Ready to Move

Read

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

Reflect / Discuss

● Are there areas of your life or your community that seem like a wasteland? ● Have you ever felt like God was calling you to step into something that made you feel uncomfortable?

Consider

As we settle into the routine of life, it can be easy to get comfortable and complacent. God may be calling you to something new, but it will be uncomfortable. This could be stepping into a new job, a new location, or a new friend. In order to be ready to move wherever God calls us, we have to be ok with being uncomfortable. We have to be willing to let go of the things that give us security. This is how we prepare ourselves to move with God into new seasons.

Act

● Look for an opportunity in your church where you can be more involved.
● Find an area of your life that God is calling you to step forward into.

Ready to Share

Read

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

Reflect / Discuss

● Has anyone ever asked you about your faith? If not, why do think they haven’t?
● If you only had a few minutes to tell someone about God, what would you say?

Consider

Sharing the Gospel can be difficult for a lot of us. We are nervous about what to say or how other people will react. So when presented with the opportunity, we often shy away because we are unprepared. Telling others about God does not need to be complicated. The first part of this verse says to revere Christ in our hearts. That means that anything we say about Jesus will come out of our relationship with Him. Being ready to share the Gospel is not about having a memorized script or testimony. It’s simply talking about what God has done in your life.

Act

● Share your testimony in a public way, whether it’s in person with someone you know, or online through a blog post, social media post, or video.
● Think of people you can help and serve regularly, so that you will be in a position when they ask you about your kindness and the hope you have

Setting Your Life Priorities

Every now and then, you may ponder the complexities and maybe even some chaos in your life. You might struggle to figure out what’s next. Maybe you feel confused at times about which way to go. Have you thought about setting your life priorities to make your life easier?

When you’re struggling to determine what’s important to you, it’s hard to make decisions. What will you do next? Where will you go for the evening? Who will you choose to pass the time with?

Feeling torn between two or more people, places and things is common if you haven’t yet identified your priorities. After all, when you consider everything and everyone in your life as all-equal in terms of their “level” of importance, it’s going to be tough to choose what to do next.

Setting your life priorities is a way of identifying what’s most important to you. Once you determine your priorities, you’ll be pleased with the ease of making decisions and the serenity that comes with knowing you did the right thing.

Establishing priorities also gives you a clearer focus on how to allot your time. If you allot the bulk of your time to doing what’s most important with the most important people in your life, you’ll feel more fulfilled and satisfied with your life experiences.

Common Life Priorities

What might your priorities be? The possibilities are endless. In the list below, you’ll find many common priorities in no particular order. Feel free to use the list as inspiration to help you figure out your own priorities.

  • Family
  • Finances
  • Friends
  • Extended family
  • Work
  • Hobbies
  • Personal appearance
  • Health and physical exercise/activities
  • Nutritious eating
  • “Alone-time” with partner
  • Quality time with the children
  • Playing games on the internet
  • Talking on the phone
  • Watching television

Example of a “Prioritized” Listing of Life Priorities

The whole idea of setting priorities is to put the many elements of your life into an order, with those that are most important to you at the top. Knowing your highest priority on the list is necessary in order to make focused, wise decisions that are right for you.

Consider this next list, which is prioritized, as an example of someone’s life priorities (in order).

  1. Family
  2. Alone-time with partner
  3. Work
  4. Health and physical exercise
  5. Nutritious eating
  6. Friends
  7. Watching television
  8. Personal appearance
  9. Hobbies – movies and reading

Coming Up With Your Own Priorities

Setting your priorities in life may take time and effort. However, taking the time to reflect on your day-to-day life and determine what’s on the top of your list will make your life so much easier. Once your priorities are clear to you, decisions on how to spend your time and with who will be a cinch.

Engaging in this exercise of figuring out your priorities might reveal some things that shock or surprise you.

For example, you might realize that you’re spending most of your time hanging out with friends even though you feel that your family is more important. Or you aren’t taking as much care with your kids as you thought you were.

Regardless of what you discover that you weren’t expecting, setting your priorities now will help you limit or even remove the less-important elements of your life and enable you to focus more fully on what means the most to you.

You can live more joyfully by setting your life priorities. Knowing what’s important to you and devoting your time to those things at the top of your list will ensure you experience an enriched and fulfilled life.Set your life priorities today.

Top 6 Reasons Why You Haven’t Found Your Passion

Are you living your life passionately? Life is too short to be slogging along without a sense of passion and purpose in your life. However, that’s exactly the way most of us live our lives. What happened to the exciting and ambitious ideas you had as a child? Are they gone forever?

You’re going to have to work diligently at whatever you choose to do if you want to be successful. It only makes sense to spend that time and effort on something that’s meaningful to you. Can you be more committed to your freedom and happiness than you are to your comfort zone?

Find your passion and experience life to the fullest!

Are these reasons keeping you from discovering your passion?

  1. You lack the necessary experience. While a few people choose the course of their lives by the age of six, most of us need more experience to make that determination. You can’t know what it’s like to play the piano, race a car, or write a screenplay until you’ve actually spent some time doing those things.
  • Passion comes from experience. Spend some time doing the things you think you might love to do.
  • You’re too comfortable and have forgotten what you love. Dreams and passion start to die as soon as you take a job primarily for financial stability. You quickly lose sight of what you love to do in the name of comfort and convenience.
  • Spend some time thinking about and experiencing the things you once loved to do. It might spark some new ideas.

  • Avoid being too practical. You’re more capable than you believe. Nearly any passion can be turned into a significant income.
  • Your ideas lack a creative component. People are destined to create something. Whether it’s molding the minds of children in the classroom, designing a skyscraper, or a building a string of dry cleaners, many careers thrive with creativity. No one fantasizes about working in a cubicle.
  • In most cases, your greatest passions and utmost joy will come from something that allows you to be creative.
  • You’re projecting too far into the future. It’s easy to become discouraged if your passion will take a long period of time to achieve. Becoming a rock star or an orthopedic surgeon won’t happen overnight. It’s easy to think that all the steps leading up to a big goal are meaningless.
  • But all of those steps are part of the journey and just as worthwhile. In fact, they’re not just obstacles, but learning opportunities necessary to make your passion a reality.
  • You’re unclear about your values. When your values are crystal clear, it’s much easier to make decisions and plot your course. What’s most important to you? Create a list of your values. You’ll find this exercise is highly useful. It will help to define you as a person.

  • You’re not good at dealing with discomfort. When you think about your passion, you might feel uncomfortable. After all, if you’re sleeping on your mom’s couch with $37 dollars to your name, how will you ever become the world’s most powerful sport’s agent? You must be able to step out of your comfort zone in order to change your life for the better.

No matter how you’ve been living, you can change. The difference between pursuing your passion and taking the safe, boring path is tremendous. Regardless of your age, you can begin living your passion right now. You give your best to the world and your family when you’re excited, committed, and fully engaged.

Experience the Joy of Living on Purpose With a Life Mission Statement

Do you have a mission for your life? Crafting a mission statement will allow you to live more purposefully. The creation of a mission statement requires that you define your strengths, interests, and values. Once these are known and documented, life becomes much easier and more fulfilling.

You simply have to ask yourself, “Am I living in accordance to my mission statement?

Your goals will become more obvious and you’ll feel more certain and clear regarding your decisions.

Use these ideas to develop a mission statement and take control of your life:

  1. Who are your heroes? Think about those you respect and admire. Consider people you know personally, people you know of, and people from history. What do they have in common? What traits or experiences do these people have that you’d like to see in yourself?
  • Your true-self is closely aligned with those you hold in high regard.
  • Define the person you want to be. Life isn’t only about accomplishments and accumulating a list of impressive possessions. Life is also about the person you become and your contributions. Consider all the roles you might fill over your lifetime and define your ideal person for each of these roles:
  • Student
  • Spouse
  • Grandparent
  • Parent
  • Employee
  • Employer
  • Boss
  • Friend
  • Imagine you’re 80-years old and only have a month left to live. Look back on your life. What would you like to look back on? What do you want to be able to remember? Making a million dollars? Climbing Mount Everest? Starting a charity? Having happy, successful children?
  • Start with the end in mind. Then you can create a path to reach that destination.
  • List your strengths, talents, and loves. What are you good at? Make a list of your natural talents and those areas where you’ve developed the most skill. Include the things you love to do, whether you’re good at them or not.
  • If your mission statement can include or leverage your skills and talents, you’ll be able to accomplish more.

  • By including the things that you love to do, you’ll have a lot more fun!
  • Create a list of purposes. Define the overall theme of your life and list the things that you want to accomplish in your life. Create a mission statement that incorporates all of these things into a central idea. It might require a couple of paragraphs to capture. These could be thought of as vague goals, such as:
  • Alleviate the suffering of others.
  • Fearlessly try new things and visit new places.
  • Make a living in the field of music.
  • Be a supportive and loving parent.
  • Be grateful for all the experiences that enter my life.
  • Be a committed life-long learner.
  • Set concrete goals that support your purposes. Set goals that will ensure that living your purpose is guaranteed. For example, what are some goals that might turn you into a supportive and loving parent?
  • Resolve issues from my own childhood.
  • Read and apply a book on being more patient.
  • Get involved at my child’s school by volunteering.
  • Read to my child each night.
  • Tell my child, “I love you.” at least twice each day.

If you’re feeling confused, or your life lacks purpose, developing a mission statement is the answer. A mission statement creates focus and boundaries for your life. There’s much less confusion when you’re clear about your purpose and goals. Get your life on track with a thoughtful mission statement and live your life on purpose.

Ready to Give

Read

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

Reflect / Discuss

● Have you ever given out of guilt or begrudgingly? Why was that? ● How do you give with joy?

Consider

Giving is often an afterthought for many of us. After we have calculated our living expenses, our personal spending, and how much we want to save, we think about how much we want to give. It comes out of our leftovers. It is often spur of the moment only when we are asked to give, so we give what we can spare and what we feel like giving. But this passage frames giving as something that is highly intentional. It’s an offering that is already decided and prepared ahead of time. God does not need our gift, but it is a means to develop generosity as the core of who we are. To be a cheerful giver, prepare your heart to be generous and give God your first and best, not the scraps.

Act

● If you don’t already give to your local church, consider an amount to set aside to give regularly.
● Think of someone you know who is in need, and set aside an amount to give to them.

Ready to Serve!

Read

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

Reflect / Discuss

● If you were created to do good works, is much of your life actually spent doing that?
● In what ways has God been shaping and preparing your life for good works?

Consider

God has a purpose for each of our lives. He has shaped our skills, personalities, and experiences uniquely to accomplish good in the world. Yet many of us are still waiting for a sign or clarity on God’s calling, and it can leave us paralyzed. God has clearly prepared good works for you to do, and many of them are already right in front you. You were created to do good, so just do the good that is in front of you. That will ultimately prepare you to do even greater things in the future.

Act

● What talents and skills do you have that you haven’t used for God’s work? Find a way to volunteer them through your church or a local nonprofit.

● Think of someone you know who has an immediate need that you can help with, and offer assistance.

Ready to Pray!

Read

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2

Reflect / Discuss

● What does it mean to be “watchful and thankful” in prayer?
● What are some of the things you pray about? Would they be considered watchful or thankful?

Consider

All throughout the Bible, prayer always precedes action. It is never a short “quick prayer” like we have become accustomed to. It is intentional. Prayer allows us to connect with God and be in sync with how He is moving in our lives and in our community. It prepares us for action. This passage tells us to be watchful in prayer. Sometimes we can be so concerned with our own lives that we miss the bigger things that God is doing. Instead, we should be attentive to what’s going on around us and in the world, and be ready to pray for those things.

Act

● Be thankful – thank God for a prayer he has answered or something he has provided, but you have overlooked.
● Be watchful – think of a person or situation that you haven’t prayed for, and spend time praying or them.

Spiritual Warfare

SPIRITUAL WARFARE

DEFINTION: Spiritual warfare refers to the battles waged by believers against our spiritual enemies–Satan, demons, and the spiritual forces of evil.

FACTS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
There are two spiritual kingdoms. The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:5-6).

The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan himself, spiritual beings called demons, and all people who live in sin and rebellion against God. God’s Kingdom consists of the Trinity of God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), angels, and all people who live in loving submission to Him.

Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Satan or the Kingdom of God. There is no neutral ground (Matthew 12:30).

You become a resident of God’s Kingdom by being born again and becoming a believer in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

Spiritual warfare began when Lucifer, who was originally a beautiful angel of prominence, rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Revelation 12:7-8).

The spiritual battle was manifested on earth when Adam and Eve yielded to Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

All the battles that you face in life, whether spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, or relational are outward manifestations of a direct or indirect spiritual cause. Although in the natural world things often appear to be simply “circumstances” of life, the basis of these natural events originate in the spiritual world. Spiritual warfare is a spiritual battle which is manifested in the natural world.

Spiritual warfare is not against flesh and blood. The battle is against the evil forces that would hinder your walk with God, the Word of God manifested in your life, your worship of God, and your work for Him.

DEALING WITH SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
Prepare for effective spiritual battle by arming yourself with spiritual weapons. These include:

-The belt of truth by gaining knowledge and understanding (Ephesians 6:14).
-The breastplate of righteousness–spiritual protection that comes by living the way the Word
mandates (Ephesians 6:14).
-Spiritual shoes–protection that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:15).
-The shield of faith which stops the fiery darts from the enemy (Ephesians 6:16).
-The helmet of salvation, which protects your mind, soul, and spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
-The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
-Prayer (Ephesians 6:18).
-The blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11).
-Your testimony (Revelation 12:11).
-The name of Jesus (Mark 16:17).
-Praise and worship (Psalm 59:16-17).
-Fasting (the books of Esther and Jonah).

Use these biblical strategies to win spiritual battles.

Submit and resist. If you submit yourself to God and resist the devil, he will flee from you (James 4:7). To resist means to “stand firm against and oppose the enemy at every point.”

Do not give place to the devil. Do not leave room for Satan to operate (Ephesians 4:27). Giving “place” to the devil is providing him a foothold from where he can operate in your life–for examples through alcohol, drugs, pornography, immorality, witchcraft, cults, rebellion, etc. Recover yourself from the devil. You have a responsibility to recover yourself from Satan’s snare.

You must cooperate with God for deliverance (2 Timothy 2:26).
Abstain from fleshly lusts. To “abstain” means “to deliberately refrain evil practices. The lusts of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as conduct from which you must abstain. Fleshly lusts war against your spirit (1 Peter 2:11).

Try the spirits.Be alert for the deceptions of the enemy (2 Peter 3:l7; 1 Timothy 4:1).

Reject false teachers. A false teacher is one who teaches incorrect doctrines and fails to live up to the mandates of God’s Word (2 John l0-11).

Lay aside worldly entanglements. To be a good solider for Jesus, you must lay aside worldly affairs
(2 Timothy 2:4).

Arm yourself with the mind of Christ.The mind of Jesus is not automatically developed in you. You must “let” or “permit” it to be developed (1 Peter 4:l; Philippians 2:5-8; Romans l2:1-2).

Pull and cast down strongholds.One of the goals of offensive warfare is to pull and cast down the strongholds of the enemy (2 Corinthians l0:4-5). To “pull down” means “to take down by effort or force.” To “cast” means “to throw or hurl.”

You are told to cast off the works of darkness (Romans l3:l2) and cast out demon powers (Matthew l0:8). You are to demolish arguments and pretensions and to take captive any thought that is contrary to the thoughts of Christ.

Bind and loose. You have the power to bind the forces of evil and loose the forces of good (Matthew 16:19). For example, you can bind the spirit of iniquity at work in the life of a lost loved one and release the spirit of adoption (a ministry of the Holy Spirit) to work in that person’s life.

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost
heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15) See also Ezekiel 28:12-19.

“He who is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30)

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mark 16:17-18)

Read about the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4:1-13. Note that strategies used by Satan and how Jesus met each one with the Word of God.

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:18-19)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, NKJV)

…Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of
righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)