ.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 NLT

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

Emotions

And how about those emotions? There are few women who don’t show much emotion but most women struggle with controlling their emotions. I know I do sometimes!

Emotions are not necessarily bad. God created us as women to have emotions but we must learn to control them. If we don’t take hold of them, we will find ourselves allowing our emotions to control our actions and reactions…and even control our day!

And for you moms out there with kids…you know how quickly your patience is tested by your children which may eventually lead to overwhelming frustrations…causing actions and reactions that may not be pleasing to God.

Our emotions must be anchored in Christ.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV

The heart is deceitful above all things. And it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives? Jeremiah 17:9 AMP

So how can we daily anchor our thoughts, will, and emotions in Christ?

Now remember, there is a cable or rope (in nautical terms this is called a “rode”) that attaches the anchor to the boat. This rope is very important because an anchor is not effective unless it has a strong cable or rope.

When the anchor is dropped over the edge of the boat, the anchor is no longer seen. It is trust in the strength of this rope that gives you assurance that the anchor will keep the boat firm and steadfast.

And this rope for us as Christians is faith!

Faith connects us to our anchor hope!

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 BSB

What is so amazing is another interesting aspect of the anchor called the scope. For all you mathematicians out here… this one’s for you!

The scope is “the ratio of the length of rode(rope) to water depth. Anchoring with sufficient scope brings the direction of strain close to parallel with the seabed.”

In other words…this means that you want a tight scope. It isn’t good to have a lot of slack in the rope. The greater the slack in the rope, the greater the boat’s ability to move and drift  and become less stable.

Again, we are talking about how we can be anchored in Christ.

Our faith becomes stronger the closer we stay to our hope…the closer we stay to Christ. We don’t want any slack in our faith!

But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19 NLT

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings… Hebrews 10:22 NIV

In order for us to be anchored in Christ, we must stay close to Him. Keeping close to Him through prayer and daily Bible reading/study is essential in keeping our thoughts, will, and emotions anchored on a daily basis…as well as in the tough stormy seasons of life.

If we are not anchored in Christ, we will drift…drift away from our very source of stability, security, and steadfastness.

Stay anchored in Christ today! He is the ONLY hope that is immoveable!

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 NIV

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you anchored?
  2. What anchors you each day?
  3. Is your soul anchored in the hope of Jesus today?
  4. Are your thoughts…will…and emotions anchored in Christ on a daily basis?
  5. How can we daily anchor our thoughts, will, and emotions in Christ?
  6. Why is scope so important?

Actions Points:

  1. We cannot rely on people or things to be anchored in our lives. People and things will come and go. We must be anchored firmly on the rock of Jesus Christ. When we are anchored, we will experience stability and steadfastness…not just in the heavy storms of life…but also in the day to day of our lives. The anchor for our souls is hope in Jesus Christ.
  2. Our thoughts, will, and emotions must be anchored in Christ. If we are not anchored, we can so easily allow our focus to drift away. We can so easily allow our thoughts…desires…and feelings to drift away from our anchor of hope…away from Jesus Christ.
  3. We can anchor our thoughts, will, and emotions on a daily basis through our faith. Because it is our faith that connects us to our hope! It is our faith that connects us to Jesus!
  4. Scope is so important because the greater the slack in the rope, the greater the boat’s ability to move and become less stable. Our faith becomes stronger the closer we stay to our hope…the closer we stay to Christ. Keeping close to Him through prayer and daily Bible reading/study will strengthen our faith and keep us stable and secure no matter what comes our way!