Archive | July 2012

Overwhelmed with God

When people say they are “overwhelmed,” they generally do not mean it in a favorable way. Being overwhelmed usually means having too much to do with too little time to do it. Being overwhelmed can also mean having too much going on emotionally. Often, being overwhelmed means having all of these going on at the same time.

In today’s culture, being overwhelmed comes all too easily. Food options, information, news, media… choices abound in every area of life. Balancing those choices with those that come with raising kids and keeping a marriage healthy, and no wonder most of us find ourselves described as “overwhelmed.

Add to that the fact that life, in general, overwhelms us simply because we are “visitors” here (1 Chronicles 29:15). Until we are truly “at home,” we just won’t feel quite like we fit in this world (John 17:14).

Death overwhelms because we can’t avoid it.

Life overwhelms because we can’t control it.

The unseen overwhelms because, well, we can’t see it.

Our fears can overwhelm to the point of inaction.

Worries overwhelm and can steal our joy.

So, how in this world can we as Christian women go from being overwhelmed with life to being overwhelmed with God?

  1. Relinquish our desire to control the outcome. (Proverbs 16:1) – Spend time daily with God, so we know His plans.
  2. Offer what little we have, and let Christ do the rest. (2 Corinthians 9:8) – As with all of the miracles told about in the Bible, we give what little we can and then watch Him do great things.
  3. Be intentional about growing rich in God’s Word. (Psalm 119:105) – His Word shows us the steps to take, which He already has planned out for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
  4. Cry out to the Lord. On a daily basis, no matter where we are physically, mentally or spiritually, crying out to God calls on the “rock that is higher” (Psalm 61:2).
  5. Take every thought captive. Purposefully choose where you allow your thoughts to dwell (2 Corinthians 10:5 & Philippians 4:8).

The more we focus our mind, will and emotions on Christ, the more overwhelming He will become. As He overwhelms, and this is always good and never too much, the things and problems of this world seem small and insignificant.

DISCUSSION: What step will you take today to move from being overwhelmed with life to being overwhelmed with God?

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Book Discussion: For those of you reading A Woman’s Secret for Confident Living: Becoming Who God Made You to Be by Karol Ladd, please go to our Summer Book Club page to participate in a discussion on the book.

Related Reading Recommendations:

A God-Centered Focus

Opposite to a God-Centered focus, a man-centered focus is concerned with personal happiness, fulfillment, comfort, success and prosperity. For examples of this, simply look around at the current culture.

A God-centered focus involves living out the command to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Doing so enabled the Thessalonians to endure persecution (2 Thessalonians 1), and it can also encourage us to endure and resist our God-less modern culture.

Seeking God’s kingdom first means living for Him and having a God-centered focus. Colossians 3:1-4 gets at this by telling believers to “set your sights on the realities of Heaven” and to “let Heaven fill your thoughts,” thus giving the sense of a continual, earnest seeking.

James 1:2 and 1 Peter 5:10 tell us the benefits of a God-centered focus, benefits we can experience now. Those include patience, perfection (restoration), support, strength and being settled (having a firm foundation).

But HOW do we seek Him?

HOW do we obtain and then maintain a God-centered focus when the things of this work are so distracting?

  1. Focus on His agenda, which is found in His Holy Word.
  2. Ask questions like: What would God have me do in this situation? Would this please Him? What does He want to teach me here?
  3. Guard your heart. Avoid letting cravings of the flesh spin out of control. Guarding “the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23) begins and ends with where we allow our thoughts to focus.

The ultimate goal of a God-centered focus lies with bringing glory and honor to God in our attitudes, actions and words. Doing so demonstrates our true loyalty to Him through our ever-increasing faith, a growing love toward others, and an unwavering hope.

DISCUSSION: What does James 1:4 tell us we will lack if we let this process of perfection happen in our lives? What would your life be like if this was a reality for you?

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Book Discussion: For those of you reading A Woman’s Secret for Confident Living: Becoming Who God Made You to Be by Karol Ladd, please go to our Summer Book Club page to participate in a discussion on the book.

This entry was posted on July 19, 2012. 2 Comments

Are You Growing in 2 Directions?

Are you growing in 2 directions? No, not physically. How is your spirit growing? Are your roots going deep down? Are you building a structure that reaches high?

Roots grow in solitude and quiet, something many people avoid. No one really sees roots much, yet they represent a source of strength. Consider Giant Redwoods. Their strong root systems allow them to survive the most extreme of conditions, from fires to horrific storms. Developing a strong root system can do the same for us.

While root systems remain largely unseen, buildings stand tall and visible. Our lives are the buildings that represent our confidence and strength (or lack thereof), whether rooted in man’s ways and philosophies or God’s truth. The appearance of a building can be deceiving, and the strength of a building lies with its roots (foundation). Yet, a building with strong roots can still be dilapidated and even get torn down. Both the root system and the building itself need consistent upgrading and maintenance in order to stand the test of time.

When we become deeply rooted in Christ, we aren’t easily carried away by the concepts and ideas of the world. When we know the truth of God’s word, we can identify and avoid the empty philosophies of man that may initially sound good and appear valid. Doing so allows us to have a strong root system that can withstand the storms of life as well as to be built up in a way that points others to Christ.

For further discussion & study: What does 2 John teach us about truth and following God’s Word, the Bible, as an essential step to Christian living?

Related Reading:

Book club & discussion: For those of you reading A Woman’s Secret for Confident Living: Becoming Who God Made You to Be by Karol Ladd, please go to our Summer Book Club page to participate in discussions on the book.

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Do you see the way out?

Unfortunately, we do not have an escape button, like those on our computer keyboards, to get us out of trouble. The power to resist sin does not come from any control we have on our own. We don’t possess the resources to be holy on our own. In other words, the way out – the way to avoid sin – continues to elude us when we try to see it on our own.

When we are born again, we receive power from God through His Holy Spirit to make right choices and to avoid sin. We can choose to deny our fleshly desires because He gives us all we need to defeat the flesh. Not only that, be He also gives us the power to carry out the work He has given us.

According to 2 Peter 1:3, we receive “His divine power” through true knowledge of Him. He allows us to “become partakers of the divine nature” and to “escape corruption” (2 Peter 1:4) simply because of His glory and excellence. Wow!

The more we walk in the Spirit, the better able we are to hear the Holy Spirit guiding us. He won’t make us do anything, but He will “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13). He is the Helper and Teacher, but we need to admit we need help and realize we cannot live life successfully without Him.

For further study & discussion: How does 1 Corinthians 10:13 add to the idea that we have what we need to avoid sinning? How can we apply this?

Book club & discussion: For those of you reading A Woman’s Secret for Confident Living: Becoming Who God Made You to Be by Karol Ladd, please go to our Summer Book Club page to participate in discussions on the book.

Want to receive weekly posts in your email? Subscribe to New Hope ladies by Email