My Purpose Is Growth

Trimming the fat, or excess, is the first step to organization. Organization is the first step to discipline. And discipline is the first step to growth.

For me, becoming organized is the first priority. I begin by removing everything counterproductive to growth. This isn’t easy at first. After a plan of action, I watch and wait. Then, I decide what is helping or hindering me from achieving my goal. With my decision made, I cut my losses and move ahead.

Once I’m organized, there’s no excuse for being undisciplined. Everything I need is at my fingertips. Therefore, I’m able to concentrate on the job and meet my goals. And the result is growth.

This rule works for my physical and spiritual needs. In the first chapter of his second epistle, Peter tells me through God’s precious promises, Christ’s perfect sacrifice, I have escaped this world. Through these promises, God has given me the ability to grow into a mature vessel. No excuse. Everything is given.

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8 KJV)

When reading this passage, I understand that I can’t “add” to what isn’t there in the first place. To obtain these attributes, I must lay aside all that hinders me from spending time with Him. It isn’t enough to have a casual relationship. I crave intimacy.

When I spend time waiting on the Lord my heart’s cry is for Him to search me and know me. Remove all that displeases. Create in me a clean heart. Draw me near. All unnecessary things fade as my heart focuses on Him.

Some say the order of the words is insignificant. Yet, I’ve learned knowledge of right and wrong helps me to practice self-control in all things. With self-control, I learn patience. And if I haven’t affection for others, how can I have Christ-like love? But, if I seek to add all these things then I’ll not be barren but fruitful and able to make a difference thereby, fulfilling my purpose—growth.

Life quickly become cluttered as I take on more and more. I find myself needing to trim some things to lighten the load. Combining several social media sites is one thing I am in the process of doing. Another, is learning to say no.

What do you do to remove the excess?

Steal, Kill, and Destroy Part 2

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

The first time I heard Annie Johnson Flint’s story was during a Gaither Homecoming program. Gloria Gaither told the story of a courageous woman who supported herself through writing, even though she was stricken with debilitating arthritis that eventually left her an invalid.

In the end, when she couldn’t hold a pencil, she held a piece of chalk and wrote on a board suspended above her bed.

When you read Annie Johnson Flint’s poems, you do not hear “Woe is me” in her verses. What you hear, is a steady peace, an active joy, and a quiet trust. Annie learned faith as a child, as a woman she learned to trust.

The difference?

Faith believes God can, while trust rests in knowing He will. Many have learned faith, but struggle with trust. “I believe God can do it; I just don’t know if He will.”

And there’s the problem.

When my peace is disturbed, my joy dwindles. My focus turns inward. I no longer offer sacrifices of praise, but worship at the altar of self. My trust waivers. I question God. How long? Why? When? Will You?

Jesus never lied to His listeners. He promised troubles and tribulations. But the object is to overcome them, not be overtaken by them.

Annie knew that joy, like peace, is a fruit. It isn’t found in happy circumstances.

It’s found in Christ Jesus. It is proof of His Spirit working in our lives. It is us decreasing, Christ increasing.

Annie understood.

When the winds of adversity blew, rocking her to and fro, Annie, like a tree used it to her advantaged and sent her roots deeper into the softened soil. She raised her limbs heavenward and soaked in the Son. She drank the water of the Word and ate of the Bread of Life. She did not bend to self-pity but was strengthened by God’s Spirit. Her fruit remains with us today, a testimony to His faithfulness. And what a testimony it is!

What God Hath Promised~ Annie Johnson Flint~ Public Domain

God hath not promised skies always blue;

Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;

God hath not promised sun without rain,

Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God promised strength for the day,

Rest for the labor, light for the way,

Grace for the trials, help from above,

Unfailing kindness, undying love. Read more here

You can read more about Annie Johnson Flint by searching her name or her poems and songs, What God Hath Promised and He Giveth More Grace.

XOXO

Gail

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Centering

“But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (KJV)

Jasper_Ware,_Nelson_Atkins_Museum_of_Art

Jasper Ware Wiki Commons

When I think of pottery, I usually think of the beautiful painted pieces purchased in a store. What I don’t think about is the process clay must go through to become those beautiful pieces.

That was until I saw the similarities between my life and clay.

For instance, have you ever felt as if your world was spinning out of control? I have. For years, I struggled with this problem. Until one day, I realized it wasn’t my world spinning out of control, but me. I needed anchoring! I needed to quit succumbing to my circumstances and set my eyes on my Deliverer.

In pottery, this process is called centering. Continue reading