Hope Filled Living https://www.hopefilledliving.com Cultivating an Inspired Life Mon, 29 May 2017 15:01:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 113905945 Are You Living a Victorious Life? https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/04/are-you-living-a-victorious-life/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 14:49:34 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=2017

 

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 20:4

Finally, be strong in the Lord in His mighty power. Ephesians 6:10

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1John 5:4

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us, spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 2 Corinthians 4:8

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

These are just a few examples of the promises of victory that we find in the Bible. Victory is not found in a sermon, a book or a prayer group. Victory is found only through the Lord Jesus Christ and His unmerited favor and grace upon us. If you have been trying to live victory to victory by yourself and find yourself coming up empty, stressed or defeated, God may be telling you, “come to me and I will give you rest“.  When we commit to allowing God to take over and confess His victory over our lives, we are essentially handing him the wheel, “Lord, all of my efforts to live victoriously over my problems, obstacles, frustrations and even small sinful attitudes have come up empty. I am going to trust you to give me victory.

By yielding to and trusting God, we are victorious minute by minute and in every situation. Victorious living is a learning process. As we lean into God, speak with God and yield our circumstances to God even when it is uncomfortable and we feel out of control, we learn to walk in victory. As with all disciplines, we will fail many times as we are learning. We may lose hope, get frustrated and think that God is not moving on our behalf. During these times, it is important to get grounded in God’s promises and His word. As we learn to walk in victory, we hold onto and claim the promises of Christ as our victory rather than quickly letting defeat set in and bring discouragement to our hearts and lives.

We are victorious in Christ Jesus, but we must choose to live in victory. We must choose to go from victory to victory even if we fall. We must choose to get back up and dust ourselves off and humble ourselves before the Lord, asking him to take the wheel. We must yield to God and trust him with our problems and the details of our lives. A defeated Christian is not a good testimony to a life in Christ! We don’t want to walk in defeat!

 

My 101 day prayer journaling workbook, Victorious Living, will guide you through 101 days on the discipline of living victoriously in Christ. Each page has a prayer and praise, space for reflection, scripture references and an assignment. I pray that you will take the first step and commit to yielding to Christ in your daily living. As with anything we try to learn, we must work very hard at it and start over again and and again. Working through a workbook will not bring you victory in your life, but the discipline of confessing victory in your life and working each day on a victorious mindset through Christ Jesus will bring you victory! The workbook will help you develop the discipline to yield your thoughts to Christ so that you may be victorious regardless of your situation.

 

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Lessons From The Valley https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/03/lessons-from-the-valley/ https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/03/lessons-from-the-valley/#comments Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:14:00 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=2002 What happens in life when you come up against impossible situations? How do you handle them?

I have learned through the deepest valleys of my career that God is always the great refiner, performing the deepest root work through the fires of life, through the tough things, and each obstacle presents an opportunity to deepen our faith and grow in wisdom.

If your situation seems hopeless, attempt to look at it from a new perspective. Things are not always as they appear. God is ever faithful and sometimes we do not get the big picture until years after an experience in the valley.

 

 

Some things I have learned in the valley:

  1. All of our abilities belong to God.
  2. When considering a life of faith, the longings of our heart and soul should be consecrated to God.
  3. When your heart is in the right place and you are ready to receive, God will open doors for you.
  4. He longs to give you the desires of our heart.
  5. God loves you so much that when you feel you are at the lowest point, He will send others to surround you with His love and tender care until you heal.
  6. Employ your gifts to help others.
  7. He always has a plan.

My posts for the week of March 27-31 will focus on lessons learned in the valley. Stay tuned or subscribe to my e-mail updates.

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Setting Concrete Goals https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/03/setting-concrete-goals/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:00:59 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=1984 Do you have any life goals that you would like to work toward and/or achieve in the next twelve months?

Some areas you may want to consider are family, church, work, personal life, education, etc.  When you set a goal, it is good to write a statement reflecting the goal. Your goal statement should be specific, achievable and measurable. A goal is something you work to accomplish. You do activities and ACCOMPLISH goals.

A good idea or example is to write three goals in the following categories. Remember to make your goal statements bite size enough that you can achieve them, yet big enough that you have to work toward accomplishing them!

Family Goals:
1.
2.
3.
(Good concrete examples are: Spend 30 minutes per day quality time with each person. Schedule a 7-day vacation. Etc.)

Educational Goals:
1.
2.
3.

Work/Career Goals:
1.
2.
3.

Personal Goals:
1.
2.
3.

List the goals above in order of priority by assigning them to either A (high priority) or B (low priority). Do the same for the category B priorities!

I realize that most of us set goals at the beginning of each New Year. Some of us just mull them over in our head while others list them out.  By this time, you may have put aside some of those goals or decided that they are not achievable and have given up on the idea of accomplishing them. The first quarter of the year is a good time to reflect upon our priorities, look at our goals, and perhaps break them down into smaller bites so that we can accomplish them, even if it requires taking baby steps.

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10 Important Things About Your Purpose https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/03/10-important-things-about-your-purpose/ https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/03/10-important-things-about-your-purpose/#comments Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:00:15 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=1982

 

10 Important Things About Your Purpose

1. As Mother Teresa so aptly put it, “we can do no great things, only small things with great love.” We were each created with different and unique abilities and capabilities. There is purpose in doing those things we do well with great love.

2. Some of us are born with quieter dispositions and happily do things behind the scenes, while others have a greater understanding of leadership at the front and center. Neither of the two personality types is right or wrong. “For we have many parts in one body, but these parts do not all have the same function.” Romans 12:4 We are all created for a different function.

3. Regardless of our physical, intellectual, emotional or socio-economic standing, each of us is equal to the other in the eyes of God. It does not matter if we are a movie star or a homeless man—the eyes of God see purpose in each of us.

4. Growth means evolving, changing and moving in new directions. Our purpose may change during our lifetime. God put us on the earth to be the best we can be and our purpose must be flexible enough to hear and obey whatever it is he is asking us to do now.

5. When we are still and focus on the beauty of the everyday moments in our lives and give thanks we are more likely to find purpose, rather than searching for it and becoming discontented. The discontented places in our hearts are not from lack of purpose, but rather a lack of understanding that we are truly loved just as we are.

6. Your purpose correlates with what you hold dear in your heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” Luke 6:45. Of what things do you speak?  It is normal to feel lost, lonely, isolated and confused from time to time.


7. Spiritual health helps us gain a sense of acceptance, both inward and outward and will supply us with the resource of inner peace and an understanding that God doesn’t judge us by performance, He looks at our heart.  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”Luke 10:27

8.  When we put God first and give him everything that we are, he will show us our purpose. Understand that your purpose may change….it is not a life sentence.

9. Being purpose driven may cause a sense of shame, guilt and rejection if the great light bulb doesn’t light up and show you what you have been created for, when in reality, the bible tells us, “you were created for such a time as this” Esther 4:14, meaning that each day holds purpose. Our purpose is driven by our daily choices.

10. It is healthy to aspire to do great things, but important to be happy with yourself just as you are and know that you are loved and valued and don’t have to be anyone other than who you are to be acceptable in the eyes of God.

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Spiritual Winter vs. Spring https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/03/spiritual-winter/ https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/03/spiritual-winter/#comments Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:00:01 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=1986 Spring is Coming

I planted a dozen baby pine trees around the property at my cottage last fall. We have had a rough winter with very cold temperatures and lots of snow, and as I look around the property, rather than seeing the full baby tree, I can see only tiny shoots here and there poking out from the banks and drifts of snow. I have hoped and wondered throughout this season whether they were going to make it through, and I wondered whether I would be able to have the joy of watching them shoot up like pine trees do in the spring.

This reminds me that sometimes during the winter of our lives we tend to live in survival mode. We do what we can to stay strong under the pressures of our heavy burdens. Sometimes our own sorrows inhibit us from healthy growth. The burdens of our heart and spirit pile upon us, blanketing us, and we wonder if we are strong enough to withstand the weight.

I have had seasons like this in my life, times that I call winter. Sometimes it feels like it goes on and on, and we grow weary. We long for the light, but we are not quite prepared for it to come just yet. Maybe you need to remain just a little longer in survival mode. Perhaps you are not emotionally or spiritually ready to come out of hibernation.

I know that if my tender baby trees can make it through their first winter, their roots will grow strong enough to withstand the many winters that lay ahead. I guess this is true for people too. If we grow our roots during good times–establishing our faith, our belief system, our “God confidence”– then we will be able to withstand some of the seasons of hardship that will inevitably touch us in our lifetime.

This is the one thing that is for certain:  Spring is coming! It happens every year. I will look out my window one morning to find hundreds of yellow day lilies blooming. I will hear the sound of mama robin chatting away in the trees. Then as the sun grows closer to us, we experience the big thaw. The ice begins to melt, waters start to flow, and we see new buds on the trees. The plants in the garden begin to spring up from the ground as if they too are emerging from hibernation and are now strong enough to see the light of day. They built their roots during hibernation and are bigger, stronger, and more colorful each spring.

If you have been going through some difficult times and feel like the burdens on your heart and soul will never ease, remember that the coming of spring is always certain. This season of hibernation that you are going through will only last until you are spiritually and emotionally ready to move on. We grow during the winters of our lives, establishing our root system. During these times, we can choose to insulate ourselves in darkness or we can choose to poke our heads out above it to see the light.

After surviving a season of hibernation, young plants are starving. They spread out their roots and absorb every nutrient that the ground in which they are planted has to offer. They are growing strong again, getting ready for new growth. I suppose it is that way for hurting people too. Once we survive hibernation, we are eager to grasp new life, a new way of thinking, a new way of seeing and a new way doing things. We embrace the light, spreading our wings, taking chances and absorbing all that our Creator has for us to learn and see and do. We are hungry. We have a new richness about us. We show buds of new growth in our actions and attitudes and flowering in our heart. The winter that had frozen our soul has now been touched by spring, by new life, and we are ready to embrace the light.

If you are in the winter of your life one thing is certain: Spring is coming! Your soul is preparing for it in the silence.

Your Turn: Have you been through a spiritual winter?

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Calming an Anxious Spirit https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/03/calming-an-anxious-spirit/ Fri, 03 Mar 2017 11:03:38 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=1978 When I reflect upon the stressful areas of my life, I come to realize that I too was designed to live a more simple lifestyle. Some of my times of greatest stress have been when I have too much going on and too much around me…too much “stuff”, too busy.

My most complete moments are times of quiet solitude, genuine and tender moments with loved ones, their laughter, absorbing the lines on their faces and the curve of a smile, taking a walk in the woods, watching snow falling quietly, singing a hymn while baking a homemade loaf of bread for dinner, watching the fire dance in our old fireplace and praying. It is while enjoying these things that I can shut out the noise from the rest of the world and I am lifted from the burdens of worry, doubt and fear.

As the days of winter fade into spring, take some time to reflect on the meaning of simplicity. What simple moments do you enjoy? In the midst of a cold winter storm, I often find myself reflecting on the beauty of a single flower from my garden, the sight, smell, feel, and sound as I walked a pathway in the woods, the laughter and conversations of loved ones around a roaring summer campfire, the feel of my mothers hand in mine, or the peace of my time alone with God. I know that I have wandered too far when anxiety starts to set in and I begin to “busy” myself. It is when I meet this fork in the road that I must choose to take the road less traveled.

All God’s people have reason to sing for joy!

Scripture Readings:

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

Take some time today to pause and reflect upon these passages today. Journal what they mean to you.

Let’s Chat:

When you commit to the Lord whatever you do, how does that calm your anxious heart?

 

 

 

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Biblical Relationship Goals https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/02/biblical-relationship-goals/ Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:25:44 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=1976 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a

The Lord tells us in the bible that he will know us by our fruits. What does that mean? When we have a personal relationship with our Savior, out of His spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control will flow to us and through us. These “fruits” do not always come naturally to our human condition, but they are something to which we can aspire. Mankind is sometimes full of anger, rage, jealousy, greed, and lack of self-control. We see evidence of this lack in abundance by watching the news, and in our own personal experience.

I was driving on the highway minding my own business yesterday and happened to be passing a slow moving vehicle with a trailer that was carrying several 4-wheelers, when suddenly seemingly out of nowhere a truck came up very fast in my rear-view mirror. Before I knew it, he was in the slow lane beside me beeping his horn and using profane hand gestures at me. This person was full of rage, clearly angry with something aside from me, but I became the target. His rage caused him to pass between the slow moving vehicle and my vehicle in the fast lane, requiring me to veer to the left hand side of the road so he did not hit me.

This small example demonstrates for us how out of control life can be when we are not in tune with the Holy Spirit, when we do not spend time alone with our God. “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing .If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant…love is not rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Again, the bible is giving us an example of what a life looks like when one is living in the fruit of the spirit. Not only are we to be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, but possessing these fruits will cause us to rethink situations where we once may have been boastful, insist on our own way, behaved rudely, resented others and rejoice in wrongdoing. All of these things are part of the carnal nature of man and to become filled with God’s good fruit, is a daily work in progress.

 

Some goals to strive for in your relationships this week:

Honesty—Be who you really are with other people… be authentic, no masks.

Warmth—be warm and compassionate with those around you, appropriately demonstrating warmth and affection.

Communication—Communicate to others those things which are important to you. Open the door to allow them to do the same.

Share Feelings—when we open a door of communication it initiates receptivity to the sharing of feelings; not only pleasurable feelings, but painful ones as well.

Acceptance—attempt to overcome embarrassment and shock when others share their feelings, beliefs and shortcomings.

Trust—when communication is open and we feel warmth, honesty, and acceptance, trust is established. Work on trust.

Faithfulness—be faithful to your commitments and promises.

Respect—show respect toward others by attempting to understand their need to make their own decisions.

Hope—each day is a new beginning filled with potential!

In your prayers this week, ask God to fill you with the fruit of the spirit…to show you moments of joy, love, peace, kindness, and gentleness. Ask him to deepen the relationships with those you love, giving you a better understanding of a God kind of love. Try to see others through the eyes of God, rather than your own—ask God to do that for you.

Dear Lord,

I want to see things for the way they really are. Please give me eyes to see the areas in my life that I need to work on. I know that you are a loving God and that you accept my weaknesses, my sin, and all of my character flaws. I thank you for that and I ask you to help me to accept these things too so I can begin to work toward making them better and in turn be blessed with deep and caring relationships and the fruit of the spirit! I want to relate to you authentically and to others authentically–help me shed any masks that I wear and just be me. Part of just being me is learning to accept myself and love the real “me”… I want to be able to be a witness to those around me that normal people with normal problems can find hope, help, comfort and joy in you. Thank you, Lord that you are such an ever present help and guide in my life.

Amen.

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God Time https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/02/god-time/ https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/02/god-time/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:18:16 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=1974 Each day is a new day and each day allows us new opportunity to evaluate and search our heart. Have you ever met someone that just seemed to light up a room and find yourself thinking, “Gosh, whatever she has, I want some of that”? That’s what it’s like to be filled with God’s light. It shines through us for others to see, igniting a fire within them. This light can’t be bought and we can’t pretend to have it. It comes from within as a result of a loving relationship with God and a true and faithful heart.

I want to encourage you this week to dedicate 15 minutes each day to spend time alone with God. You don’t have to do anything special or pray special words. Just dedicate 15 minutes during your day to have a one on one with God, sharing with him your hopes, dreams, fears, anxieties and disappointments. You’ll be surprised at what your heart will reveal!

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A Journey of the Holy Spirit https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/02/a-journey-of-the-holy-spirit/ Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:42 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=1972 I believe that life is a great journey. The journey is not necessarily a journey of flesh, but a continually flowing journey of the spirit. Each new experience, be it bad or good, has a spiritual component. How these experiences affect  our souls, our being, our thoughts and our hearts is a spiritual reflection.

My abiding faith is in a loving Creator, Jesus, who came and died for us, our Heavenly Father.

I believe that the works of those who inspire and encourage us along the journey are divine, for God is inspiration. He works through people; all races, colors and ethnicity. Often, history has shown that religion is a great divider of people because while we are practicing rituals and law, we neglect that the foundation is LOVE. As a Christian, we know that Jesus came as Perfect love, that we might love.

When we love, we accept others rather than judge. When we love, our minds are set on those things that are pure and lovely, noble and true.

I was once on the staff at a church where people did not want the poor to sit next to them on Sunday. They spent so much energy judging that they forgot about love and the works of the Holy Spirit. Each of us has a deep and abiding need to feel loved and accepted and a sense of belonging. It is a basic human need.

There is a world out there that needs you! A world that needs your gifts and talents, a world that calls out to you to use your passion, a world that is calling you back to what you truly love. The world needs you to continue on your journey, fully clothed in the Holy Spirit, where wisdom is known and we are filled with love and acceptance, regardless of our differences. In the Holy Spirit, we are also less self-critical and more self-loving because we understand through supernatural wisdom that God created us for a purpose and the time to execute our purpose is now.

Is the life that you are living the life that wants to live in you? “Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.” Frederick Beuchner

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” Denis Waitley

As you go through your day today, think about your daily journey. The Holy Spirit is within you. What kind of journey are you taking? Are you climbing mountains? Are you down in the valley? Are you learning new things about yourself, the love of Christ, acceptance? We are beings made in the image of Christ and the Holy Spirit is part of our DNA. It is not something from which we can separate ourselves.

Embrace it, dwell in the things above and glorify God through the Holy Spirit in all that you do. Remember that it is a journey…a never ending journey. Some days we get it wrong and we mess up and sometimes we are right on spot.

xxxooo.

Mary

 

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A Note About Worry https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/02/a-note-about-worry/ https://www.hopefilledliving.com/2017/02/a-note-about-worry/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 23:52:19 +0000 https://www.hopefilledliving.com/?p=1970 A Word Of Encouragement

 

We all go through times of fear and uncertainty in our lives, but the Lord tells us not to be dismayed, but rather, give everything to him, casting our cares through prayer and petition. Petition means talking with God about the needs in our lives, asking for his help. It’s so amazing that we have a God who listens and cares about our needs!

This week think about how much time you spend worrying. In Luke 12:25-26, it says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”…Worry never solves a problem; it can actually create problems for us, such as lack of peace of mind, emotional ups and downs, and ill health. The bible tells us in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Sometimes we spend time worrying about the problems we foresee for tomorrow and things we expect to happen.

Take some time this week to write out some of the burdens that you carry. If you have enough room on your paper, write them all. After you have made your list, spend some time in prayer over the list. Ask God to help you let go and give him control. Put the list in a safe place and when you begin to worry about those things on the list, bring it out again and pray over it. Ask God to reveal to you what he would have you to do to solve each of these issues in your life. Take notes when things come to mind. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Ask God for his perfect peace and favor.

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